The Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board (LSPMB) and the Louisiana Shrimp Task Force are in the beginning stages of developing a Louisiana Certified Shrimp Program.
"The board formed the Louisiana Shrimp Task Force first of all to facilitate the development of the Louisiana Certified Shrimp Program," said LSPMB Chairman Harlon Pearce said.
LSPMB Executive Director Ewell Smith said, "Big seafood buyers in this country are asking for certified, quality-controlled products. The timing is right to make this happen in Louisiana and we are starting with shrimp."
Commissioner of Agriculture Bob Odom is working with LSPMB and the Louisiana State University Food Science Department to develop criteria to justify a premium quality label for use by Louisiana shrimp suppliers.
"The board also wants to broaden the discussion on Louisiana shrimp. We have a chance to create new marketing strategies," said Pearce. He explained that the task force brings every sector of the shrimp industry to the table: shrimpers, retailers, restaurateurs, processors, brokers, and the quality control experts.
Pearce expressed appreciation on behalf of the board to John Williams of the Southern Shrimp Alliance and to Bill Hogarth of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for the funds to initiate this important effort.
Pete Gerica, a New Orleans fisherman and vice chairman of the LSPMB, was named chairman of the newly formed Louisiana Shrimp Task Force. Gerica said the first meeting will be in two weeks.
For more information, contact Ewell Smith at 504-283-8150 or Harlon Pearce at 504-467-3809.