Gov. John Bel Edwards has requested a federal fisheries disaster declaration for Louisiana from the U.S. Department of Commerce due to impacts of the spring flood on the fishing industry in Louisiana.
Troubling mortality rates among oysters, declining fish catches and the financial damage to the livelihoods of those in the fishing industry caused by floodwaters rushing from the Bonnet Carré Spillway were among the reasons for the request, which Gov. Edwards outlined in a letter to Wilbur Ross, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
“Such a declaration of a federal disaster for Louisiana may help in obtaining federal financial assistance for our fishers, processors, docks, and for the state to help rehabilitate the important fishery species upon which our seafood industry relies,” Gov. Edwards wrote.
The Governor cited findings from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries that show negative impacts on the fishing industry in his letter to Secretary Ross.
The disaster declaration is driven by the unprecedented decision to operate the Bonnet Carré Spillway twice this year. This has resulted in reduced salinity levels in some of the state’s coastal waters and disrupted estuarine productivity.