A University of Louisiana at Lafayette study finds deficiencies with the coastal seafood industry in Acadiana. Moody-endowed chairman of regional business development at UL, Geoffrey Stewart, says one issue is not having a central point of contact for the seafood industry when problems arise.

“We have some people that would say go see Wildlife and Fisheries, go see Department of Ag, go see Louisiana Promotion and Marketing, so it causes a little bit of fray and confusion,” said Stewart.

Transportation is also a day-to-day hurdle. Stewart says fresh seafood from the Acadiana coast is not shipped out of the region and that’s because they do not have enough product to make it cost-effective for truckers.

“There are terminals at the airport in New Orleans for fresh seafood trucking companies that are there that are very interested if we can create that central repository to combine and create the volume,” said Stewart.

The Louisiana Sea Grant is interested in establishing a seafood innovation center in New Iberia, which could be a collection point for fresh seafood to be shipped out.

Stewart says there are also not enough cold storage areas. He says the study also found that Acadiana seafood could be marketed better if the stories of those involved in harvesting, producing and cooking the seafood were told.

“Our food just doesn’t happen on its own, our food is produced, harvested, processed and cooked by people here and it’s part of our culture,” said Stewart.