State Reinvests $13 Million with Commercial Fishermen

Release Date: 04/04/2011

April 4, 2011 – This month the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), in coordination with the Office of Community Development – Disaster Recovery Unit (OCD), and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF), issued award letters to nearly 1,000 fishermen who were deemed eligible for the Commercial Fisherman Grant Program.  Throughout the month the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry through the Louisiana Agricultural Finance Authority (LAFA) has been on-site at several locations along the coast conducting grant closings and disbursing funds to eligible fishermen.

“The industry has worked incredibly hard to recover from numerous disasters over the last six years, including hurricanes Gustav and Ike,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham.  “We are excited to match some of the hard work that the commercial fishing industry has put into bouncing back by issuing grants that help mitigate some of their losses. The full recovery of our coastal communities is tied to the fate of our commercial fishing industry. This is another step towards helping those residents, businesses and communities become whole again.”

“The funds for this program were part of the $27 million the state allocated to Fisheries recovery from the Community Development Block Grants we received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development after hurricanes Gustav and Ike,” said Commissioner of Administration Paul Rainwater. “From the beginning, we have been committed to helping our fishermen, and this important part of Louisiana’s economy, recover from the effects of the 2008 storms. I’m pleased that this coordinated effort with LDWF and LDAF will bring these much-needed funds to commercial fishermen.”

The Louisiana Agricultural Finance Authority processed more than 1,250 applications and awarded the money based on losses suffered by the 2008 hurricanes.

“This is a continuation of LAFA’s mission to promote rural economic development,” Strain said. “It’s vital to our economy for our food producers to be profitable. We’re glad to be a part of that.”

The $13 million Commercial Fisherman Grant Program was designed to assist Louisiana fishermen who held a commercial fishing license in 2008 and who remain licensed, continue to recover from the effects of hurricanes Gustav and Ike in 2008.  Individuals were required to provide supporting tax documentation and be able to prove a $5,000 tangible or financial loss in order to qualify for the program.  Applicants were eligible for a grant up to the amount of their loss, not to exceed $100,000. Of the nearly $13 million dollars being disbursed, 95 percent was allocated solely to certified fishermen.

The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.
The Disaster Recovery Unit within the Office of Community Development is dedicated to helping Louisiana's citizens recover from hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike. As the state's central point for hurricane recovery, the OCD-DRU manages the most extensive rebuilding effort in American history, working closely with local, state and federal partners to ensure that Louisiana recovers safer and stronger than before.

For more information from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, please contact Laura Deslatte at ldeslatte@wlf.la.gov  or at (225)610-2363.  For more information from the Office of Community Development, please contact Christina Stephens at (225) 603-3896 or christina.stephens@la.gov.  For more information from the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, please contact Sam Irwin at (225) 922-1256 or sirwin@ldaf.state.la.us.