After a long summer of turmoil wreaked by BP’s oil spill in the Gulf, consumers have been slow to purchase shrimp and other seafood products from the region. The volume of products available from the region has dropped significantly but businesses trying to sales levels and reputation. And tourism operators are struggling as well. The entire region finally received some good news last week when U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced federal disaster relief money was being made available.
The $26 million awarded will be distributed as follows:
- $15 million – Strategic marketing plan and safety assurance program
- $10 million – For expanded stock assessment
- $1 million – For a National Academies of Sciences study
The Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission, an organization made up of the five Gulf states, will receive $15 million and be charged with the responsibility for developing a marketing plan. The marketing spending will occur over a 5‑year period. And because Gulf seafood is marketed across the entire U.S., media outlets throughout the country may benefit from some of this spending.
In making the announcement, Secretary Locke said he believed this funding will “restore economic vitality to the region’s fishing industry and strengthen the science used to manage fisheries for the long-term benefit of the region, its people and environment.”
In addition, on September 23, BP officials said they would meet with elected officials from the region to discuss their requests for an additional $75 million to help market both Louisiana seafood and the tourism industries. BP has already awarded Louisiana $15 million for additional tourism marketing this year.
With the continued financial focus on the Gulf region, consumer sentiment about vacationing there and purchasing seafood should improve.[Source: U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke Announces. Commerce.gov. 17 Sept. 2010. Web. 24 Sept. 2010; Anderson, Ed. BP Officials Agree to Meeting. The Times-Picayune. 23 Sept. 2010. 27 Sept. 2010]