Louisiana fishing industry set to receive $73 million in federal assistance

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The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is set to receive $73 Million in Federal Assistance to help the state’s fishing industry offset financial losses from freshwater flooding in 2019 and the COVID-19 pandemic. LDWF Assistant Secretary Patrick Banks says the total estimated loss to the industry for flooding last year is $338 million, but any assistance is appreciated.

“Certainly will be some very good assistance for the fishing community in Louisiana. So we’re happy that NOAA and the Federal Government have provided these funds to us, so we’re going to use them to the best of our ability to help the fishing community,” said Banks.

Banks says LDWF must develop a spending plan for the funds before they are received.

58-million dollars is to help fishermen who sustained losses during the prolonged opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway and the other 15-million dollars is to assist Louisiana fishermen and other parts of the industry affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“So we anticipate that those will be direct payments to fishermen, to vessel owners, to processers to dealers,” said Banks.

The NOAA funds of $58 million are for recovery after freshwater flooding from the opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway last year.

“That’s meant more for programs that will help the fishing community remain sustainable and resilient to such disasters in the future,” said Banks.

Banks anticipates that some of that funding could also be used for direct aid payments.

Story by Brooke Thorington.