DMR hearing public comments on spillway relief funding plans

Updated: Dec. 3, 2020 at 1:17 PM CST
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - The 2019 openings of the Bonnet Carre Spillway are still being felt here on the Gulf Coast a year later. But, you may have some input on the financial help that’s on the way.

It’s good news to shrimpers like Nguyen Hoang.

“I’ve been shrimping from 1984 until now,” Hoang said. “When the freshwater came out, all the shrimp were gone. No white shrimp, no brown shrimp at all.”

NOAA has allocated about $88 million in relief funding due to the spillway impacts, and a little more than $21 million is coming to Mississippi.

“Everything from the fin fish, to the crab, to the oysters, to the shrimp. Ay type fish in the Gulf, it covers that,” said Joe Spraggins, Mississippi Department of Marine Resources Executive Director.

Spraggins said that he loved they that they walk into a Gulf Coast restaurant and eat fresh seafood.

“We’re not going to have that without our commercial fishermen. We’ve got to have them,” said Spraggins. “It’s a matter of whether you stay in business or not, and if these companies leave, if they ever leave us, we’ll never get them back, If these oyster fishermen shrimpers, crab fishermen, we’ll never get them back.”

Spraggins also said those with a Mississippi resident commercial fishing license should be eligible for some of that relief money.

“We will help them qualify,” said Spraggins.

Right now, the DMR is working with NOAA to develop a spending plan for the relief funding. Public comments on that plan are being accepted until Monday, Dec. 14. Some funding proposals are available on the DMR’s web site.

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