Thomas Hymel, LSU AgCenter extension agent, will discuss the success of the Delcambre Direct online seafood marketing project as part of a Working Waterfronts and Waterways Seminar in Washington, D.C. Hymel also will brief members of Congress and their staff on the project’s success.The seminar is sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and will take place May 31-June 1.
The Twin Parish Port Commission, Louisiana Sea Grant and the AgCenter developed Delcambre Direct as an effort to help revitalize the fishing industry in the Vermilion Bay region. A custom marketing website was created that puts consumers directly in touch with local producers of wild-caught seafood. Commercial fishers are profiled with contact information and photos on the site. Harvesters also are able to post their latest catch messages to the website to attract customers. Weekly seafood newsletters are sent to more than 800 program subscribers to prompt interest and sales.
Hymel said the program as “the most successful outreach effort ever developed to really help the bottom line of commercial fishermen in Louisiana.”
More than 20 Delcambre-area shrimpers signed up for the project in 2010. About half of those boats left to work as cleanup contractors for BP following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The remaining boats in the program fished during the fall shrimping season.
“Those dozen or so boats working were catching an average of 5,000 pounds a week. Direct sales to the public resulted in a premium price for the shrimp, more than twice the wholesale price. More than $6,000 per week extra went directly to the fishermen. A season of good fishing made a big difference to the bottom line for those fishers,” said Hymel. “The fishermen got a better price and the public got top quality shrimp at half the cost as at a supermarket.”
The 2011 program is running wide open as more customers are discovering how easy it is to buy top quality seafood locally and directly off the boat.
For more information about Delcambre Direct, visit www.portofdelcambre.com.
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture