U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez today announced a formal determination of a fishery failure in Louisiana and Texas due to the devastation following Hurricane Rita. The affected area includes the Gulf of Mexico coastal areas of both states.
The determination came in response to major flooding and fishery infrastructure damage caused by Hurricane Rita. A similar declaration was made last month in the wake of Hurricane Katrina from Pensacola, Fla., west to the Louisiana/Texas border.
"Hurricane Rita has added to the difficulties of fishing communities in Louisiana and Texas," Secretary Gutierrez said. "The commercial oyster, shrimp and finfish industries are major contributors to the Gulf Coast economy and have been seriously affected."
The action was made through provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, which authorizes assistance to assess the impacts, restore the fisheries, prevent future failure, and assist fishing communities' recovery efforts after a natural disaster, and the Inter-jurisdictional Act, which authorizes that funds can be made available for assistance to fishermen to alleviate harm resulting from a natural disaster.
The administration will work with Congress and affected states to identify on-the-ground needs and determine how to best leverage resources to assist fisherman in the area.
The NOAA Fisheries Service is dedicated to protecting and preserving the nation's living marine resources and their habitat through scientific research, management and enforcement. The NOAA Fisheries Service provides effective stewardship of these resources for the benefit of the nation, supporting coastal communities that depend upon them, and helping to provide safe and healthy seafood to consumers and recreational opportunities for the American public.
NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nation's coastal and marine resources.