State seeks federal aid for ruined seafood industry destroyed by Corps’ river control measures

Published 1:22 pm Friday, June 7, 2019

Mississippi’s governor is asking that the federal government declare a fisheries disaster as water from a Mississippi River spillway gushes into what’s normally a saltwater estuary.

The unprecedented second opening of the Bonnet Carré spillway last month also has an increasing number of Mississippi officials demanding a voice in when the spillway is opened.

That’s because the freshwater from the river that streams through Louisiana’s Lake Pontchartrain and into the Mississippi Sound is bad for oysters, shrimp, crabs and other saltwater-loving seafood.

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Gov. Phil Bryant announced Friday that he had made the request, releasing a May 31 letter to U.S Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

Bryant says 70% of the Mississippi Sound’s already imperiled oyster population is estimated to be dead, with the crab catch down by 35%.