National Fisherman


Before technology became a major asset to the shrimp processing industry in 1949, all shrimp peeling, washing, deveining and grading was done manually. In many cases, it was a long day of tedious and exhausting work for entire families. While men were dragging nets along the Gulf waters for fresh catch, women and children were in canning factories peeling shrimp by hand.

All that began to change after 17-year-old J.M. Lapeyre accepted a challenge in 1943 from his father, who owned a shrimp plant in Louisiana, to design an automated shrimp peeler. Lapeyre's imagination and analytical mind set the course when one day he stepped on a shrimp with his rubber boot and noticed the meat had ejected cleanly out of its shell.

So began the process to create an automated shrimp-peeler machine that would eventually revolutionize the industry.

"I got my original idea, believe it or not, in church," Lapeyre said in a 1982 television interview. "When I was supposed to be praying, I was thinking about how to get the shrimp out of the shell because my father had said that, 'if you want to make a lot of money, invent a shrimp-peeling machine,' and I thought, 'why not squeeze them out of the shell?' And so when I got down to the plant the next time, I began to step just to the side of the shrimp with my rubber boots to see if I could not in fact squeeze the shell from the meat. And ... it worked."

Research and innovation took Lapeyre to his mother's washing machine, which operated with rubber rollers. After adding running water and a mechanical pressure feed to the machine, he hit the jackpot when he discovered his invention produced a "pinch and release" effect with no damage to the shrimp.

In 1949, Lapeyre founded Laitram Machinery Inc. in Harahan, La., to manufacture and sell the first automatic shrimp peeling machine, and in 1951, he patented the invention, which is the same design leased around the world today.

Read the full story at the Sun Herald>>

Inside the Industry

The following was released by the Maine Department of Marine Resources on Jan. 22:

The Maine Department of Marine Resources announced an emergency regulation that will support the continued rebuilding effort in Maine’s scallop fishery. The rule, effective January 23, 2016, will close the Muscle Ridge Area near South Thomaston and the Western Penobscot Bay Area.

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Louisiana’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, which governs commercial and recreational fishing in the state, got a new boss in January. Charlie Melancon, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislator, was appointed to the job by the state’s new governor, John Bel Edwards.

Although much of his non-political work in the past has centered on the state’s sugar cane industry, Melancon said he is confident that other experience, including working closely with fishermen when in Congress, has prepared him well for this new challenge.

Read more...
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