U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), who serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee, today praised the U.S. Commerce Department allocation of $21.3 million in federal fishery disaster relief funds to Mississippi.
The funding is associated to devastation experienced by Gulf Coast fisheries following prolonged freshwater inundation into the Gulf of Mexico last year. The funds will be distributed by the state to cover losses by fishermen, aquaculture businesses, and seafood processors.
“The Mississippi Gulf Coast, buffeted by environmental, economic, and now COVID-19 calamities, needs these anticipated funds to help shore up fishermen, charter fishing operations, processors, and fishery-related infrastructure,” Hyde-Smith said. “I am committed to working for additional appropriations should the region again face catastrophic conditions this year.”
Mississippi was eligible for the funding with the approval of a fishery disaster declaration requested by then-Governor Phil Bryant in June 2019. The $21,311,804 allocation to Mississippi is part of $150 million appropriation set aside last year in an emergency relief bill for the Department of Commerce to mitigate designated fishery disasters.
Related to fisheries, the Commerce Department on May 7 also awarded $1.53 million in CARES Act fishery disaster relief funds help address economic harm caused to fisheries and related industries be COVID-19 national emergency.
Last July, Hyde-Smith introduced the Commercial Fishing and Aquaculture Protection Act of 2019 (S.2209), which would authorize a viable risk-management tool to help commercial fisheries, farm-raised catfish, and other seafood producers mitigate losses associated with market, weather, and other disaster conditions.