On January 24, 2018, federal waters off the coast of Camden County, Georgia were closed to shrimping under the direction of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration due to a prolonged period of water temperatures at or below 9°C in the region.
While the closure of this fishery was critically necessary to protect the population of spawning shrimp, local shrimpers and others have not worked or earned any income related to the shrimp harvest since the closure.
Camden County is working with shrimpers to encourage the Department of Commerce to declare a fishery disaster in the waters off the coast of Georgia. This designation begins the federal process of providing assistance to fisherman impacted by the closure. A request for a fishery disaster determination is made to the Secretary by the state governor or by an elected or duly appointed representative of an affected fishing community. On Friday, May 18, Camden County Administrator, Steve Howard, formally submitted a letter to United States Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, requesting this designation on behalf of the fishing community in Camden County, Georgia.
“We are pleased that after nearly four months, the shrimpers in southeast Georgia are going back to work,” said Howard. “However, very few people can go months on end without income and therefore we ask the Department of Commerce to declare this closure a fishery disaster and begin the process of providing disaster assistance to the affected shrimpers.”