In response to a request from the Louisiana Fishing Community Recovery Coalition, the Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) today proposed an allocation of $20 million for Back to the Dock. The dock program is similar to LRA's Road Home program and helps underinsured and uninsured fisherman get Back to the Dock. This much-needed assistance should help Louisiana's proud fishing families pick up the pieces and get back to work.
The coalition members represent many commercial and recreational fishing groups who will stay in communication with LRA's Infrastructure and Transportation Task Force. The LRA is scheduled to hold a final vote with the full quorum on the Back to the Dock allocation on Dec. 15, 2006.
After attending the LRA meeting this morning, Ewell Smith, executive director of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board, expressed his enthusiasm for this first major step from the LRA toward assisting our fishing families. "We look forward to working with LRA as we execute our Back to the Dock program," he said.
The Center for Natural Resource Economics and Policy with Louisiana State University estimates damage to Louisiana fisheries sectors at nearly $582 million. Losses include commercial fishing vessels, seafood processing facilities, seafood wholesaling plants, and recreational vessels, among other essentials.
Furthermore, rebuilding these communities would reinstall a crossbeam in the economic structure of the state. A recent Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries report pointed out that the pre-storm marine fisheries sectors contributed a total economic benefit to the state exceeding $3.3 billion.
For more information, contact Ewell Smith 504-214-3985 or Mike Voisin at 985-665-8494.