Sustainable Seafood Dinners Presented by Audubon G.U.L.F.’s Chef Council

Renowned chefs from the Gulf region will share their passion for local, sustainable seafood at Audubon Nature Institute’s second annual Summer of Sustainability dinner series launching on Thursday, June 1, at 6:30 p.m. and continuing through August. Tickets are going fast! Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

“The first dinner on June 1 is all about oysters, working as both the kickoff to the Summer of Sustainability and the New Orleans Oyster Festival, taking place June 3-4 in Woldenberg Riverfront Park,” said John Fallon, G.U.L.F.’s Assistant Director. “Audubon and Oyster Fest are working closely this year to highlight the importance of having a healthy, sustainable Louisiana oyster industry.”

Hosted by Audubon’s sustainable seafood program, Gulf United for Lasting Fisheries (G.U.L.F.), the dinner series raises awareness about seafood sustainability and highlights local chefs working to support Gulf of Mexico fisheries.

“These dinners are a fun, easy, and delicious way for the public to learn about and support sustainable seafood,” continued Fallon. “The amount of culinary talent we have behind this is just astounding, and a testament to how important the issue of seafood sustainability is for us here on the Gulf Coast.”

G.U.L.F.’s Chef Council and Restaurant Partners, comprised of some of New Orleans’ best chefs, will present all-inclusive, multi-course dinners in front of the breathtaking Gulf of Mexico habitat at Audubon Aquarium of the Americas.

Spearheaded by Tenney Flynn, Chef/Co-Owner of New Orleans restaurant GW Fins, the Chef Council partners with Audubon to spotlight the importance of promoting local, sustainable seafood.

“Seeing the expanded number of talented chefs participating in this dinner series is exciting because it provides a much wider reach to educate consumers about the bounty of seafood available in our backyard, furthering the mission of the Audubon G.U.L.F. program,” said Flynn.

Participating Chefs and Restaurants (subject to change):
• Tenney Flynn-GW Fins
• Susan Spicer-Bayona
• Ryan Prewitt-Peche
• Brian Landry-Borgne
• Alan Ehrich-Audubon Tea Room
• Cory Bahr-Restaurant Cotton
• Alex Harrell-Angeline
• Jason Goodenough-Carrollton Market
• Dana Honn-Carmo
• Allison Richard-High Hat Café
• Alfred Singleton-Café Sbisa
• Austin Kirzner-Red Fish Grill
• Acme Oyster House
• Ruby Bloch – Cavan
• Chris Lynch – Commander’s Palace

Audubon Nature Institute Awarded NFWF Gulf Coast Conservation Grant

G.U.L.F. Program Will Reduce Impacts to Sea Turtles Through Shrimp Industry Engagement


generic sticker layoutAudubon Nature Institute has received nearly $52, 000 to work with the skimmer shrimp fishery of the Northern Gulf on sea turtle conservation. Awarded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), the grant will fund work to reduce sea turtle capture by skimmer trawls though shrimp industry engagement. Audubon received one of 18 NFWF Gulf Conservation Grants awarded to programs working to enhance coastal habitats, bolster fish and wildlife populations and strengthen resilience along the Gulf of Mexico.

The NWFW Gulf Conservation Grants Program (GCCGP) will support Audubon’s sustainable seafood program, Gulf United for Lasting Fisheries (G.U.L.F.) to increase sea turtle protectio by expanding the ‘Tow the Time’ education campaign for shrimp fishermen. The Tow the Time Campaign focuses on educating fishermen about current tow time limits (55 minutes from April 1 to October 30 and 75 minutes from November 1 to March 31). The GCCGP builds on existing alliances and looks to build new partnerships, with major funding provided by the Shell Marine Habitat Program, Southern Company’s Power of Flight Program, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and other sources.

“This is another great example of Audubon’s commitment to local conservation and working to protect endangered species, ” said Ron Forman, President and CEO of Audubon Nature Institute. “The focus of this grant compliments the excellent work currently being performed by Audubon’s Coastal Wildlife Network, which to date has rescued and rehabilitated more than 200 endangered sea turtles from our local waters.”

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, concerns arose over drastically declining sea turtle populations in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic. One of the reasons identified for sea turtle decline was mortality associated with shrimp trawls. To address these interactions, NOAA implemented new regulations for the shrimp fishery. Changes in the industry included turtle excluder devices (TEDs), which are installed in nets to allow endangered sea turtles to escape while shrimpers are fishing, and tow time restrictions for smaller, inshore nets such as skimmers to reduce the potential for interactions. Since then, sea turtle mortality has significantly decreased and sea turtle populations are showing signs of recovery. Continued concerns over the five species of sea turtles in the Gulf necessitate increased awareness of these regulations to optimize the benefits of these regulations.

DSC_7494“G.U.L.F. has been working with the skimmer trawl shrimp fishery in the northern Gulf of Mexico for the last several years, ” said Ashford Rosenberg, G.U.LF. Outreach Manager. “Funds from NFWF’s Gulf Coast Conservation Program will go toward expanding our work with fishermen by providing them with “Tow the Time” decals, which serve as visual reminders of current regulations for skimmer trawls that help limit interactions with sea turtles. This grant will also allow us to expand our work with the industry, ensuring we can inform them about current regulations and potential future regulations.”

The grants will also support industry workshops that will educate fishermen on current and upcoming proposed regulations, the logistics and benefits of turtle excluder devices (TEDs), and the importance of carrying observers on their vessels.

“Gulf restoration work is reaching new levels of conservation success, benefiting both wildlife and local communities, ” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “We are excited to build on these achievements with this latest round of Gulf grants.”

View full press release. 

Summer of Sustainability on WWL

On Thursday, June 30, 2016, G.U.L.F. appeared on the local New Orleans station WWL with the chair of the G.U.L.F. Chef Council, Tenney Flynn. Check out the clip below to see Chef Tenney cook up some amazing seafood to whet your appetite for the Summer of Sustainability!

Derelict Crab Traps in the Gulf of Mexico

DSC_7643 Traps are the most common way that blue crabs are harvested in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as along the Atlantic Coast. In the Gulf, traps were introduced as gear in the late 1940s and were the predominant gear by the 1950s. While they made harvest easier and more profitable for fishermen, problems arose especially regarding derelict traps.

According to NOAA’s Marine Debris Program, derelict fishing gear is any fishing equipment that has been “lost, abandoned, or discarded in the marine environment.” While some derelict traps are discarded intentionally, other instances such as theft, bad weather, or the lines being cut by boat propellers can cause traps to be lost.

derelict trapsOnce a trap is lost, it quickly becomes a hazard. Stray buoys and lines can be problematic for ships or boats and traps may be caught in shrimp trawls or ensnare recreational fishing lures. Ghost fishing poses a threat to animals in the area where the trap is lost. Ghost fishing occurs when lost gear continues to trap and kill animals, such as fish, crustaceans, reptiles, marine mammals, and sea birds. In the case of blue crab traps, the diamondback terrapin are a species of concern because they are listed as protected or endangered in some areas, and they share some habitat with blue crabs. Derelict cleanup efforts began in order to address some of these concerns.

In the Gulf of Mexico, the states began coordinating clean up efforts in the early 2000s. Relying on state agency employees, fishermen, and volunteers, derelict trap cleanup programs have become well established across the Gulf and many occur on an annual basis. Well over 60, 000 traps have been removed since then, and efforts have been so successful in some states that they now only organize cleanup events on an as needed basis.

The benefits of removing this debris from the water are many. There are less navigational hazards, less traps for animals to be killed in unintentionally, and less polluted coastal areas. Recently, a study also found that there is an economic benefit to trap removal. In the Chesapeake Bay, another major area for crab harvest, it was found that removing over 34, 000 traps led to an additional 13, 000 metric tons in harvest.

P1010863G.U.L.F has enjoyed participating in trap cleanup efforts in Louisiana over the last several years. Texas, Louisiana and Florida host annual clean up events as well. Mississippi and Alabama, due to their smaller coastlines and the efficacy of past clean up events, host volunteer derelict trap retrieval on an as needed basis. If you are interested in volunteering with a Trap Removal Program follow the links below for information on each state’s efforts.

Texas Abandoned Trap Removal Program

Louisiana Derelict Crab Trap Rodeos

Mississippi Derelict Trap Removal Program – as needed basis

Florida Derelict Trap Clean Up Events


Audubon sustainable seafood program becomes national FishChoice Affiliate

fishchoice logoWe have officially become a Sustainable Seafood Affiliate with FishChoice, a business-to-business website that connects parties with a common interest in supplying and providing sustainable seafood. FishChoice’s restaurant finder is an interactive tool that features G.U.L.F’s ten restaurant partners,  as well as other restaurants around the country committed to serving responsibly sourced seafood to their guests. We are excited to provide information regarding inshore fisheries of the Gulf of Mexico to like-minded businesses interested in supporting the sustainability of this region. 


Article from

News Roundup 3-6-15

1. Love seafood? New app helps you find the freshest catch. (more)
2. Seafood Summit in Houma on March 11th. (more)
3. January landings of shrimp in Gulf of Mexico second lowest in last decade. (more)
4. Florida Supreme Court keeps ban of gill nets intact. (more)
5. LDWF removes 400 crab traps from LA waters. (more)


Gulf United for Lasting Fisheries in 2014: A Year in Review

2014 was an incredible year for G.U.L.F.! We made huge strides, and look forward to continuing to unite the Gulf seafood industry in 2015. Here are some of our biggest accomplishments from the past year:

1. Start of Marine Advancement Plans

The start of 2014 marked the launch of our Marine Advancement Plan (MAP) project. MAPs are a tool to communicate the sustainability of Gulf fisheries to retailers, restaurants, or other businesses who want to know detailed information about the sustainability and management of Gulf State fisheries. In addition, MAPs will also identify areas within state management where advancements can be made to be consistent with an international standard of sustainability, Food and Agriculture Organization Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries Management. We are currently working on six MAPs.




Texas Blue Crab

Texas Shrimp

Mississippi Blue Crab

Alabama Blue Crab

Florida Stone Crab

Florida Blue Crab





2. Launch of

screen shot web home page

In March, we debuted our new website. Designed as a tool to educate businesses and consumers about sustainability and Gulf fisheries, houses details about our work, species information, and the latest news and events pertaining to Gulf seafood. Check in regularly for updates on our projects.

3. Outreach and Industry EngagementAudubon G.U.L.F. Outreach 05

G.U.L.F. is a regional program dedicated to the sustainability of state fisheries across the Gulf Coast. It is our goal to do outreach and education, as well as industry engagement, across all five Gulf States. We were incredibly busy in 2014 to achieve this goal, and have been successful. At festivals and outreach events, we encourage consumers to support local, domestic Gulf seafood for its unique taste, high quality, and rigorous management that ensures its sustainability.  We have traveled outside our region across the country to spread this message. During our travels we interview members of the industry, from harvesters to retailers, to hear their experiences with Gulf fisheries, how we can enhance the industry, and how they can get involved with our work.

4. Launch of Chef Council

chef council hi res

In October, G.U.L.F announced our formation of the G.U.L.F. Chef Council, a group of ten chefs dedicated to sourcing sustainable Gulf of Mexico seafood in their restaurants. Chaired by Chef Tenney Flynn of GW Fins, the Chef Council will partner with G.U.L.F. to act as a voice for promoting local, sustainable seafood.

5. G.U.L.F Certification Standard


Over the last two years, G.U.L.F. has been working on developing a standard that will certify Gulf of Mexico fisheries as sustainable. In December, we opened the first draft of the standard to public comment to ensure voices from the industry could be heard as we continue to move forward with this project. The first round of comments will be accepted until February 5th. Send an email to to submit your comment.

A Bird’s Eye View of the Louisiana Coast

In November, Outreach Coordinator Ashford Rosenberg, took to the sky to take a look at the Louisiana coastline. The opportunity is part of a grant that gives people the opportunity to see how the coast has changed over the last few hundred years. Land loss is a major concern in Louisiana, especially in the wake of several strong hurricanes that have hit the Gulf Coast in recent years. Land built by sediment deposited from the Mississippi River can act as a barrier and help protect against storm surge. However, anthropogenic processes over the last century have altered the flow of the Mississippi River and affected the structural integrity of Louisiana’s wetlands. Many projects have been proposed to address the issue in the hopes of preventing more wetland loss.


Less than 100 years ago, this area used to be farmland. Deltas are notoriously rich in nutrients that facilitate plant growth. However, with alterations to the Mississippi River channel, this area is no longer getting the sediment it needs, and building canals has facilitated the weakening of soil structure and the land washing away.

oil canal

Canals such as these were dug as part of oil operations, and they can be seen in large numbers across the Louisiana coast.

delta community

Communities dot the landscape. People here live largely in isolation, relying on boat transport to get from place to place. In some instances, these areas are fishing camps with temporary residents, but some are towns with permanent residents. The delta provides habitat for many commercially and recreationally important marine species, and the people in these areas rely on that resource for food and income.


Barrier islands play a large role in coastal ecosystems. They can act as a barrier to wave energy, decreasing the force of waves that reach the mainland. However, they are highly unstable, and move regularly as sediment builds them up and storms wash them away. Plant life plays a role in stabilizing these islands. A variety of planting projects exist, but have varying degrees of success. Other projects have been proposed to help build barrier islands back up again to provide continued coastal protection from wave energy.

It was an amazing opportunity to see coastal processes from a different point of view, and was also quite humbling to see how much a landscape can change in such a short amount of time. Protection of the delta and wetlands is essential to ensure that people in coastal Louisiana can continue to survive and thrive, and with innovation and collaboration, projects that aim to do so can be successful.

Guest Blogger Jeff Marshall, G.U.L.F. Intern

trawler Watching the weathered green trawling nets slowly rise out of the muddy Louisiana waters, a certain aroma of fresh shrimp slowly envelops the air as the swollen net swings over my head and into the boat. As the haul is dumped atop the holding container, we immediately drop the nets back in the water and start sorting through our catch. I begin to feel right at home as I become temporarily spellbound by this unique aspect of Louisiana culture that relatively few people seem to experience. This is my recollection of my first trip shrimping with my grandfather when I was about nine years old, and it remains an exceptionally vivid memory that I will not soon forget and forever cherish. Though I have not actually been shrimping with my grandfather in a few years, I continue to help him peel and package shrimp for family and friends; for it’s through these seemingly trivial moments such as peeling shrimp with my family that I truly realize how vital our fisheries have become to the local society, economy, and culture.

In addition to the memories of growing up in a fisherman’s family, I have been molded into a person with a deep appreciation for our coastal fisheries. Having recently graduated from LSU and studying a considerable amount of marine biology, I was looking to get involved with coastal fisheries in any capacity; and the perfect opportunity soon became available with the Audubon Nature Institute’s Gulf United for Lasting Fisheries (G.U.L.F.). Perhaps the main reason I had become attracted to G.U.L.F. is that we share ideals. My main interest has been to promote seafood sustainability while preserving the socioeconomic uniqueness of the Gulf Coast region, and this has proven to coincide with the underlying mission of G.U.L.F. From conducting field research to making countless phone calls to practically living on the road all in a combined effort to better preserve the Gulf coast and its individuality, the wonderful people of G.U.L.F. have remained extremely proactive in their ongoing and seemingly endless efforts to achieve more sustainable fisheries.

During my time at G.U.L.F., I was able to get a fantastic and in-depth understanding of the issues that remain involved in coastal fishery sustainability and cultural preservation. It’s through the implementation of Marine Advancement Plans (MAPs) throughout the Gulf Coast that has ultimately allowed G.U.L.F. to establish an appropriate plan to monitor communications and the upkeep of the fishery to ensure its continued sustainability. It’s through MAPs, field interactions, and a tireless devotion to coastal fisheries that we are truly able to make a difference in the Gulf Coast community. With the same tireless devotion I have been fortunate enough to promote G.U.L.F. at outreach events, notify the public of the importance of coastal fishery sustainability, meet new people and organizations that are continuing to make considerable strides in coastal sustainability, and assist in the daily operations of the supportive staff of G.U.L.F.

Though my internship may technically be over, my involvement with G.U.L.F., the conservation of coastal fisheries, and the preservation of local culture has seemingly just begun. Simple moments such as shrimping and peeling shrimp with my family make me realize the impacts that certain cultural traditions have on individuals and communities; and it’s ultimately our responsibility to make sure that these traditions are preserved, continued, and able to last for the foreseeable future. I believe that it’s through the continual help of organizations like G.U.L.F. that sizeable advances are constantly being made in the conservation of the Gulf Coast fisheries for the enjoyment of future generations. Lastly, my time here with the great people of G.U.L.F. has only strengthened my desire to become more involved in safeguarding the incomparable Gulf coast community and its vast commodities and customs.

Jeff Marshall

Thanks to everyone who made this internship possible especially Ashford Rosenberg, Laura Picariello, Julianna Mullen, and John Fallon. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time here; it wouldn’t have been possible without the help and support of you all.

Jeff at LRA

Inspiring the Next Generation of Ocean Leadership

Laura in Mexico

G.U.L.F. Research Assistant, Laura Picariello

Earlier this month our research assistant, Laura Picariello, took a trip to Baja California, Mexico to assist the Marine Biology Field Program run through Glendale College, CA. As part of the summer Marine Biology course, students spend two weeks in the small coastal fishing village of Bahia de los Angeles on the Gulf of California (Sea of Cortez) learning about marine science and conservation.

Bahia 7 (2)


The land and waters surrounding Bahia de los Angeles are protected as part of a Biosphere Reserve established by the Mexican president in 2007. This area is also an UNESCO world heritage site. Among their daily field activities, students spent time out on the water with local fishermen, talking with them about their work and the waters they fish from. Students also met with CONANP (Comision Nacional de Areas Naturales Protegidas- National Commission of Natural Protected Areas) representatives who responsible for monitoring and maintaining the marine protected area. The protection of this area is not only crucial to ensuring populations of commercially important fish for the area thrive, it is also a haven for the charismatic whale shark (Rhincodon typus). Students got the amazing opportunity to get up close and personal with the largest fish in the sea.

whale shark (charlie)

Photo Credit: Charles Harmer

During Laura’s time in Mexico, she spoke with students about the importance of sustainability in our use of ocean resources. What does sustainability in seafood mean? How are fisheries managed to ensure that fish and shellfish populations are available for future generations? What are the challenges of managing warm-water fisheries versus managing cold-water fisheries? Laura introduced students to the UN FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, the US Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation Act and the importance of supporting local, US managed seafood products. These topics are complicated, and the questions are not easily answered. At G.U.L.F. we challenge the next generation of marine scientists, fisheries biologists, and conservation enthusiasts to tackle these questions head on, and be the next generation of ocean leaders.


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Authorized by the five Gulf state marine resource management agencies.
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