In recent years, Louisiana fishermen have had more than their fair share of obstacles to overcome. They’ve endured crippling hurricanes, the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, rising fuel prices and a flood of foreign shrimp imports that depressed dock prices and thinned profit margins.
But fishermen are nothing if not resilient and resourceful. And as you’ll see in our November issue’s cover story, these days, Louisiana’s harvesters are increasingly turning to technology to help them earn the most for their catch.
For example, some shrimpers are using their smartphones and social media tools like Facebook to connect with customers eager to get their hands on fresh shrimp. That’s a post from the David Chauvin’s Seafood Co. Facebook page at left. In a post today, the company not only lists what size shrimp are available, but shares a nice recipe for shrimp linguine in a tomato and white whine sauce for added inspiration. I know reading it made me hungry.
Others post information right from the boat. They snap a photo of their catch, upload it to their Facebook page and let their followers know what they’ve caught, how much they’ll sell it for and how customers can get their hands on it. By the time they return to the dock, their catch can be already sold.
Louisiana fishermen can also turn to Louisiana Sea Grant’s Louisiana Direct Seafood website. It gives fishermen, their families or employees another way to post information about their latest catch.
These marketing avenues can help fishermen earn more for their catch than what a dock might pay. That doesn’t mean fishermen will stop selling to processors, though. Processors will remain a vital part of the distribution chain. And not every fisherman will want to engage in direct marketing efforts.
But for those who do want to take advantage of them, social media tools like Facebook and Twitter and programs like Louisiana Direct Seafood give harvesters another way to get the most for their catch. And the more avenues fishermen have for maximizing their earnings, the better.