Tag Archives: Louisiana

Shrimpers in Louisiana struggling to survive off low prices

Last week, shrimpers from across Louisiana held a rally at the State Capitol, blaming foreign imports for overcrowding the market. “You’re not breaking even right now, you’re in the red. Matter of fact, you’re below the red. I just don’t know what else to do,” Hackberry shrimper Kenny Kellum said. The abundance of foreign imported shrimp has caused prices to plummet in Louisiana, making it nearly impossible for shrimpers to survive. “We don’t want to give it up but we’re being forced out of something we’ve been doing all our lives and there’s no reason why somebody else should come in here and put us out of our living,” Kellum said. Video, >click to read< 16:34

Shrimpers gather at La. capitol to protest rising prices, falling profits

Dozens of local fishermen and women gathered on the steps of the State Capitol Thursday morning to voices worries over the low prices of freshly-caught shrimp and their competition with imported seafood. “Inflation went up, shrimp’s down, can’t even afford fuel to go out,” one protestor said. “We shouldn’t be [at the Capitol] right now,” said fisherman Gareth Leblanc. “We should be working.” His brother, Lanvin Leblanc, is a 65-year-old fisherman who has been working in Louisiana waters for 25 years. Lanvin said that if prices stay up for another year, it could be too late.  >click to read< 10:35

The search for the 88TH S&P Festival Queen has begun!

The Louisiana Shrimp and Petroleum Festival and Fair Association and the Past Queen’s Club have announced that the search for the new Louisiana Shrimp and Petroleum Festival queen has begun. The association is looking for a special young woman to carry on the tradition of representing the oldest state-chartered harvest festival in Louisiana. She will be a goodwill ambassador for the Tri-City area and will represent the 88th Louisiana Shrimp and Petroleum Festival. The deadline for submitting applications to the festival office will be 3:30 p.m. June 2. Some of the requirements to be queen are: >click to read< 14:53

Cassidy Urges International Trade Commission to Keep Antidumping Orders on Shrimp from China, India, Thailand, Vietnam

U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy M.D. (R-LA) expressed his support for continuing antidumping orders on imports of frozen warmwater shrimp imported from China, India, Thailand, and Vietnam in a letter to U.S. International Trade Commission Chairman David Johanson. Cassidy highlighted the importance of these antidumping orders to ensure Louisiana’s shrimp industry can compete on a level playing field. “Dumped imports from China, India, Thailand, and Vietnam surged into the U.S. market, driving down prices, depressing earnings, and making it increasingly difficult to cover the costs of production. Faced with declining revenues and market share, many small fishermen, processors, and distributors were forced to close. The orders have imposed needed discipline on imports and allowed our vital Louisiana shrimp industry to survive,” wrote Dr. Cassidy. >click to read< 14:40

Spring Shrimp Season to Open in a Portion of Louisiana Inshore Waters May 1

Today, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission convened a special meeting to consider setting the opening of the spring shrimp season in a portion of state inshore waters.  The Commission set the opening based on information provided by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries biologists and public comments.  The Commission set the season as follows: >click to read< 10″22

La. Wildlife and Fisheries boss resigns amid reports on alleged kickback scheme

The head of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has resigned after he was implicated in an apparent kickback scheme involving a contract the agency signed with a private contractor, sources told WBRZ. LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet who abruptly resigned Friday morning, is believed to have signed that contract in October 2021, according to The Advocate. The allegations emerged this week after Dusty Guidry, who was appointed by Governor Edwards to the LDWF Commission, pleaded guilty to bribery-related charges in Lafayette. >click to read< 13:35

U.S. Coast Guard medevacs man from fishing vessel near Grand Isle, Louisiana

The Coast Guard medevaced a 60-year-old man from a fishing vessel Sunday near Grand Isle, Louisiana. Coast Guard Sector New Orleans watchstanders received a call on Channel 16 at 3:06 a.m. from the fishing vessel Elvidlong requesting a medevac for a crewmember aboard who sustained injuries to one of his hands. Sector New Orleans watchstanders coordinated the launch of a Coast Guard Station Grand Isle Response Boat – Medium boat crew to assist. The man was taken to University Medical Center where he was last reported to be in stable condition. >link< 16:27

As seafood sales rise for Lent, Louisiana shrimpers say their industry is in trouble

With Lent elevating sales of crawfish, fish and shrimp across Louisiana, many local fishermen and shrimpers say they aren’t benefitting. “We’ve been here a long time, and yet we’re just going to get shoved out of the way. When importers come in and start buying cold storage and start buying infrastructure, we’re going to lose our way of life, and Louisiana is going to lose a lot. They’re more at stake than anybody because we’re known for our seafood. That’s why people come to Louisiana is for our seafood and for our culture,” said Acy Cooper, the president of the Louisiana Shrimpers Association. >click to read< 12:02

Congressman Clay Higgins reintroduces legislation to combat foreign seafood dumping

Louisiana Congressman Clay Higgins is taking new steps to help the Louisiana Shrimping Industry’s fight against imported shrimp. For years, the Louisiana shrimping industry has been over run by cheaper imported products from different countries. In an effort to combat this, Congressman Higgins is looking to propose legislation that would make seafood being brought into the country meet all the legal standards of our country before being distributed. Congressman Higgins has reintroduced The Imported Seafood Safety Standards Act in order to tackle the issue of foreign dumping taking over the seafood market in our country. >click to read< 13:25

Covid shutdowns and hurricanes rock Louisiana seafood industry

During the pandemic, the state’s seafood industry shut down. Once business resumed, a series of storms and hurricanes wiped out areas where those who rely on the state’s plentiful harvests of crawfish, shrimp, crabs, oysters and alligators make a living. The double-whammy took a devastating toll on Louisiana, the nation’s second-largest seafood supplier, and when it fully recovers remains to be seen. “There’s still boats stranded in certain areas,” said Samantha Carroll, executive director for Louisiana Seafood. While the 2022 season offered a reprieve with no hurricanes, “people were still trying to pick up the pieces,” struggling to find fuel, bait, and other essentials, she said. >click to read< 14:52

Louisiana denounces federal rule for shrimp boats at Fifth Circuit

The small shellfish are big business in Louisiana with 15,000 residents employed in the industry, which has an annual economic impact of $1.3 billion for the state, according to its Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board. But Louisiana shrimpers who followed their fathers and grandfathers into the trade say it is dying as wild-caught and farm-raised imports from Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and India into the U.S. have exceeded 1 billion pounds annually in recent years. Since 1987, the National Marine Fisheries Service has required shrimp trawlers in some circumstances to install turtle excluder devices, which separate sea turtles, sharks and other large bycatch so they can escape through an opening in the netting. >click to read< 09:52

Three Men Cited for Commercial Fishing Violations in East Baton Rouge and St. Martin Parishes

Agents cited Calvin P. Chenier, 22, of Churchpoint, and Calvin P. Simoneaux, 63, of Churchpoint, for taking or selling commercial fish without commercial fishing licenses and taking commercial fish without commercial gear license. Agents also cited Chenier for illegal possession of game fish.  Jimmy Fruge, 83, of Breaux Bridge was also cited for buying commercial fish from an unlicensed fisherman and failing to maintain public records.
>click to read< 9:29

Agents Cite Three Men for Commercial Fishing Violations in Plaquemines Parish

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement agents cited three men for alleged commercial fishing violations in in Plaquemines Parish on Feb. 7. Agents cited Thanh Dang, 45, and Khai Bui, 62, both of Biloxi, Miss., and Phong Thai, 53, of Gautier, Miss., for taking commercial fish without a commercial fisherman’s license. Agents were on patrol when they boarded a vessel with the three subjects on board in the Mississippi River near Pilottown for a commercial license and turtle excluder device inspection.  Upon boarding the vessel the Captain, Thanh Dang, produced commercial fishing licenses for another person who was not on board the vessel.  Agents also found that none of the men possessed non-resident commercial licenses for the 2023 fishing year. >click to read< 14:24

Commercial fishermen rail against Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion plan

Opponents of the state’s controversial plans to construct two large sediment diversions to rebuild coastal land used a Wednesday night public hearing to rail against the upcoming projects, warning of harm to commercial fishing in the area. Representatives of commercial oyster growers, fishers and a variety of community groups objected to plans for the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion, a more than $2 billion project set to begin construction later this year, as well as the upcoming $800-million east bank Mid-Breton Sediment Diversion. >click to read< 10:28

Dulac shrimper Jonathan ‘The King’ Guidry retains his heavyweight boxing crown

Dulac shrimper Jonathan “The King” Guidry recently defended his heavyweight boxing title during a match in Miami. And on the same night in Thibodaux, seven local MMA fighters won their matches. Guidry, 33, retained his North American Boxing Association’s Gold Title against Bermane “B. WARE” Stiverne. Stiverne, 44, is a former World Boxing Council heavyweight champion. The fight took place at the Casino Miami Jai-Alai in Miami, and Guidry won by unanimous decision after a full 10-round match. Back home, Guidry said he’s been doing a bit of crabbing lately, but the season is slow because of the frequent weather changes. Because of the slow season, he’s been spending more time training. >click to read< 11:41

Louisiana Shrimping Industry Faces Uncertain Future in 2023

Shrimpers now face some of the lowest prices they have ever seen due to massive amounts of shrimp being imported from overseas, according to Larose-based trade group Louisiana Shrimp Association. Acy Cooper Jr, the Louisiana Shrimp Association’s president, says the math around shrimp imports are simply not in the Louisiana shrimp industry’s favor. With Louisiana able to meet roughly 25% of the overall U.S. shrimp market demand – shrimp importers from countries like Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia have brought to market more shrimp than the United States will typically consume each year, driving the price on the open market for Louisiana shrimp lower and lower. >click to read< 13:53

Shrimpers and environmentalists oppose growth of LNG export facilities

LNG export facilities are heralded as good things to come and economic game changers, but there are still fishermen and environmentalists who fight the massive industry. They went before the Louisiana Shrimp Task Force on Wednesday. Many local commercial fishers and environmentalists remain firmly against the LNG facilities and they took their fight to the task force. Fisherman Travis Dardar said in Cameron they are surrounded. He said he lives within four hundred feet of Venture Global. “The areas I’ve got marked in red are where we fish. They built on top of all our fishing grounds out here. The little red ‘X’ on this side is where I live. Now conveniently, Cameron has no zoning, so they don’t have to buy us out. They can absolutely build around us,” Dardar said. >click to read< 08:50

Louisiana Shrimp Season to Close December 19 in Portions of State Waters

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced that the 2022 fall inshore shrimp season will close in all state inside waters on Monday, December 19, 2022, at official sunset, except for the following inside waters east of the Mississippi River: Chef Menteur and Rigolets Passes, Lake Borgne, Mississippi Sound, Mississippi River Gulf Outlet, a section of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway in Orleans parish from the GIWW East Closure Sector Gate westward to the GIWW intersection with the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal, and the open waters of Breton and Chandeleur Sounds as bounded by the double-rig line described in R.S. 56:495.1(A)2. All state outside waters seaward of the Inside/Outside Shrimp Line, as described in LAC 76:VII.370 will remain open to shrimping until further notice. Map, >click to read< 11:08

‘Without us, you don’t have Louisiana:’ Struggling shrimpers warn lawmakers industry is on brink of collapse

For longtime shrimp boat captain Kip Marquize, it’s a race against time. “We are the heart of Louisiana. Without us, you don’t have Louisiana,” Marquize said as he navigated the channels out of Delacroix and deep into the bayous of St. Bernard Parish. “What I see is our whole state losing its identity on the world stage.” The biggest challenge they face is the sheer mass of shrimp currently being imported by the United States. “The importers, they got so much coming in, they’re starting to buy infrastructure,” Cooper said. “They’re buying freezers. They’re trying to buy processing plants. When they do that, you’re pushing us completely out. “We’re about to lose this industry.” video, >click to read< 14:34

New Orleans fishing industry suffers sourcing issues

Fishing runs through Merlin Schaeffer’s blood. He has been fishing in Louisiana waters for decades, and before him, so were his father and his grandfather. While primarily a fisherman in Lake Pontchartrain, Schaeffer is also the owner of Schaeffer’s Seafood. Located in Bucktown, a small community that thrives on the fishing industry, Schaeffer’s is a shop that sells anything from crabs to shrimp to catfish. Because fishing is a touch-and-go job, fishermen often lack routine and certainty when they head out to work, he said. “You gotta go with the flow, around the weather, the bite, the tide, it goes off a lot, the sails,” Schaeffer said. “Everything varies.” This variance includes prices as well. >click to read< 11:30

Louisiana fisherfolk fear Air Products’ Lake Maurepas carbon capture scheme

In October 2021, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) announced that Air Products, a Fortune 500 chemical company based in Pennsylvania, would develop a so-called “clean” energy complex in Ascension Parish, Louisiana, by 2026. The $4.5 billion project calls for construction of a plant to convert natural gas to hydrogen and capture the resulting carbon dioxide. I recently spent time with commercial fishermen working on Lake Maurepas, individuals with generations-deep connections to the water. To understand their concerns, I asked them this question: “What are your fears about the proposed blue hydrogen facility that would attempt to sequester carbon more than a mile below Lake Maurepas?” This is what they told me. >click to read< 09:46

Coast Guard medevacs man from commercial fishing vessel offshore Buras, Louisiana

The Coast Guard medevaced a 55 year-old-male crewmember from a commercial fishing vessel 11 miles south of Buras, Louisiana, Saturday. Coast Guard Sector New Orleans watchstanders received a call at 8:35 p.m. from the commercial fishing vessel F/V Fatima Rose that a crewman was having trouble breathing. Sector New Orleans watchstanders coordinated the launch of Coast Guard Station Venice boatcrew to medevac the boater. >click to read< 18:04

Louisiana shrimper wants more to be done for the dying industry

Congressman Clay Higgins recently announced a $25 million purchase of gulf shrimp to help the struggling Louisiana shrimping industry. Thomas Schouest Jr., has been in the shrimping industry for decades. He said that he thinks this move is a step in the right direction, but, “That is just a drop in the bucket compared to the situation that is going on with the shrimpers. There is a lot more to be done.” Schouest said. Schouest also said that the biggest issue shrimpers are facing are imports from other countries, an issue that he said has been ongoing for years. Video, >click to read< 09:15

Fishermen fight back on imported shrimp

A big part of Louisiana is the shrimp industry, but the Louisiana Shrimp Taskforce worries they will not survive due to the overwhelming amount of imports. “We are Louisiana, I don’t care how you look at it. When you talk about Louisiana, there’s only a couple of things you talk about, and fishing is one of them. You don’t want to come to Louisiana and eat Indonesia shrimp, you want to eat Louisiana shrimp,” says Acy Cooper chairman of the Louisiana Shrimp Taskforce. Cooper says they have gotten the numbers, showing the United States imported billons of shrimp from foreign countries like Indonesia, Peru, Thailand and Vietnam. Video, >click to read< 11:44

US Shrimpers struggling to find buyers

Lafitte Frozen Foods in Violet can process up to 120 thousand pounds of shrimp per day. Friday was the plant’s last day of operation, at least for now. “This is the first time we’ve ever had to actually say hold it, we’ve got to take a break,” company VP Bobby “Capt. Bob” Samanie said. “We have so much problem with foreign shrimp coming in, it’s killing us.” Local shrimpers like Ricky Robin say when factories start to shut down – the ripple effect is crushing. “When they hurt the factories, they hurt the commercial fishermen that sells to the factories,” Video, >click to read< 10:25

Coast Guard license bribery scheme – Pair helped more than 30 merchant mariners illegally obtain licenses

Two former Coast Guard employees were sentenced to prison Thursday for their roles in a bribery scheme that let seamen obtain merchant mariner licenses without completing the required tests. Dorothy Smith, 67, and Eldridge Johnson, 70, pleaded guilty to rigging results of safety and training tests that mariners must pass to serve on vessels, the U.S. attorney’s office said. Smith, a credentialing specialist, accepted bribes to fix exam scores for applicants who often didn’t even show up for their tests,,, In addition to Johnson, Smith and their intermediaries, 32 mariners pleaded guilty to felony charges. >click to read< 07:55

Louisiana shrimpers call for legislators to take action, cap shrimp imports

“We have begged and pleaded for years and years and years for help, and we’ve been shunned, disregarded, ignored continuously,” said Captain Kip Marquize. “No longer can a blind eye be turned to our cause, it just cannot happen any longer. We will be completely extinct.” The Louisiana Shrimp Association held a “State of the Industry” meeting in Cut Off on Tuesday, with the goal of gathering as many shrimpers as they can to call on legislators to take action. “We have coasts that are just full of shrimp, we have processors that can’t sell shrimp, we have docks that can’t get rid of them,” said Acy Cooper, President of the Louisiana Shrimp Association. “We have people that just can’t go out because they can’t get rid of the shrimp, and there’s no need for that.” Video, >click to read< 10:09

Fishing industry vows to sue over $2 billion land-building project

Leaders of Louisiana’s commercial fishing industry say legal action may be the last and best tool they have to fight a $2 billion restoration project that will dramatically alter a large section of the coast. The Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion is the flagship project of an ambitious state-led plan to fight coastal land loss. At a joint meeting of the state’s shrimp, crab and oyster task forces this week, several commercial fishers and business leaders predicted dire and wide-reaching consequences. The meeting, held at an auditorium in Belle Chasse, drew about 35 people. “It’s going to wipe us out,” said John Tesvich, owner of a Plaquemines oyster processing company. Once the oyster harvesters and shrimpers are gone, many other industries will suffer, Jurisic said. >click to read< 17:25

Shrimp boat found capsized in Lake Pontchartrain; 1 dead, 1 injured

U.S. Coast Guard members found a capsized shrimp boat with two boaters, one dead and one injured in Lake Pontchartrain Thursday morning, according to a social media post by the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office. The boat was found between the Interstate 10 twin span bridges near the St. Tammany-Orleans parish line, according to the post. The Sheriff’s Office Marine Division was notified at 5:15 a.m. that a 21-foot blue shrimping skiff that was seen launching at about 8:45 p.m. Wednesday at the Pointe Marina in Slidell was overdue to return, with the truck and boat trailer still at the marina. >click to read< 12:25

LDWF Agents Investigating Boating Fatality in St. Tammany ParishVictim Identified. The body of Ricky Hodgson, 72, of Pearl River, was recovered from Lake Pontchartrain around 9:30 a.m. on Sept. 22. Agents learned that Hodgson and another passenger on the boat were recreationally trawling for shrimp in Lake Pontchartrain near the twinspans when their trawl was stuck around midnight. >click to read< 17:15

Louisiana Shrimpers want lobbyist to help voice their concerns in Washington

The Louisiana Shrimp Association is fighting back against imported shrimp and their goal is to save their livelihood. They want their voices to be heard in Washington D.C. and in Baton Rouge. President of the L.S.A., Acy Cooper, said they have had a lot of issues in the industry. “The prices went from four dollars a pound down to a dollar twenty. It is getting dyer need. We have been screaming and hollering. This task force has been together since two thousand and ten. We can’t get anybody in Washington to do the job that we need.” >click to read< 07:49