Key West boat captain Chris Lembo recently sold his rods, reels and 30-foot boat. It marked the end of Incognito Charters, his once-lucrative business of taking tourists to the reef and shipwrecks to fish.
High fuel prices, new fishing regulations and the recession all struck the business hard.
"Then the BP oil spill hit,'' he said. "That was the final straw."
Lembo is among the more than 10,000 businesses and individuals in South Florida that have filed claims or federal lawsuits against the oil giant and its contractors.