Jackson, MS – On February 19th, the Department of Marine Resources hosted “Sustaining Momentum: Keeping the Seafood Industry Thriving for Generations,” a five-course Mississippi Seafood dinner and round-table discussion held at the historic Fairview Inn in Jackson, MS. The event highlighted the culture and heritage of Mississippi Seafood, as well as its sustainability, economic impact and the numerous ways in which it benefits both the local community and the country’s seafood industry. Additionally, award-winning Mississippi chefs were on-site to showcase the pristine quality and diversity of Mississippi Gulf Seafood.
Mississippi Chefs David Crews, winner of 2013 Great American Seafood Cook-Off and Executive Chef of Six Shooter Land and Timber, and Gary Hawkins, Executive Chef of 1908 Provisions and the Library Lounge, worked together to create a unique menu featuring an array of species indigenous to the rich waters of Mississippi. The chefs introduced the courses, discussed their love for local seafood and how they insist on using Mississippi Seafood. The locally inspired menu included:
- Mississippi Gulf Oyster Hushpuppies
- Butter-Poached Mississippi Gulf Shrimp
- Mississippi Seafood Boudin
- Spicy Gulf Tuna Deviled Egg
- Micro Mississippi Gulf Crab Cake
- Honey Mustard-Glazed Mississippi Red Snapper
As guests dined on the best ingredients that Mississippi has to offer, panelists shared various viewpoints on the Mississippi Seafood industry. Round table participants included:
- Steve Bosarge, Commercial Fisherman and Commissioner for the Department of Marine Resources
- Joe Jewell, Interim Director for Marine Fisheries
- Traci Floyd, Bureau Director for Shrimp and Crabs
Each of the panelists, many having grown up in families that worked in the industry, touched on the culture and heritage of Mississippi Seafood. Since being developed in the 1800s, the waterways have remained the lifeblood of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. In fact, the industry creates thousands of jobs in the community (the shrimping industry alone creates over 2,660 jobs) and brings in hundreds of millions of dollars in total value of economic goods.
The discussion also focused on another hot topic: sustainability of Mississippi Seafood. As Mississippi Seafood is a domestic resource that helps preserve the community, the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources is continuously working to ensure the industry will continue to thrive for generations. In order to maintain sustainability, several extensive fishery management practices have been enacted such as permanent protected areas, seasonal closures, gear restrictions, quotas and monthly tissue testing on all varieties of shrimp, crab, finfish and oysters.
The final key topic the panelists touched upon was a strong call for consumers to understand the benefits of Mississippi Gulf Seafood and the impact of demand. As Jamie Miller, Director of Marine Resources, pointed out, “It starts with the consumer.” Many consumers in Mississippi assume that their seafood is coming from the docks along the Coast – but that may not always be the case. Whether purchasing seafood at retail or in restaurants, consumers should always inquire about the origin of their seafood and be sure to request Mississippi Gulf Seafood. Not only will this ensure that they’re getting the freshest, premium wild-caught seafood, but will also be supporting the Mississippi community.
When the event concluded, guests left with a deeper understanding of the role of the Department of Marine Resources and the importance of Mississippi Gulf Seafood. Wild-caught, sustainable, flavorful and of the highest quality, Mississippi Seafood continues to support the economy and benefit the local community and the industry as a whole. The rich culture and heritage of Mississippi will continue to thrive around the deep connections to the coast and the seafood from the teeming Gulf waters.
 “Economic Impacts of the Mississippi Seafood Industry by Major Species” Mississippi State University study