Interviewee: Paul Latapie

Role: Commercial Fisherman, Louisiana

Date of Interview: 5/24/12

Collection: Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster Oral History Project

Click on the link below to play the audio clip from the interviewee.

Abstract: Paul Latapie comes from a multigenerational fishing family, and he has been a commercial fisherman in Louisiana for thirty years. He describes a typical day spent crabbing. He talks about changes in the marketing of crabs over three generations, and he describes some of the effects of Hurricane Katrina which have driven down the prices of his catch.


A typical day for me, crabbing, I get up 4:30 in the morning, get in my truck, drive down to my boat, go load bait, gas, boxes. Go out. We run our crab traps, usually get back to the dock, 2:30 in the afternoon. Load the crabs on my trailer, bring them up to the crab dock; sell them, and go home. I usually get home 3:30, four o'clock in the afternoon. I mean, when my father done it, my grandfather done it, most of the crabs they caught back then, most of the crabs was kept local. Now, I'd say 90 percent, if not higher, of the crabs that's caught in Louisiana is shipped out of state. The factory crabs, which is picked for the meat, most of that goes to Alabama. Everything else that's bought and sold, like to boil, probably 5 percent might stay here. The rest is shipped, Baltimore, stuff like that, where they have a bigger seafood market up there. And since Katrina, it's really hurt, I mean, because there's still a lot of places up there that won't serve Gulf seafood. There's a lot of places up there that have signs in their building, when you walk in, "We do not serve Gulf seafood," because the people up there are still scared to eat this, and that's really hurt the market, the seller's market, which drives the prices down.

To listen to Paul's interview, click here.