VIDEO: Louisiana fishermen bank on new tourism campaign

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There’s a new push to get tourists in New Orleans off Bourbon Street and into nature.

Ecotourism is the new way to explore Louisiana, according to a statewide campaign. And as commercial fishermen see numbers drop in catch and profit, they’re considering the tourism industry as a way to make a living, according to a WWNO report.

Tony Goutierrez has been a commercial fisherman his entire life, but his paychecks keep dropping. He’d like to keep making a living on the water, but can’t do so in commercial fishing anymore.

Out on his boat, Goutierrez sees a lot of amateur outdoorsmen hoping to make a big catch, but they’re often setting up shop just a few miles from the sweet fishing spots. Seeing this, it hit him — helping tourists find the fish could make him some money.

“We can bring ‘em to the location and they can be fishing instantly, and bring ‘em back and they can have a nice place for them to clean their fish and do some boiled seafood or something, do something to bring back people here,” he told the station.

The city council and the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corp. are working together on a new ecotourism campaign to raise awareness of the fishing, bird-watching, hiking, boating and other outdoor tourism activities just outside the city. They’re using cable television and YouTube to promote the outdoors of south Louisiana.

Bob Thomas is director of the Center of Environmental Communication at Loyola University in New Orleans. He founded the Louisiana Nature Center in 1978.

“People who have not traditionally been in ecotourism are starting to see the potential, like commercial fishermen,” Thomas says. “They’re discovering that people are interested in their culture and will pay a reasonable fee to actually go out on that boat and catch shrimp and be the crew on that boat.”

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