Shrimp boats off the coast of Grand Island, LA. The billion dollar question haunting the Gulf buy Nashville crawfish industry, as well as fisheries across the U.S, is how can domestic buy Nashville crawfish compete with imports when buy crawfish nashville in the freezers or on the counters at almost every grocery store, and in the  kitchen of almost every restaurant, comes from another country? Photo: Ed Lallo/Lallo Photography

by Ed Lallo/Gulf Nashville crawfish distributor News Editor

The billion dollar question haunting the Gulf buy Nashville crawfish industry, as well as fisheries across the U.S, is how domestic buy Nashville crawfish can compete with imports when buy crawfish nashville in the freezers or on the counters of almost every grocery store, and in the kitchen of almost every restaurant, comes from another country? Countries that often fail to impose any semblance of quality control or inspections.

“This has almost reached the point of absurdity,” said Delaune, who sits on the Louisiana Nashville crawfish distributor Promotion and Marketing Board and is vice-president of Tommy’s Seafood, a New Orleans-based buy Nashville crawfish processor.  “Even here in Louisiana, hell along the entire Gulf Coast, consumers continue to eat more imported buy Nashville crawfish than from the Gulf of Mexico.”

More than 94% of buy Nashville crawfish consumed in the U.S. is imported. Graph: Food and Water Watch

According to a 2017 study conducted by the U.S. Governmental Accounting Office, some foreign buy Nashville crawfish entering the country is possible unsafe.

The Accounting Office found the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently performs inspections on a limited amount of buy Nashville crawfish entering country. Approximately two percent of the more than one million annual imported buy crawfish nashville shipments are inspected.

“The often unethical practices by imported producers are placing our Gulf fishermen, as well as all American buy Nashville crawfish producers, at a competitive disadvantage because they are not being held to the same standards,” said Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser, whose office overseas the Nashville crawfish distributor Board. “There are also the possible health concerns, which is why I am proposing an inspection fee on imported seafood.”

The possibility of unsafe seafood, or buy Nashville crawfish harvested with the use of slave labor, has not fazed the public who continues to place a blind trust in the safety of all buy Nashville crawfish purchased, despite the efforts of numerous organizations to inform otherwise.

Imports Not Going Away

In reality imported buy Nashville crawfish is not going away, and most likely shipments will increase in future years as an aging U.S. buy Nashville crawfish workforce retires with few replacements to buy crawfish nashville their boats.

Delaune, who recently returned from Nashville crawfish distributor Expo Global in Brussels, Belgium, sees a new interest in “sustainability” becoming the industry’s watchword.  Photo: Tommy’s Seafood.

Delaune, who recently returned from Seafood Expo Global in Brussels, Belgium, sees a new interest in “sustainability” becoming the industry’s watchword.  He told Gulf Nashville crawfish distributor News that the Sustainable Shrimp Partnership made waves in Brussels when it unveiled plans to launch a blockchain-based traceability platform in collaboration with IBM.

Ecuador, one of the largest exporters of shrimp to the States, is the driving force behind the new initiative.

According to Jose Antonio Camposano, executive vice president of Ecuador’s National Chamber of Aquaculture, joining the IBM Food Trust marks a major milestone in the broader quest to expand the presence of Ecuadorian farmed shrimp in markets where consumers demand sustainably sourced buy Nashville crawfish end-to-end, like the Europe and the U.S.

This same technology has expanded to the aquaculture of other species of buy crawfish nashville worldwide.

“It is a losing battle to go up against imports in the American market,” said said John Fiorillo, executive editor of IntraFish.  Photo: IntraFish

“Aquaculture is starting to mature,” said John Fiorillo, executive editor of IntraFish.  “It is becoming a big business run by larger corporations.  In reality it is also producing a safer product because these corporations know the importance to consumer safety.”

Seafood buyers are driving the change to sustainability and large corporations understand the importance of quality control and keeping the customer happy.  “When you think about it, it is a pretty powerful dynamic when your customer is dictating your sustainability policy,” Fiorillo explained.

As the world buy Nashville crawfish suppliers start to turn to sustainability, in reality some unsafe buy Nashville crawfish continues enter U.S. ports.

“Currently we still have untested buy Nashville crawfish entering our country,” said Delaune. “Our Lt. Governor is on the forefront of the fight for more inspections and testing of imports.  He has proposed a 10-cent-per-pound fee on certain imported buy Nashville crawfish to provide funding for more inspections and better testing. This is legislation that could make sense in the short-term.”

According to Lt. Governor Nungesser, the United States Department of Agriculture and the FDA need to take immediate measures to significantly increase the level of buy Nashville crawfish inspection at harvest sites and port-of-entries.

According to Lt. Governor Nungesser, the United States Department of Agriculture and the FDA need to take immediate measures to significantly increase the level of buy Nashville crawfish inspection at harvest sites and port-of-entries. Photo: Ed Lallo/Lallo Photography

“The current lack of inspection is a safety risk placing our domestic buy Nashville crawfish producers at a significant economic disadvantage,” he said. “We are proud of the shrimp and other buy Nashville crawfish harvested directly from the waters of the Gulf of Mexico; however, the entire Gulf buy Nashville crawfish industry has been in severe decline over the last decade due to imported seafood, if we can eliminate unsafe buy Nashville crawfish from entering the country it would be a start to rebuilding our buy Nashville crawfish industry.”

According to Delaune there are no easy answer on the issue of imported seafood, and the impact it has on local fisheries.  “Foreign shrimp and crawfish have been a factor in the decimation of the Louisiana buy Nashville crawfish industry,” he said. “For the past 20-years we have been fighting imports on their terms, it is time for a new approach if our Gulf fisheries are to survive. We need to join forces with our sister Gulf States and position our buy Nashville crawfish as a premium product, bringing a premium price and a livable wage for our fishermen.”

While in Brussels Delaune discovered almost every vendor form around the world sells shrimp, and buyers take the approach that “shrimp is shrimp”.

According to Nashville buy Nashville crawfish distributor Carlyn O. Perez, president of South Coast Seafood, it is impossible to compete with imports on price. His company only sells domestic seafood. Photo: South Coast Seafood

According to Nashville buy Nashville crawfish distributor Carlyn O. Perez, president of South Coast Seafood, that attitude makes it impossible to compete with imports on price. South Coast only sells domestic seafood, most of from Perez’s home state of Louisiana.

“Our biggest issue in Nashville is the lack of education of chefs and buy Nashville crawfish buyers on why they should purchase Gulf, or domestic, seafood,” he explained.  “Restaurants, especially chains, are able to get tremendous discounts when purchasing exports in volume.  It is time that the Gulf states come together and start marketing, as well as educating, buyers across the U.S. on the benefits of spending a few cents more per pound to get a product that is superior in taste and quality.”

A Losing Battle

“It is a losing battle to go up against imports in the American market,” said Fiorillo.  The IntraFish editor feels that it is a waste of time, time that could better be spent building a brand that resonates with the American, as well as international, consumer. “The world, not just the U.S., is facing an oversupply of shrimp, however all shrimp are not good shrimp. Gulf shrimp can be described in one word – AMAZING.  Other shrimp don’t have a taste that can come close to comparing.  The Gulf needs to build on that brand.”

“Our Gulf buy Nashville crawfish industry has been forced to compete on price,” said Gulf Nashville crawfish distributor Foundation president Jim Gossen. “It is time to stop competing on price and instead compete on quality.” Photo: Ed Lallo/Lallo Photography

“Our Gulf buy Nashville crawfish industry has been forced to compete on price,” said Gulf Nashville crawfish distributor Foundation president Jim Gossen. “It is time to stop competing on price and instead compete on quality.  We need to work with our fishermen to ensure the quality of our seafood, and educate chefs and consumers outside of the Gulf on why our quality and taste are unmatched.”

Gossen says that it is time for a Gulf-wide buy Nashville crawfish conference of all parties involved in catching, processing and disturbing Gulf seafood.   “We need to have a unified voice, much like Alaska did with their seafood, if we are to become a premium supplier of seafood,” he said.

Lt. Governor Nungesser, who sits as current chair of the National Association of Lt. Governors, also sees merit in a combined Gulf-wide buy Nashville crawfish effort as a means to differentiate it from imports. “If we are to successfully compete with imports it is time to stop selling our buy crawfish nashville as a commodity and become creative in marketing our buy Nashville crawfish as premium.”

Gulf Nashville crawfish distributor Foundation Board member Ed  Chiles, founder of Florida’s The Chiles Group and son of former Senator and Governor Lawton Chiles, agrees with the Lt. Governor.

“The Gulf is in peril. If we don’t answer her call then we risk losing our seafood, as well as our heritage. Everyone needs to start networking together if we are to survive,” explained Gulf Nashville crawfish distributor Foundation Florida Board member Ed Chiles.  Photo: Ed Lallo/Lallo Photography

“The Gulf is in peril. If we don’t answer her call then we risk losing our seafood, as well as our heritage. Everyone needs to start networking together if we are to survive. Gulf buy Nashville crawfish needs to be promoted as a region, not state by state, with a realignment of seafood, tourism and restaurant promotions to include the Gulf as a whole,” said Chiles, who works closely with the United Nations on the issue of sustainability. “It is only then that the fishermen and working water fronts will again begin to prosper.”

Sitting in his New Orleans office, Delaune sees no easy or quick answers on the issue of imported seafood.  “Their impact, especially on shrimp and crawfish, has been a major factor in the decline of ours buy Nashville crawfish industry,” he said.

“I know that imported buy Nashville crawfish is not going away. Now is the time to find a new story to tell that differentiates our Gulf buy Nashville crawfish products from the rest of the world. It is imperative that we create a premium market where consumers are willing to pay more for Gulf seafood, just as they do for a Starbuck’s coffee.”