Feds sign off on Florida fishery failureby Dara Kam | June 4th, 2010
Federal officials took just one day to approve Gov. Charlie Crist’s request for a determination of a Florida fishery failure because of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Crist asked the U.S. Department of Commerce to grant the determination yesterday, when he also flew over the Panhandle and eyeballed at one oil sheen less than four miles off the shoreline.
Charter boat captains and commercial fishermen say their livelihoods have plummeted in the aftermath of the oil spill. State officials have kept state fishing waters – up to nine miles from the coast in some areas – remain open but federal officials have closed off an ever-growing portion of their waters to commercial and recreational fishing.
The Panhandle’s snapper three-week snapper season, one of the most lucrative times of the year for the tourist region, kicked off on Tuesday.
The fishery failure determination means that fishermen and other impacted businesses will be eligible for federal small business loans to help cover their economic damages.
Crist will be in New Orleans with President Barack Obama today for more on the oil leak and recovery efforts.