By Kris Perez - email
LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has announced a delay for commercial fisherman to receive financial assistance if they were affected by hurricanes Gustav and Ike. Earlier this year, LDWF launched a $30 million reimbursement program using funds from a $40 million appropriation the state had received for fisheries disaster assistance to the commercial fishing industry.
"We understand the dire needs of the industry in the current economic conditions and we commit to finding every possible means to streamline this process so that no further delays occur," said LDWF Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina. "As always, our number one goal is to put the money in the hands of commercial fishermen as soon as possible."
Complications from development of the database system caused the delay. The database system will be used for tracking packet receipt and payments to fishermen and dealers. Initially, payments were scheduled to be issued within four to six weeks from the time completed forms were received by South Central Planning and Development Commission (SCPDC). Now because of the delay, the first batch of checks is scheduled to be mailed the week of August 31, 2009. LDWF says its goal is to minimize the delay as much as possible, and will distribute the money in the order in which the applications were received.
All receipts and invoices must be received or postmarked no later than September 30, 2010 to be considered for reimbursement. Any questions should be directed to SCPDC by calling 1-800-630-3791 (toll free) or 985-655-1051 (local), mailing SCPDC at P.O. Box 1240, Gray, LA 70359-9902 or visiting the SCPDC Web site at www.scpdc.org/fisheriesassistance.