Southeast Louisiana Fisheries Assistance Center
Although there is a thriving commercial fishing economy all along the Gulf Coast of the United States, Southeast Louisiana is the cradle of the American seafood industry. For some seafood products such as shrimp and oysters, there are more harvesters and harvested products here than anywhere else in the country. This area is economically dependent on the seafood industry for jobs and support of ancillary businesses including bait shops, supply stores, etc. This region also plays a significant part of the culinary supply chain of Louisiana—and even the world.
The fisheries community in this region has been decimated by repeated disasters, including the 2005 hurricanes and recent British Petroleum (BP) oil spill. In order to assist the local fisheries community with disaster recovery, Seedco Financial opened the Southeast Louisiana Fisheries Assistance Center (FAC), in May 2008, in Belle Chasse, serving Plaquemines, St. Bernard, Orleans, and Jefferson parishes. The center is the first comprehensive one-stop facility for technical, business, and financial assistance for fisheries in the United States. It also provides help with marketing development, translation services, and BP claims assistance.
Through this center, Seedco Financial has helped to stabilize and rebuild the area, coordinating services and providing grants or loans and technical assistance to more than 700 fishermen. We have facilitated access to more than $8.5 million in State-funded grants to nearly 550 small business owners in the fisheries industry and approved over 120 loans for more than $6.6 million to commercial fishermen and dock owners.
We produce the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Resource Guide, a regularly updated guide of organizations and services that provide support to businesses and individuals affected by the oil spill.
Seedco Financial Continues to Aid in Recovery
Since July 2006, we have provided over $13.2 million in loans overall to small businesses in Louisiana. With the April 2010 British Petroleum (BP) oil spill wreaking even further devastation in the area, Seedco Financial continues its steadfast efforts to provide assistance for Louisiana’s recovery.
Since the oil spill Seedco Financial has received funding from the Greater New Orleans Foundation, Department of Children and Family Services, blue moon fund and Prudential Foundation to help implement the Gulf Coast Fisheries Relief and Recovery Project to prepare commercial fisherman for the full impact of the BP oil spill. With the support of these funds, we provide the following services:
- We help small businesses package, analyze, and calculate claims to be submitted to the Gulf Coast Claims Facility. In addition, Seedco Financial offers an outreach program with in-office information sessions about the claims process.
- We produce the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Resource Guide, a regularly updated guide of organizations and services that provide support to businesses and individuals affected by the oil spill.
- We provide housing counseling through our partnership with A Shared Initiative, offering foreclosure prevention to our fishermen.
- Through partners such as the LSBDC, Seedco Financial is able to provide translation services to large limited English speaking Vietnamese-American population in the region.
Contact us for more information on FAC or for assistance filing a claims package at Louisiana@seedco.org or call us at 504-392-2454.