Outreach and public engagement are integrated into nearly everything Louisiana Sea Grant does. They are the tools used to ensure that our work is not only relevant to society, but directly connected with it.
Extension, Communications, Education and Law & Policy personnel engage stakeholders and the broader public, connecting university-based research to the communities and industries Louisiana Sea Grant serves. Conversely, these same outreach personnel keep researchers and academics abreast of the issues most important to our coastal communities.
Through educational programs and practical assistance, Sea Grant Extension serves Louisiana’s coastal population – about 70 percent of the state’s residents. Sea Grant extension agents, who live in the coastal areas they serve, and extension specialists, who are based on the LSU campus, connect residents to university research in four areas: Coastal & Wetland Management, Natural Fisheries, Aquaculture, and Seafood Products.
Marine Extension personnel address aquaculture sustainability as it relates to several species and their environments. Louisiana Sea Grant’s coastal aquaculture audiences are primarily small businesses, cultivating or supporting production of mollusks, shellfish, crustaceans, finfish and reptiles.
Emphasis is given to water quality, coastal pond and impoundment management, specific species such as crawfish, and technology development. Through workshops, newsletters and personal contacts, Sea Grant agents and specialists communicate research findings to the aquaculture community and the concerns of aquaculturists to university researchers.
Louisiana Sea Grant’s Discovery, Integration and Application Program (LaDIA) expands the impact of research on coastal issues. The program supports scholars interested in applying their work to real world problems and sharing these discoveries with diverse audiences. By encouraging multidisciplinary research efforts and strong links with coastal communities, the LaDIA Program connects science, communication and coastal residents. In essence, the program provides a two-way conduit between university research results and community needs. The LaDIA Program is divided into three areas: LaDIA Fellowships, Coastal Connections and Graduate Research Scholars.
Sea Grant agents and faculty use applied research and technology transfer to promote the development of about 350 seafood processing firms in Louisiana. Most of these are too small to make large investments in research and development to address concerns such as product quality and safety, processing technology and secondary product development.
In addition to these issues, agents and specialists play a major role in training seafood processors to meet new sanitation requirements.