Louisiana’s shrimpers have until Thursday of next week to decide whether they will take their cut of the $2.3 billion settlement offered by BP to cover for losses caused by the 2010 oil spill.

 FuelFix.com reports that seafood industry claimants do have the option to pursue individual lawsuits, or accept the share they receive if BP’s settlement offer is approved next Thursday by U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier.

 While the seafood industry represents a number of people, from restaurant owners on down to the people who clean and prepare what comes off the boats, it appears the fishermen are the ones who stand to suffer the greatest impact from BP’s spill. FuelFix reports:

 [F]or the Gulf Coast fishermen, the larger question looms of whether the disaster dealt their lifestyle a fatal blow. Whatever their losses may be, getting compensation under the proposed settlement presents further challenges for people better equipped to navigate murky coastal waterways than legal channels. Their traditional economy is cash-based, but the settlement requires tax forms and proof of income based on trip tickets – documents issued by the docks that serve as the link between fishermen and commercial purchasers. Fishermen who can provide the paperwork can expect two to five years of income in compensation. Those who can’t will get far less, perhaps because they made cash deals independent of the docks.

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