BP to pay Florida $20m for seafood testing – Fishupdate.com

BP to pay Florida $20m for seafood testing Published:  27 October, 2010

OIL giant BP has agreed to pay the state of Florida $20 million towards the cost of seafood testing and marketing following the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico earlier this year.

It is one of a number of seafood related compensation costs facing BP and there is little doubt that other Gulf states will demand similar treatment.News of the payout was announced yesterday by Florida’s  Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles H. Bronson.

He said the money will be paid to his department over the next three years to help fund enhanced seafood inspections and marketing efforts aimed at restoring public confidence in the safety of Gulf of Mexico seafood.

In July Mr Bronson wrote to  BP President Bob Dudley saying that Florida faced heavy costs over the next few years attempting to ensure the safety of Gulf seafood and initiate marketing efforts in response to the Deepwater Horizon incident last spring.

Mr Bronson said the deal with BP would be extended if the seafood testing finds a problem. He added: “And if, at any time in this period of three years, that oil from Deepwater Horizon is found to be anywhere in our fish or shellfish, the three-year programme starts over again and it’s another three-year programme at 10 and 10 (million dollars). So we believe it’s a sound programme; we believe it protects the public.”

The Commissioner told reporters that Florida has researched who’s buying seafood and who has dropped it and discovered the industry has lost about 25 percent of its market.

“We have 75 percent of the people back with seafood on the table right now. We’ve got to work on that 25 percent that have not added it back to their diet. We hope that this testing program and our continued marketing program for ‘Florida Gulf Safe’ will be a positive program that will work to help some of those 25 per cent that aren’t.”