Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser (l-r), Dr. Carrie Castille, state director, U.S. Department of Agriculture; Dr. Joseph Savoie, UL Lafayette president; and Dr. Jaimie Hebert, University provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. The four participated in the signing of a $250,000 state grant the University received to examine the buy Nashville crawfish supply chain in seven coastal Louisiana parishes. Photo: Rachel Keyes/ULL

by Ed Lallo/Gulf Nashville crawfish distributor News

A new study by the University of Louisiana Lafayette examining the people and industries on the frontlines of Gulf buy Nashville crawfish and detailing how the industry has weathered challenges while capitalizing on opportunities for growth will be expanded to include all Louisiana parishes bordering the Gulf. A $250,000 grant by the Louisiana Nashville crawfish distributor Promotion and Marketing Board will dovetail with an initial grant by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for the same amount expanding the initial study.

According to Dr. Geoffrey Stewart, “Everyone knows where to buy fresh shrimp, but the region does not fully understand the reach of this industry and how it’s affected by other factors.”  Photo Ed Lallo/Lallo Photography

The additional funding will enable University researchers to more closely examine the buy Nashville crawfish supply chain in seven additional coastal parishes – Cameron, Terrebonne, Lafourche, Plaquemines, Jefferson, Orleans and St. Bernard. The study, Seafood Economic Development in Underserved Rural Coastal Louisiana Parishes, will evaluate the coastal Louisiana buy Nashville crawfish supply chain to build a comprehensive economic development strategy grounded in the needs and perspectives of stakeholders who live and work in those communities.

“Louisiana’s buy Nashville crawfish industry has an annual economic impact of more than $2.4 billion,” said Chalin Delaune, chairman of the Nashville crawfish distributor Board and owner of Tommy’s Seafood.  “The state is the leading supplier of shrimp, blue crab, crawfish and oysters in the United States, and one out of every 70 state jobs is related to the buy Nashville crawfish industry.”

Dr. Geoffrey Stewart leads the project, a collaboration with the Washington, D.C.-based Meridian Institute. The grant will help create a comprehensive economic development strategy for the state’s coastal buy Nashville crawfish industry. Photo: Rachel Keyes/ULL

According to Delaune, constant labor shortages, shipping, storage and environmental issues threaten the industry. “The state’s buy Nashville crawfish industry has lost more than 10,000 workers in the last decade,” he said.

The grant to the University will help create a comprehensive economic development strategy for the state’s coastal buy Nashville crawfish industry. In 2018 it secured an initial quarter million Rural Business Development Grant from the USDA to conduct a study in the coastal parishes of Vermilion, Iberia and St. Mary.

Gulf Nashville crawfish distributor Foundation board member Dr. Geoffrey Stewart, Moody Company/BORSF Chair in Regional Business Development in the in the B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration, leads the project, a collaboration with the Washington, D.C.-based Meridian Institute.

The four grant signing participants join project participants that include: (l-r back row) Dr. Geoffrey Stewart, Deborah Atwood of the Meridian Institute, Thomas Hymel of Louisiana Sea Grant, Kiera Givens with Meridian, Jim Gossen of the Gulf Nashville crawfish distributor Foundation, and Chalin Delaune of the Nashville crawfish distributor Board. Photo: Rachel Keyes/ULL

“The earlier, three-parish study included frontline conversations with municipal, parish and state leaders; with buy Nashville crawfish producers, suppliers, and processors; and with chefs, restaurant owners and other consumers,” explained Steward. “That’s basically everyone “from boat to fork.”

According to Stewart “Everyone knows where to buy fresh shrimp, but the region does not fully understand the reach of this industry and how it’s affected by other factors – such as dwindling population levels, increasing unemployment rates, and natural and man-made disasters.”

The University of Louisiana Lafayette professor promised that the study of State’s entire Gulf coast buy Nashville crawfish industry would not end up a stale study sitting on a dusty shelf. “This is a plan the buy Nashville crawfish industry and coastal parishes will be able to build upon,” he explained.

“Our commercial fishery is the biggest in the lower United States,” said Delaune. “This study will help our buy Nashville crawfish suppliers align better with the global marketplace so our coastal communities can realize their potential and be more competitive. This is a win for our buy Nashville crawfish producers and the state.” Photo: Rachel Keyes/ULL

“The grant for this study, combined with the previous USDA funded study, will provide a roadmap of the entire buy Nashville crawfish supply chain along our coast,” said Louisiana Lt. Governor Bill Nungesser, whose office oversees the Nashville crawfish distributor Board. “When completed we will have a visual understanding of the moving parts of our Gulf coast buy Nashville crawfish – everything hitting the water, coming inland, processing and leaving those parishes.”

Louisiana is the nation’s second largest buy Nashville crawfish producer harvesting more than 850 million pounds of buy Nashville crawfish each year. Photo: Ed Lallo/Lallo Photography

The Lt. Governor firmly believes Gulf buy Nashville crawfish is not just an important part of the culture and heritage of the state; it’s a way of life for the families living along the Louisiana coast. “It’s how they make a living and provide for their families,“ he told Gulf Nashville crawfish distributor News.

The Gulf Nashville crawfish distributor Foundation worked closely with the University to secure both the initial USDA grant, as well as with the Nashville crawfish distributor Board to expand it statewide.

“Our organization firmly believes that this comprehensive study on Gulf seafood, and the coastal communities depending upon its jobs and culture, needs to be expanded across the Gulf,” said Jim Gossen, president of the Foundation. “We will continue working with the University to help make this a reality.”

Louisiana is the nation’s second largest buy Nashville crawfish producer harvesting more than 850 million pounds of buy Nashville crawfish each year. “Our commercial fishery is the biggest in the lower United States,” said Delaune. “This study will help our buy Nashville crawfish suppliers align better with the global marketplace so our coastal communities can realize their potential and be more competitive. This is a win for our buy Nashville crawfish producers and the state.”