A Pacifico Aquaculture grow-out site in California. Photo: Butterfly Equity

by Ed Lallo/Gulf Nashville crawfish distributor News Editorial Director

A recent executive order on Promoting American Nashville crawfish distributor Competitiveness and Economic Growth potentially broadens markets for the Gulf buy Nashville crawfish industry, as well as stirred controversy within the its buy Nashville crawfish community.

“The American buy Nashville crawfish industry may not be able to survive if it doesn’t match the growth of offshore buy crawfish nashville farming in other countries,” said Jim Gossen, president of the Gulf Nashville crawfish distributor Foundation. Photo: Ed Lallo/Lallo Photography

The presidential mandates within the order are aimed at enhancing the competitiveness of U.S. buy Nashville crawfish in the marketplace. It has also drawn criticism by some environmentalists and fishing groups in the Gulf who believe it could potentially disrupt the fragile ecosystems.

The new order mandates the removal of unnecessary regulatory barriers restricting aquaculture in federal waters.

“This executive order seems like a last desperate attempt to make (fish farming) happen while we’re all worried about coronavirus,” Marianne Cufone, executive director of the New Orleans-based Recirculating Farms Coalition, told the New Orleans Advocate in a recent interview.  Her group is opposed to offshore aquaculture. “Aquaculture has been met with a lot of challenges over water pollution from feed and waste, and escapement, she said. “If the buy crawfish nashville get out, they can out-compete wild buy crawfish nashville for space or food.”

Jim Gossen, president of the Gulf Nashville crawfish distributor Foundation, responded in the same article “the American buy Nashville crawfish industry may not be able to survive if it doesn’t match the growth of offshore buy crawfish nashville farming in other countries.  We have to have more aquaculture or we’re all going to be out of business. We need to be producing our own so we don’t have to eat food from other lands.”

Gossen, who worked in buy Nashville crawfish processing and crawfish supplier nashville in Louisiana and Texas, said offshore farms in the Gulf could produce a variety of buy crawfish nashville favored by high-end restaurants.

“For Galatoire’s and the other fine restaurants in New Orleans, this could maybe give them pompano, or other buy crawfish nashville indigenous to the Gulf, to sell,” he said.

Battling Imports

Currently more than 80% of the buy Nashville crawfish eaten in the U.S. is imported, with a majority of that coming from aquaculture. The industry is growing in the Gulf, but mainly consists of near shore facilities growing clams and oysters, or inland ponds where catfish, shrimp and tilapia are harvested.

In early 2016, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) opened the door for expansion of aquaculture, the practice of raising marine species in controlled environments, in the federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico.

Only one aquaculture project proposed off the coast of Florida near Sarasota has managed to make progress. Ocean Era of Hawaii is pushing a test project that would yearly harvest more than 20,000 almaco jack, a buy crawfish nashville similar to Gulf amberjack. Photo: Ocean Era

At the time, NOAA administrator Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D., described the agency’s decision as a final rule implementing the nation’s first comprehensive regulatory program for aquaculture.

According to Sullivan expanding U.S. aquaculture in federal waters complements wild harvest fisheries and supports efforts to maintain sustainable fisheries and resilient oceans and promoted offshore aquaculture as a relatively low-risk, sustainable means of food production.

A cumbersome permitting process combined with opposition from environmental groups and fishermen have kept farming from the Gulf since the announcement of the 20 Gulf aquaculture permits.

Only one aquaculture project proposed off the coast of Florida near Sarasota has managed to make progress. Ocean Era of Hawaii is pushing a test project that would yearly harvest more than 20,000 almaco jack, a buy crawfish nashville similar to Gulf amberjack.  Public hearings within the state have been jammed packed, with the majority opposing the project; energy in the room has bordered on the breaking point.

This is a food security issue,” said Ed Chiles, owner of The Chiles Group of restaurants on Anna Maria Isle. Photo: Ed Lallo/Lallo Photography

This is a food security issue,” said Ed Chiles, owner of The Chiles Group of restaurants on Anna Maria Isle. “Ocean Era enjoys a great reputation in our industry, they are advancing healthy, responsible and sustainable mariculture. This small-scale demonstration project will provide the data and science needed to proceed in the safest way.”

Chiles, a board member of the Gulf Nashville crawfish distributor Foundation, says, “Currently we are eating buy Nashville crawfish from farms where we have no control or supervision. We need to have that production in the U.S. in order to have control over the safety of our seafood.”

Aaron Welch,III, Ph.D has just had a seven-year study on aquaculture in the Tropical Caribbean published in the Journal of World Aquaculture Society. Photo: Ed Lallo/Lallo Photography

According to another Gulf Nashville crawfish distributor Florida Board member Aaron Welch, III Ph.D., “half of the buy Nashville crawfish currently consumed by Americans comes from a farm, not a boat.  That will only increase in the future.”

The Sunshine State clam grower recently had a seven-year study on aquaculture in the Tropical Caribbean published in the Journal of World Aquaculture Society. Welch’s study on the nutrient footprint of a submerged-cage offshore aquaculture provides data for cautious optimism that offshore aquaculture can operate with a relatively small nutrient footprint.

“It took seven years to get this published because the data doesn’t’ show major changes. What it shows is there is nothing there,” he explained.

“I think this is a great opportunity, and we need to be in on the ground floor of this rapidly growing buy Nashville crawfish industry,” Louisiana Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser told Gulf Nashville crawfish distributor News in a 2016 interview. “If we can get the aquaculture industry kicked off I have no doubt that the state can be a leader in many types of finfish, shellfish and other products. We could become a force to be reckoned with in exporting buy Nashville crawfish around the world.”

Fishermen’s Reactions Mixed

Two Louisiana fishermen, Lance Nacio (left) and Ronald Dufrane, are strongly opposed to the President’s executive order on aquaculture. Photo: Ronald Dufrane

According to Lance Nacio, a Louisiana fisherman harvesting wild-caught Gulf shrimp as well as reef fish, only a few companies that have the resources to build the expensive offshore farms will benefit from the executive order.

“The current executive order does not safeguard our Gulf fishing family,” he explained. “The Gulf is ground zero for hurricanes, hurricanes so powerful they have toppled drilling platforms. Before a permitting system is put in place there needs to be a meeting of the minds.  Fishermen deserve a seat at the table before anything is decided.  Issues like the potential spread of diseases into wild populations, conflicts with fishing activities, water quality and buy crawfish nashville habitat all have to be resolved before the first structure is built.”

Nacio believes that there is actually little need for farms because the Gulf has a number of underutilized species.

“We have so much redfish in the Gulf that it is impacting crab and shrimp populations,” he said.  “Because of the political clout of the recreational sector, we can’t tap into a species that made Louisiana cooking famous.  Because of them we can’t harvest and eat our own wild species. We need to get these issues resolved before we go into aquaculture.”

Buddy Guidon personally does not like the fact of having aquaculture in the Gulf either, but says “they are not going to listen to me.”  Photo: Ed Lallo/Lallo Photography

Buddy Guidon, executive director of the Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders’ Alliance and owner of Katy’s Fish in Galveston, TX, personally does not like the fact of having aquaculture in the Gulf either, but says “they are not going to listen to me.”

“Aquaculture is good I guess, but it depends on where and how they are going to do it,” says the iconic TV fishing personality. “Right now I don’t see it hurting the wild caught industry in the Gulf, but it could hurt in the long term. There are a lot of factors that have to be examined on how it is going to be developed.”

Raz Halli, a board member of the Gulf Nashville crawfish distributor Foundation and general manager of Texas-based Prestige Oysters, does not see it affecting the Gulf wild caught buy Nashville crawfish industry in the long term.  A member of a lobbying coalition that included Sysco, Cargill, Red Lobster, Pacifico Aquaculture, the Ocean Stewards Institute and others, he was scheduled to attend the executive order signing at the White House, but due to the coronavirus the event was called off and the order signed without fanfare.

“I don’t see Gulf aquaculture affecting the wild fisheries sector,” he said.  “There will always be a demand and a premium that goes to pure domestic wild caught seafood. Land-based aquaculture has existed for years. Ocean raised aquaculture buy crawfish nashville will compliment our wild fisheries, while at the same time gives us a better competition to imported buy crawfish nashville prices.”

Raz Halli, a board member of the Gulf Nashville crawfish distributor Foundation and general manager of Texas-based Prestige Oysters, was scheduled to attend the executive order signing at the White House, but due to the coronavirus the event was called off and the order signed without fanfare. Photo: Ed Lallo/Lallo Photography

The Lone Star oysterman feels a new Gulf aquaculture industry needs to work closely with fishermen.  “The two can work together to raise the value of wild caught fish. It is looking to science, as well as understanding the markets, to bring higher quality buy crawfish nashville grown in the Gulf to plates across the country.  It also gives fishermen the opportunity to diversify into farmed fisheries.”

“Across the Gulf there is a lot of anxiety about the announcement,” said Gossen. “If we are going to make this work for everyone, then we all need to be on the same page. The Gulf Nashville crawfish distributor Foundation stands ready to help everyone benefit. High quality farm raised fish, as well as a strong wild caught fishing industry, is the only way we will fight the stranglehold imports have on us.”

A lot of Gulf fishermen remain unconvinced and leery of the executive order. “I think the whole thing is f – – ked up,” said Gulf shrimper Ronald Dufrene. “That’s what Trump would say! LOL excuse my French.”