The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and Louisiana Sea Grant College Program at LSU (Sea Grant) are proud to announce the completion of phase one of the Louisiana Fisheries Forward (LFF) initiative. These initial components include a web site (LaFisheriesForward.org), eight fact sheets and four videos approximately 35 minutes in length:
- Best Practices for Commercial Fishermen
- Best Practices for Seafood Dealers and Processors
- Best Practices for Commercial Crab Fishermen
- Best Business Practices for the Seafood Industry
The videos provide an overview of best practice methods, with a focus on quality, safety and industry regulations.
In addition to educational communication materials, LDWF and Sea Grant held multiple LFF outreach meetings along the Gulf coast including the Louisiana Fisheries Forward Summit in Houma, crab and shrimp workshops in Delcambre, a crab workshop in Dulac and an oyster workshop in Houma. Boater safety workshops were also held in the New Orleans area in conjunction with the U.S. Coast Guard and Audubon G.U.L.F.
“Louisiana Fisheries Forward is a valuable tool for communicating important information to our commercial seafood community,” said Robert Barham, secretary, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. “This program will help our seasoned veterans as well as newcomers to the industry improve their already high-quality Louisiana seafood, and help them take their product to the next level.”
“The world of seafood is rapidly evolving, and it can be overwhelming to stay up to date with changes while you’re trying to run a business,” said Thomas Hymel, LFF program director and marine extension agent with Sea Grant. “Our online materials make it easy for fishermen, dealers and processors to access relevant information on their own timeline. The workshops and training days allow us to give hands-on demonstrations and address timely issues—like oyster refrigeration requirements and turtle excluder device (TEDs) regulations. This is a world-class industry education program to support the largest seafood industry in the lower 48 states.”
A collaboration of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and Louisiana Sea Grant College Program at LSU (Sea Grant), LFF was established with the goal of improving the economic success and environmental sustainability of Louisiana’s commercial fishing industry. Though participation in LFF is voluntary at this time, leaders at LDWF and Sea Grant believe the program is making real impact.
“The economic opportunities available to fishermen and seafood businesses through LFF initiatives are huge,” said Hymel. “It could be big picture progress, where we enter new global markets because of our improvements to product quality. Or it’s the smaller, everyday advances that help businesses survive, like helping fishermen save 10 percent on fuel costs by tweaking how they run and maintain their vessel. That is impact . . . helping our industry professionals not just survive, but thrive and grow.”
Another four videos are planned in the next year, in addition to eight more fact sheets, workshops along the coast and the annual LFF Summit to be held Tuesday, March 1, in New Orleans.