Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Robert Barham has requested more than $30 million from the federal government and BP to cover agency expenses related to the Deepwater Horizon Gulf oil spill. In a letter to BP Vice President of Gulf of Mexico Exploration Dr. David I. Rainey, Barhan writes: "In order to fulfill the department's core mission of managing and protecting Louisiana's fisheries, we must enact a fishery resource monitoring program designed to provide the information needed to manage the fishery resources of the state as a result of the oil spill. Our estimates indicate the implementation of this program will total $30 million."

In a separate letter to U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Barham requests that the federal government cover a likely dropoff in funding the state will receive through the Sport Fish Restoration Program over the next two years. Barham writes: "The management of our coastal fisheries has long been funded by the annual apportionments we receive from the Sport Fish Restoration Program, a user pay/user benefit program. Now we have to deal with the long term impacts of this massive oil spill and the potential loss of revenues and fishing opportunity as a result of this disaster."

Barham is requesting that, for the next two years, the Interior Department keep Louisiana's level of Sport Fish Restoration Program funding at an annual rate equal to the average of the last three years funding. After the two years, Barham suggests Louisiana's program funding be re-evaluated.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Web site, the Sport Fish Restoration Program is funded through excise taxes on fishing equipment, motorboat and small engine fuels, import duties, and interest collected into a Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund. The funds are apportioned to states based on a formula which includes land area, number of paid license holders, minimums and maximums.

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