Earlier this year, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was found to be in violation of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.
According to the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR), a total of $6.57 million will be paid out to the commercial fisheries as financial assistance for the 2019 Mississippi Bonnet Carré Spillway Fisheries Disaster Recovery Program.
The Department of Commerce declared the 2019 spillway releases a fishery disaster. Nearly $88 million was allocated to fisheries in Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana through NOAA to mitigate losses incurred by the opening of spillway.
Those commercial fishermen and seafood dealers who applied and were found eligible based on documented MDMR trip ticket landings from 2014 to 2018 will receive an initial base payout. MDMR says the remaining funds will be used to reimburse fishermen up to a maximum amount based off their documented losses through MDMR trip tickets as a result of the 2019 Bonnet Carré Spillway opening.
From the award, nearly $6 million will be distributed to commercial fishermen in a two-phase payment with the following specifications derived from MDMR trip tickets:
- For those with oyster licenses and associated landings/tickets during the reference time period, a base payout of $15,000 dollars will be allocated due to the extensive and long-lasting impact of the oyster mortality associated with the spillway (118 individuals total).
- For those with no oyster licenses, but valid licenses in other fisheries and associated landings/tickets in the reference period, a base payout of $7,500 dollars will be allocated (139 individuals total).
- For those with losses that exceed the base payments associated with each group, fishermen will be reimbursed for losses up to $108,598.60 per applicant. These losses were derived using trip tickets from 2019 compared to the reference time period of 2014-2018 (85 individuals total).
- For those with no landings/tickets associated with their licenses in the reference period (2014-2018), only 2019 license fees will be reimbursed for each fisherman (29 individuals total).
The remaining funds of the award will be allocated for seafood dealers, off-bottom oyster aquaculture harvesters and licensed live-bait fisheries. The distribution for these groups is as follows:
- $12,718.31 will be provided to dealers (31 individuals total)
- $18,774.65 will be provided to Off-Bottom Aquaculture (7 individuals total)
- $18,774.65 will be provided to Live-Bait Fishery (7 individuals total)
Earlier this year, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was found to be in violation of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. As reported by Magnolia Tribune in January, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi ruled the Corps of Engineers inflicted environmental harm within the Mississippi Sound after opening the Bonnet Carre Spillway, most recently in 2019. The opening of the Spillway was done without consulting with the National Marine Fisheries Service.
Read original article by clicking here.