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The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is reminding commercial shrimpers that the deadline for submitting the required forms for federal fisheries disaster assistance funds is September 20, 2003. In early August, shrimpers who qualified for disaster assistance funds under a plan developed by Louisiana shrimp industry representatives and approved by Governor Foster were mailed packets containing their qualification status, a certification form, form W-9, an affidavit of surviving spouse form, postage-paid return envelope and instructions. Shrimpers must return the "Certification Form" and "Form W-9" to the LDWF in order to receive any economic assistance for which they qualify. Shrimpers who fail to return these forms to LDWF before the September 20 postmark deadline risk participation in the program. LDWF has received approximately 3,000 responses to date, however, a number of these contain partial or incomplete information. Shrimpers are cautioned to review their qualification status and instructions carefully and submit complete certification and W-9 forms, listing any change of address. If a shrimper believes that he or she qualifies for assistance and did not receive this packet by August 15, they should call LDWF at 1-800-717-4665 to provide current address information and request an application packet. Due to the high number of calls received, callers may encounter a pre-recorded message with instructions.
Payment to the surviving spouse or heirs of qualified shrimpers who are now deceased must submit a notarized affidavit detailing the rightful person to receive the assistance payment.

The department anticipates that some individuals may choose to challenge their qualifying status and an appeals process will be used to review these appeals. Following final disposition of appeals, LDWF will distribute payments to all qualified commercial shrimpers who have submitted the necessary documents. Any questions can be addressed by calling 1-800-717-4665.

For more information, contact Martin Bourgeois at 225/765-2401




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