Scientists showed that in 1978-1979 opportunist species, resistant to hydrocarbon, settled in the most affected areas.
In 1982-1983, an increase in tolerant species was recorded, representing more than three quarters of the populations. Eventually species sensitive to hydrocarbons settled back, and their level of presence had returned to normal by 1984-1985. In the end, six to seven years were necessary for natural equilibrium to return to normal.
Economists had difficulties in fully understanding the situation. Firstly, damages in the fishing industry were difficult to quantify as resources and fishing techniques are constantly evolving. Secondly, tourism industry statistics were totally different from one year to another, thus hiding the oil slick effect itself. The American judge experienced difficulties in fully understanding the real scientific meaning of the mathematical models used by Amoco and French experts. He considered that a global survey of the damages should have been undertaken. This is however easier said than done as no disaster of this scale had ever occured.
(Source : Dauvin J.-C. Mar. Poll. Bull., 2000, 40(6) 528-536)