LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) A whopping 80% of shrimp caught in Louisiana is sold to restaurants, but restaurants across the country are shutting their doors due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Now Louisiana's $2 billion seafood industry is struggling.
“These are all very small family-owned businesses, and they are very dependent on local sales,” Twin Parish Port Commissioner Wendell Verret said.
Larger seafood businesses will also be hurt.
As demand for seafood goes down, they'll be stuck with too much inventory. When businesses stop buying seafood from fishermen, the effects could be disastrous.
“Once the fishermen are impacted and they cannot continue to fish, they lose their boats. They lose their equipment. They lose their shop, and it's very hard to get back into that business,” Verret added.
He says fishermen will be forced to find new trades, and Louisiana will not be able to produce as much seafood as before.
“The capacity to be able to produce this great seafood for Louisiana and other people in the country is going to be lost, and it's going to take quite some time to come back,” Verret told News 10.
That’s why the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is asking people to buy seafood caught and produced in Louisiana.
“Seafood is a part of our culture down here, and we're trying to preserve it as much as possible,” Verret said.