Southwest Louisiana's seafood industry needs help

By Charlie Bartlett - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The state is hoping to save the struggling seafood industry.

"The fishing will never get back. Southwest Louisiana will never get back where it used to be because we don't have the production here like we used to have," said David Deere.

The fishing industry in Southwest Louisiana continues to suffer after both Hurricanes Gustav and Ike hit but the State of Louisiana plans to step in. They launched a thirty million dollar reimbursement program.

"We managed to get some money from the N.O.A.A. to put in to these programs. We've having workshops across the state to inform the fisherman on how they need to apply for Gustav and Ike money that we can give out," said Joe Sheppard.

This program will provide money to fishermen who suffered losses and expenses caused by the storms from boat repairs to higher insurance.  David Deere is the owner of Hackberry Seafood.

"The hardest part has been trying to rebuild with little or no assistance. That's another thing that made it difficult because a lot of fisherman didn't have that money to fall back on to rebuild their boats, buy nets or try to get back and kept going," said Deere.

Deere never stopped working. He didn't want to see his business die as well his passion for the fishing industry.

"You hate to admit that it's a dying occupation and the fishermen are a dying breed. Fishermen are hard working and it's hard to give up something you have done your whole life," said Deere.

The states thirty million dollar assistance program won't restore the industry completely but it will bring it back.

"It will progress enough to where the fellows can make a living," said Deere.

"This is not going to cure the industry but if it's anything we can give them to keep them going, then we will do that."

Louisiana's fishing industry is something we can't imagine being without.

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