U.S. Congressman Garret Graves (R-Louisiana) is calling on the federal government to declare his state a “fishery disaster” area, following the destruction caused by Hurricane Ida.
Graves is calling for the U.S. Department of Commerce to immediately make a “Fishery disaster determination” due to “both the biological resources and fishery infrastructure sustaining major damage related to Hurricane Ida,” Graves said in a news release.
“High winds, heavy rains, and storm surges resulted in the destruction of fisheries infrastructure, vessels, ice houses, shrimp sheds, marinas, processing facilities, gear, a loss of catch, and many other impacts,” Graves said in a letter to the DOC. “Low dissolved-oxygen conditions resulting in fish-kills have already been observed and the habitat destruction is immeasurable.”
The declaration would help the state recover from the storm, he said.
“The declaration of a 'fishery disaster’ with requisite funding would provide the resources necessary to put us on a path to recovery,” Graves added.
Hurricane Ida was one of the most-severe storms on record, bringing wind gusts of up to 194 miles per hour, an intense storm surge, flooding, and torrential rains across the region, Graves said.
“These conditions have resulted in considerable devastation to coastal Louisiana, one of the nation’s most-important fisheries areas,” he said.
Docks in Dulac, Louisiana, are heavily damaged, and Lafourche and Terrabonne parishes are "devastated,” according to Louisiana Sea Grant Seafood Industry Liaison Julie Falgout.
Louisiana is home to the top commercial fishing seafood fleet in the continental U.S., and is one of the top recreational fishing destinations in the world, according to Graves.
“Fishing is a way of life and equally an integral part of our state’s economy,” he said.
The state produces more than 850 million pounds of seafood each year and its commercial and recreational fishing provides nearly USD 4 billion (EUR 3.4 billion) in direct revenue and employs more than 50,000 in the fishing community.
“We have one of the most-productive estuaries on the planet, but Hurricane Ida threatens our fisheries future. We strongly urge you to use your authority to help our fishing communities across south Louisiana as quickly as possible,” Graves said.
Photo courtesy of Office of U.S. Rep. Garret Graves