Biloxi Seafood Festival celebrates Coast seafood industry’s resilience

LIVE REPORT: Biloxi Seafood Festival celebrates despite a tough season

BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Organizers of the 38th annual Seafood Festival aim to celebrate Biloxi’s rich maritime legacy.

“If you’re looking for it and it swims, it’s going to be here this weekend,” said Bill Raymond, co-chair of the Biloxi Seafood Festival.

On Friday, vendors set up their stations on the Biloxi Town Green for the Seafood Festival. It is known as a landmark event that shows the role seafood plays in coastal culture.

“I think it plays a huge part of the culture both, commercially and recreationally," said Rick Burris, deputy director of Marine Fisheries at the Department of Marine Resources.

“That’s what everybody is brought up to eat, it’s seafood, so we want everybody to know that seafood is safe around here on the Coast,” said Sean Desporte of Desporte & Sons Seafood.

Desporte & Sons Seafood is supplying the goods for the festival. Desporte said the demand for seafood is starting to rise after a shaky summer.

“This has been one of the worst summers we’ve ever had," he said.

Algae blooms and water contact advisories on coastal waters put a damper on the seafood industry. After months of evaluation, DMR stressed that Coast seafood is safe to eat.

“We’re doing the seafood safety tests and testing the tissue of finfish, shrimp and blue crab to make sure there are no toxins present,” Burris said.

Festival planners are ready for an eventful weekend. They hope the festival represents the seafood industry’s ability to bounce back from adversity.

“There’s still lots of seafood here, and the fact that we can celebrate that is really important," Raymond said.

The event will be held at Biloxi’s Town Green on Sept. 13 and 14. Gates open at 10 a.m.

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