BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Governor John Bel Edwards announced Monday, June 17 that he’s requested a federal fisheries disaster declaration for Louisiana from the U.S. Department of Commerce after impacts of the spring flooding on the fishing industry.
High mortality rates among oysters, declining fish catches, and financial damage to the livelihoods of those in the fishing industry caused by the floodwater rushing from the Bonnet Carré Spillway prompted the governor’s request.
“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,” Edwards said.
The governor also cited findings from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) that show negative impacts on the fishing industry.
The request for the disaster declaration is also driven by the unprecedented decision to open the Bonnet Carré Spillway twice in 2019, resulting in reduced salinity levels in some coastal waters, as well as disrupted productivity levels in estuaries.
Click here to read Edwards’ full disaster declaration request letter to Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce Wilbur Ross.