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


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