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Commercial Fishermen Meeting in Abbeville

Boat captains as well as boat owners, dock managers and processors are invited to attend a pre-season meeting on Tuesday, March 19 at the Vermilion LSU AgCenter Office in Abbeville (1105 W. Port Street). The meeting, which is organized by the LSU AgCenter and Louisiana Sea Grant, will begin with registration at 8:15 a.m. It will conclude with lunch at 12:30 p.m. Lunch is being sponsored by the Louisiana Fisheries Forward Program.

The agenda includes presentations by personnel from the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries concerning the artificial reef project. Enforcement Agents will answer any regulatory questions that fishermen might have.

Members of the U.S. Coast Guard will talk about fueling procedures, oil spill reporting/sampling and safety issues. Fishermen must comply with many different regulations. Coast Guard personnel will be there to explain why certain regulations exist and how they actually protect the environment and ensure the safety of fishermen.

USCG Rear Admiral Paul Thomas of District 8 will be presenting the Meritorious Public Service Award to two local business owners in Intracoastal City for their assistance in the rescue of four commercial fishermen on Sept 18, 2018.  Also, in attendance will be Capt. Blake Welborn from Houma and CDR Heather Mattern from Morgan City. Additionally, since safety is everyone’s job, fishermen will have the opportunity to participate in an interactive safety training exercise conducted by the USCG and LSU AgCenter/Louisiana Sea Grant.

National Marine Fisheries Service will have a TED demonstration and answer questions on installing and tuning TEDs in order to minimize shrimp loss. Fishermen can also arrange for their TEDs to be inspected to be sure they are in compliance before they go shrimping.

Many fishermen have been working on the water for a long time and have been questioning the future of the fisheries. There will be a special presentation and survey by Robert Twilley, Louisiana Sea Grant executive director, to discuss future changes in the seafood industry.

Helping fishermen get more money for their catch is a goal of the Louisiana Fishing Forward Program, a partnership between Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and Louisiana Sea Grant. An update will be provided on value added marketing and processing, seafood quality and shipping.

Abbeville General Hospital will offer free health screenings before the meeting starts and during the break.

The meeting will be focusing mainly on shrimp issues, but all commercial fishermen are welcome to attend.

For more information, contact Mark Shirley, 337-296-6864, or Thu Bui, 337-251-6662.