Rep. Graves calls CARES Act funding for Louisiana fisheries a ‘slap in the face’

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Louisiana only provided $12.4 Million from $255 million available

Photo: Paul Christiansen

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Congressman Garret Graves released the following statement regarding the $12,477,165 allocated to Louisiana fisheries to mitigate the economic hardships accrued by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Congress included $255 million to address impacts to recreational and commercial fishers who have been negatively affected by COVID–19. 

However, the Louisiana Sixth District Congressman is “baffled” only 4.9 percent of the available funds was provided to Louisiana despite being one of the top fisheries states in the nation. 

Last year, under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), Louisiana received $14.7 million of the $300 million allocated.

Rep. Graves’ statement reads:

It’s like déjà vu for Louisiana’s fisheries. We made it clear last year that their funding allocations were fundamentally flawed. Even though we were able to get a much better allocation for Louisiana in a second funding tranche related to freshwater impacts, it is inexcusable that they are doubling down on their mistake.

Washington State is receiving $40 million compared to Louisiana’s $12.4 million when we have a 50 percent greater value to our fisheries landings. Florida receives $19 million, even though Louisiana brings in 50 percent greater value. Oregon receives over $13 million and California $15 million when we have more than double their fisheries by value and triple by poundage.

It makes no sense yet again how Louisiana, one of the top fishing states in the nation, to only receive this much while other states with a fraction of a fishing industry get more money? They slapped us in the face last year, and then came back again while the wounds were still open.

Louisiana is the second-largest seafood supplier in the nation, with one out of every 70 jobs dependent on the industry, creating an economic impact in the billions annually and serving as the economic engine of local communities. We are one of the nation’s leaders on shrimp, crawfish, blue crabs and oysters – as well as recreational fishing of which we are one of the top states in the country.

South Louisiana and the fishing communities are still hurting from the 2019 opening of the Bonnet Carre spillway, several natural disasters in 2020, the past year of COVID-19 closures on businesses and communities, and the repetitive competition faced with the falsely labeled crawfish from China and imported shrimp taking precedent in the market over our domestic and sustainable seafood products.

U.S. Congressman Garret Graves (R-LA, Sixth District)

To read more about the U.S. Department of Commerce allocation process and a summary of allocations, click here.

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