Louisiana Fisheries Forward Summit 2023: Finding New Opportunities for Innovation


vendor booths set up at Pontchartrain Center at Summit 2020

Commercial fishermen, dock owners and processors will have the opportunity to learn about issues facing their industry at the Louisiana Fisheries Forward Summit, Wednesday, March 1, 2023, at the Pontchartrain Center, 4545 Williams Blvd., Kenner. Admission is free, but advance registration is required for those wanting lunch. 

This expo is the state’s premier commercial fishing and seafood industry event, attracting hundreds of commercial fishermen, seafood dealers, processors and others. Panel presentations will run throughout the day, in conjunction with a trade show that will feature hands-on demonstrations about safety, innovative handling and processing equipment, gear and techniques. All elements of Summit are designed to enhance Louisiana’s dynamic commercial seafood industry, the nation’s second largest. 

The main presentations this year will be: 

  • Louisiana Fisheries Disasters: Update on Assessment and Response 
  • Options to Identify and Train Your Workforce
  • Looking Back to Move Ahead: Status of the Seafood Industry + Historical Perspective 
  • Keynote Panel: Opportunities for Innovation

Additional demonstrations from vendors include: 

  • LDWF biologists and enforcement agents share information and answer questions 
  • U.S. Coast Guard demonstrations and rescue boat 
  • New Predator X netting specifically for managing sharks 
  • NTCC Mobile Lab for a hands-on maritime simulator and VR welding system 
  • Certified Quality Reader for measuring the quality of fresh fish and shrimp 
  • Aquatic system aeration for live seafood holding, transport, wholesale and distribution 
  • Product refrigeration options, including portable systems 
  • 10K packaging compliant with regulatory requirements for refrigerated seafood 

“This is a summit that’s designed for anyone in the seafood industry—from oysters to freshwater fisheries,” said Thomas Hymel marine Extension agent with Louisiana Sea Grant and the LSU AgCenter. “We have everything for the industry represented here, from machinery to get their equipment tuned up and ready to go to GPS and the basics of micro-processing and packaging.” 

A ’Beyond the Boat’ area in the lobby will focus on ways to add value to raw seafood, and enhance the marketability of harvesters. This includes live chef demonstrations cooking a variety of Louisiana seafood, and an overview of the new Seafood Processing Demonstration Lab (SPDL) now open in Jeanerette. 

“The market is changing and consumers are changing, and they are willing to pay more for high quality seafood, while they look for suppliers they can trust,” said Evelyn Watts, LSU AgCenter/Sea Grant seafood specialist and Louisiana Fisheries Forward program director. “Fishermen want to become more educated and implement changes to meet the needs of buyers and consumers if they are to move to the next economic level.“