LDWF and State Officials Finalize $2.56 Million Agreement with BP for Fishing License Revenue Losses

Release Date: 12/21/2010

Funds will cover decline in recreational fishing license sales, associated federal funds and oyster tag revenue losses

Yesterday, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Secretary Robert Barham and state officials finalized plans with British Petroleum to pay $2.56 million to LDWF for lost revenue associated with the decline in recreational fishing license sales, associated federal funds and oyster tag sales.

“This marks a critical step on the road to recovery for LDWF and Louisiana’s fishing communities. These funds are especially crucial now, more than ever, as our Department continues to fulfill its mission, while also working to help fishing communities rebound from the impact of the BP oil spill,” said Secretary Barham. “We are open for business here in Louisiana. I encourage all anglers to visit us for some of the best fishing in the world.”

The agreement with BP was finalized yesterday after discussions between BP officials, LDWF and representatives from the Louisiana Attorney General’s office.

As a result of BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill that began in April 2010 and significant fishing closures, LDWF suffered a loss of almost $1.7 million from a decline in recreational fishing license sales. The Department also saw a loss of nearly $450,000 in federal funds from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and more than $200,000 in revenue from a decline in oyster tag sales in 2010.

Historically, June through October is the high season for recreational fishing license sales. These sales decreased from nearly $7.3 million in the period from April 21 through November 30 in 2009, to approximately $5.5 million in 2010 for the same time period – roughly a 24 percent decrease.

BP analyzed revenue from recreational fishing license and oyster tag sales in March and April of 2009 to determine a trend that was applied to projected sales in 2010. This figure demonstrated what revenues would have been but for the BP oil spill. BP officials then subtracted the actual revenue from the projected amount to determine lost revenue.

Officials with LDWF continue to work with BP on claims to fund an oyster cultch program and a saltwater hatchery. The Department previously announced agreements with BP for a $13 million fisheries impact study and $18 million for seafood safety monitoring and testing, and $30 million for seafood safety marketing efforts.

The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana's abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

For more information, please contact Olivia Watkins at 225-610-8660 or owatkins@wlf.la.gov.