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Meet the Future of Aquaculture on the Gulf: The Growers Behind Grand Isle Sea Farms and Indian Lagoon

Meet the Future of Aquaculture on the Gulf: The Growers Behind Grand Isle Sea Farms and Indian Lagoon

The first oyster that Elina ever tasted was from her own farm.

Elina Guerrero’s life never had anything to do with oysters. She is from Latvia and her husband, Boris’s side of the family is from Ecuador. Boris’ family had been farmers all their lives, growing produce like bananas and cacao beans. Years after emigrating to Louisiana, they were in search of a product that they could grow that was sustainable and organic, but encountered many challenges in finding the right crop to grow on land. In 2013, a bill was passed to open up an aquaculture park in Grand Isle, Louisiana. Rather than farming on land, they looked to the possibilities in the sea…

Elina on the farm. Source: Grand Isle Sea Farms Facebook.

T.J. Ward never thought he would get into aquaculture.

His love and learning of seafood came from his father and the many generations before him. He was used to harvesting wild oysters using dredging techniques, but as the decimation of the wild oyster population in the Apalachicola Bay, Florida, was imminent, he learned that aquaculture was a much more sustainable lifestyle in guaranteeing a harvest…

Their beginnings were very different, but they both found a future in aquaculture on the Gulf. During an interview at Peat & Pearls in late 2018, I had the honor of emceeing a story session to learn about their beginnings, as well as their farm’s ecology, their favorite and most challenging parts about the job, and more.

It’s important to note that just days after this interview, T.J.’s oyster business took a massive hit from Hurricane Michael, and his oyster house was devastated. In this video, T.J. talked about his worries for the upcoming hurricane, and how planning ahead was crucial in times like these. We have been keeping tabs on his recovery since then and send him our well wishes as the family rebuilds.

Here are the stories of Grand Isle Sea Farms and Indian Lagoon Fish & Oyster Co.:

Video Source: Stephen Dunn Moody, Dunn Media

Photo Source Above: Blue Collards Media