LOUISIANA FISHERMEN BEGIN RECEIVING FUNDS FOR RECOVERY

Release Date: 02/23/2007

South Central Planning and Development Commission and Shell Oil help fishing industry get Back to the Dock


Today 45 fishermen from coastal parishes gathered in Baton Rouge to collect the first grants available to them since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita wiped out over $400 million in fishing infrastructure 18 months ago.  Leaders from across the Louisiana fishing industry came together today to mark this significant milestone and appeal for additional support.


"If there was any doubt about the dire need for fishing industry recovery support, the 800 grant applications we processed and evaluated put an end to lingering questions," said Kevin Belanger, CEO of the South Central Planning and Development Commission. 


The Louisiana Fishing Community Recovery Coalition has worked tirelessly to ignite recovery through its Back to the Dock program, and through the collaboration with Shell and the planning districts will provide some fishermen the ability to get back to the dock quickly. 


"Thanks to the generosity of our Gulf of Mexico partner Shell and the efficiency of the Louisiana Planning Districts, our fishermen will get the support they deserve." said Mike Voisin, Louisiana Oyster Task Force and Co-Chair of the Louisiana Fishing Recovery Coalition. 


"It's taken a year and a half, but finally our fishermen are starting to get financial assistance. These grants represent the first money to reach individual fishermen," said Harlon Pearce, Chairman of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board and Co-Chair of the Louisiana Fishing Recovery Coalition.


The Louisiana Fishing Community Recovery Coalition also secured a commitment from LRA of $20 million for recovery of the fisheries.  The much-needed assistance will help individuals and families get back to work and rebuild the $3.3 billion Louisiana fishery industry.


"This public-private partnership will enable relief to reach those who need it most in an efficient and effective manner," said Fred Palmer, Manager of Communications for Shell Exploration and Production.  "Consistent with our donation of three ice houses in southern Louisiana last fall, our desire is to help our neighbors on the Gulf get back on the water as quickly as possible."


For more information, contact Kevin Belanger or Jo-Anna Jones with the South Central Planning and Development Commission at 985-851-2900.
2007-059