Fishery Disaster Declaration Comes Slowly

admin Thursday, August 24, 2023 Comments Off on Fishery Disaster Declaration Comes Slowly

The Advocate’s Mike Smith continues to work the Lake Charles beat. In a recent story, he reported that the federal government had just approved a disaster declaration for damage that was done to Louisiana fisheries by three 2020 hurricanes (Laura, Delta and Zeta). 

With this approval, commercial fishers can begin to receive aid for the disasters. The declaration relates to portions of the state’s saltwater finfish, oyster and shrimp fisheries.

A month after Hurricane Laura hit, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards requested a fisheries disaster declaration. A federal declaration for a fisheries disaster follows an entirely different  process than the much more highly publicized overall disaster declaration for states hit by hurricanes.

The lengthy process involved comparing 12 months of commercial revenue data to the previous five-year average, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The length of the review depended on such factors as how quickly each affected state provided data and the timing of the fishing season.

Louisiana has a similar fisheries damage claim still pending with the Commerce Department for the effects of Hurricane Ida in 2021.

“Hurricane Laura’s storm track impacted some of the nation’s most important fishing communities,” Edwards said in his September, 2020, letter to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Gina M. Raimondo, in which he called Louisiana the largest producer of domestic seafood for the country.

The governor noted the parishes affected by the storms were home to nearly 2,500 commercial fishers and vessels. In addition there were more than 100 wholesale dealers and about the same number of charter captains. Edwards stated that the storms led to damaged docks and boating facilities, lost gear and vessels, lost housing and the loss of stored seafood.

In Raimondo’s response to Edwards about the disaster declaration, she noted that “the commercial fishery revenue losses were in the range of 35 to 80 percent.”

Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Rob Shadoin said NOAA will spend several more months figuring out just what amount of funding will be allocated to Louisiana. Raimondo said Congress has already appropriated funds that can be used for disaster payments.

Businesses and other entities that are in dire straits right now may be able to get loans and funds through such federal programs as the Small Business Administration or the Economic Development Administration. 

In addition to the recent declaration about Louisiana, Mississippi fisheries were issued a disaster declaration for damage caused by the 2019 Bonnet Carre Spillway openings in Louisiana. Mississippi experienced a greater than 97 percent oyster mortality rate in the flooded areas.

What’s New At Literacy Council

The Literacy Council of SWLA will begin the 2023-24 academic year with a new location, new class options, new digital literacy courses and other resources to help students along on the way to literacy. 

The Literacy Council of SWLA offers free classes for adults who want to take their High School Equivalency Test or improve their reading, writing, math and spelling skills. 

The Literacy Council also offers English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, which are especially helpful for adults who have moved here from other countries who need to learn the English language. Those who want to register for a class can do so by clicking the “Enroll Now” button at or by calling 337-494-7000.  The Literacy Council is a WorkReadyU United Way Agency.

Chamber SWLA Joins Clean Biz Partnership

The Chamber SWLA has joined the Clean BIZ Partnership — a new program created by Keep Louisiana Beautiful (KLB). Clean BIZ aims to reduce and prevent litter. The program is trying to get area businesses to pitch in when it comes to addressing the state’s litter problem.

Through the Chamber SWLA, Keep Louisiana Beautiful will provide supplies and marketing displays for area businesses.

“A clean Louisiana is good for business,” said George Swift, president and CEO of the Chamber SWLA. “By doing our part and keeping our businesses litter free, we are giving a great first impression to customers and visitors while positively impacting our state’s economic development efforts.” 

According to KLB Executive Director Susan Russell, a recent public attitude survey about litter conducted in Louisiana showed that 89 percent of those polled stated they believe litter negatively impacts businesses by decreasing revenues.

“Litter is a problem that affects the health and vitality of all communities in Louisiana,” said Russell. “Street flooding, property values, tourism, our state’s image, the environment and our businesses are all impacted by litter. It’s a responsibility that must be shared by all of us — including the business community — to make meaningful change and keep our communities litter free.”

Clean BIZ was created to address a recommendation made by the Litter Abatement and Beautification Task Force that was created by Gov. Edwards and chaired by Lt. Gov. Nungesser. Businesses can sign up to be a Clean BIZ Partner at For more information about the program, visit

‘The Job Is Not Done By Far’

Young filmmaker E.J. Tyler has become well known in his hometown of Opelousas for his first movie Against All Odds.

“The community came out, the online sales did well. And not just that, people got to talking about it,” Tyler told KLFY in Lafayette. “People loved it. And I left it a cliffhanger.”

Tyler made the film in order to convey what he sees as the importance of reducing gun violence. Gun violence has been rife in Opelousas recently. 

Tyler’s next film, called simply Against All Odds 2, will concern a man’s efforts to kill the protagonist of the film. In it, Tyler will investigate the causes of youth violence. “You start to get into the mindset of why people think like this. What’s motivating them to actually go out and do this crime,” says Tyler. “Maybe if we learn ‘Why did they do that?’ we could stop it.”

Such St. Landry Parish leaders as President Jessie Bellard and the members of the sheriff’s office appeared in Tyler’s first movie. Tyler wants to get the chief of police in the next flick.

“I reached out to the chief — everybody calls him Twin. He is actually going to be doing a part in the movie. He’s going to be playing a role you guys aren’t accustomed

o seeing the chief of police do.”

Tyler says there is much to be done in the citizen’s and creator’s work against violence. “Look where we’re at right now,” Tyler said. “The job is not done by far. You have 12- and 13- and 14-year-olds walking around with guns. So if you catch them earlier, I think you can put a dent in this.”

Against All Odds 2 is already available online. Interested parties can use promo code AAO for 20 percent off. Find out where you can watch the movie on

The editorial offices recently received a welcome message from young Carter King Sarro. Here’s what he had to say:

“It’s that time again to round up my cavalry. I am calling on my past cavalry members and recruiting new members to help me in my crusade to promote awareness and acceptance of people with Down syndrome. 

“Any money contributed will help DSASWLA continue its mission to provide education and support to families with a super special kid like me. It will also help us continue to advocate for individuals with Down syndrome. 

“Without continued awareness and advocacy, people will continue to think that people with Down syndrome are not capable. But guess what, I am very capable and will show the world. Just believe in me and give me a shot. 

“So come on and get on your ‘horse’ because my Cavalry is ready to walk and spread the word! I may have an extra chromosome but that is not the only thing I have. I have CapABILITIES!

“Go to profiles/team/CartersCavalry to register or make a donation. Check to see whether your employer does matching donations. It’s a way to double your donation.

“I hope you’ll join me. I look forward to seeing you on Sept. 23.

“Love to each of you,

“Carter King Sarro.”

The Up Fronter will keep readers informed on the Sept. 23 event.

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