Press releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) on Tuesday introduced the Commercial Fishing and Aquaculture Protection Act of 2019, which would establish a permanent disaster assistance program for commercial fishing and aquaculture operations.

Fisheries and other seafood producers in Louisiana frequently face significant losses due to hurricanes, flooding or changes in water salinity.  This legislation would help alleviate those losses by providing revenue-based relief, similar to the well-established USDA disaster programs for farmers.

“The commercial fishing industry is part of our culture and a vital part of our economy in Louisiana,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “The shrimp and oyster seasons produced significantly lower yields on average this year due to disastrous freshwater intrusions in the Gulf.  We need to give our fishing industry a break.  This legislation will establish a program to help fishermen cope with disaster conditions like these.”

“Farmers and ranchers who experience serious losses have access to well-established USDA programs to help them survive down years.  Commercial fishermen, including aquaculture operations, do not have that option,” said Sen. Hyde-Smith.  “The disastrous law salinity conditions in the Gulf this year show us that it is time to do more for this important economic sector.  Fisheries and aquaculture are not just important to Mississippi and other southeastern states, but every region with a coast.  Our domestic seafood industry starts with the fisherman—the harvester or producer, and without them we would be forced to depend on lower quality foreign imports.”

Earlier this month, Sen. Kennedy joined the Louisiana Congressional delegation in sending a letter to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross urging him to provide disaster aid for Louisiana’s seafood industry.   

A copy of the legislation is available here.