Fisheries

Fisheries-economy-670

Louisiana's commercial fishing landings are the largest in the continental United States, second only to Alaska. People from across the country enjoy eating Louisiana oysters, crabs, shrimp and fish. The success of this industry depends on the health of the Mississippi River Delta ecosystem. Additionally:

  • More than one third of America's oysters are harvested from Louisiana waters.
  • Louisiana lands roughly 25 percent of the blue crabs caught nationwide.
  • Louisiana shrimpers catch roughly one million pounds of both brown and white shrimp every year.

Louisiana's seafood industry generates 2.4 billion dollars in economic impact annually. Recreational saltwater fishing adds another 750 million dollars in economic impact and supports nearly 8,000 jobs in the state. In addition to sustaining a large part of the economy, the Mississippi River Delta's fisheries also support a unique way of life for generations of Louisiana fishermen.

The Mississippi River Delta's abundant marshes and wide variety of salinities provide ideal habitat for oysters, shrimp, crabs and many species of fish. For example, juvenile shrimp and blue crabs seek protection in brackish marshes until they grow older and move out to open water. Oysters rely on the delicate mix of fresh and salt water found in the Delta.

But as the delta's wetlands disappear, so does the ability to support this abundant aquatic life. Restoration projects that reconnect the river with its wetlands and that rebuild marsh, wetlands and barrier islands will ultimately support a more abundant seafood harvest, which will in turn support local and state economies and the nation that enjoys eating Louisiana seafood.