Empire and Venice, Louisiana are two coastal communities on the outer reaches of Plaquemines Parish. Sitting over 70 miles from New Orleans, Venice is known as “the end of the world” for being the last community along the southern reaches of the Mississippi River to be accessible by road.
This unique location provides fishermen with access to a variety of aquatic life located in its bays, bayous, and marshes connected to the Mississippi River and leading into the Gulf of Mexico. Between the two communities are marinas with dockage for commercial fishing vessels, pleasure craft, and other users.
Together, Empire and Venice represent the third largest port for seafood by weight in the United States, yielding millions of pounds of fish and shellfish every year. Fish species commonly caught by fishermen in the area include blackfin tuna, yellowfin tuna, king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, red snapper, dolphinfish, and many more. Shellfish to be harvested in the area include crabs, crawfish, shrimp, and oysters.
Hurricane Katrina destroyed much of the infrastructure of Empire and Venice in 2005, and both communities have undergone extensive reconstruction. While the area has been repopulated, the communities have had to face negative effects of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion that caused oil to be washed into the area. Despite these disasters, the area has bounced back and continues to thrive as a key source of fish and shellfish for the country.