WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced today that the U.S. Department of Commerce approved a disaster declaration for fisheries in Louisiana that suffered extreme loss due to record flooding in the Gulf of Mexico and south Louisiana. The declaration makes fisheries eligible for disaster relief.
Congress has appropriated $165 million for fishery disasters, and the Department of Commerce will allocate disaster funds to eligible fisheries.
In July, Sen. Kennedy joined the Louisiana delegation in urging U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to approve a disaster declaration for Louisiana fisheries. High water levels in the Mississippi River resulted in the Bonnet Carre Spillway being opened for a record-setting 123 days. Freshwater diverted from the Mississippi River wreaked havoc on the fishing industry in Lake Pontchartrain.
“Our seafood industry creates hundreds of jobs and produces some of the finest seafood in the world,” said Sen. Kennedy. “This past year our fishermen suffered great loss due to natural disasters. This aid is important for preserving Louisiana’s seafood industry and supporting the hard-working families who rely on the seafood industry to make a living.”
Sen. Kennedy recently introduced the Commercial Fishing and Aquaculture Protection Act, which would establish a permanent disaster assistance program for commercial fishing and aquaculture operations.