Crawfish Promotion Board Meets

On November 17, 2009, the Louisiana Crawfish Promotion and Research Board met at the Department of Agriculture Building on Florida Blvd. in Baton Rouge. The Board is made up of crawfishermen, processors, crawfish farmers, retailers, bait suppliers, restaurant operators, and representatives of related organizations, and is funded through assessments on live crawfish, bait, and processed meat.

The Board meets quarterly and is concerned with promoting Louisiana Crawfish and supporting the industry so that maximum use can be made of the crawfish resources and so that local fishermen and producers can continue to provide jobs for people in the area around the Atchafalaya Basin and throughout south Louisiana.

The Board discussed an ongoing search for an automated peeling machine and a project of the Board to fund development of an effective machine to do that job. The Board has targeted the amount of $250,000 for the project and has raised more than 3/4 of that amount through its assessments on the industry. Several members are involved in research on the subject and a committee is being formed to take the project to the next level of locating a company willing to take on the effort.

The Board also discussed a report funded by the Board and produced by two area biologists. The report concluded that there is no biological support for creating seasons for crawfish in the Basin. The Board agreed with that conclusion but took issue with some of the background arguments in the report and decided to table the report and to not proceed with the development of a management plan.

In other business, the board was informed that cutbacks in the Agriculture Department will reduce the support available for the Board. The new Chairman of the Board proposed that the position of Staff Director not be filled and that the Board members would take on additional tasks to see if they could function effectively without a Director. The Board will also be required to take over the management of the web site and they heard from a representative of Garrison and Associates Advertising, the company originally responsible for creating the web site. Garrison is interested in contracting with the Board to provide management services for the web site. Garrison was invited to provide proposals for basic support and a more comprehensive promotion campaign including web and other promotional services.

Attendance was high and the Veteran’s Auditorium in the Ag Department Building was filled to capacity by crawfishermen and other interested parties.