Louisiana Plans Shrimp-Certification Program
The Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board yesterday unveiled a certification program to establish a quality standard for Louisiana shrimp and bring traceability to the supply chain, starting with fishermen.
Harlon Pearce, chairman of the Louisiana board, told SeaFood Business the goal of the Certified Wild Louisiana Shrimp program is to get a better price for fishermen by creating a globally recognized brand. The program will focus on quality and educating seafood buyers and consumers about the product. Pearce is seeking participation from fishermen, dock managers, processing facilities and retailers.
"I believe that unless we do this, our industry will suffer. The lifeblood of our industry is our fishermen," Pearce said.
Guidelines for the voluntary program should be finalized by May, when shrimp season begins. Ultimately, similar programs will encompass other species like oysters and finfish.
The Mazzetta Co. in Highland Park, Ill., has worked with the board on the program since its conception.
"We told them, 'We'll pay more money if you can do something better,'" Jordan Mazzetta said. "We feel [Louisiana shrimp] could be a completely separate market."
"But this is not an anti-import program," Pearce added. "[Imported shrimp] play an important role in filling demand. What we want to do is to take our product quality to another level so that fishermen can get the price they deserve."
For an in-depth discussion about the various certification programs for both domestic and imported shrimp, attend the Annual Shrimp Forum at 10 a.m. Tuesday.