Texas fisheries get disaster area declaration in wake of Hurricane Harvey
Seven months after Hurricane Harvey devastated Texas, United States Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross has issued a national disaster declaration for the state’s commercial fishery.
The “commercial fishery disaster” designation will allow commercial fishermen in the state to receive federal funds and other assistance. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 included USD 200 million (EUR 161 million) for fishery disasters declared by the U.S. Department of Commerce in calendar year 2017, and for fishery disasters resulting from Hurricanes Maria, Irma, and Harvey.
“The 2017 hurricane season was catastrophic for communities in Texas and for states along the Gulf of Mexico,” Ross said in a NOAA press release. "The Department of Commerce and the [p]resident are committed to working closely with Congress and the [s]tate of Texas to continue supporting recovery efforts for fishermen and local fishing businesses affected by the devastation wrought by Hurricane Harvey.”
With the declaration, participants in Texas’ fisheries become eligible for U.S. Small Business Administration disaster loans and public fishery infrastructure-related losses are eligible for Federal Emergency Management Agency public assistance. In addition, funds from Economic Development Administration grants as well as Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery funds will be made available to fisheries-related businesses and individuals working in the fishing industry, according to the press release.