NEW ORLEANS (AP) - U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke has declared a Gulf of Mexico fishery disaster for Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama because of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
The declaration would authorize emergency unemployment pay for commercial and charter fishermen if Congress approves President Barack Obama's proposal for such payments.
The president is also asking Congress for $15 million in supplemental funding and $5 million in economic development aid. The Small Business Administration is offering low-interest disaster loans.
A news release says Louisiana's and Mississippi's governors asked for the declaration. It says the administration expects BP and any other responsible parties to cover the full costs of economic damages to and restoration of the fisheries.