Harlon Pearce, the longtime chair of the state's Seafood Marketing Agency, was hit with a no-confidence vote Tuesday over his son's recent guilty plea to mislabeling foreign shrimp as domestic.
At issue were comments Pearce made in defense of his son in an earlier 4 Investigates story. "What he did was not out of malice," Peace said in the story, "but out of an understanding that was he was doing was correct. Once he thought it might not be, bam, it stopped."
"I didn't speak as chairman, they put that in," said Pearce at the board meeting. "I spoke as myself."
"You are still recognized as godfather of the Louisiana shrimp across this country because of all the activities you're involved in," said Alan Gibson.
"I stand on my record. I stand on what I've done. I stand for the direction I've pushed this industry," said Pearce.
Despite Pearce's defense, Louisiana Shrimp Asssocation leader Alan Gibson called for a vote.
"The fact that you went to bat for him as your son, I understand totally, 100 percent," said Gibson.
"But the fact that, once again, the shrimp industry has been footing the bill for this situation and is supposed to just forget it, walk away and let the board go on again. I would personally ask for your resignation."
Pearce survived with a nine-to-three vote in his favor.
"It's disappointing that we have to dwell on negatives instead of the positives. Yeah, it is disappointing. Because we have such strong positives ahead of us," said Pearce.
The debate ended on a upbeat note with the adoption of this pledge by the board to renew their commitment to "move forward with a positive mindset" as they spread the word about Louisiana seafood.
The positive pledge was adopted unanimously with Gibson and the other two members who earlier voted against Pearce joining the majority.