PHOTO COURTESY OF: OPEN BLUE
By: Virginia Gewin
April 20, 2017 — Editor’s note: This story was produced in collaboration with the Food & Environment Reporting Network, a non-profit investigative news organization.
Harlon Pearce walks muck-booted past processors gutting wild drum and red snapper to showcase a half-full new 5,000-square-foot (500-square-meter) freezer he hopes will someday house a fresh boom of marine fish. Harlon’s LA Fish sits just across the railroad tracks from the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, perfectly positioned to ship fish out of Louisiana.
As president of the New Orleans–based Gulf Seafood Institute, seafood supplier Pearce is a big fish himself in these parts, connected to fishermen, federal agencies, restaurateurs and even the oil industry. He knows better than anyone that wild fisheries alone can’t supply U.S. consumers’ growing demand for fish. Which is why he’s doing his best to bring everyone to the table to achieve one goal: farming the Gulf of Mexico.