Convention: Producers, Fishermen Share Common Problems

Sheep Producers, Fishermen Share Common Problems

Despite rainy conditions, sheep producers enjoyed a tour of the Mississippi Delta as a prelude to meetings at the ASI Annual Convention in New Orleans.

The Mississippi River watershed stretches from the Rocky Mountains to the eastern seaboard, and includes all or parts of 31 states and two Canadian provinces. The Mississippi is the fourth longest river and seventh largest wetland ecosystem in the world.

Of special interest to tour participants was a stop at a commercial fishing village in St. Bernard Parish – a village primarily inhabited by Isleños, descendants of immigrants from the Canary Islands who established the village in the early 1800s.

Sheep producers learned that they have much in common with the Isleños fishermen, who tend wetlands and harvest shrimp and oysters, instead of pastures and lambs. They also deal with government regulation and people who want to protect the environment, but know little of the impacts of the policies they advocate.

Members of the Robin family, who have lived and fished in the parish since about 1780, worked to rebuild their oyster beds with crushed concrete from the slabs of homes destroyed during Hurricane Katrina. The Robins not only own private wetlands they tend, but also lease other private wetlands, as well as state wetlands.

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