Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions and FishChoice Launch New FIP Website

The number of fishery improvement projects (FIPs) globally has grown dramatically,yet there has been no central clearinghouse for detailed FIP progress tracking. However, that has now changed this week with the launch of is a one-stop shop for information on the progress of global fishery improvement projects. It makes tracking progress more efficient, consistent, and reliable for businesses that support FIPs. The website is a place for FIPs to showcase their progress to potential buyers and for businesses to find FIPs that meet their sustainable seafood commitments.

The site, a collaboration between the Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions and FishChoice (of which G.U.L.F. is an affiliate), gives users all the information they need to make decisions about whether FIPs meet their sourcing policy. Users can search for FIPs or browse a full list of all the FIPs on the site. For each FIP, users will start with a progress snapshot and can easily access workplan details and supporting documentation if they need more information.

The information on this new site is verified regularly by staff. When a FIP requests to be included on the site, staff conduct an initial review of information to confirm that the FIP meets the Conservation Alliance’s guidelines, which serve as the foundation for the site. In addition, staff review each FIP’s progress reports annually to ensure the information is accurate. Currently, G.U.L.F.’s Louisiana Shrimp FIP is listed on the site.

Interested in learning more? Join a webinar to learn more about the site features and how you can create an account. The webinar is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 3 from 2-3pm ET/11am-12pm PT, and you can RSVP by emailing Liz Kieffer (

Learn more about the site at, and contact Kristin Sherwood ( with any questions.

Audubon G.U.L.F. Partners with Mississippi Commercial Fishermen Union to Promote Sustainable Fisheries

MSCFU logo             GULF

Audubon Nature Institute’s sustainable seafood program, Gulf United for Lasting Fisheries (G.U.L.F.) is pleased to announce a partnership with  Mississippi Commercial Fishermen Union (MSCFU)  to increase awareness of sustainable fishing practices that will ultimately result in­ a more robust fishery and foster community knowledge of sustainably managed Gulf seafood. MSCFU has joined as a participant in the Mississippi Shrimp Marine Advancement Plan with Audubon G.U.L.F. “MSCFU is a representative of the Commercial Shrimp Industry of Mississippi, and we look forward to working with G.U.L.F. and other special Interest Groups to ensure them the dedication our Commercial Fisherman have towards the Industry, ” said Frank Parker, a founding member of MSCFU and the Shrimp King at this year’s Blessing of the Fleet in Biloxi.

mscfu2This partnership will promote sustainable commercial fisheries throughout Mississippi and along the Northern Gulf of Mexico. Audubon Nature Institute, a not-for-profit organization based out of New Orleans, LA, is emerging as a leading trusted partner in the global sustainable fishing movement. Their projects include third-party certification, fishery improvement projects, and outreach and education to consumers, foodservice businesses, and fishermen.

Audubon G.U.L.F. provides a unique platform for all five Gulf States to participate in the advancement of seafood industry interests by engaging all stakeholders in the sustainability discussion. Audubon Nature Institute created Gulf United for Lasting Fisheries (G.U.L.F.) in 2012 after recognizing the need for a home-grown champion for Gulf seafood. “We are so excited to be working with Mississippi Commercial Fishermen’s Union, ” said Ashford Rosenberg, Outreach Manager at G.U.L.F. “Often, sustainability is talked about at the retail and restaurant level and the fishermen get left out of the conversation. G.U.L.F. is happy to be working with an organization led by fishermen who are dedicated to sustaining their livelihoods and the Gulf of Mexico on which they rely.”

Effective immediately; MSCFU agrees to participate in conjunction with Audubon G.U.L.F. on fishery sustainability projects for Mississippi territorial waters and the Gulf of Mexico fishery as a whole. Additionally, both MSCFU and Audubon G.U.L.F. have signed a Participant Letter of Agreement for a Mississippi Shrimp Marine Advancement Plan (MAP) to further advance sustainability practices among the shrimp industry in Mississippi. This plan serves to bridge the information gap between harvesters and consumers by bringing together all members of the shrimping industry including fishermen, dealers, processors, scientists, and fishery managers to help evolve the his
toric Mississippi commercial shrimp fishery.

By signing on as a participant in the Mississippi Shrimp MAP, MSCFU agrees to the actions recommended by G.U.L.F. after the completion of a sustainability benchmarking of the fishery. One action includes the formation of a Shrimp Task Force in Mississippi and MSCFU agrees to participate in its development and contribute to the overall process of verifying and improving the sustainability of the fishery.

generic sticker layoutAdditionally, under the Mississippi Shrimp MAP, commercial shrimpers and MSCFU members will be encouraged to use Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) and Bycatch Reduction Devices (BRD) on all shrimping nets. Shrimpers using skimmer trawls are also reminded of the current tow time limits (55 minutes April-October and 75 minutes November-March) and are encouraged to use “Tow the Time” window decals so all crew members on participating shrimping vessel will be aware of tow time restrictions.

“Mississippi shrimp is a sustainable fishery and should be recognized as such, ” said Rick Burris, Director of the Mississippi Department of Marine Resource (MDMR) Shrimp and Crab Bureau. “Mississippi fishermen do a good job of following the regulations set in place including TED requirements and applicable tow times.  The MDMR Office of Marine Fisheries recently featured G.U.L.F.’s “Tow the Time” campaign, federal TED regulations, and official TED Enforcement Boarding Form in the 2016 Mississippi Shrimp Newsletter, which was sent to all resident licensed commercial shrimp fishermen in the state. The MDMR’s Office of Marine Patrol also thoroughly enforces all related regulations and provides year round courtesy TED inspections to assure proper compliance.”

Mississippi shrimpers have been using sustainable fishing gear such as TEDs and BRDs for decades and many fishermen use such gear even though they are not always required to do so by law.


All Mississippi fishermen are encouraged to participate in the MAP regardless of membership in the MSCFU. These projects are completely voluntary and participants do not receive any direct compensation; although, the consensus is that sustainability certifications will eventually add value to the Gulf’s natural marine resource. For a full list of participants, visit

The Mississippi Commercial Fishermen Union seeks to lead in the sustainable seafood movement through community involvement, education, research, outreach, and by leveraging technologies to provide trusted digital traceability that will compliment certifiable sustainable fisheries to ensure consumers are getting the absolute best sustainably harvested wild Mississippi seafood. “As many of us are generations deep in this industry we realize that’s this not our grandfathers’ shrimp business anymore, ” continues Frank Parker. “We should be held to a higher standard of more efficient, sustainable, and responsible fishing measures. Our opinions, based off of years of real life experiences, should be held in higher regard than those out of a book.  We look forward to helping insure our industry moves forward with the future.” This is the first step in a long term MSCFU commitment to conserve, advance, and promote the Gulf Coast’s wonderful natural marine resources.

Louisiana Shrimp FIP Receives High Ratings For Progress in 2015

Shrimp is the largest fishery in Louisiana, with 109 million pounds worth approximately $227 million landed in the state in 2014. Sustainability is vital to keep the delicious shrimp harvested in Louisiana and Gulf waters available for consumption, to ensure the health of the ecosystem, and to support the livelihood of the shrimpers who work so hard to bring America’s most popular seafood to the docks.

In 2010, a Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) for Louisiana shrimp was initiated by Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) in collaboration with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries,  Paul Piazza & Son, Inc,  Gulf Island Shrimp, and National Fish & Seafood. The FIP was successful in meeting its original improvement goals, including the development of a Louisiana Shrimp Fishery Management Plan, which was released in May 2015.

In summer of 2015, SFP passed their role in the FIP on to Audubon Nature Institute’s Gulf United for Lasting Fisheries (G.U.L.F.). In fall 2015, two sustainability assessments were carried out for the Louisiana shrimp fishery highlighting the significant steps taken by the fishery and identifying remaining areas with opportunity for improvement.

Last week, during a session at Seafood Expo North America, SFP gave the FIP high ratings for its progress over the last year. Through collaboration with management and stakeholders, G.U.L.F. will continue to facilitate the successful development of the FIP as it moves forward. More information can be found at
louisiana shrimp

G.U.L.F. Travels Entire Coast

We at Audubon Nature Institute’s Gulf United for Lasting Fisheries (G.U.L.F.) pride ourselves on the hands-on approach we take to sustainability and Gulf Coast seafood. We actively travel the Gulf of Mexico, speaking with management and industry on how to best advance the sustainability of our fisheries.

ashford pointing to Mexico

Ashford says “Mexico is that way, ” in Brownsville, TX.


Last week we completed the arc of the Gulf, having officially driven the entire coast, from Brownsville, TX on the Mexican border, to Key West, FL, the southernmost point in the continental U.S. in the last year and a half. While that is about 1, 700 miles from Point A to Point B, we have done it in several stretches, traveling a cumulative 27, 000 miles.


Blue crab sculpture in Rockport, TX.


We look forward to continuing to collaborate with the seafood industry across the Coast, advancing the sustainability of our well managed fisheries.

laura and ashford key west

Ashford and Laura at Southernmost point in Key West, FL.

G.U.L.F. Publishes Action Plan for Texas Blue Crab

Audubon Nature Institute’stxbc_cover_link Gulf United for Lasting Fisheries (G.U.L.F.) has spent the last year working with the blue crab industry in Texas to create a Marine Advancement Plan (MAP). MAPs are a collaborative effort between G.U.L.F., management, and industry to advance the fishery towards greater sustainability.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department does a great job managing the blue crab fisheries in Texas state waters, ” said Laura Picariello, Research Manager for G.U.L.F. “Our goal is to continue working with the blue crab industry to increase sustainability by addressing the few gaps that exist in our Sustainability Benchmarking Report.”

Before creating the Action Plan for the Texas blue crab fishery, G.U.L.F. assessed the fishery against internationally accepted standards of sustainability. “The score for Texas blue crab was quite high, ” continues Picariello. “From there, we met with management and industry to discuss ways to address what few gaps exist and developed recommendations and actions to increase the sustainability of the fishery.”

Recommendations for the Texas blue crab fishery did not just result from the Sustainability Benchmarking Report. Industry interviews also revealed areas in which the industry felt the fishery could improve.

One of the areas G.U.L.F. discussed with participating stakeholders is the industry creating a blue crab organization that can provide a forum for industry to discuss challenges, ways to improve the fishery, and advocate for the fishery with a unified voice. Other industry

Continued industry education is also one of the recommendations. G.U.L.F. is working with Texas Sea Grant,  discussing how to best expand the efforts Texas Sea Grant has started with the Port Arthur Area Shrimpers Association to also include blue crab industry.  Similarly, Louisiana Sea Grant and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has created the new Louisiana Fisheries Forward Program that addresses issues such as safety training, professionalism, and current regulations.

More detailed information about the Texas Blue Crab Marine Advancement Plan, and the full Action Plan, are available at

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.

G.U.L.F. Thanks Wegmans and Woods Fisheries for Supporting MAPs

fisherman dulacG.U.L.F.’s work would not be possible without the support of the seafood industry. We are excited to announce that Wegmans, the highly successful retailer, and Wood’s Fisheries, a shrimp processor in Florida and the only shrimp aquaculture facility in the state, have signed letters of support for G.U.L.F.

Since its founding in 1916, Wegmans has been dedicated to providing the best for its customers, along with continuous improvement in its service, stores, and product, especially seafood. Since 1995, Wegmans has purchased their seafood directly from boats, supporting the local fishermen in the Northeastern U.S. In 2008, they became a founding member of the Food Marketing Institute’s Sustainable Seafood Committee, which is focused on sharing best practices to navigate through sustainability issues and topics.

Carl Salamone, Vice President of Seafood Sustainability at Wegmans says:

“We believe that our commitment to Sustainability is successful only if our partners work together to continually monitor and improve fishing communities supplying Wegmans. Working with G.U.L.F. enables us to keep our associates updated with information which in turn will be given to our customers. This is a win-win situation resulting in customer confidence as they purchase U.S. Gulf seafood.”

G.U.L.F. is grateful for Wegmans’ support and look forward to helping them promote and carry the amazing seafood the Gulf of Mexico has to offer.


2014-05-14 11.57.34-2Located in Port St. Joe, Florida and founded in 1860, Wood’s Fisheries is a shrimp processor and fifth generation family-run business focused on providing quality Wild American Shrimp to their customers. Sustainability has been a focus for Wood’s shrimp throughout the company’s history, which led to Wood’s supporting G.U.L.F.’s sustainability work in Florida and across the Gulf Coast. Like G.U.L.F., not only does Wood’s look at how catching shrimp impacts the ecosystem, but they consider how fishing for shrimp affects the people who depend on the resource for their livelihood. IN order to provide assurance of sustainability to their customers, Wood’s is actively involved in many sustainability projects and provides detailed traceability on their product through Gulf Seafood Trace.

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


Last week, Assistant Director Julianna Mullen and Project Coordinator John Fallon talked with TWILA TV about the G.U.L.F. program. Twila TV is a program dedicated to Louisiana agriculture. We enjoyed spending time with them and taking them through Audubon Aquarium of the Americas’ exhibit dedicated to Louisiana fisheries,  Geaux Fish! Lance Nacio of Anna Marie Shrimp also joined TWILA TV to demonstrate his use of Turtle Exclusion Devices (TEDs) and Bycatch Reduction Devices (BRDs), which minimize capture of unwanted animals in a shrimp trawl.

Research Keeps Seafood Jobs Alive

MDMR to host public meeting

MDMR holds public meeting May 22

News Release – MDMR

Contact: Melissa Scallan, 228-523-4124

BILOXI, Miss – The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources will hold a public meeting Thursday, May 22, to get input from resident commercially licensed oyster and crab fishermen affected by the opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway in 2011.

The hearing is from 6-8 p.m. at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church Community Center on U.S. 90 in Long Beach.

In February, NOAA Fisheries announced that Mississippi will receive $10.9 million for the damage done to the state’s oyster and blue crab fisheries due to floods. NOAA made a disaster declaration in September 2012.

“Funds can be used for activities that restore the fishery or prevent a similar failure in the future, and to assist a fishing community affected by such a failure, ” NOAA officials said in a press release issued in February.

Officials with MDMR will submit a proposal to NOAA regarding the use of the money. Comments from Thursday’s meeting will be included.

At the meeting, commercially licensed crab and oyster fishermen can visit stations that have information on possible projects. For oysters, this includes cultivation and relay, cultch plant, mapping oyster substrate and a stewardship programs. Proposals for crabs includes fishery monitoring (catch rates, predation, habitat needs) and a cooperative restoration program (habitat and bycatch reduction). There also will be information on loan opportunities.

Fishermen can comment at the meeting or can submit comments in writing and mail them no later than May 30 to: Department of Marine Resources, attn. Joe Jewell, 1141 Bayview Ave., Biloxi, MS 39530.

Download the Audubon Gulf Seafood Guide mobile app:
Click here for the app tutorial on YouTube.
Sponsored and coordinated by Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission.
Authorized by the five Gulf state marine resource management agencies.
NOAA Award #NA10NMF4770481.