CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - The Chatham County Board of Commissioners is urging the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to declare a fishery disaster for Coastal Georgia.
On Jan. 24, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration closed federal waters off the coast of Georgia due to prolonged water temperatures at or below 49-degrees. The closure was needed to protect the population of spawning shrimp.
That same closure has kept shrimpers from working for the past four months, and the loss of income has hurt not only the shrimpers, but the local economy as well.
The designation of a fishery disaster begins the federal process of providing assistance to shrimpers affected by the closure of the waters.
Shrimpers did return to work last week when the waters re-opened, but if a fishery disaster declaration were granted, it would help with money lost by the closure.