Seafood Economic Resilience in Coastal Louisiana

Despite seafood’s central place in Louisiana’s culture and economy, its role has traditionally been overlooked in sustainable rural economic development efforts. Meridian is helping Louisiana bolster its seafood industry to strengthen rural communities’ economic resilience.

Louisiana is the nation’s second-largest seafood supplier. Seafood is central to Louisiana’s economy and culture. Despite this, the industry has often been neglected in the state’s efforts to address rural economic stagnation. With funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Office of the Louisiana Lieutenant Governor, Meridian partnered with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Business School and Louisiana Sea Grant to examine how the state can engage with the seafood industry to catalyze rural economic development.

Many of Louisiana’s coastal rural communities are vulnerable to shocks, from economic hardships to natural disasters. A sustainable seafood industry can help rural coastal communities by providing jobs, food, and opportunities for new business development. By mapping the seafood supply chain through economic data analysis and interviews with companies and government officials, the project team is identifying ways public and private investment can support seafood business development in coastal Louisiana.

We are beginning in local parishes to understand their unique opportunities and vulnerabilities, then moving to comprehensive regional assessments. In the project’s final phase, we will produce a state-wide strategy with recommendations for bolstering rural seafood business development. This will provide the foundation that coastal communities need to implement scalable projects that help them thrive in the future.