Five Years Post Deepwater Horizon, the Alabama Gulf Seafood Movement Assures Safety and Urges Continued Support of Local Product
13 Apr, 2015, 12:48 ET
GULF SHORES, Ala., April 13, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Five years ago, "Alabama Gulf Seafood" wasn't a recognized or used term, and many Alabamians took for granted the state's seafood industry, which represents an economic impact of $499,000,000 annually and 11,000 jobs in coastal Alabama.
But April 20, 2010 changed all that when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig positioned in the Gulf of Mexico exploded and sank, plunging Alabama's seafood industry into the limelight. In 2011, Governor Robert Bentley – by executive order – established the Alabama Seafood Marketing Commission (ASMC) to provide management, oversight and promotion of Alabama Gulf Seafood and to rehabilitate the post-spill Alabama seafood industry.
According to Chris Blankenship, program administrator for the ASMC and director of Alabama Marine Resources, this swift, multi-party unification ultimately created what five years later has become a true movement encompassing the entire state of Alabama.
"Thanks to the quick mobilization of Governor Bentley, the tireless work of multiple state and federal agencies and the ingenuity of appointed commissions, the state of Alabama Gulf Seafood in the five years since the spill is overwhelmingly positive," said Blankenship. "From the coast to the Tennessee line, we have experienced a true movement supported by those in the industry – and beyond."
One of the most evident highlights of the Gulf seafood industry is the continuously tested safety of Alabama seafood product. Samples tested over three years by the Alabama Seafood Testing program, the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), among others, have shown the proven safety of frequently consumed Gulf seafood, such as crabs, finfish, oysters and shrimp.
In fact, test numbers reported in January 2015 by the Alabama Departments of Agriculture and Industry (ADAI), Conservation and Natural Resources/Marine Resources Division (ADCNR/MRD), and ADPH, Bureau of Clinical Laboratories (BCL) and Epidemiology Toxicology Branch, showed results below limits of detection for harmful substances found in both crude oil and dispersants.
"As the fifth anniversary approaches, we can report that not only is our Alabama product safe – as proven by testing over the course of the last few years – but we can also report that the Alabama Gulf Seafood brand itself is well respected, trusted and consumed," said Blankenship. "The resiliency of our Gulf seafood community has been compounded by support from all over the state from chefs, restaurants, food distributors, grocery stores and the general consumer that ensure what they purchase is local."
As part of the ASMC's ongoing efforts, public opinion surveys on Alabama Gulf Seafood were conducted in April 2012, November 2012, November 2013 and July 2014 after various advertising campaigns were implemented. In the most recent public survey, 84 percent of individuals surveyed reported they would purchase Alabama Gulf Seafood over other options – with an astounding 93 percent reporting confidence in consuming Alabama Gulf product.
"There appears to be little to no concern over eating the seafood harvested from Alabama's brief but beautiful 53-mile coastline," said Chef Jim Smith, chairman of the ASMC. "We have literally turned the tide of what was a monumental disaster into what is now more evidence of the true 'comeback spirit' so heavily associated the Gulf Coast."
For more information, please visit EatAlabamaSeafood.com.
SOURCE Alabama Seafood Marketing Commission (ASMC)
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