Federal aid to help Florida's fishing industry requested
Wednesday, June 02, 2010
Media contact: Lee Schlesinger, 850-487-0554
Gov. Charlie Crist has asked for federal assistance
to help Florida's fishing industries and communities weather
adverse impacts of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf
of Mexico. Specifically, the governor has requested that the
U.S. Dept. of Commerce take action under federal law to provide aid
to commercial fishermen, charter boat operators and coastal fishing
"The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission (FWC) has been consulting with our fishing industry
stakeholders very closely over the past several weeks," said FWC
Chairman Rodney Barreto. "They are telling us they are struggling
to stay afloat even though fishing is still open in Florida and
seafood is still being harvested."
While Florida so far has been mostly spared from
direct impacts of the oil spill in its coastal waters, Florida
fishermen and coastal communities are already experiencing a
significant loss of current and future income because of a mistaken
public notion that all of Florida's waters have been tainted by the
This is compounded by the fact that expanding
federal fishery closures and the recent movement of oil towards the
Florida Panhandle are considerably reducing fishing opportunities
for commercial and charter boat fishermen, especially for important
snapper and grouper species off the state's west coast.
Federal aid would help offset severe and immediate
economic impacts to Florida's commercial grouper fleet and seafood
dealers who are having trouble selling their products because of
unfounded fears that seafood from the Gulf is contaminated.
Federal assistance also would help Florida's charter fishing fleet,
for-hire guides and related fishing communities that are suffering,
mainly because of misperceptions and misinformation about the
extent and impact of the oil spill.
"We appreciate Gov. Crist taking the lead to help
the people who help make Florida the 'Fishing Capital of the
World,'" Barreto said. "We will keep a close watch on the oil spill
and respond to any impacts we may experience, but Florida is still
open, and we encourage everyone to keep fishing and to enjoy
Florida seafood products."
Updated information regarding the FWC's response to
the BP oil spill is available online at MyFWC.com/OilSpill.