Fisheries summit and expo coming in March

News Column: COASTAL CURRENTS
Submitted: January 27, 2016
Alan Matherne, Marine Extension Agent; Coastal, Fisheries, & Wildlife Outreach
Terrebonne, Lafourche, and Assumption Parishes; Louisiana Sea Grant / LSU AgCenter

Fisheries summit and expo coming in March

Louisiana Fisheries Forward’s Fisheries Summit 2016, the fourth annual summit for Louisiana commercial fishermen and the seafood industry will held in Kenner this year at the Pontchartrain Center on Tuesday, March 1. Once again, hundreds of commercial fishermen, seafood dealers, processors and others from across the state will congregate to participate in the Gulf South’s premier commercial fishing and seafood industry event.

Last year’s event was well received with hundreds of people from across the Gulf Coast attending. So once again, due to popular demand, capacity’s been increased to be able to accommodate even more attendees! Also, this year’s summit will be conducted in an expo format, featuring an open trade show, demonstrations, and workshop-style talks and trainings.

The Fisheries Summit will provide participants the opportunity to learn about the latest updates, techniques, and programs concerning commercial fishing and seafood production. All this condensed into one full day of workshop talks, trainings, live demonstrations, and a full featured trade show.

The Summit will be more of an ‘expo’ this year, focusing more on hands-on demonstrations and trainings rather than presentations and talks. There will be a few key presentations delivered though, including: Fisheries management update, Economic state of the industry including imports/inspections/legislation, LDWF program updates, and a Buyers panel (featuring panelists in the retail and direct sales industry) discussing ways to sell your catch.

Hands-on demonstrations and the trade show will include: Fisheries biology, Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries; Water chill, brine & plate freezing systems, LFF Quality Trailer; Seafood packaging, Louisiana State University AgCenter Food Incubator; Crab shedding, Louisiana Sea Grant; Marine vessel stability, University of New Orleans; Nano ice machine, Louisiana Sea Grant; Turtle excluder devices, National Marine Fisheries Service/NOAA; Black spot research, Louisiana Sea Grant; and … much, much, more!

Held concurrent to the presentations, trainings, and demonstrations, the trade show will feature organizations and vendors displaying various products and services of interest to those involved in commercial fishing and the seafood industry.

In addition to the talks, trade show, and demonstrations, this event will afford a great opportunity for those involved in the various fisheries and seafood industry sectors to be able to network with one another, make new business contacts, and expand horizons … All with a vision and purpose of increasing business efficiencies and profitability.

Produced by Louisiana Sea Grant, the LSU AgCenter, and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, the Fisheries Summit is an educational and networking opportunity tailored for and targeted towards all commercial fisheries and seafood industry stakeholders. Event co-sponsors include the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board, the Louisiana Shrimp Task Force, the Louisiana Crab Task Force, and the Louisiana Oyster Task Force.

Advanced registration, though not required, is encouraged and can be completed by going to lafisheriesforward.org/summit. The latest information concerning the event can also be found there. There is no charge to participate and a free lunch will be provided to preregistered participants. Space and resources may be limited though, so anyone interested in attending this event is encouraged to register early. Inquiries concerning more information and questions about the summit should be directed to summit@lsu.edu.

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 Alan Matherne is the Louisiana Sea Grant / LSU AgCenter Marine Extension Agent specializing in Coastal, Fisheries, & Wildlife Outreach for Terrebonne, Lafourche, and Assumption parishes. He can be contacted at 985-873-6495 or amatherne@agcenter.lsu.edu. His articles and blogs are posted at bayoulog.com. You can “Friend” him on Facebook at facebook.com/alan.matherne and follow his “Tweets” on Twitter at twitter.com/amatherne.

Posted in Coastal Currents, Fisheries, Seafood | Leave a comment

Oil Spills in Michigan and Louisiana

ESPP Colloquia Series: Oil Spills in Michigan and Louisiana

ESPP Colloquia Series: Oil Spills in Michigan and Louisiana

This event will be happening at Michigan State University on Thursday, November 5 from 2:00 PM until 4:00 PM (Central Time). Access will be available remotely by registering at https://environmentmsu.givezooks.com/events/espp-colloquia-series-oil-spills-in-michigan-and-louisi.

Hosted by the Environmental Science and Policy Program at Michigan State University (MSU) in conjunction with the LSU AgCenter & Louisiana Sea Grant at Louisiana State University (LSU) …

The roundtable will bring together Michigan and Louisiana experts on issues surrounding oil spills. We will have five panelists who are experts in various aspects of the Kalamazoo River spill in Michigan and the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The panel will provide a general overview of the spill events, a brief synopsis of remediation methods employed at each site, and discuss societal impacts. The unique attribute of this event is the opportunity to bring together two communities impacted by the spills, juxtapose the two spill scenarios, and comparatively evaluate impacts of two events that took place only two months apart.

All interested persons are invited and encouraged to join in online.

Posted in Coastal Issues, Disaster & Emergency, Gulf Oil Spill | Leave a comment

Cool season wildlife food plots

Column Article for: Cajun Sportsman
Submitted: September 17, 2015
Alan Matherne, Marine Extension Agent; Coastal, Fisheries, & Wildlife Outreach
Terrebonne, Lafourche, and Assumption Parishes; Louisiana Sea Grant / LSU AgCenter

Cool season wildlife food plots

Fall is just around the corner … thank goodness! And if you’re a hunter or wildlife lover, this season may also bring thoughts of the upcoming cold fronts, cool weather, and days afield, and … how to enhance the experience.

By increasing concentrations of wildlife on natural areas through food plot plantings, the likelihood of encountering them are greatly increased. Also, by providing nutritious supplemental food plantings, the health and quality of wildlife can be enhanced.

So … what to plant and when? Here are some cool season, fall, food plot planting recommendations from Dr. Don Reed, the LSU AgCenter’s Wildlife Specialist.

Austrian Winter Peas
Sept. 1 – Nov. 1
Austrian winter peas, a cool season forage, rival warm season plantings of soybeans and cowpeas in their attractiveness to white-tailed deer. Inoculated seed should be drill planted at 40 pounds per acre or broadcast at 40 to 60 pounds per acre. These plantings are better adapted to heavy clay soils with moderate to heavy fertility. Fertilize at 250 pounds per acre with 0-14-14 and maintain a soil pH between 6.0 and 7.0.

Crimson Clover
Sept. 1 – Nov. 15
Crimson Clover is one of eight or more clovers that can be planted for deer in Louisiana to provide a high protein source in the winter. Clovers are generally planted in a mix with other cool season annuals. Clovers are rather expensively priced per pound, but this cost can usually be justified when one looks at the small amount of seed required to cover an area. Clovers are one of the items land managers can save money on by mixing chosen species themselves rather than buying premixed bags. In planting any variety, take care to maintain pH at recommended levels. Most clovers are very site specific. The big advantage of Crimson Clover is its high tolerance to acidic soils. With any species of clover chosen for planting, reseeding can be enhanced by disking or mowing in the fall after initial establishment. After soil disturbance, apply 0-20-20 fertilizer at the rate of 300 pounds per acre and maintain soil pH between 6.5 and 7.5. Seed should be inoculated and drill planted at 15 pounds per acre or broadcast at 20 pounds per acre.

Subterranean Clover
Sept. 1 – Oct. 15
Subterranean Clover is a cool season annual legume that can tolerate shade quite well, making it an ideal choice for plantings on narrow logging roads and small loading decks in thinned timber stands. Fertilize at the rate of 200 pounds per acre of 0-20-20 and maintain soil pH between 6.5 and 7.0. Inoculated seed should be drill planted at the rate of 8 pounds per acre or broadcast at 15 pounds per acre.

White or Ladino Clover
Sept. 1 – Nov. 15
White Clover or Ladino Clover is another popular cool season annual legume that provides excellent high protein deer forage. Plantings can be established by seeding as little as 4 pounds per acre when drill planting and 5 to 6 pounds per acre when broadcast planting. Fertilize with 400 pounds per acre of 0-20-20 and maintain soil pH between 6.5 and 7.0. Ladino Clover varieties include Osceola, Tillman, Regal, Louisiana S1 and California.

Elbon Rye
Sept. 1- Nov. 15
Elbon rye is a small grain annual plant that is similar to wheat and heavily used by deer in its early growth stages. It is very cold tolerant and can survive fairly frigid conditions later in the year although as it matures it loses a portion of its protein levels. Plantings established in the fall begin to die back the following summer. Elbon rye should be drilled or broadcast at the rate of 80 pounds per acre with 200 pounds per acre of a balanced fertilizer blend such as 13-13-13 applied at planting. Soil pH should be maintained between 5.6 and 6.5. Elbon rye makes its best growth on well-drained, light-textured soils.

Oats
Sept. 1 – Nov. 1
Oats are a cool season annual grain that has the disadvantage of being less cold tolerant than rye or wheat. Established plantings are browsed heavily by deer in their early growth stages. Seed should be drilled or broadcast at 80 pounds per acre, and 200 pounds per acre of 13-13-13 should be applied at planting. Top dressing with a blend of ammonia nitrate fertilizer such as 34-0-0 in January or February is recommended to give added growth later in the year. Maintain soil pH between 5.5 and 6.5.

Ryegrass
Sept. 1 – Nov. 1
Ryegrass is able to grow under such a wide range of soil and light conditions that it is one of the most common plantings to establish for white-tailed deer either planted alone or more often as part of a mix. It is a cool season annual grass, but repeated stands can be achieved by allowing plantings from the previous year to mature and go to seed. Disking such areas the following fall will almost always show some ryegrass returning. Seed can be drilled or broadcast at the rate of 20 pounds per acre. Fertilize at planting with 250 pounds per acre of 13-13-13 followed by top dressing with 150 pounds per acre of 34-0-0. Ryegrass grows best in soils maintained at a pH of 6.0.

Wheat
Sept. 1 – Nov. 1
Wheat is a cool season annual small grain that is widely used by deer in the early stages of growth. It, along with ryegrass, is a staple food plot item that represents some of the most used food plot ingredients for white-tailed deer. Establish plantings by broadcasting seed at the rate of 80 pounds per acre. Fertilize at planting with 200 pounds per acre of 13-13-13 and top dress later in the year with 150 to 200 pounds per acre of 34-0-0. Soil pH should be maintained between 5.5 and 6.5.

Soil tests of the area should be performed before planting and it is recommended that all seed be lightly covered with soil after planting to encourage increased germination success.

Much more information concerning planting and managing food plots for wildlife is available on the LSU AgCenter’s website at LSUAgCenter.com. Just search for food plots and see what you can find. Also, recommended specific publications that you should find helpful and are available on the site include: Food Plot Plantings for White-tailed Deer in Louisiana, Concepts of Soil Fertility for Hunter Food Plots, and Crops for Wildlife Plantings Recommendations, Establishment & Management.

Finally, if you use social media and are interested in staying up-to-date on wildlife issues, you may want to consider joining our Louisiana Wildlife, Bushcraft, & Survival Facebook group. We post occasional articles and links about wildlife here. It’s also a good place to get questions answered and to join in discussions.

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Alan Matherne is the Louisiana Sea Grant / LSU AgCenter Marine Extension Agent specializing in Coastal, Fisheries, & Wildlife Outreach for Terrebonne, Lafourche, and Assumption parishes. He can be contacted at 985-873-6495 or amatherne@agcenter.lsu.edu. His articles and blogs are posted at bayoulog.com. You can “Friend” him on Facebook at facebook.com/alan.matherne and follow his “Tweets” on Twitter at twitter.com/amatherne.

Posted in Cajun Sportsman, Environment, Hunting, Wildlife | Leave a comment

Hunting season is here

News Column: COASTAL CURRENTS
Submitted: September 2, 2015
Alan Matherne, Marine Extension Agent; Coastal, Fisheries, & Wildlife Outreach
Terrebonne, Lafourche, and Assumption Parishes; Louisiana Sea Grant / LSU AgCenter

Hunting season is here

Well, it’s that time of the year again. As we approach the fall, many of us begin to think of outdoor activities such as football and … hunting. That’s right. September marks the beginning of Louisiana’s 2015-2016 hunting season. To help in planning your days afield, we’ve put together the following summary of this year’s upcoming hunting seasons.

Waterfowl and migratory game birds

This year’s hunting season began on Sept 5 with the opening of the first split for doves. This split runs through Sept 13 in the South Zone and Sept 27 in the North Zone. Dove season continues as follows, South: Oct 10 – Dec 1 & Dec 19 – Jan 15; North: Oct 10 – Nov 8 & Dec 10 – Jan 15. The bag limit for doves is 15.

Teal, rail, and gallinule hunting begins on Sept 12th and continues through the 27th (rail and gallinule have a second split from Nov 7 – Dec 30); bag limits are: teal – 6, king & clapper rails – 15, sora & virginia rails – 25, and gallinules – 15.

The taking of ducks, coots, and mergansers begins on Nov 7 in the Coastal, Nov 14 in West, and Nov 21 in the East Zone and continues through various splits in those zones. Various goose seasons begin with a Nov 7 opening in some zones. Also, there are special seasons for youth waterfowl hunting and for falconry hunting. Consult the migratory game birds hunting seasons brochure for details.

Woodcock season runs from Dec 18 through Jan 31 with a bag limit of 3.

The snipe season in all zones is Nov 2 – Dec 6 & Dec 19 – Feb 28. The bag limit is 8.

Rabbit, squirrel, and quail

Rabbit and squirrel hunting begins on Oct 3 and continues through Feb 29. The spring squirrel season is May 7-29. Note that some areas are closed for the spring season; check the Louisiana Hunting Regulations pamphlet for details. The bag limit for rabbits and squirrels is 8 (3 squirrels in the spring).

Quail season runs from Nov 21 through Feb 29 with a bag limit of 10 birds.

Deer

Assumption, Lafourche, and Terrebonne parishes are in Area 9. Deer hunting here starts with the archery season: Oct 1-15 (bucks-only) and Oct 16 – Feb 15 (either-sex). The primitive firearms season has two splits: Nov 14-20 (bucks-only) and Jan 25-31 (either-sex). Modern firearms still hunting (no dogs allowed) has two bucks-only splits of Nov 21-26 & Nov 30 – Dec 11 and an either-sex opening of Nov 27-29. Deer hunting with or without dogs is allowed from Dec 14-25, Dec 28 – Jan 8, & Jan 11-24 (bucks-only) and Dec 12-13, Dec 26-27, & Jan 9-10 (either-sex).

There are some Area 9 “High Water Benchmark Closure” areas in portions of Iberia, Iberville, St. Martin, and St. Mary Parishes; consult the Louisiana Hunting Regulations pamphlet for details.

Deer daily bag limits are 1 antlered and 1 antlerless (when legal); the season limit is 6 and includes 3 antlered or 4 antlerless deer. Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) and other public lands seasons and regulations vary, consult the Louisiana Hunting Regulations pamphlet for details.

The Youth and Honorably Discharged Veterans Season (on private land) in Area 9 is Oct 31 – Nov 6.

There is also a special Physically Challenged Season (on private land) on Oct 3-4. This season is restricted to hunters with Physically Challenged Hunter Permits.

Other hunting seasons

The season for crows, blackbirds, cowbirds, and grackles is Sept 1 – Jan 1 with no limit. Nutria may be taken on WMAs and private property from Sept 1 – Feb 29 with a daily limit of 5 and on Atchafalaya Delta, Salvador/Timken, Pointe Aux Chenes, and Pass a Loutre WMAs from Sept 1 – Mar 31.

Raccoons and opossums have no closed season; there are restrictions for night hunting, etc. There is an experimental year round season for bobcats. See the regulations pamphlet for details on these. Pheasant is open concurrently with the quail season; no limit.

Turkey seasons open in Areas A (Mar 26 – Apr 24), B (Mar 26 – Apr 17), and C (Mar 26 – Apr 10) on private lands only. Consult the separate WMA and Federal Lands Schedules for season dates on those areas.

Coyotes, armadillos, and feral hogs are considered “outlaw quadrupeds” and may be taken year round during legal daylight shooting hours on private property. In general, on most WMAs and other public lands, outlaw quadrupeds may be taken during open hunting seasons with whatever weapon is legal for that particular season (check the regs for area specifics). On private property, landowners and/or their designated agents may take nutria, beaver, and outlaw quadrupeds at night from the last night of February through the last day of August. Special actions such as notifying the sheriff and LDWF enforcement are required for the night hunting, so be sure to read the regulations carefully.

A hunter’s pledge

Responsible hunting provides unique challenges and rewards. However, the future of the sport depends on each hunter’s behavior and ethics. Therefore, as a hunter, I pledge to:

– Respect the environment and wildlife.
– Respect property and landowners.
– Show consideration for non-hunters.
– Hunt safely.
– Know and obey the law.
– Support wildlife and habitat conservation.
– Pass on an ethical hunting tradition.
– Strive to improve my outdoor skills and understanding of wildlife.
– Hunt only with ethical hunters.

By following these principles of conduct each time I go afield, I will give my best to the sport, the public, the environment and myself. The responsibility to hunt ethically is mine; the future of hunting depends on me. (Louisiana Hunting Regulations 2015-2016)

Finally, be sure to consult and study the 2015-2016 Louisiana Hunting Regulations and the Migratory Game Bird Regulations pamphlets before going hunting. These are available at most places that sell hunting gear and can also be viewed/downloaded online at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ hunting regulations website: wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/regulations. There are many rules and regulations associated with hunting and you will want to make sure you are completely legal before heading out.

Good luck afield and happy hunting!

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Alan Matherne is the Louisiana Sea Grant / LSU AgCenter Marine Extension Agent specializing in Coastal, Fisheries, & Wildlife Outreach for Terrebonne, Lafourche, and Assumption parishes. He can be contacted at 985-873-6495 or amatherne@agcenter.lsu.edu. His articles and blogs are posted at bayoulog.com. You can “Friend” him on Facebook at facebook.com/alan.matherne and follow his “Tweets” on Twitter at twitter.com/amatherne.

Posted in Coastal Currents, Hunting, Wildlife | Leave a comment

Area shrimpers’ dock day postponed

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
‎‎July 28, 2015

LAROSE – The Lafourche-Terrebonne area Louisiana Fisheries Forward Shrimp fisheries dock day scheduled for Wednesday, August 5 in Larose has been postponed due to speaker scheduling conflicts and other concerns. This program, which will offer industry updates and hands-on demonstrations of refrigeration and other technologies, will be held at the Larose Regional Park and Civic Center Pavilion sometime in the first quarter of next year.

The event, sponsored by Louisiana Sea Grant, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, and the LSU AgCenter, is designed to keep Lafourche and Terrebonne area commercial fishermen up to date on new technology, best practices for quality and handling, and safety news and regulations.

Again, the area shrimpers’ dock day scheduled to be held in Larose on Wednesday, August 5 will not be held on that day and is being postponed until sometime early next year.

More information, as it becomes available, will be posted at bayoulog.com/events and the “Louisiana Fisheries” Facebook group. Additionally, here are a couple of good links to some of the information that will be covered at the meeting and about direct marketing and selling processed seafood: 1) lafisheriesforward.org/fisheries/shrimp and 2) www.seagrantfish.lsu.edu/program.

Media Contact:
Alan Matherne
Marine Extension Agent
Louisiana Sea Grant / LSU AgCenter
amatherne@agcenter.lsu.edu
985-873-6495 – bayoulog.com

Posted in Fisheries, Seafood | Leave a comment

Proper handling of seafood ensures quality and safety

Column Article for: Cajun Sportsman
Submitted: July 10, 2015
Alan Matherne, Marine Extension Agent; Coastal, Fisheries, & Wildlife Outreach
Terrebonne, Lafourche, and Assumption Parishes; Louisiana Sea Grant / LSU AgCenter

Proper handling of seafood ensures quality and safety

Handling seafood safely helps to maintain quality and wholesomeness.

We all know that seafood is best when cooked and eaten as soon as possible after being taken from the water. But this does not mean seafood cannot be kept good and wholesome long after the catch.

Whether the fish or shellfish has been freshly caught or just bought, you must always take care to preserve its wholesomeness. To safely handle and maintain the quality of seafood, always follow these general guidelines:

  • Keep seafood cold.
  • Don’t cross contaminate (keep raw and cooked seafood separately).
  • Know your seafood seller.
  • Fish to be consumed raw should be frozen first (kills the parasites).
  • Cook fish thoroughly.
  • Buy and/or harvest raw shellfish carefully.
  • Keep “live” shellfish “alive”.
  • Refrigerate live shellfish properly.

All fresh or smoked seafood should be refrigerated at 32-40 degrees. The best way to thaw frozen seafood is under refrigeration (let it thaw-out in the refrigerator or on ice before using). Also, if you’re in a hurry, quick thawing can be done under cold running water if necessary. You should do it with the original wrapping intact. You should keep frozen seafood rigidly frozen until ready to use, stored in a freezer at zero degrees.

Always handle raw and cooked seafood products separately. Clean and sanitize the work space between the preparation and serving of seafood. Don’t allow raw and cooked seafood to come in contact with each other.

You should buy your fish and shellfish only from approved and licensed stores, markets, and fishermen.

If you plan on serving raw seafood dishes such as ceviche, sushi, or sashimi, freeze the fish first to kill any harmful parasites.

Fish is thoroughly cooked when it begins to flake and reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees.

Raw oysters should be bought only from approved reputable sources. Also, if you are able legally harvest oysters yourself, be sure the area you get them from is an open, approved area.

Live shellfish such as crawfish, crabs, lobsters, clams, oysters, or mussels should not be cooked and eaten if they have died during storage.  Also, store live shellfish under well ventilated refrigeration, not in air tight plastic bags or containers. Live shellfish will keep longer when stored in the refrigerator with damp paper or cloth towels covering them.

Finally, remember that all raw foods contain bacteria. You should handle seafood just as you would any other perishable food products. Keep your fish and shellfish properly refrigerated, cook it adequately, and avoid things such as cross contamination. By doing this you will be assured that you and your family always enjoy safe and healthy seafood meals.

Bon appétit!

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 Alan Matherne is the Louisiana Sea Grant / LSU AgCenter Marine Extension Agent specializing in Coastal, Fisheries, & Wildlife Outreach for Terrebonne, Lafourche, and Assumption parishes. He can be contacted at 985-873-6495 or amatherne@agcenter.lsu.edu. His articles and blogs are posted at bayoulog.com. You can “Friend” him on Facebook at facebook.com/alan.matherne and follow his “Tweets” on Twitter at twitter.com/amatherne.

Posted in Cajun Sportsman, Fisheries, Seafood | Leave a comment

Area shrimpers’ dock day will extend learning opportunities

News Column: COASTAL CURRENTS
Submitted: July 8, 2015
Alan Matherne, Marine Extension Agent; Coastal, Fisheries, & Wildlife Outreach
Terrebonne, Lafourche, and Assumption Parishes; Louisiana Sea Grant / LSU AgCenter

Area shrimpers’ dock day will extend learning opportunities

Educational extension services provide information and outreach to various audiences in many creative and non-traditional ways. Agricultural extension realized years ago that farmers tended to learn and adopt recommended practices better if they were presented in a hands-on “field” environment. Thus, “field days” have been and still are used as an important educational tool for the LSU AgCenter. Louisiana Sea Grant and the LSU AgCenter, in cooperation with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, has extended and adopted this concept in the facilitation of coastal fishery “dock days”.

An area Louisiana Fisheries Forward “Shrimp Fisheries Dock Day” will be held at the Larose Regional Park and Civic Center Pavilion (307 East 5th Street) beginning at 9:00 AM on Wednesday, August 5. This event will offer industry updates and hands-on demonstrations. It is designed to help keep area commercial fishermen up to date on new technology, best practices for quality and handling, and safety news and regulations.

Workshop topics to be covered include: Updates & statistics on the shrimp industry; TEDs, shark guards & gear modification; Refrigeration & freezing best practices including — plate freezing demonstrations, new technology equipment displays, brine tank charging & testing methods; Coast Guard fishing vessel safety demos; and New marketing & outreach techniques.

New for this dock day is Louisiana Fisheries Forward’s just completed refrigeration and freezing technologies mobile trailer unit. Custom built by local refrigeration experts, housed aboard this trailer are self-contained plate and brine freezing units as well as other refrigeration devices. Fishermen will be able to get onto the trailer and experience first-hand how these refrigeration technologies work. Actual demonstrations with real seafood products will be conducted.


This event, produced by the Louisiana Fisheries Forward program, will help shrimp fishermen better understand shrimp industry trends, refrigeration and freezing technology, and best handling methods — enabling them to better produce a safe, select Louisiana quality shrimp product. More information concerning Louisiana Fisheries Forward and the programs being developed for Louisiana’s commercial fishing and seafood industry can be found at the website lafisheriesforward.org.

Lunch and refreshments will be provided at the Shrimp Fisheries Dock Day. The program is free and open to all interested persons and registration is not required.

For more information as it develops about this program, including flyers and agendas for the meetings, just go to bayoulog.com. Also, all those interested in current developments, trends, and discussions surrounding fisheries in Louisiana may want to check-out and join our Louisiana Fisheries Facebook group at facebook.com/groups/215555731880124 (or just search for Louisiana Fisheries in Facebook).

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 Alan Matherne is the Louisiana Sea Grant / LSU AgCenter Marine Extension Agent specializing in Coastal, Fisheries, & Wildlife Outreach for Terrebonne, Lafourche, and Assumption parishes. He can be contacted at 985-873-6495 or amatherne@agcenter.lsu.edu. His articles and blogs are posted at bayoulog.com. You can “Friend” him on Facebook at facebook.com/alan.matherne and follow his “Tweets” on Twitter at twitter.com/amatherne.

Posted in Coastal Currents, Fisheries, Seafood | Leave a comment

Cook-up that fresh catch of delicious and nutritious seafood

Column Article for: Cajun Sportsman
Submitted: June 26, 2015
Alan Matherne, Marine Extension Agent; Coastal, Fisheries, & Wildlife Outreach
Terrebonne, Lafourche, and Assumption Parishes; Louisiana Sea Grant / LSU AgCenter

Cook-up that fresh catch of delicious and nutritious seafood

Okay, now that you’ve caught those fish, crabs, and shrimp … what to do with them? Well, eat them of course! In addition to being great fun to harvest, seafood products are also great tasting and great for your health.

Seafood is highly nutritious and very beneficial health wise. Most seafood is low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol; high in protein; low in calories (a 3-1/2 ounce serving of white-fleshed fish typically has less than 100 calories); and low in sodium. It is also a good source of vitamins and minerals and, as a bonus, it’s quick and easy to prepare. Consequently, because fish is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, the American Heart Association and others recommend eating two 3-1/2 ounce servings of fish a week.

Note that because some fish such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish can contain mercury, consumption of those fish should be limited for most of us and avoided by some such as pregnant women, breast-feeding mothers, and children under the age of 12. Other than that note of caution, seafood products should be considered safe, healthy, delicious, and nutritious sources of high-quality protein.

Don’t overcook your seafood. Fish cooks quickly and should be cooked only until the flesh turns opaque and flakes easily with a fork. If you overcook seafood it will toughen up and lose a lot of its natural flavors. A good rule of thumb to follow when preparing fish is to cook it about 10 minutes per inch of flesh, measured from the thickest part. (Conventional cooking only, not microwaving.)

Seafood can be cooked using a variety of methods besides traditional frying. Why not try poaching, steaming, baking, broiling, sautéing, or microwaving your next fish or shellfish meal? It’s healthier than frying and can be much more flavorful.

Poaching is really easy. Simply bring a seasoned liquid (water, milk, wine, etc.) to a boil then simmer it for about 10 minutes. Next add your fish, cover, and simmer until done.

Steaming is surprisingly simple. It’s especially easy if you happen to have one of those specially designed steaming pots. If not, don’t despair … just use a rack of some sort to suspend the seafood a couple of inches above the boiling water. Cover and steam until done.

For broiling, place your fish on a broiling pan and brush it with a sauce of melted margarine and/or olive oil combined with lemon juice and herbs and spices. Broil 4 or 5 inches from the heat source, without turning, until done.

Sautéing. In a frying pan, heat a little margarine and/or olive oil with a liquid such as water or white wine. Add some chopped mushrooms, green onions, lemon juice, and your favorite seafood. Sauté this mixture over medium high heat until it’s done.

An excellent method of cooking seafood is by microwaving. Just put the fish or shellfish in a microwave-safe dish, add seasonings, and cover the dish with plastic wrap. Cook for about 3 minutes per pound or follow the manufacturer’s directions. It doesn’t get any easier than that, and clean-up’s a cinch!

Herbs and spices can be used in place of salt and can be combined to produce flavorful seafood dishes with a creative flair. If you are not familiar with using herbs and spices, here’s a simple way to get started. Just combine ¼ teaspoon of 1 or 2 herbs and/or spices per pound of seafood. Some common herbs and spices that work well with seafood are: allspice, sweet basil, bay leaf, cayenne pepper, celery seed/leaves, chervil, curry powder, dill seed/weed, fennel seed, garlic powder, marjoram, mustard, nutmeg, oregano, paprika, parsley, rosemary, saffron, tarragon, and thyme.

Other seasonings like garlic, lemon, and wine can be combined with the herbs and spices with interesting results. Some good combinations are basil, marjoram, and oregano; garlic powder and lemon; or parsley and tarragon.

Be bold and creative and see what happens. Spice up your life with seafood! In today’s health conscious society we’re eating foods that are lower in calories, sodium, and fat; and consuming more fruits, vegetables, whole grain breads and cereals, skim milk products, and low fat protein sources. Seafood fits right in and complements these new health trends. A wide variety of seafood products are available which provide an excellent high protein source that is great for low calorie, low fat cooking.

Here are a few additional facts concerning the healthy aspects of eating seafood from the LSU AgCenter’s publication “Health Benefits of Seafood”:

– A 3 ounce serving of seafood provides 50-60% of an adult’s daily protein needs.

– All seafood is relatively low in fat.

– Most seafood is low in cholesterol except for shrimp, squid and fish roe.

– Seafood also provides the diet with iron, iodine, zinc, niacin, B-complex vitamins and phosphorous.

– Fatty species of fish provide generous amounts of vitamins A and D.

– Fish with bones, like canned salmon and sardines, are good sources of bone-building calcium.

– An average 3-ounce serving of fish cooked without fat has about 85 calories making it a low calorie food.

– Try not to add extra calories by frying or using cream or cheese-based sauces with seafood.

For more information concerning the nutritional benefits of seafood go to LSUAgCenter.com and search for “Health Benefits of Seafood” and download the publication of that name.

Remember, the American Heart Association and others say that seafood is a healthy and nutritious “heart food”. Now, go clean that fresh catch you’ve got out in the cooler and cook-up and enjoy some healthy and delicious seafood … it’ll do you and your heart a lot of good.

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 Alan Matherne is the Louisiana Sea Grant / LSU AgCenter Marine Extension Agent specializing in Coastal, Fisheries, & Wildlife Outreach for Terrebonne, Lafourche, and Assumption parishes. He can be contacted at 985-873-6495 or amatherne@agcenter.lsu.edu. His articles and blogs are posted at bayoulog.com. You can “Friend” him on Facebook at facebook.com/alan.matherne and follow his “Tweets” on Twitter at twitter.com/amatherne.

Posted in Cajun Sportsman, Seafood | Leave a comment

Rip currents: Break the grip of the rip!

News Column: COASTAL CURRENTS
Submitted: June 06, 2015
Alan Matherne, Marine Extension Agent; Coastal, Fisheries, & Wildlife Outreach
Terrebonne, Lafourche, and Assumption Parishes; Louisiana Sea Grant / LSU AgCenter

Rip currents: Break the grip of the rip!

It is Rip Current Awareness Week and, according to Dr. Chris Houser of Texas Sea Grant, there have been an unusual number of rip drownings this spring. For that reason a survey concerning rip currents is currently being conducted. According to Dr. Houser and Dr. Rob Brander of the University of New South Wales, they are “… using the survey to determine what people know about rip currents and what they understand about the hazard from the warning signs you typically see at the beach.” Anyone interested in participating in the study can do so by going online and completing the survey at https://tamu.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_e8NBaghB7R7VETr. Or you can go to the NOAA rip current website listed at the end of this article and click into the survey from there.

“Rip Currents: Break the Grip of The Rip!” is the slogan for a nationwide campaign to make people aware of the dangers of rip currents and how to escape them safely. Each year over one hundred people drown in rip currents. Along our Gulf Coast, during the period of 1999 through 2013, over 350 people died due to rip currents. Florida had the highest number of fatalities at 297 followed by Alabama with 29 then Texas with 25 and Louisiana with 3.

Rip currents are channelized currents of water that flow away from the beach shore out into the gulf or ocean. They’re formed when waves break near the shoreline, piling up water along the shore. The water seeks to escape from the shoreline area and return back offshore. This sometimes results in a narrow stream of water that moves quickly offshore … a rip current. People sometimes call these currents “undertows” or “riptides”, but those terms are not correct and should not be used when talking about rip currents. Rip currents pull people out to sea not under.

Rip currents can be as narrow as 10 to 20 feet or as much as ten times wider than that. Sometimes the water in rip currents can travel very slowly, almost unnoticeable. At other times these currents can flow at speeds of over five miles per hour, faster than an Olympic swimmer can swim.

So, what to do if you’re caught in a rip current? First, don’t panic and don’t try to swim against the current. Rip currents generally only go out a short ways offshore, then pan out. It’s sort of like being caught on a treadmill: no matter how fast you walk forward, you can’t get off. The thing to do is to either quit walking and be pulled off, or step to the left or the right and get off. The same principle applies to rip currents. Don’t swim against them. Either let the current pull you out then swim back, at an angle, to the bank, or just swim to the left or the right of the current, parallel to the shore. Once out of the rip current, then swim back to shore.

A NOAA fact sheet on rip currents recommends that if caught in one:

– Try to remain calm to conserve energy.

– Don’t fight the current.

– Think of it like a treadmill you can’t turn off. You want to step to the side of it.

– Swim across the current in a direction following the shoreline.

– When out of the current, swim and angle away from the current and towards shore.

– If you can’t escape this, try to float, or calmly tread water. Rip current strength eventually subsides offshore.

– If at any time you feel you will be unable to reach shore, draw attention to yourself: face the shore, wave your arms, and yell for help.

More information concerning rip currents — what they are, the dangers, and how to escape — is available at NOAA’s National Weather Service Rip Current Safety website: www.ripcurrents.noaa.gov. They also have a great online training program called “Break the Grip of the Rip”. It is interactive and has nearly 30 modules covering everything from rip current fatalities by state to how rip currents are formed and how they kill, to how to escape rip currents and how to become more aware of rips and the dangers involved in encountering them. Going through this course would be a great way to prepare you and your family should you face any rips on your next beach adventure.

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 Alan Matherne is the Louisiana Sea Grant / LSU AgCenter Marine Extension Agent specializing in Coastal, Fisheries, & Wildlife Outreach for Terrebonne, Lafourche, and Assumption parishes. He can be contacted at 985-873-6495 or amatherne@agcenter.lsu.edu. His articles and blogs are posted at bayoulog.com. You can “Friend” him on Facebook at facebook.com/alan.matherne and follow his “Tweets” on Twitter at twitter.com/amatherne.

Posted in Coastal Currents, Coastal Issues, Environment | Leave a comment

Stay safe, be aware of beach dangers

Column Article for: Cajun Sportsman
Submitted: May 29, 2015
Alan Matherne, Marine Extension Agent; Coastal, Fisheries, & Wildlife Outreach
Terrebonne, Lafourche, and Assumption Parishes; Louisiana Sea Grant / LSU AgCenter

Stay safe, be aware of beach dangers

Heading out to the beach this summer season? Great, enjoy the fun in the sun, but keep it fun by being aware of and taking proper precautions. Some of the potential hazards that may be encountered at the beach include: lightning, sharks, jellyfish, sunburn, and rip currents. Using a little common sense when confronting these situations will help ensure many safe and enjoyable beach ventures.

Lightning. Each year in the U.S. an average of 62 people are killed by lightning. Remember … when thunder roars, go indoors! The safest place to go is inside large enclosed buildings. Picnic shelters, sheds, and other smaller shelters don’t provide adequate protection from lightning strikes. If there are no enclosed buildings around, the second best places to go are enclosed metal vehicles such cars, trucks, and vans — but not convertibles, soft-tops, and bikes. After the storm has passed, you should wait at least 30 minutes following the last thunder crack before going back out into the open and onto the beach.

Sharks. Actually, the risk of being involved in a shark attack is very small. They do occur sometimes though, generally in near shore areas around sandbars. Sharks tend to feed in these areas and sometimes confuse humans with other prey that they are seeking out. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) suggests following these tips to help reduce your chances of becoming shark bait:

– Don’t swim too far from shore

– Stay in groups — sharks are more likely to attack a solitary individual

– Avoid being in the water during darkness or twilight when sharks are most active

– Don’t go in the water if bleeding from a wound — sharks have a very acute sense of smell

– Leave the shiny jewelry at home — the reflected light resembles fish scales

– Avoid brightly-colored swimwear — sharks see contrast particularly well

Jellyfish. While all jellies sting, not all of them have poisons that hurt people. They should be avoided though, just in case. Be careful around areas with warning signs concerning jellyfish. Also, watch out for the tentacles even if they aren’t attached to the jellies. Suggested first aid for sting wounds is washing the area with vinegar or rubbing alcohol (not water) and sprinkling meat tenderizer on the wound or putting a baking soda and water paste on the sting. Anyone experiencing an allergic reaction should seek medical attention.

Sunburn. Too much sun can spoil the fun! And you might not even realize it until much later, as it can take up to 24 hours before full damage is noticeable. Be sure to take proper precautions including avoiding prolonged exposure to direct sunlight, sporting hats, and applying sun blocking lotions. First degree burns (skin redness and peeling) should be treated with cool baths and bland moisturizers or hydrocortisone creams. Blistering second degree sunburns can be very serious if covering a large area. Symptoms of severe burns include headache, chills, and fever. Medical attention is advised for second degree sunburns.

Rip Currents. Each year over a hundred people drown in rip currents. A few years ago four people (one from Louisiana) drowned in rip currents on the Alabama coast. Also, in 2009 in Grand Isle, a young girl from Baton Rouge was rescued from a rip current by two Houma brothers.

Rip currents are channelized currents of water that flow away from the beach shore out into the gulf or ocean. They’re formed when waves break near the shoreline, piling up water along the shore. The water seeks to escape from the shoreline area and return back offshore. This sometimes results in a narrow stream of water that moves quickly offshore … a rip current. People sometimes call these currents “undertows” or “riptides”, but those terms are not correct and should not be used when talking about rip currents. Rip currents pull people out to sea not underwater.

Rip currents can be as narrow as 10 to 20 feet or as much as ten times wider than that. Sometimes the water in rip currents can travel very slowly, almost unnoticeable. At other times these currents can flow at speeds of over five miles per hour, faster than an Olympic swimmer can swim.

So, what to do if you’re caught in a rip current? First, don’t panic and don’t try to swim against the current. Rip currents generally only go out a short ways offshore, then pan out. It’s sort of like being caught on a treadmill: no matter how fast you walk forward, you can’t get off. The thing to do is to either quit walking and be pulled off, or step to the left or the right and get off. The same principle applies to rip currents. Don’t swim against them. Either let the current pull you out then swim back, at an angle, to the bank, or just swim to the left or the right of the current, parallel to the shore. Once out of the rip current, then swim back to shore.

According to NOAA, if you find yourself caught in a rip current:

– Try to remain calm to conserve energy.

– Don’t fight the current.

– Think of it like a treadmill you can’t turn off. You want to step to the side of it.

– Swim across the current in a direction following the shoreline.

– When out of the current, swim and angle away from the current and towards shore.

– If you can’t escape this, try to float, or calmly tread water. Rip current strength eventually subsides offshore.

– If at any time you feel you will be unable to reach shore, draw attention to yourself: face the shore, wave your arms, and yell for help.

Practice common sense and observe these simple precautions so that you and your family can enjoy many safe, healthy, and happy days at the beach. Have a great summer!

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 Alan Matherne is the Louisiana Sea Grant / LSU AgCenter Marine Extension Agent specializing in Coastal, Fisheries, & Wildlife Outreach for Terrebonne, Lafourche, and Assumption parishes. He can be contacted at 985-873-6495 or amatherne@agcenter.lsu.edu. His articles and blogs are posted at bayoulog.com. You can “Friend” him on Facebook at facebook.com/alan.matherne and follow his “Tweets” on Twitter at twitter.com/amatherne.

Posted in Cajun Sportsman, Coastal Issues, Environment | Leave a comment