U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced today her determination that fishery disasters occurred in multiple Louisiana and Mississippi fisheries in 2020. The Secretary, working with NOAA Fisheries, evaluates fishery disaster requests based on data submitted by a state and/or tribe.
“Sustainable fisheries are vital to our nation’s ocean economy and fishery disasters directly harm our local communities when they occur,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “These disaster determinations allow us to get fishing communities in the Gulf of Mexico the financial assistance they need to mitigate impacts of disasters, restore fisheries and help prevent future disasters.”
The Secretary found that the following fisheries met the requirements for a fishery disaster determination:
- 2020 Mississippi Shrimp and Oyster Fisheries.
- 2020 Louisiana Saltwater Finfish, Oyster, and Shrimp Fisheries (partial).
Fishery disaster requests made prior to December 29, 2022, which includes these fishery disasters, must meet specific requirements under the Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) and/or the Interjurisdictional Fisheries Act. For example, there must be a commercial fishery failure, or serious disruption in fishery access or available catch resulting from natural, undetermined, or, in certain circumstances, man-made causes. In December 2022, Congress passed the Fishery Resource Disasters Improvement Act, which amended the MSA.
Congress provided fishery disaster assistance funding in the 2023 Consolidated Appropriations Act. Positive determinations make these fisheries eligible to receive a funding allocation from that appropriation. They may also qualify for disaster assistance from the Small Business Administration. The Secretary has received other requests for fishery disaster determinations from several other states and tribes for varying time frames. NOAA Fisheries is currently working with the requesters to finalize those evaluations.
Lauren Gaches, firstname.lastname@example.org, (202) 740-8314