New report highlights economic opportunities for local shrimpers
BATON ROUGE, LA – Louisiana waters produce an abundance of the best shrimp in the world, but today Louisiana shrimpers are struggling to make a living at something that was once a lucrative profession for their parents and grandparents.
The question is why.
The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana (CRCL) set out to answer this question and, more importantly, determine what can be done to reverse this trend.
The report, Louisiana Shrimp Value Chain: Price Dynamics, Challenges and Opportunities, commissioned by CRCL, produced by Datu Research and funded by the National Wildlife Federation, focuses on the reasons that shrimp prices are so incredibly low dockside, yet fetch premium retail prices, leaving local shrimpers struggling to make ends meet.
This report also makes some very specific recommendations to shrimpers to help them move from economic subsistence to economic resilience.
“Our coast is an amazing source of seafood. But it is also disappearing. With every acre of Louisiana that slips into the Gulf of Mexico, the future of our fisheries is threatened,” said Kimberly Davis Reyher, CRCL Executive Director. “We need to find ways to slow land loss that also ensure healthy productive fisheries.”
One of the key recommendations of the report is that shrimpers need to market their product directly to consumers and high-end restaurants.
“The value chain is a complex system that does contain several opportunities for shrimpers to capture a larger share of the value, including marketing directly to restaurants," noted Marcy Lowe, Datu CEO.
Fourth generation shrimper and owner of Anna Marie Shrimp, Lance Nacio, agrees with that assessment.
“I’ve really tried to expand my market beyond just being a local commodity to my community. I’ve used modern technology to reach out to people who might not have fresh, wild caught shrimp as easily accessible as we do here in the Gulf Coast region.”
“It’s so important that we are open to change,” said Jim Gossen, Chairman, Sysco Louisiana Seafood. “[The industry] has been stuck on doing the same thing over and over for years. We have to be open to marketing things differently.”
Datu Research interviewed all segments of the industry- from shrimpers to chefs and every sector in between, visited shrimp docks and analyzed historical pricing data to formulate this report.
“We hope that our report recommendations will help Louisiana’s Shrimp industry prepare for the future. Together, we all face a daunting land loss problem. We hope that shrimpers will use these recommendations to strengthen their businesses to help them better cope with future challenges,” said Corey Miller, CRCL Outreach and Engagement Director. “We need their help to shape plans to address the land loss problem in a way that supports their industry into the future.”
The Louisiana Shrimp Value Chain report is expected to not only be used extensively by shrimpers, but also by other professionals who work closely with the industry.
A copy of the report can be downloaded at crcl.org/images/Shrimp.pdf.
Posted on Fri, December 9, 2016
by The Lafourche Gazette