In the aftermath of hurricanes Harvey and Irma sweeping across the Gulf Coast, the Gulf Seafood Foundation has announced that all funds raised by the nonprofit for the rest of the year will be donated toward helping affected coastal communities.

“In the Gulf of Mexico, hurricane after hurricane and disaster after disaster, gulf fishermen and their families are often the hardest hit and most forgotten when it comes to piecing their lives back together. Hurricane Harvey is no different,” reads a statement on the organization’s website.

“Our fishing community is suffering,” said Jim Gossen, president of the Gulf Seafood Foundation, after Hurricane Harvey hit. “Livelihoods have been demolished from Corpus Christi, Texas, to Grand Isle, La. A lot of our brethren are going to need a lot of help to get back on their feet, much less back in business.”

Fisheries officials are still waiting on damage assessments, but there is concern that the storm may have severely damaged the oyster and shrimp harvests.

According to Ewell Smith — the former executive director of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board and a founder of the Friends of the Fishermen charity, the predecessor of the Gulf Seafood Foundation — the needs of the fleet today are similar to those in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

“Following Hurricane Katrina, the flooding in New Orleans captured all the news cycles despite the severe impact upon our fishing communities,”said Smith. “They were the first hit and hit the hardest… our fishermen lost everything from their homes, to their boats, cars, fishing gear and lives. Our fisheries infrastructure was demolished; between Hurricane Katrina and Rita, we lost three of America’s largest fishing docks in a month.”

The organization hopes donations through the end of the calendar year will help affected fishing communities recover.

“We are resilient. We are survivors. We have been through this before, and we have always come back stronger. This will be no exception,” said Gossen.

You can donate to the Gulf Seafood Foundation through PayPal or by sending a check or money order to:
Gulf Seafood Foundation Hurricane Harvey Relief
2851 Johnston St., Suite 162
Lafayette, LA 70503

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Samuel Hill is the former associate editor for National Fisherman. He is a graduate of the University of Southern Maine where he got his start in journalism at the campus’ newspaper, the Free Press. He has also written for the Bangor Daily News, the Outline, Motherboard and other publications about technology and culture.

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