Our Work With
SMHA's strategies for assisting traditional commercial fishers are based on models used throughout our work: find out what the fishers want; identify and build leaders; provide necessary technical assistance; identify institutions and non-profits who can and will partner and collaborate to create change.
- When family fishers needed help, SMHA was there to hear their issues, concerns and pleas. After being contacted by leaders of the fishing community, SMHA embarked on a "listening tour" along the Louisiana coast. To celebrate the organization's 25th Anniversary, 56 community meetings were hosted as brainstorming sessions, allowing the fishers to identify their long term goals and develop strategies to achieve their vision.
- SMHA provides research, technical assistance and leadership training to a core groups fishers in Terrebonne, Plaquemines, Lafourche, Vermillion, St. Bernard, and St. Mary parishes to raise public awareness and assist in organizing, communication and policy change.
- SMHA partnered with the Loyola University based ECOnomics Institute and the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board to implement the White Boot Brigade, a traveling shrimp market featuring the fresh, wild-caught shrimp of Louisiana commercial fishing families. The White Boot Brigade connects with existing farmers' markets and grocery stores to bring fresh shrimp to new consumers.
Visit the White Boot Brigade website at www.whitebootbrigade.org
- Southern Mutual creates opportunities for fishers to tell their story to a local, regional and national audience. SMHA connects commercial fishers to the sustainable agriculture movement and to other national fisheries organizations, encouraging fishers to use common issues to solidify support and change.
- SMHA works toward fair and balanced policies at a state and national level that support shared use of resources by commercial and recreational interests. SMHA also encourages policies that support family owned and operated businesses, like those of commercial fishers.
- SMHA is focused on providing micro enterprise development opportunities to fishers. We are identifying institutions statewide who can assist in providing resources to the fishers.
- Southern Mutual is building the capacity of its affiliate Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), the Southern Mutual Financial Services, Inc. to be able to make small business loans to fishers.
- SMHA is involved in the fight to save Louisiana's vanishing coastal marsh lands from erosion and environmental destruction. Coastal erosion threatens the livelihood of commercial fishers and the future of coastal communities.
Return to top of page