By Houston Business Journal

BP Plcâ¿¿s payments to Gulf Coast residents and businesses impacted by the oil spill reached $201 million on July 16, according to the British oil giant.

More than 32,000 claimants have received one or more payments in the past 10 weeks, according to BP. Specifically, fishermen have received $32 million and shrimpers have been given $18 million.

Another $77 million has been paid out for loss of income to a variety of occupations including deckhands and employees of seafood processing plants and other businesses.

A total of 114,000 claims have been submitted, but BP (NYSE: BP) says that more than 61,000 claims lack enough information for BP to make a payment, or that claimants have been unreachable after filing.

BP last week began sending letters to the 48,000 people and businesses that have filed a claim but havenâ¿¿t yet provided documentation to support it. The London-based company also plans to send a letter to the 13,000 claimants who have been unreachable by phone asking them to contact BP so that the claim process can move forward.

BP said it has also determined that 4,000 claims are duplicates, erroneous or have been withdrawn. Currently, 17,000 claims are in process being evaluated for payment.

⿿We strongly encourage those who have not yet sent in their supporting documents to do so,⿝ said Darryl Willis, of the BP claims team. ⿿BP is committed to paying all legitimate claims. As soon as we have the information, we will process them.⿝

Last week, Houstonâ¿¿s Omega Protein Corp. (NYSE: OME) announced it had filed a claim with BP to be reimbursed for costs and lost profits resulting from the Deepwater Horizon incident.

The producer of Omega-3 fish oil and specialty fish meal products said that between April and July 9, it had caught just 68 percent of the fish that it caught last year during the same 12-week period.

The Deepwater Horizon rig, owned by Transocean Ltd. (NYSE: RIG), exploded on April 20, killing 11 workers. The rig sank two days later and had been leaking massive amounts of oil into the Gulf of Mexico until July 15 when a cap placed over the ruptured well halted the flow of oil.

The Houston Business Journal is providing continuous coverage of the Gulf oil spill.

Copyright 2010 American City Business Journals

Copyright 2010