Over $21.3 million in federal fishery disaster funds allocated to Mississippi

Updated: May. 18, 2020 at 1:54 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLOX) - Over $21.3 million in federal fishery disaster relief has been allocated to the state of Mississippi to help recoup the loss suffered in 2019 after the opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway.

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker and Rep. Steven Palazzo announced Monday that $21,311,804 in federal fishery disaster relief funds would be allocated to the state.

The opening of the spillway last year, which brought an estimated ten trillion gallons of freshwater into the Gulf of Mexico, resulted in major losses for Coast fishermen, aquaculture businesses, and seafood processors.

“These funds are welcome news for the many fishermen who suffered through last year’s unprecedented opening of the Bonnet Carré Spillway, but our state deserves a long-term solution to disasters like these," said Sen. Wicker. “I am working to reform the disaster relief process so that funds can be distributed quickly and directly to the people who need them most. I am also pushing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to consider alternatives to opening the Bonnet Carré Spillway so that we can minimize the risk of these disasters in the future.”

“These funds will begin supporting the ongoing recovery efforts from the devastation caused by the extended opening of the Bonnet Carré Spillway last year," Rep. Palazzo stated. "While we appreciate this assistance in our recovery, we must reform the way federal fisheries disasters are evaluated and approved. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I remain committed to allocating resources that will help restore our way of life in South Mississippi.”

Monday’s announcement came months after the legislators announced that the Department of Commerce had approved then-Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant’s June 2019 request for a disaster declaration for the flooding in the Gulf.

The funds are being made available through an allocation of $150 million set aside last year in an emergency relief bill for the Department of Commerce to mitigate designated fishery disasters.

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