New bill gives new hope to Gulf Coast fishermen amid seafood crisis



If passed, legislation would direct $150 million in federal aid to the Gulf Coast

A bill has been drafted on Capitol Hill to get millions of dollars in federal aid to Gulf Coast fishermen who are in the midst of a seafood crisis. The bill creates a permanent fisheries disaster fund, bypassing the need for a federal declaration to release millions in aid.

Co-sponsored by U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) and authored by U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), the Commercial Fishing and Aquaculture Protection Act of 2019 is the result of constant pressure from local fisherman who have been in Washington, D.C., demanding $150 million in federal aid to offset devastating losses this year.

St Bernard Parish President Guy McInnis said oyster beds are bare along the Louisiana coast, while fin fish, shrimp and crab are dying before they can reach the dock. He said fishermen are dealing with losses this summer of up to 70%.

McInnis called the bill proposal “an important step in the right direction.”

The release of freshwater from the Bonnet Carre Spillway is being blamed for the sharp decline in revenue from saltwater seafood. On Wednesday, the Spillway will break a record for the longest opening in its history. The Army Corps of Engineers is working this week to close the Spillway for the second time this year.

To read a summary of the bill, click here.

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