Environmental they were reduced to nearly half of their

Environmental Impact The spill hit 1,300 miles of coast line seeping into surface and underlying sediments. Oil spilled from Exxon Valdez continued to spread up to eight weeks after the disaster effecting both the immediate and long-term wildlife populations.  Assessment of the environmental damage is understood in three categories. The first is mortality, or the immediate decline of wildlife populations because of oil exposure, cleaning attempts, or a significant decline in food sources.  Sub-lethal effects are defined as long term physical harm done to organisms such as eggs and larvae, but not juveniles or adults. The third category is concerned with the degradation of habitats which is measured by monitoring the contamination of flora, fauna as well as the abiotic components.   The immediate effects of the oil spill were estimated to kill 2,800?sea otters, 300 harbor seals, 900 bald eagles and 250,000 seabirds.  About 74% of the effected sea birds were murres.  An aerial measurement of two murre colonies estimated that they were reduced to nearly half of their pre-disaster populations.  Birds that landed in oil slicks were weighted down by the heavy substance and eventually drowned.  Otters and harbor seals would inject the toxic oil when trying to clean themselves.  Two pods of killer whales lost 40% of their members two the pollution.  One those pods lost their only fertile female, and is expected to eventually disappear altogether.  The timing of the oil spill could not have been worse.  The oil spill happened right before the annual phytoplankton and zooplankton bloom, which is the primary food source that supports the local biodiversity and migration patterns.  Surface plankton was either contaminated or was hindered by reduced sunlight exposure. Salmon and herring both saw huge decreases in population right after the spill because of the pollution of the annual bloom.   Fish eggs and larvae were particularly affected by oil pollution, which effected populations years after the disaster.  Wild pink salmon lay their eggs in intertidal zones, often in gravel.  These zones had some of the highest concentration of crude oil. Consequences on eggs and hatching larvae were stunted growth, and high embryo mortality.  While salmon eventually recovered, the sound longer holds the sweeping herring masses it once had.  This has major consequences for larger predators that rely on this food source.  The Trustee Council, the organization tasked with delegating recovery funds, found that 17 of the 27 monitored species have not fully recovered. A 2001 federal survey concluded that oil is still polluting half of Prince Williams Sounds beaches.  Oil still remains in deep sediments and in mussel beds.  Mussels are a primary food source for higher trophic levels such as otters and ducks.  These populations have returned but not to pre-disaster populations.   Measuring the long-term impact of the oil spill is highly controversial.  Species such as herring have had more than one set-back, making it hard to isolate the environmental effects of the spill.  Since the local communities rely heavily on commercial fishing, and tourism they suffered heavy financial consequences.  Commercial fishing in and around Prince William Sound primarily draws profit from salmon and herring.  Both species experienced huge drops in numbers.  While salmon has recovered and fishing resumed herring populations were only 15% of what they were in 2009.  Herring fisheries to this day have not re-opened.  Current production versus pre-disaster production estimates conclude that local communities have lost 120,000 tons of herring each year.   Sport fishing was  an industry hard hit.  Immediately after the spill, total revenue losses were anywhere from $3.6 million to $50.6 million.  The polluted shoreline and reduced wildlife temporarily discouraged tourists and visitors to Prince William Sound.  There was a sharp drop in tourism until clean-up efforts ceased in 1992.  Tourism has recovered well in the long term and is expected to grow by 28% per year until 2020.    Liability Exxon mobile claimed responsibility soon after the oil tanker hit Bligh Reef.  The oil giant organized and funded a great deal of the short-term clean-up efforts.  A total of $2.1 billion was spent in the clean-up process, $303 million in fisherman compensation, and payed $900 million in civil settlements to the Alaskan and Federal Government.  Despite this huge and somewhat willing expenditure by Exxon for clean-up efforts, it continues to question the long-term impact of the oil spill. The Exxon Valdez Oil spill made it clear to both the American public and law-makers that we did not have the proper resources to respond to major oil spills, nor the right regulations to prevent such spills.  The Oil Pollution act (OPA) of 1990 was the bill passed by the 101st Congress and signed in by President George H. W. Bush.  The Oil Pollution act was an amendment of the Federal Water Pollution act.  Stricter regulations on the shipping of oil include, double walled hulls for newly manufactured tankers, and a mandatory oil spill prevention and response plan.  The OPA hands enforcement responsibility to the U.S. Coast Guard.  The Coast Guard now monitors oil transportation companies and gives civil, criminal, and administrative sanction when necessary.  The financial penalties for oil spills we’re largely increased.  Lastly, the OPA opened the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund.  This fund is dedicated to oil spill victims and can delegate up to $1 billion dollars for any oil spill response effort.