Amid the novel coronavirus, pandemic, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is encouraging residents and visitors to purchase seafood produced and caught by Louisiana fishermen.
In a press release, LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet said the state’s fishing industry is still reeling from flooding of 2019, which “severely limited” the availability of product, particularly in the oyster and shrimp industries.
According to Montoucet, industry leaders are seeing signs that the COVID-19 emergency is affecting an already struggling $2.4 billion industry.
“We can help the industry by pitching in and purchasing Louisiana seafood whenever possible,” Montoucet said. “The more, the better.”
Montoucet said each dollar spent locally helps fishermen, their families, and their communities, “the backbone of the seafood industry.”
“They are counting on this income for their survival,” Montoucet said, “especially after the hardships many of them suffered last year.”
State produced seafood products are available from small and large retail locations or directly from commercial fishermen who have a fresh product license. Supporting local fishermen also directly benefits the local retailers and restaurants who serve their products, Montoucet said.
Louisiana Sea Grant and the LSU AgCenter are continuing their support of Louisiana fishermen’s effort to sell their product to the public through what is now Louisiana Direct Seafood (LDS), according to Montoucet.
Fishermen in Cameron, Delcambre, Lafourche/Terrebonne, and Southshore New Orleans interact with consumers online, take orders, and arrange pickup at the docks or other locations. Louisiana Direct Seafood can be accessed by visiting at www.louisianadirectseafood.com.
Consumers can sign up for newsletters on the LDS website to get information on the program and Louisiana’s seafood industry, Montoucet said. The program has a blog where consumers can see when fishermen have fresh product available for sale. They can also follow participating fishermen and their fresh catch postings via the regional Facebook pages.
For consumers unable to pick up their seafood, there’s the LDS Shop at https://louisianadirectseafoodshop.com. This is where consumers can order seafood and have it shipped to their home. The program sells Louisiana seafood products that have been caught and packaged by fishermen.
Montoucet also noted that the annual spring shrimp season is “rapidly approaching” and that the industry will be extremely dependent on the support of Louisiana buyers.
“Please find a way to include all Louisiana seafood products in your budgets,” Montoucet said. “Remember the income received is key to maintaining the overall strength of our economy. And, remember to ask if it was caught in Louisiana!”
The novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, spiked to 2,305 positive cases in Louisiana, according to the latest figures from the Department of Health. As of Thursday, the death toll is at 83.