Our coast is changing, and Louisiana’s seafood industry is changing too. Land loss, commodity prices, and coastal restoration and protection projects all affect how members of the industry do their jobs. The challenges are great, and they can’t be met simply by relying on the resilience of individual entrepreneurs. At the same time, these men and women are innovators. For generations they have built successful businesses and supported their families and communities. Louisiana’s Seafood Future (LSF) aims to support this tradition.
To highlight adaptation strategies created by some of the people most affected by coastal changes. We’re asking for ideas from shrimpers, crabbers, oyster fishers, finfishers, dockworkers, and processors—people who are at the heart of our coastal seafood
economy and culture.
How LSF Works
From 2018 through mid-2019 LSF is asking members of the seafood industry to come together and discuss how to keep their businesses competitive and sustainable. In rounds of meetings throughout the coast, industry members will share ideas about how to adapt and what they need to make those adaptations work.
These conversations are being convened by LSF, but this is not a government program; we aren’t creating regulations or giving out funds. Instead we’re trying to identify the tools needed to keep Louisiana’s seafood industry going strong. This means taking into account ecosystem, economic, and community needs—both short and long-term. We also need options that everyone agrees are practical and likely to be effective.
Ideas gained are being shared and updated as meetings are held so people can see what’s missing, what’s working, and how ideas are evolving. In summer 2019, LSF will present these ideas in an initial first draft report to CPRA as well as organizations such as Louisiana Economic Development, Office of Community Development, the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, and others. The vision is that findings outlined in the final LSF report will inform future economic and restoration investments.
LSF is part of a State of Louisiana initiative designed to help the seafood industry adapt to coastal change. In 2018, Governor John Bel Edwards charged CPRA and LDWF, along with Louisiana Sea Grant in a coordinator’s role, to meet with members of the seafood industry. The aim was twofold: to discuss how the industry is adapting to changes along the coast, and to evaluate how the state might be able to help the industry put new adaptation strategies into practice.
The initiative started in late summer of 2018 with Coastal Fishing Industry Adaptation Workgroups (CFIAW). These were small meetings held with members of various fishing industries to gain an initial sense of key issues.
In 2019, the initiative evolved into Louisiana’s Seafood Future (LSF) and expanded its scope. The goal now is to gather ideas from seafood industry members throughout south Louisiana. Meetings will be held with established seafood industry taskforce groups. We will also hold regional meetings and take part in scheduled Dock Days associated with the Louisiana Fisheries Forward program. We encourage members of the seafood industry to share their ideas with us at these meetings as well as online. See LAseafoodfuture.com for details.
Louisiana’s Seafood Future Coordinators
• LA Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (Patrick Banks)
• LA Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (Brian Lezina)
• LA Sea Grant (Robert Twilley)