Report pits oil against oyster farmers

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
29 March 2007, at 1:00am

US - According to a new report that is sparking tension between the seafood and energy industries, some oyster farmers may be using unused leases solely in hopes of collecting damage settlements from oil companies.

Mike Voisin, Louisiana Oyster Task Force president, blasted the report, calling it inaccurate and one-sided.

Meanwhile, an oil-and-gas industry group says the report shows the need for reform.

Oyster farmers lease coastal wetlands from the state for 15 years at a time. When an oil-and-gas company damages an oyster bed, the lease owner can sue for damages.

That money flows to lease owners regardless of whether the leases are producing oysters, suggesting that many leases in nonproductive areas are there to receive compensation payment. The report says those lease holders are hoping to profit from the damage settlements but have no intention of actually harvesting any oysters.

Source: WMC-TV