The Exxon Valdez oil spill is believed to be one of the most devastating environmental disasters. Only three days after the vessel grounded, a storm pushed large quantities of oil on the beaches in the surrounding area. The spill hit the coast stirred with spring life, such as salmon fry which emerged in freshwater streams and pacific herring who returned to spawn.
Because the marine mammals concentrate in coastal waters to eat fish, they were hit along with other populations of animals. But the true horror was experienced when huge numbers of migratory birds began nesting. Approximately 35,000 dead birds died as a direct result from the oil spill.
Local communities in the oil's path were upset greatly since they always have been able to rely on the land to provide for their needs. The locals were suddenly forced to rely on different resources and a scarce of important resources caused major negative social and psychological impacts.
Local community and legal aftermath
The financial loss caused from teh Exxon Valdez oil spill put a lot of stress on local families, which has led to depression and eventually increased number of broken households. Tourism has also suffered since the recreational activities that once took place were no longer possible to maintain.
Many cleanup workers faced oil exposure 12 times over the regulatory limits, which later proved severely damaging for their health. Commercial salmon and herring fisheries closed in oiled areas in 1989. Shrimp, blackcod, bottomfish and crab fisheries were also closed. The incident reached a jury, who ordered the Exxon to pay $5 billion in punitive damages injured fishermen, native Americans, and landowners.
The company Exxon recovered a significant portion of clean-up and legal expenses through insurance claims associated with the grounding of the Exxon Valdez. In 1991 Exxon made a separate financial settlement of damages with a group of seafood producers joined under the name Seattle Seven for the disaster's effect on the Alaskan seafood industry. The agreement granted $63.75 million to the Seattle Seven. The damage for the environment remains visible to this day.