Release Date: 04/30/2008

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will provide $27.6 million in assistance to the state's commercial fishing industries through a $41.3 million federal fisheries economic assistance grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration through the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission.

Louisiana resident commercial fishermen, certain commercial fishing vessel license holders and wholesale/retail seafood dealers with trip ticket recorded sales or purchases of seafood during the 12-month period (Sept. 1, 2004 - Aug. 31, 2005) prior to Hurricane Katrina qualify for some level of personal assistance.  LDWF requires trip tickets to collect commercial landings and associated information by trip. 

LDWF will administer the distribution of personal assistance payments to qualified commercial resident shrimp, oyster, crab and saltwater finfish fishermen and certain commercial fishing vessel license holders in the shrimp, oyster, saltwater fish and menhaden fisheries and wholesale/retail seafood dealers and freshwater finfish and wild crawfish fishermen who resided in the 27 LDWF defined hurricane impacted parishes using trip ticket report records.  Trip tickets dated during the eligible period but submitted after Sept. 1, 2007 will not be considered. 

More than 8,000 information packets will be mailed during the week of May 12 to individuals and entities that LDWF has been able to identify from pre-storm trip ticket records.  LDWF urges everyone who receives a packet to open it immediately, follow the enclosed instructions, and return the required forms using the business-reply envelope provided by the Oct. 31, 2008 deadline.

LDWF Secretary Robert Barham acknowledged that "the task of processing over 8,000 applicants is massive but we are committed to distributing these payments as quickly as possible in order to support the commercial fishing industry which contributes so much to our state's culture, heritage and economy."

The South Central Planning and Development Commission (SCPDC) and affiliated planning districts will receive and process all information about this assistance program. Any questions concerning eligibility, requests for information, etc. should be directed to the SCPDC by calling 1-800-630-3791 (toll-free) or 985 655-1051 (local) or mailing SCPDC at P.O. Box 1240, Gray, LA 70359-9902 or visiting the SCPDC Web site at www.scpdc.org/fisheriesassistance.

LDWF will host a series of six public meetings in coastal communities beginning the week of May 19 to present information about the program and review instructions on submitting required forms.

Meeting dates, times and places will be announced as soon as this information is available.

For more information, contact Jim Hanifen at 225-765-2383 or jhanifen@wlf.louisiana.gov.