The Devastating Effects of Hurricanes in Commercial Fishing

commercial fishing

Rough seas, sweltering or frigid weather, and torrential rains–these are just some of the turbulent weather conditions that can impact commercial fishing. Hurricanes, however, can have a far more catastrophic effect. With hurricane season right around the corner, make sure you and your crew are aware of the acute severity of these storms.

The Realities of Commercial Fishing on Coastal Waters

The Gulf Coast of Louisiana features unparalleled scenic vistas and bountiful waters for commercial and industrial fishermen. Between the months of June and November, this area is also regularly in the path of extremely destructive hurricanes. While the opportunities for catching shrimp and other shellfish are almost unmatched in the United States, so too is the risk for in-climate weather.

Any commercial trapping or fishing operation on the Gulf Coast needs to be prepared for potential hurricane damage. This means keeping your boat properly insured and stocked with life preservers and other safety items. It also means understanding how the weather can change on a dime while you are at sea, which is a skill attained and honed through considerable experience. 

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Wind and Other Damage Can Wreak Economic Havoc

When most people go to the grocery store or market, they probably do not put much thought into where or how their fish was caught. They may not realize that beyond dropping a line or net in the water, there is a sizable infrastructure element to sustaining a commercial trapping or fishing operation.

When a hurricane hits, it can do much more than cause floods. Wind damage can capsize or render boats unusable. These storms can also destroy docks, wharves, fueling stations, and waterfront markets. Fish processing centers are also vulnerable to hurricane damage. 

Over the past two years, the state of Louisiana has experienced four hurricanes of varying strength. It was recently estimated that the local seafood industry suffered $580 million in lost revenue due to these storms. Most infrastructure impacts that resulted from this flurry of hurricanes were caused by wind, which accounted for 85 percent of the damage to fishing boats and 89 percent of the damage to fish processors. 

Staying Safe and Staying Current on Your Permits

Keeping your vessel properly maintained and securing your equipment is critical to weathering a hurricane or severe storm. Sometimes, you simply need to evacuate and protect yourself and your crew if your region is in the path of a hurricane.

You should also make sure that you are current on all of your fishing permits. Accessing Louisiana’s fisheries is a privilege, and maintaining the proper permits and licensing helps support these waters for the enjoyment of future generations.

Get the Commercial Netting Permits You Need Today

Do you need to renew your permits for fishing on the Gulf Coast? Maybe you’re just getting started in commercial fishing and need to apply for a first-time permit? No matter what your industrial fishing needs may be, the Commercial Fishing Permits Center can help. We offer easy-to-complete online forms to keep you current with federal and local agencies. To learn more, contact us today.

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