The Hagstrom Report

Hyde-Smith, Kennedy propose fisheries, aquaculture disaster assistance

Hagstrom Report

Sens. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., and John Kennedy, R-La., Tuesday introduced legislation to create a disaster assistance program for commercial fishing and aquaculture operations in the midst of what Hyde-Smith called “a devastating Gulf of Mexico shrimp and oyster season.”

“Farmers and ranchers who experience serious losses have access to well-established USDA programs to help them survive down years,” Hyde-Smith said. “Commercial fishermen, including aquaculture operations, do not have that option.”

“The disastrous low salinity conditions in the Gulf this year show us that it is time to do more for this important economic sector. Fisheries and aquaculture are not just important to Mississippi and other southeastern states, but every region with a coast,” she said.

“Our domestic seafood industry starts with the fisherman — the harvester or producer, and without them we would be forced to depend on lower quality foreign imports.”

“The shrimp and oyster seasons produced significantly lower yields on average this year due to disastrous freshwater intrusions in the Gulf,” Kennedy said.

“We need to give our fishing industry a break. This legislation will establish a program to help fishermen cope with disaster conditions like these.”