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Mike Voisin, Louisiana’s wildlife and fisheries commissioner and an outspoken proponent of the Louisiana seafood community, was hospitalized earlier this week with a critical heart condition, the Louisiana Seafood Board said in a release.

“This is a terrible tragedy on so many levels,” said Ewell Smith, executive director of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board. “Our thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery go out to Mike and his family.”

Voisin was listed in guarded condition at Terrabone General Hospital in Houma, La., but his daughter posted on Facebook that he has started to respond with small movements.

Voisin has built a reputation as a signature advocate of the seafood industry in general, and Louisiana seafood in particular. Smith said Voisin was getting ready to lead a delegation to Washington, an annual “Walk the Hill” event to meet with Gulf State legislators.

“This is our annual trip to D.C. to educate congressmen, senators and their staffs on the issues key to Louisiana seafood,” he explained. “Mike has always played the key role in setting the program and leading the state’s seafood delegation.”

In advance of the trip, the seafood board sent along seafood tins, which are part of a marketing campaign for restaurants and retailers. Upon learning Voisin was in the hospital, many Louisiana legislators, including U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, attached yellow ribbons to the tins, on display in congressional offices in Washington, as a show of support.

“Mike is one of the best known ambassadors for Louisiana seafood,” said Margret Henderson of Henderson Strategies who represents Friends of the Fishermen. “When you enter a Louisiana congressional office the first thing they ask is about Mike’s condition.”

Lucian Gunter, CEO of New Orleans Acme Oyster House, was one of many Louisiana seafood industry leaders who was worried about Voisin.

“His condition is very worrisome, not only to Acme Oyster House, but to me as an individual. As a father and a husband he is someone that is near and dear to all of us,” he said.  ”He has a mentor; someone to look up to and emulate.”

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