The ribbon was cut on a major new facility in Louisiana Tuesday. The new Fisheries Research Laboratory at Grand Isle was officially opened by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and put to work in benefitting one of our major industries – commercial and sport fishing.
At the southern end of our most productive estuary, the Barataria Basin which includes St. Charles Parish, it replaces the Lyle St. Amant Marine Biological Laboratory on Grand Terre Island, next door to Grand Isle. It will offer much easier access for workers and visitors alike with road access that was not available at Grand Terre.
It is also much larger and offers more modern facilities for research, experimentation and study that is so important in maintaining our fisheries to provide livelihoods for our citizens and abundant seafood to much of the country. Visitors will be able to benefit by making use of the library and research facilities there.
Mayor David Camardelle said it well at the dedication when he pointed out that Grand Isle made history again. The debris that remained on the northern Caminada Bay shore after Katrina was replaced by this magnificent new laboratory. It is said to be one of the most modern and largest fisheries labs in the country.
The structure contains some 25,000 square feet with wet, dry and instrumentation labs, a research library, conference room office space for 22 scientists, an education center with laboratory and sleeping accommodations for 41 workers. There are also visitor laboratories, covered slips for 13 research vessels, back down ramp and hoist system, finfish and shellfish hatchery, storage and a maintenance shop.
Louisiana wetlands spawn almost half of the commercial fish produced in the country. And this new facility will certainly be a boon to that production.