Experts Convene for the Alabama Seafood Summit
MOBILE, Ala. (ASMC) — On Monday and Tuesday, March 4 and 5, more than 100 stakeholders from the Alabama Gulf Seafood industry are gathering at the Mobile Convention Center with a singular goal in mind — to increase demand regionally, nationally and internationally, for seafood sourced from Alabama’s Gulf waters.
Governor Bentley and Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries Commissioner John McMillan and Alabama Department of Conservation & Natural Resources Commissioner Gunter Guy along with other local elected officials will formally kick off the program with an opening address from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. at the Mobile Convention Center on March 5.
“We see a limitless future for our Alabama Gulf seafood industry in the years ahead" said McMillan. "Our agriculture department food safety lab has conducted ongoing tests on Alabama Gulf seafood and has found their quality to be without question. This is a stellar record that speaks volumes about the integrity of the industry and their dedication to providing an excellent product."
The event will be anchored by panel discussions from keynote speakers focusing on the seafood trade, including:
- Brian Davis, Alabama International Trade Center
- Russ Wimberly, South Alabama Regional Planning Commission, and
- Danielle Viguerie and Kristen Core with the Southern U.S. Trade Association
- Seafood buyers from Whole Foods, Sysco, Inland Seafood and the Alabama Grocers Association
- Representatives from the restaurant industry such as Wintzell’s Oyster House and Aloha Hospitality (Baumhower’s Wings, The Compleat Angler and Wings U).
- James K Lyons, Alabama State Port Authority and Alabama Gulf Coast Restoration Council
The commercial fisheries of Alabama provide significant jobs, income and sales impact in the state of Alabama. More than 10,000 jobs are directly related to the seafood industry with a total economic impact prior to the Deepwater Horizon Spill of over $445 million annually.
“The economic impact of the seafood industry in Alabama has been reduced nearly $100 million annually since the spill,” said Chris Blankenship, director of Alabama Marine Resources and Program Administrator for the Alabama Seafood Marketing Commission. “The hardworking men and women of the seafood industry in Alabama have been the backbone of its coastal communities for centuries. The Alabama Seafood Summit is a step in regaining the market share that was lost during the oil spill, which is of utmost importance to the future viability of Alabama’s seafood community.”
For more information about the Alabama Seafood Summit or to register, visit http://www.alseafoodsummit.com . Established by Alabama Governor Robert Bentley by executive order signed in March of 2011, the Alabama Seafood Marketing Commission (ASMC) was created to help provide advice, oversight, management and encouragement to the marketing of Alabama seafood. Led by Chris Blankenship, director of the Alabama Marine Resource Division of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the ASMC is comprised of volunteer members appointed by the Governor that includes fishermen, processors, charter boat operators, retailers, restaurant owners and others directly and indirectly related to the Alabama seafood industry.