Louisiana Fisheries Forward (LFF) is a voluntary educational program, which began in early August for members of the commercial seafood community. The program is a collaboration of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and Louisiana Sea Grant College Program at LSU (Sea Grant), which was established with the goal of improving the economic success of Louisiana’s commercial fishing industry.
To showcase the program directly to community members on a broader basis, new technology and good practice methods of commercial fishing are being presented online, utilizing training videos and fact sheets with hands-on workshops. The information is relevant to the seafood industry and will coincide with updated information, as the program becomes more developed over a three year period.
Presently, there are four training videos which are 30-45 minutes in length and focus on the following topics:
– How to become a crab fisherman;
– How to become a commercial fisherman;
– How to become a seafood dealer/processor; and
– Seafood business finance and management.
Six more videos are to be produced and completed within the next two-and-a-half years. The on-line fact sheets associated with the videos will contain additional, more detailed and time sensitive information. In addition to the videos, three demonstration projects will study gear efficiency and product quality over the next three years, with the research findings to be presented at training and industry events.
Robert Barham, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fishes, has this to say about the program, “Louisiana Fisheries Forward is about establishing a method to communicate important information to our commercial seafood community.” Barham adds, “This communication will help our fishermen, dealers and processors stay abreast of global trends, new equipment, handling practices, technology and rapidly evolving regulations. 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.”
Louisiana Sea Grant College Program’s Executive Director, Robert Twilley, agrees saying, “Louisiana is the second largest seafood-producing state in the U.S., yet the commerce and culture of our industry is at risk. We believe the time is here for a fisheries renaissance, as more and more consumers look for locally sourced and sustainably managed seafood. Louisiana is already well positioned to meet that demand. Working together, we can enhance product quality, promote innovative business practices, and reduce our environmental footprint to ensure the continued success of commercial fishing.”