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In the latter half of the nineteenth century the Louisiana shrimp industry began in Barataria Bay when canning and drying operations raised shrimping from a local business venture to a small-scale localized industry. The purpose of this study is to trace the economic development of the industry from 1867 through its various stages of growth to the present. Publications of federal and state conservation agencies and personal interviews provided the principal sources of information for this study.

Eighty-six years after its founding the shrimp industry became the most import United States fishery. This was due largely to technological improvements in the production of shrimp and the corresponding growth of initial processed shrimp forms to utilize the increased catch in expanding markets. Shortly after the trawl replaced the seine and led to larger catches, the marketing of shrimp in headless form created new outlets. When offshore discoveries of shrimp expanded production, frozen shrimp became an important marketing form to supply the growing demand throughout the United States. The key to the industry’s future seems to be expansion into new fishing grounds, revitalization of the grounds which have produced sparingly in recent years, and curbing growing imports.