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Newsroom: 2014

CNREP/Sea Grant partners on Fisheries Forward initiative
(October 15, 2014)

Dr. Rex Caffey, a professor in the department and director of the Louisiana Sea Grant Marine Extension Program, was part of multidisciplinary team awarded a multiyear contract in January 2014 for the development of a continuing education initiative for Louisiana's commercial fishermen. Caffey serves as co-principal investigator along with Marine Extension Program agent Thomas Hymel, who will serve as state leader for the new program.

The new extension outreach program, Louisiana Fisheries Forward, builds on the successful Trade Adjustment Act programming in which the LSU Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness (via Dr. Kurt Guidry) partnered with Sea Grant Marine Extension to deliver more than 120 technical assistance workshops from 2010 to 2013.

The first phase of the project, funded by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries at $1.1 million, is for the development of a 10 interactive Web-based videos focusing on commercial viability, licensing and permitting and resource stewardship. The overall goal of the program is to establish a voluntary certification program to help the state's beleaguered fishing firms survive in an increasingly competitive and highly regulated business environment.

Westra leads Market Maker programming
(July 8, 2014)

The state Office of Community Development touted the online Louisiana MarketMaker program on July 8, 2014. MarketMaker provides a database of local fishers, farmers and food retailers –matching food producers with consumer markets and thus potential buyers.

Anybody in Louisiana with a product to sell – seafood, citrus, pecans, strawberries and most other items – may establish an account on the site for free. Potential buyers then can find producers through the site's Google-based searchable database. It's somewhat like a matchmaking service, allowing buyers and sellers to find one another.

The state community development office's Disaster Recovery Unit provided a three-year, $125,000 grant to the LSU AgCenter to get the service up and running. This summer the state announced that the online purchasing website had garnered more than 4.6 million hits from its start in June 2010 through April 2014, much more than its initial goal of 100,000 hits.

Nearly 21,000 Louisiana food businesses and 500 agribusinesses have signed up with the site, the state announced. "We knew that our fishermen and shrimpers took a real hit from hurricanes Gustav and Ike, and we knew we needed to help them in a way that would make the industry more sustainable for the long term," said Pat Forbes, the director of the state Office of Community Development. "Providing funds for this website was uncharted territory for us, and it's exciting to see the response the fishermen have had from consumers looking for great Louisiana seafood."

Seventy-two commercial fishermen and shrimpers in the coastal Louisiana parishes have signed up for the program, according to the state announcement.  "This will be a boon for our seafood industry," LSU AgCenter Chancellor Bill Richardson predicted when he first announced the launch of the website in June 2010 at the 88th annual Louisiana Farm Bureau Convention. "This will provide another way for them to promote their products and get the word out that Louisiana seafood is safe to eat despite the oil spill."

The $125,000 grant came from Community Development Block Grant money that the state had received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for recovery from hurricanes Gustav and Ike.

Researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign first developed the service. Then in November 2013, the nonprofit Riverside Research signed a global licensing agreement with the University of Illinois for the exclusive rights.

It is one of the largest databases of searchable food industry-related information in the country, currently linking producers and consumers in 19 states plus the District of Columbia. Since taking over MarketMaker, Riverside Research also has begun expanding into other countries.

"The number of buyers using the site to source and buy Louisiana seafood and other local food products, as well as the number of firms that have registered their businesses on Louisiana MarketMaker, is testament to the important role the website plays in the food supply or value chain in our state," said John Westra, of LSU's Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, who helped launch the local service.

Individuals who want to register for the local site may go to http://La.FoodMarketMaker.com. Anyone with questions can contact MarketMaker@agcenter.lsu.edu. (Article by Benjamin Alexander-Bloch; Times-Picayune; July 8, 2014)

CNREP Begin Economic Study in Gulf of Mexico
(January 5, 2014)

In partnership with the Coastal Marine Institute at Louisiana State University (LSU), BOEM has launched an economic study of the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System (GCOOS). The three-year cooperative project will enhance our understanding of the social and economic value of GCOOS, while providing decision makers the data necessary to plan for future changes to the system. The principle instrument of the project is a valuation exercise in which detailed, electronic surveys will be distributed to targeted GCOOS user groups in the public and private sector.  Using stated preference methods, researchers will gauge the value of key components of the proposed GCOOS build-out plan, as well as identify preferences for particular attributes of the plan (e.g. data types, frequency of use and coverage area).  This will be accomplished by eliciting responses regarding current use and application of GCOOS data, as well as constructing scenarios that present respondents with a set of alternative build-out plans that allows them to assess the tradeoffs of adopting one alternative versus others. 
Read the full article >

Caffey named to Editorial board
(January 1, 2014)

CNREP director and DAEA Professor Dr. Rex Caffey was recently named to the editorial board of the Journal of Ocean and Coastal Economics (JOCE).  The new journal publishes research related to the theory and practice of applying economic perspectives to the understanding of ocean and coastal resources and to coastal areas as economic regions. The geographic focus of the journal is the global ocean and major bodies of fresh water (such as the North American Great Lakes) that serve the same economic function as the oceans and seas. The Journal publishes papers related to the history, trends, and projections of economic activity in coastal geographies and industries, the non-market valuation of ocean and coastal resources, and the unique socioeconomic characteristics of coastal regions and how these are impacted by both natural processes and human activity. For additional information, see: http://cbe.miis.edu/joce/about.html

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