Revival of the local economy

Following an oil spill, the local economy in the surrounding area may be affected in several ways.

• Activities may be physically interrupted. This could be the case, for example, for maritime transporters or fishermen whose boats are soiled in port or blocked by a protective boom.

• Activities may be affected by bans. This could be the case, for example, for fishermen or sea produce breeders whose produce is no longer allowed to be sold.

• Activities may be affected by the total or partial loss of customers. This could be the case for industrial ice suppliers who find themselves with no fishermen to deliver to or campsite owners who have lost part of their clientele.

Activities can also suffer in a more complex manner from economic damages induced by unfounded public fears. This could be the case, for example, for salt cultivators who see their customers turning down their produce, unaware that it comes from previous years’ harvests. More complex still, damage to fishing resources can cause a decrease in catches years later, due to a certain age group being most heavily hit.

To address these various scenarios, action must be taken. Support for affected productive sectors and assistance in refloating the economy are today well established components of oil spill response.



Insurance companies and the international compensation system are naturally unavoidable contacts. However, other entities may intervene, in particular the European Commission and various United Nations programmes, through donations, subsidised loans or financing of redevelopment projects.

Transitional financial aid, directed towards economic operators whose activity is interrupted (fishermen, shellfish breeders, tourist industry personnel), takes most often the form of the payment of daily sums based on the minimum guaranteed revenue of the sector. This unemployment benefit acts as vital support for the operators affected, deprived of resources during the period when waiting to resume their activities. Monthly payments can sometimes be deferred and bank guarantees allocated, to free those committed from the burden of paying back loans which they cannot face in the circumstances.

Professional organisations can benefit from assistance to regain their place on the market. Mostly, this consists of financing advertising campaigns aiming to restore the image of the region and its produce. These campaigns are often complemented by the promotion of companies which had to stop work during the incident.

Technical, financial, strategic and legal aid can be necessary to allow economic operators to accurately assess their situation and relaunch their production in the best possible way. This is of particular importance for fish farms which have to start again from scratch, if their livestock has been entirely destroyed. The financing of that aid is usually taken care of by State and regional authorities. In Europe, European community relief funds can be called upon. The same applies to federal funds in the US.

Did you know?

“From Galicia, and so fresh”

This Spanish advertising poster with the slogan “From Galicia, and so fresh” explains that after the Aegean Sea oil spill in Galicia (Spain), only 100 km out of 1,350 km of shoreline were affected and boasts of the quality of the waters and produce from this province’s sea.