Fisheries failure from Florence declared in North Carolina

RALEIGH — The federal government has decided North Carolina’s coastal fishing industry took enough of a hit from Hurricane Florence that it now may qualify for congressional aid.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told Gov. Roy Cooper on Friday that he declared a “commercial fishery failure” occurred in the state. Cooper asked for the designation last month.

Officials say the declaration provides the basis for Congress to give financial assistance to the industry, particularly commercial fishermen with diminished landings and damaged equipment. Cooper’s office says the Division of Marine Fisheries generated more than $96 million in revenues last year.

Cooper’s recent request to Congress for aid following September’s historic rains and flooding includes $20 million from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for fisheries help.