PUNTA GORDA, Fla. — Today, Governor Ron DeSantis was joined by fishing captains from southwest Florida to show his support for the industry as they continue their road to recovery. Hurricane Ian had significant impacts on the commercial and recreational fishing industry. To help the fishing industry get back on its feet, Governor DeSantis is requesting the U.S. Secretary of Commerce issue a federal fisheries disaster. This declaration request would provide access to federal funding, subject to appropriation, to allow offshore, nearshore, and inshore fisheries to rebuild. Governor DeSantis’ letter requesting the declaration can be found here. To watch the full press conference, click here.
“The fishing community stepped up to help their neighbors when Hurricane Ian hit, and now they need our help to stay afloat,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Today, I officially requested the federal government to declare a fisheries disaster to provide access to funding to support our fisherman in their recovery. While we await the federal government’s decision, I will continue to make zero interest loans available to help our captains and fishermen rebuild.”
Florida leads the nation in the number of saltwater fishing anglers, generating a $9.2 billion impact on the State of Florida’s economy, an industry equally important to both our residents and tourists. Additionally, the dockside value of commercial fisheries is estimated at $244 million. The financial assistance from this disaster declaration would replace fishermen’s lost income and rebuild their businesses and infrastructure, some a complete loss.
Hurricane Ian had devastating impacts on the fishing industry including damaged boat facilities, cancelation of charter fishing trips, lack of bait and loss of product due to power outages, and lack of navigable waterways and roadways among many other roadblocks.
After Ian made landfall, Floridians and individuals from across the nation have generously aided the many individuals and businesses who faced this disastrous storm. Floridians have assisted with recovery in record time and continue to tackle challenges like these head on. With an all hands on deck approach, state agencies, public and private partners, and faith-based organizations are finding ways to help communities and industries bounce back.