Governor Abbott Requests Recognition of a Federal Fishery Resources Disaster
Feb 17, 2018
Governor Greg Abbott recently wrote to U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross asking him to recognize a federal fishery resources disaster along the Texas Gulf Coast as it recovers from Hurricane Harvey.
“The magnitude of Hurricane Harvey’s impact on recreational and commercial fisheries in Texas has been devastating,” Abbott explained. “Fishing in Texas is vital to our economy and is important to both residents and tourists alike. According to the National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife Associated Recreation conducted in 2011, Texas is second only to Florida in the number of saltwater anglers, with 1.6 million participants visiting our coast annually. Recreational angling activity supports more than 29,000 jobs, resulting in $2.1 billion in sales and $1 billion in salaries and wages each year. Storm damage to bait shops, marinas and hotels in the region has significantly impacted this industry. In addition, businesses that rely on tourism revenues have been affected due to anglers being unable to travel to the coast. Texas hunting and fishing license sales were initially down 20 percent following the storm and are still down 4.5 percent as of January 2018.”
“The storm also severely impacted the state’s commercial fishery operations, which contribute significantly to the Texas economy,” he wrote. “Robust commercial fisheries for shrimp, oysters, crabs and finfish have an annual economic impact of over $492 million. These enterprises have lost significant income due to infrastructure damage, lost gear and vessels, displacement due to loss of housing, and cancellation of charter fishing trips. Oyster harvesting in particular was impacted by the closure of large areas due to water quality issues and direct oyster mortality caused by the extensive freshening of bay waters as a result of over a foot of rainfall in certain areas.”
You can read the Governor’s full letter here!