Louisiana seeks federal dollars for $258M fisheries disaster

Efforts to prevent flooding this year caused Louisiana’s fishing industry to lose about $258 million, according to state estimates announced last week.  

The federal government has set aside $165 million for fisheries disaster assistance, and Louisiana is one of several states asking for a share, The Center Square reports

The Mississippi River was at flood stage from Dec. 28 through Aug. 10, the longest period on record, causing the Army Corps of Engineers to open the Bonnet Carré Spillway twice to mitigate the threat of levee failure. The influx of freshwater into coastal areas devastated several species important to Louisiana’s fishing industry.

The U.S. Department of Commerce approved the request of Gov. John Bel Edwards to declare a fisheries disaster for the state in September. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries worked with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to develop an estimate.

“The estimated economic impact value far exceeds the amount of disaster assistance funding currently available at NOAA,” Edwards’ office said in a prepared statement, noting that disasters have been declared in Alaska, California, Georgia, South Carolina, Mississippi and Alabama. 

Once NOAA determines how much funding will be provided to Louisiana, LDWF will work with the industry to develop a recovery plan, officials say. The process is expected to take several months. Holders of private oyster leases lost an estimated $121.7 million, the most of any industry sector. Read the full story.  

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