Monday, 26 September 2011 16:35

Jindal, Louisiana Leaders Laud New Baton Rouge Shrimp Company

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BATON ROUGE – Today, Governor Bobby Jindal -- joined by seafood entrepreneur Tommy Lusco, Baton Rouge Mayor-President Kip Holden and the Baton Rouge Area Chamber -- announced that a new 38-job shrimp processing facility will open in Baton Rouge to market fresh, wild-caught shrimp harvested from the Gulf of Mexico. In addition to creating 38 new jobs, Lusco has invested $2.2 million to equip and renovate a 50,000-square-foot warehouse on Neosho Avenue, where Baton Rouge Shrimp Company Inc. will operate. 

 Governor Jindal said, “The creation of these new jobs and the more than $2 million capital investment are additional signs of our state’s attractive business climate and strong entrepreneurial spirit. Gulf shrimp are second to none and the establishment of the Baton Rouge Shrimp Company means that we can continue to share our quality seafood with the rest of the country and the world.” 

Lusco, a seafood industry veteran, launched the Louisiana Seafood Exchange in 1988 as one of the first U.S. Department of Commerce-inspected facilities in Louisiana. He grew the company to $16 million in sales by 2000 and sold the business the following year to his management team. After retiring, Lusco recognized an opportunity to process and market a premium, Gulf-caught shrimp product. Baton Rouge Shrimp Co. will buy product from shrimpers at ports along the Gulf, with an increasing consumer emphasis on shrimp quality boding well for the new business, Lusco said. 

“It just seemed like an opportune time, because the state is starting to promote regulations like certification and origin traceability,” said Lusco, who entered the seafood business in 1982. “Most of the foreign shrimp are farm-raised and they’re not a premium crop like we produce in the Gulf. We have one of the remaining sustainable fisheries in the country (producing more than $1 billion in shrimp per year) and that’s a big deal. Louisiana is the place to be if you’re in the seafood business.” 

Ewell Smith, executive director of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion & Marketing Board, put Lusco in touch with Louisiana Economic Development officials for assistance in January. After finding a suitable cold-storage facility and identifying the LED assistance, Lusco opted to open his business in Baton Rouge. The state is providing a $1.09 million loan guaranty to Baton Rouge Shrimp, and the company is expected to utilize the state’s Enterprise Zone and Industrial Tax Exemption programs. 

“The opening of Baton Rouge Shrimp will be a valuable addition to our area,” said Mayor-President Kip Holden of East Baton Rouge Parish. “We are thrilled that this operation has chosen to call Baton Rouge home. We look forward to working with them further as they become successful.” 

“Baton Rouge Shrimp will create jobs in the Capital Region using our state’s seafood resources,” said BRAC President and CEO Adam Knapp. “As a sector, food-processing has a long history in Louisiana, and our area is a competitive location for distribution of their products to national and international markets. BRAC is proud that we were able to work with Baton Rouge Shrimp on this venture.” 

BRAC and LED worked together in assisting Baton Rouge Shrimp Co., with LED providing state incentives and project guidance and BRAC assisting the company with permitting and sewer issues, along with Enterprise Zone incentives. 

LED Secretary Stephen Moret said, “The establishment of Baton Rouge Shrimp Company is another encouraging sign of our state’s ability to successfully navigate obstacles after the Gulf oil spill in 2010 and to provide a seafood product that enhances and extends the excellent reputation of our state’s shrimp industry.”

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