New numbers show just how big of an impact seafood (especially crawfish) has on LA’s economy

As the warm weather encourages bountiful seafood harvests across south Louisiana, the Public Affairs Research Council for Louisiana is touting the seafood industry’s $2.4 billion annual impact on the state’s economy.

One out of every 70 jobs in Louisiana is related to the seafood industry, says PAR in a “snapshot” report released Friday. Louisiana is the nation’s second-largest seafood supplier with harvests of crawfish, shrimp, crabs, oysters and alligators.

Crawfish rules the state’s seafood industry as Louisiana leads the nation in freshwater crawfish production. More than 90% of the nation’s crawfish is harvested in south Louisiana, according to the Louisiana Crawfish Promotion and Research Board. More than 1,600 farmers and 800 commercial fishers in Louisiana harvest roughly 130 million pounds of crawfish annually.

The state also pulls in an average 11 million pounds of oysters every year, outranking all other Gulf states and accounting for 50% of the nation’s oyster harvest.

While the seafood industry is considered a quintessential part of Louisiana’s economy, the industry is sensitive to natural disasters. A collaborative report created by the LSU Agricultural Center and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries found that the landfall of Hurricanes Laura, Delta, Zeta and Ida during 2020 and 2021 cost the seafood industry upward of $570 million in total revenue and resource losses. Learn more about the state’s seafood industry.

This story originally appeared in a March 10 issue of Daily Report. To keep up with Baton Rouge business and politics, subscribe to the free Daily Report e-newsletter here.