Summit features best practices for seafood

Johnny Morgan  |  3/12/2018 4:48:46 PM

(03/12/18) KENNER, La. Fishers, seafood processors and dock workers got information on the latest technology in their industry at a recent summit held at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner on March 6.

Louisiana Fisheries Forward is a biennial event that brings together those involved in the seafood industry to share ideas and receive the latest researched-based information from the LSU AgCenter, Louisiana Sea Grant and other state agencies.

“This is a summit that’s designed for fishermen,” said LSU AgCenter and Louisiana Sea Grant instructor Pam Hodson. “We have everything for the industry represented here, from machinery to get their equipment tuned up and ready to go to GPS and the basics of micro-processing and packaging.”

Hodson was pleased that three vocational and technical colleges were present this year with information on hydraulics, GPS and welding.

“These are things that are very important for the fishermen as they tune up their boats and get ready for the season,” she said.

Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser discussed the importance of the fisheries industry in Louisiana.

“The impact that seafood has on the state is huge,” Nungesser said. “It attracts people here. It’s a way of life for so many generations, and it plays into the ecotourism effort the state.”

Some aspect of the industry is always highlighted in state tourism videos, he said.

“It’s just a way of life that you wouldn’t understand unless you live here,” he said. “I grew up in the seafood industry, and it’s the backbone of the state of Louisiana.”

Evelyn Watts, a seafood specialist with the AgCenter and Sea Grant, told attendees what they need to open a seafood processing facility.

“In addition to the common things that every food processor needs to know, like licensing and sanitation, processors also need to make sure their employees are following all to rules to avoid contamination,” she said.

AgCenter and Sea Grant fisheries agent Mark Shirley talked about how to safely pack and ship seafood.

“When selling seafood fresh, timing is very important,” Shirley said. “It’s a really good idea to talk to the companies who make the packaging materials to see what is best for your individual operation.”

In addition to the presentations, cooking demonstrations were conducted by a number of restaurants and the John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University.

Bobby Fletcher, director of weights and measures with the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, discussed the importance of accurate weights and measures when selling seafood.

“We brought oyster baskets here today as a way to show what the actual amounts should amount to. We have two sizes for their inspection,” Fletcher said.

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LSU AgCenter and Louisiana Sea Grant seafood specialist Evelyn Watts speaks during the 2018 Louisiana Fisheries Forward Summit held at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner on March 6. Photo by Johnny Morgan/LSU AgCenter

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LSU AgCenter and Louisiana Sea Grant fisheries agent Mark Shirley tells how to safely pack and ship seafood during the 2018 Louisiana Fisheries Forward Summit held at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner on March 6. Photo by Johnny Morgan/LSU AgCenter

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Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser discusses the importance of the fisheries industry in the state with Nolan Exsterstein Jr. during the 2018 Louisiana Fisheries Forward Summit held at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner on March 6. Photo by Johnny Morgan/LSU AgCenter

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