Fishing industry hopeful for turnaround this summer

Fishing industry hopeful for turnaround this summer

BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - After a difficult summer last year, fishermen are hoping for a rebound this summer. With the announcement this week of over $21 million in disaster relief finally coming to the state’s fishing industries, fishermen are hopeful it will help them recover some of their losses.

It’s a much-needed helping hand for everyone in the community.

“Anything I get or the industry gets is going to help,” said charter boat captain Jay Trochesset. "Whether it’s one dollar, a thousand dollars, or ten thousand dollars, it’s more than we had.”

While the funds are aimed to support recovery efforts from the Bonnet Carre Spillway opening last year, the fishing business could use a little boost right now, too.

“Our business is terrible right now," Trochesset said. "We thought we were going to be on the rebound. We thought we would have a good spring and summer before this virus.”

Another piece of good news is the recent lift on the prohibition of fishing tournaments, which means as of now, next month’s Billfish Classic is a go.

“That was great news. We were on pins and needles the whole time," tournament director Bobby Carter said. “We were prepared for the tournament, we thought for sure we would have it, but we just didn’t know for sure. We got on the phone and let everyone know, so the boats are preparing to be here the week of June 1-7.”

While crowd size is yet to be determined, organizers are just happy the event is back on as scheduled.

“We’re waiting to hear from the city of Biloxi of what we’ll be able to do. Whatever they recommend is what we recommend," Carter said. “COVID-19 has affected us, but we’re going to have a good turnout. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate. Hopefully, they don’t open the Bonnet Carre Spillway, and we’ll catch a lot of fish.”

The $21.3 million dollar disaster relief fund will be distributed by the state to cover losses by fishermen, businesses, and seafood processors.

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