Hurricane Ida made landfall with an immense storm surge riveting through coastal areas with winds gusting up to 172 miles per hour. Oyster farmers on Grand Isle lost their entire crop, processing plants from Grand Isle to Dulac lay in ruin and almost 30% of the shrimping fleet in Golden Meadow lay useless at the start of current shrimp season.
According to a statement by Louisiana Sea Grant’s Thomas Hymel, ‘docks in Dulac were heavily damaged, as well as Lafourche and Terrabonne parishes.’
Montegut fisherman Lance Nacio said that fishermen and their families are in need of fuel and water.
‘Roads are just clearing. Its bad here, really bad,’ he said.
‘A majority of the boats made it through the storm, but the seafood communities infrastructure and homes have been severely damaged.’
‘Living in the Gulf of Mexico means living with hurricanes,’ said Gulf Seafood Foundation President Raz Halli. ‘During Katrina our organisation, known then as Friends of the Fishermen, raised more than a million dollars to rebuild ice houses and other infrastructure, as well as people lives and communities. The need is just as great now, if not greater. We have to meet our goal of a million dollars for fishermen that are some of the last to be rescued.’
Between tears, Jim Gossen, a stalwart in the Louisiana seafood community, said his ‘Little Piece of Paradise’ on Grand Isle was completely destroyed.
‘I’m lucky the camp was a second home, but for others on the island it was their only home. Right now it is not about getting back to fishing, right now it is about mending the lives of families so eventually they can fish again.’
“‘In the last two years we have had five hurricanes touch our state,’ Thomas Hymel said.
‘But Ida stuck at the heart of the Louisiana seafood industry, and it is more destructive than Katrina sixteen years ago. The fishing industry has taken a beating, Grand Isle has complete blew apart. Right now it is about rescue, getting people a place to live. Later we will dive in and do what we know how to do, having done it time after time after time.’