Today, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced the allocation of $88 million in fishery disaster funding to Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi, where a catastrophic regional fishery disaster occurred due to extreme freshwater flooding in 2019 associated with the unprecedented opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway.
“The Department of Commerce stands with our U.S. fishing communities, especially in times of hardship,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “These funds will help industries and individuals recover from this disaster, and build resilience for the future.”
Fisheries play a critical role for coastal economies, providing jobs for fishermen, fish processors, and other related maritime industries. However, fisheries can experience natural disaster events and other circumstances beyond the control of fishery managers, resulting in sudden and unexpected losses to fisheries and leading to serious economic impacts to those who rely on them.
Funds can be used to address a range of impacts including impacts to commercial fishermen, recreational fishermen, charter businesses, subsistence users, processors, shore-side infrastructure, and the fishing ecosystem and environment. Activities that can be considered for funding include infrastructure projects, habitat restoration, state-run vessel and fishing permit buybacks, and job retraining.
In addition to these funds, the President recently signed into law other Federal financial assistance programs, including several programs at the Small Business Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture that can provide some help to some fishermen and related businesses.