Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Armed services are urged to stock kitchens with Gulf seafood
Navy Capt. Beci Brenton said Monday that Mabus has talked with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and the secretaries of the Air Force and Army, and his staff has talked to the Defense Commissary Agency, which operates a worldwide chain of stores for military personnel, making the point "that we should be buying Gulf Coast seafood."
In a meeting Monday with Ewell Smith, executive director of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board, Mabus reaffirmed his commitment to using the tools at his disposal to help the Gulf seafood industry recover from the damage the BP oil spill has done in reality and perception. The board is gearing up for a large-scale national marketing campaign, with $30 million in BP money and millions more in federal dollars, to reassure restaurants and markets across the country that Gulf seafood is safe.
BP is giving the Louisiana marketing board $30 million to spend over the next three years to promote Gulf seafood, and Smith said a request for proposals from agencies that would craft the marketing campaign will be going out shortly. The Louisiana board also will be getting a share of the $15 million the Commerce Department has given to the Gulf State Marine Fisheries Commission to divide among the Louisiana board and its sister groups in the other Gulf states, including Texas.
"He expressed what we wanted to hear: He is in favor of the federal government buying seafood from the Gulf," said Smith, who said he would like to see Gulf seafood as the choice throughout the public domain, "whether it's the military or prison systems or school systems."
Smith met with Mabus as a representative of the Gulf Coast Ready 4 Takeoff Coalition, an alliance of businesses and government entities from Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida working for economic recovery in the Gulf. Smith was joined at the meeting by Mayor Sam Jones of Mobile, Ala., and Mayor-elect Ashton Hayward of Pensacola, Fla.
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