BP to give checks to 350 fishermen

By Jason Belk - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Today, approximately 350 commercial fishermen were given checks in the amount of either 2,500 or 5,000 dollars from BP as compensation for lost wages in the month of June.

The fishermen were represented by a Virginia based law firm who was dealing with BP lawyers in Chicago.

"We fishermen are kind of an independent breed.  We've never asked for a whole lot of outside help.  We've always depended on Mother Nature and our own ability, but when I received my check today, I just thanked god," said David Willis, a Gulf Coast fisherman.

As of now the checks that these fishermen are receiving today, BP is saying it is not a one time deal, and they will be issuing them about every 30 days.

"As long as we have representation and we've got the paper work, they're going to give us checks every 30 days.  Depending on what type of work you do in the water, if it's seasonal work then until your season's over," said Jeffrey Breit, the lawyer representing the fishermen.

For many fishermen like Willis, the compensation from BP is an important step in the right direction.

"At least they care, I mean they're trying to do something to help the fishermen and their dilemma," said William Druilhet.

Matthew Gaskins, another fisherman, added, "This will help, so they're moving in the right direction to help the watermen."

"BP, I don't know too much about them other than it's an oil drilling firm, but they have my thanks and it's great that they're doing this," said Willis.

BP is also preparing checks for these fishermen from the month of May, and those payments are expected to arrive in around three weeks.

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