Crab Task Force works to request federal help after spillway opened

Crab Task Force works to request federal help after spillway opened

CHALMETTE, La. (WVUE) - The Louisiana Crab Task Force met Tuesday (June 4) in Chalmette to discuss the issues facing the commercial crabbing industry as a result of the spillway openings.

The group motioned to work with other seafood industry task forces to write a joint letter requesting federal help.

Dozens of fishermen attended the meeting, voicing their concerns about how the opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway is affecting their livelihoods.

A spokesperson with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said they have been monitoring the water quality and reports of fish kills.

Before they can make a request for a fisheries disaster grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, they need to show at least a 35 percent loss.

From the samples collected so far, the department said there has been a noticeable percent lost compared to a ten year average.

Fishermen at the meeting said their industry has been hit hard since the spillway opened, and they have been struggling to catch crabs, brown shrimp, and other seafood. They believe the resolution is a step in the right direction.

"It'll help. It would be nice, because there's people that are having a hard time feeding their families and paying their bills,” said crabber Nolan Exsterstein. “You know, they give relief to farmers when they lose due to flooding, we're losing during the flooding too."

The biologist with DWF says he does not believe what is causing the depletion will have a long-term impact.

Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser also sent a letter to the governor requesting federal assistance to the fisheries.

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