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Home > Management Info > Quality Improvement Project for the LA Shrimp Industry

Management Information

Quality Improvement Project for the Louisiana Shrimp Industry 

The Quality Improvement Project for the Louisiana Shrimp Industry has a goal to provide technical assistance and outreach programs to the shrimp industry in order to improve shrimp quality and support industry efforts to sustain industry economic viability and increase shrimp prices at all production levels beginning with the fisherman.

The project has two main objectives. One objective is to support the domestic shrimp industry in Louisiana for development of a regional quality certification program in the Gulf of Mexico and Southeast Atlantic regions. The second objective is to develop a practical and useful quality improvement extension program for the Louisiana shrimp industry.

Links and Documents associated with this project:

Details are provided below about the content of the program utilizing these Internet files.

Objective 1: Support of Shrimp Quality Certification in Louisiana

The first objective is to collaborate with Sea Grant seafood technologists in eight participating states to develop, on a pilot program basis, a coordinated quality certification program. The goal of this proposed certification program is to support industry marketing efforts to distinguish and promote domestic wild-caught shrimp over pond-raised imports.

This proposed certification program is based on developing measurable product quality specifications, establishing a quality mark or logo that documents compliance with the predetermined standards, and designing and implementing training programs for both producers and processors that will enable them to meet predefined quality standards. The Mark of Quality program was devised by a quality assurance subcommittee of stakeholders including the Southern Shrimp Alliance.

An important aspect of this pilot program approach is that key industry stakeholders volunteer to participate and are committed to the success of the program. This commitment is critical to the eventual adoption and expansion by industry of such a certification program. Key participants in the pilot program include buyers, processors and fishermen who agree and support the fundamental objective of creating a premium product from the domestic production base to generate a higher price.

As of the end of 2004, the proposed regional Mark of Quality certification program development project had not been funded cooperatively or in other individual states. However, national marketing efforts for wild-caught domestic shrimp, subsequently developed, are being implemented, including a certification program known as Wild American Shrimp Initiative (WASI). The stated goal of WASI is the same as the proposed Mark of Quality pilot program, to create a premium product and generate a higher price.

The WASI program is based on utilizing these Mark of Quality marketing efforts, and involves regional collaboration of shrimp industry representatives from Louisiana and other participating shrimp production states. Although quality specifications and training programs were not developed specifically for this certification program, interested processors of domestic wild-caught shrimp can participate by submitting quality specifications and an inspection program to the WASI board for approval and certification.

The fundamental objective of the shrimp quality improvement project is to support domestic shrimp quality certification efforts in Louisiana through technology transfer. For example, the project is working with the canned shrimp industry in Louisiana. It has submitted quality specifications to the WASI board for approval based upon existing quality specifications and measurements that are routinely evaluated during cannery processing.

The quality improvement project and Seafood Technology Program will continue activities to support certification programs on a pilot program basis for other shrimp industries in Louisiana in support of potential certification programs that will create a premium product and generate a higher price for all industry stakeholders, from fishermen to processors.

For more information about WASI, contact Eddie Gordon by e-mail at eddiegordan@alumni.clemson.edu or by phone at (843) 881-0585.

For more information about improving the value of shrimp product in Louisiana and marketing quality Louisiana shrimp products, go to:

Objective 2: Developing a Practical Shrimp Quality Improvement Extension Program

The second objective of the project is to provide technical assistance to shrimp industry stakeholders in Louisiana towards producing consistent, high quality shrimp products and meeting quality grades that can generate higher prices. Expected projects include practical training to shrimp associations in the form of workshops, to individual stakeholders in the form of hands-on interactions and studies, and to the industry in general mass marketing through Web site materials, videos and presentations.

Development activities have included interviews with individual fishermen and processors, meetings with industry associations, visits to processing plants and buying docks, and fishing trips on board shrimp vessels. These activities have focused on learning and education about shrimp markets and product forms, critical quality attributes, and study of individual handling processes.

In Louisiana, a new extension associate is now dedicated exclusively to shrimp quality certification and improvement efforts to develop practical outreach projects. Current studies include ice slush chilling procedures, shrimp chilling rates, effects on moisture content, and determining recommendations for best practices. The extension associate will also investigate market quality criteria and specifications, such as short weight, product color and pieces generation.

These efforts to develop extension and training programs will continue to focus on best handling and processing practices for the shrimp industry in Louisiana. The project is also researching and utilizing information and projects developed in other states and programs. An excellent example is a program developed by seafood and fisheries technologists in Texas. Although Texas has not funded a regional quality certification project, Sea Grant scientists there were instrumental in developing the Mark of Quality certification proposal, which supports quality improvement for the Texas shrimp industry and involves the USDA Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program.

Working with this program, extension workshops for fishermen in Texas have focused on informing fishermen of the current market forces and effects, as well as best on-board-handling practices and recommendations for improved shrimp quality to meet higher product grades.

USDA Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for Shrimp Program

A Web site ( www.taaforfarmers.org/CommoditiesArchives/shrimp2004/ ) provides the entire TAA for Shrimp program, including information about the TAA program itself. In short, once a state’s industry qualifies for this program, individual fishermen are eligible for assistance funds if they attend a technical assistance workshop. The Texas shrimp industry qualified for the TAA program in 2004 while the Louisiana shrimp industry did not.

Many independent efforts by Sea Grant programs and university seafood technologists continue in other states to support quality improvement and the domestic wild-caught shrimp industry. Some of these efforts and projects are in response to the USDA Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for shrimp program. Seafood and fisheries extension technologists with the Texas Sea Grant College Program have produced course materials for the TAA shrimp program described below. Permission to use these materials was provided by Michael Haby, Ph.D., Russ Miget, Ph.D., and the Texas Sea Grant College Program.

Materials for these workshops are included on the TAA shrimp program Web site. The following paragraphs and associated Web links introduce sections of these TAA materials. Fishermen and other interested industry personnel are encouraged to visit the TAA shrimp program Web site for further details.

An excellent overview of this information is a computer presentation developed for the workshops. This information was developed for shrimp fishermen in Texas. Background information on the evolution of shrimp markets and financial viability of the business is included with technical information about vessel handling best practices designed to produce high quality shrimp. Please click on the following link to view the a PDF of the presentation. Download: TAAshrimp04.pdf (996KB PDF)

Further details were explained at the workshops and included in the workshop curriculum booklet, Wild-Harvested Shrimp Technical Assistance Curriculum.

  • The first section of the TAA curriculum booklet, entitled “Status of the World and U.S. Shrimp Markets,” includes information on production, markets, tariffs, food safety and other issues.
    TAAWildShrimp_1.pdf (134KB PDF)
  • The next section provides practical information and guidance on determining the economic viability and other resources of a shrimp business.
    TAAWildShrimp_2.pdf (78KB PDF)
  • This next section contains key practical information for shrimpers, describing best vessel handling practices and background information for producing top quality shrimp. Because it was written for the Texas shrimp industry, this section focuses on brine frozen shrimp, but also includes information for ice vessels.
    TAAWildShrimp_3.pdf (128KB PDF)
  • The final section of the curriculum booklet includes practical information and guidance on goal setting and the potential of transitioning out of the business.
    Download: TAAWildShrimp_4.pdf (63KB PDF)
  • The entire booklet can be downloaded below, or it can be found together with the workshop presentation on the TAA shrimp program Web site under the “Resources for Educators” link.
    • Wild-Harvested Shrimp Technical Assistance Curriculum (entire booklet)
      Download: TAAWildShrimp.pdf (371KB PDF)

The Web site for the entire USDA TAA for Shrimp Program and materials can be found at: www.taaforfarmers.org/CommoditiesArchives/Shrimp2004/


All of the information in this section of the Louisiana Sea Grant Fisheries Web site is part of the LSU Agricultural Center Seafood Technology Program, which is part of the Department of Food Science and sponsored by the Louisiana Sea Grant College Program, to develop a shrimp quality improvement project for the Louisiana shrimp industry. This 2 ½ year project is funded by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries using federally-appropriated disaster monies and coordinated by the Louisiana Seafood Promotion & Marketing Board. The Seafood Technology Program is directed by Jon Bell, Ph.D. Permission to provide these materials on this Web site was granted to Jon Bell, Ph.D., by Russ Miget, Ph.D., and Michael Haby, Ph.D.,and the Texas Sea Grant College Program.

Development of this portion of the Louisiana Sea Grant Fisheries Web site was funded by the Gulf & South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation, Inc., under NOAA cooperative agreement #NA16FM2817. The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Gulf & South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation, Inc., NOAA, or the Department of Commerce.

Logo: Gulf & South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation, Inc.


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