NEW ORLEANS (AP) — BP PLC says 90 percent of the compensation checks it has issued so far have gone to fishermen.

The British oil giant said Tuesday in a Twitter message that as of the day before it had issued about 18,000 checks totaling $49 million.

Alabama Gov. Bob Riley earlier called out the National Guard to help spread the word among coastal residents in his state that they can apply to BP for compensation for losses stemming from the spill.

He says Guardsmen will go through communities for three weeks telling people about the claims process.