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$46 million: The Cost of Gustav to Fisheries

US - Hurricane Gustav caused an estimated $46 million in damages to fisheries as it overflowed crawfish and catfish ponds, according to initial estimates by the Louisiana State University AgCenter.

The storm also caused an estimated $372 million in damage to Louisiana crops, flattening fields and dumping as many as 20 inches of rain, agriculture officials said Tuesday.

According to the Post-Bulletin, Gustav wreaked even wider damage on Louisiana's farmbelt industries than powerful Katrina did in 2005, because Gustav traveled far into central and north Louisiana after making landfall with 110-mph winds a week ago.

Fisheries and aquaculture damage was expected to be largest for the alligator, shrimp, crab and oyster industries, says the news agency.

A nearly $22 million loss -- or 15 percent hit -- buffeted the shrimp industry, and a $5 million loss -- nearly 17 percent -- struck the oyster fishermen, according to preliminary estimates.

Strain said he and the state's congressional delegation are asking for federal aid for farmers walloped by Gustav, but the agriculture commissioner said he didn't request a specific amount of assistance.

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Ellen Hardy

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