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Graves Requests $100 Million Available for Fisheries Disaster Relief to be Allocated to Louisiana’s Fishing Industry

February 28, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – U.S. Congressman Garret Graves (South Louisiana) wrote a letter urging the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to allocate the remaining $100 million available in fisheries disaster assistance to Louisiana. The funding would go toward the disaster impacts of the Bonnet Carre Spillway. This letter comes after NOAA announced today several states that had catastrophic fishery losses, after Hurricane Michael, would receive $65 million.

Statement:

“Boiled shrimp. Boiled crabs. A dozen oysters on a platter. These delicacies feed Louisiana, the country and the world. But yet we will find a way to bite the hand that feeds.

“Louisiana is still hurting from losses to our fisheries after the opening of the spillway. Fisheries in South Louisiana are engines of local economies – employing both commercial and recreational fishermen, processors, marinas, supportive maritime industries and restaurants. However, this isn’t just about jobs, it’s about generations of Cajun and Creole culture being threatened by the impacts of disasters.  

“To rub even more salt in the wound, our fishing industry has been taking it on the chin for years, punished by previous, man-made disadvantages – including falsely labeled crawfish from overseas and imported shrimp taking precedent in the market over our domestic and sustainable seafood products.

“Louisiana is resource rich – whether seafood, agriculture or energy – but we’ve now become rich in the water sent to us by the 31 other states and two Canadian provinces that make up the holistic watershed of the Mississippi River. Essentially, this water has now become our problem and it didn’t belong to us in the first place. We are paying the price. This is nothing new, and yet another resiliency test that we will now have to consider year after year.

“I look forward to working with all involved to ensure that Louisiana’s commercial, charter, and recreational fishing communities will receive the assistance they absolutely need.”

Read the letter here.

Louisiana is eligible to receive the disaster assistance due to the previously declared disaster declarations for fishing communities by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

About NOAA Disaster Assistance Administration Process:

NOAA Fisheries administers disaster assistance under two statutes—the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and the Interjurisdictional Fisheries Act. Under both statutes, a state governor or an elected or duly appointed representative of an affected fishing community can request a fishery disaster determination from the Secretary of Commerce. The Secretary may also initiate a review. If the Secretary determines that a fishery disaster has occurred, the fishery is eligible for disaster assistance subject to appropriation of funds by Congress.

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