La. Delegation presses NOAA for fisheries money also pushes for removal of debris in fishing grounds

From staff and wire reports
July 12, 2007 at 8:50 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

WASHINGTON -- United States Senators Mary Landrieu, and David Vitter and the entire Louisiana delegation asked the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to fairly distribute the $85 million for the Gulf Coast fishing and shrimping communities appropriated in the recently-passed Emergency Supplemental bill.

The Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission recently passed a motion that the money should be distributed using the percentages in prior legislation, but the delegation stressed that the intent of Congress in this bill was to distribute the funding based on need.

"Louisiana's fishing industry contributes significantly more -- and suffered greater losses -- than any other Gulf state or combination of states. Both hurricanes Katrina and Rita made landfall in Louisiana," the delegation wrote in a letter to NOAA Administrator Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr.

"The shrimpers, fisherman, oystermen, crabbers and others in the seafood industry suffered extreme losses as a result of the storms. Thus far, those in the most critically damaged areas have received minimal aid. We respectfully request that you distribute these funds as expeditiously as possible to the areas where the need is the most critical, as Congress explicitly intended."

The delegation also said the $24 million appropriated for scanning, mapping and debris removal in Louisiana's traditional fishing grounds should include swift debris removal.

"Many fishermen are still experiencing problems where waterways remain chocked with debris that could seriously damage boats and fishing gear," the delegation wrote. "Removing these hazards is critically important to the region's economic recovery."

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