Friday, November 18, 2011

(Fishy) Friday Facts: Louisiana Commercial Fisheries.

I was going to discuss the oil industry in Louisiana, but I figured, hey, this is a food blog—let’s talk about something we can actually EAT!  And when I think Louisiana, I think SEAFOOD.  Beautiful, fresh, delicious seafood.

Crawfish, oysters, shrimp, crabs, alligator, freshwater fish, saltwater fish… Louisiana is known officially as “The Sportsman’s Paradise” with a wide array of recreational hunting & fishing opportunities (I like to think the motto of the average Cajun is “you kill it, I’ll cook it”), but it’s also home to a LOT of commercial fisheries.  So here’s an assortment of facts about commercial fishing in Louisiana:

  • One out of every 70 jobs in Louisiana can be attributed either directly or indirectly to commercial fisheries. The Gulf of Mexico produces more shrimp and oysters than any other area in the US; in 2010, Louisiana shrimpers harvested for 74.1 million pounds of  shrimp, second only to Texas and their much longer coast. 
  • Earnings from commercial fisheries amount to approximately $385 million.
  • In Louisiana, there are approximately 350 permitted and inspected wholesale seafood processors/distributors.
  • Commercial catches in the Gulf represent approximately 25% of the total U.S. domestic commercial fishing revenue.
  • The Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries (LDWF) manages approximately 1.7 million acres of public state water bottoms for the purposes of oyster fishing and issues private leases for harvesting oysters; in 2006, private leases accounted for 392,118 acres of water bottoms with over eight thousand active leases.


(Taken while working.  We were doing an oyster assessment to evaluate quantity & size of oysters per square meter…usually we have to dive in order to do this---thus the wet suit—but my coworker got really lucky this day.)

  • Louisiana is one of the national leaders in oyster production, averaging over 12.8 million pounds of oyster harvests, worth approximately $35-50 million in annual revenue.
  • In 2010, nearly 110.9 million pounds of crawfish were raised, with a total value of more than $168.5 million. 


(…it takes a lot of time (and beer) to train your crawfish to conga…)

  • Blue claw crab production runs on an average of 50 million pounds annually, along with about 100,000 pounds of soft shell crabs. (Mmmm, BBQ soft shells…)
  • As if having an estimated 1.5 million wild alligators roaming the bayous wasn’t enough, approximately 500,000 of the giant reptiles are raised on alligator farms each year.  Louisiana alligator hunters harvest over 30,000 wild alligators annually and farmers harvest over 280,000 farm-raised alligators annually. Raw meat and hide values are estimated at over $10 million for the wild harvest and over $33 million for the farm harvest in 2005.


(Taken while working in Louisiana…I think I should have gotten hazard pay.)

  • Common sport fish in Louisiana offshore waters include blackfin tuna, yellowfin tuna, wahoo, red snapper, mangrove, cobia (also called lemonfish or ling), blue marlin, mahi mahi, amberjack, and shark.

imageLING! (Caught by my former boss for the 2007 Tibby Faulk Tournament…definitely not by me.)

  • While fishing in Louisiana, you may be privy to absolutely beautiful scenery.image

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