NEW ORLEANS - One member brought a routine meeting of the state seafood board to a boil on Tuesday.
Things turned tense when the chairman of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board, Harlon Pearce, was put in the hot seat.
Pearce, the longtime chair of the state's seafood marketing agency, was hit with a no-confidence vote on 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 4Investigates story.
"I didn't speak as chairman, they put that in. I spoke as myself," Pearce said.
"You are still recognized as godfather of the Louisiana shrimp across this country because of all the activities you're involved in," Louisiana Shrimp Association leader Alan Gibson said.
Despite Pearce's defense, Gibson called for a vote.
"The fact that you went to bat for him as your son, I understand totally, 100 percent," Gibson said. "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," Pearce said.
The debate ended on a upbeat note with the adoption of a 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.