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FDA and EPA issue draft updated advice for fish consumption

For Immediate Release

June 10, 2014

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today issued draft updated advice on fish consumption. The two agencies have concluded pregnant and breastfeeding women, those who might become pregnant, and young children should eat more fish that is lower in mercury in order to gain important developmental and health benefits. The draft updated advice is consistent with recommendations in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Previously, the FDA and the EPA recommended maximum amounts of fish that these population groups should consume, but did not promote a minimum amount. Over the past decade, however, emerging science has underscored the importance of appropriate amounts of fish in the diets of pregnant and breastfeeding women, and young children.

“For years many women have limited or avoided eating fish during pregnancy or feeding fish to their young children,” said Stephen Ostroff, M.D., the FDA’s acting chief scientist. “But emerging science now tells us that limiting or avoiding fish during pregnancy and early childhood can mean missing out on important nutrients that can have a positive impact on growth and development as well as on general health.”

An FDA analysis of seafood consumption data from over 1,000 pregnant women in the United States found that 21 percent of them ate no fish in the previous month, and those who ate fish ate far less than the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends—with 50 percent eating fewer than 2 ounces a week, and 75 percent eating fewer than 4 ounces a week. The draft updated advice recommends pregnant women eat at least 8 ounces and up to 12 ounces (2-3 servings) per week of a variety of fish that are lower in mercury to support fetal growth and development.

“Eating fish with lower levels of mercury provides numerous health and dietary benefits,” said Nancy Stoner, the EPA’s acting assistant administrator for the Office of Water. “This updated advice will help pregnant women and mothers make informed decisions about the right amount and right kinds of fish to eat during important times in their lives and their children’s lives.”

The draft updated advice cautions pregnant or breastfeeding women to avoid four types of fish that are associated with high mercury levels: tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico; shark; swordfish; and king mackerel. In addition, the draft updated advice recommends limiting consumption of white (albacore) tuna to 6 ounces a week.

Choices lower in mercury include some of the most commonly eaten fish, such as shrimp, pollock, salmon, canned light tuna, tilapia, catfish and cod.

When eating fish caught from local streams, rivers and lakes, follow fish advisories from local authorities. If advice isn’t available, limit your total intake of such fish to 6 ounces a week and 1-3 ounces for children.

Before issuing final advice, the agencies will consider public comments, and also intend to seek the advice of the FDA’s Risk Communication Advisory Committeeand conduct a series of focus groups.

 

The public can provide comment on the draft advice and the supplemental questions and answers by submitting comments to the Federal Register docket or by participating in any public meetings that may be held. The comment period will be open until 30 days after the last transcript from the advisory committee meeting and any other public meetings becomes available. The dates of any public meetings, as well as when the public comment period will close, will be published in future Federal Register notices at www.federalregister.gov.

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Presidential Memorandum — Comprehensive Framework to Combat Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fish

Washington, D.C. (United States) (OFFICIAL WIRE) June 17, 2014
 
 
MEMORANDUM FOR THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES
 
 
SUBJECT: Establishing a Comprehensive Framework to Combat Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing and Seafood Fraud.
 
The United States is a global leader in sustainable seafood. Over the course of the last 6 years, the United States has largely ended overfishing in federally managed waters and successfully rebuilt a record number of stocks depleted by the excesses of the past. At the same time, effective domestic management and enforcement of fishing regulations have supported near record highs in both landings and revenue for our domestic fishing industry. As a result, the U.S. management scheme is recognized internationally as a model for other countries as they work to end overfishing.
Nevertheless, illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing continues to undermine the economic and environmental sustainability of fisheries and fish stocks, both in the United States and around the world. Global losses attributable to the black market from IUU fishing are estimated to be $10-23 billion annually, weakening profitability for legally caught seafood, fueling illegal trafficking operations, and undermining economic opportunity for legitimate fishermen in the United States and around the world.
 
It is in the national interest of the United States to promote a framework that supports sustainable fishing practices and combats seafood fraud and the sale of IUU fishing products. To achieve these objectives, the United States will need to enhance the tools it has available to combat IUU fishing and seafood fraud, including by implementing the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing; strengthening coordination and implementation of existing authorities to combat IUU fishing and seafood fraud; working with the Congress to strengthen and harmonize the enforcement provisions of U.S. statutes for implementing international fisheries agreements; and working with industry and foreign partners to develop and implement new and existing measures, such as voluntary, or other, traceability programs, that can combat IUU fishing and seafood fraud, and ensure accurate labeling for consumers.
 
Therefore, by the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and to ensure that seafood sold in the United States is legally and sustainably caught and to combat the negative impacts of seafood fraud on the United States, I hereby direct the following:
 
Section 1. Policy. (a) It shall be the policy of the United States for all executive departments and agencies (agencies) to combat IUU fishing and seafood fraud by strengthening coordination and implementation of relevant existing authorities and, where appropriate, by improving the transparency and traceability of the seafood supply chain. All agencies and offices charged with overseeing the seafood supply chain and verifying the authenticity of its products shall implement and enforce relevant policies, regulations, and laws to ensure that seafood sold in the United States is legally caught and accurately labeled.
(b) It shall also be the policy of the United States to promote legally and sustainably caught and accurately labeled seafood and to take appropriate actions within existing authorities and budgets to assist foreign nations in building capacity to combat IUU fishing and seafood fraud. In addition,agencies shall identify opportunities to enhance domestic and international efforts to combat global IUU fishing and seafood fraud.
 
Sec. 2. Establishment. There is established, as a subcommittee reporting to the National Ocean Council established by Executive Order 13547 of July 19, 2010 (Stewardship of the Ocean, Our Coasts, and the Great Lakes), a Presidential Task Force on Combating Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing and Seafood Fraud (Task Force), to be co-chaired by the Secretaries of State and Commerce, or their designees. The Task Force shall meet not later than 60 days from the date of this memorandum and at least quarterly thereafter.
 
Sec. 3. Membership. In addition to the Co-Chairs, the Task Force shall include designated senior-level representatives from:
(a) the Department of Defense;
(b) the Department of Justice;
(c) the Department of the Interior;
(d) the Department of Agriculture;
(e) the Department of Commerce;
(f) the Department of Health and Human Services;
(g) the Department of Homeland Security;
(h) the Office of Management and Budget;
(i) the Council on Environmental Quality;
(j) the Office of Science and Technology Policy;
(k) the Office of the United States Trade Representative;
(l) the United States Agency for International Development; and
(m) such agencies and offices as the Co-Chairs may, from time to time, designate.
 
Sec. 4. Functions. Consistent with the authorities and responsibilities of member agencies, the Task Force shall perform the following functions:
(a) Not later than 180 days after the date of this memorandum, the Task Force shall report to the President through the National Ocean Council, with recommendations for the implementation of a comprehensive framework of integrated programs to combat IUU fishing and seafood fraud that emphasizes areas of greatest need. The Task Force should consider a broad range of strategies, including implementation of existing programs, and, if appropriate, development of new, voluntary or other, programs for seafood tracking and traceability. In providing these recommendations, the Task Force shall identify:
(i) existing regulatory authorities and make recommendations regarding further authorities that may be warranted;
(ii) enforcement best practices and challenges;
(iii) benefits provided by such a framework, as well as potential impacts on the U.S. fishing industry;
(iv) opportunities to address these issues at the international level through the regional fisheries management organizations as well as bilateral efforts, such as technical assistance and capacity building;
(v) priority actions that will be taken by agencies, including strengthening coordination between Federal, State, local, and foreign agencies; and
(vi) industry approaches that contribute to efforts to combat IUU fishing and seafood fraud, including with respect to seafood traceability and ways to minimize any costs and reporting burdens on small businesses.
(b) Upon receiving guidance from the President on the recommendations developed pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, the Task Force shall begin its implementation of those recommendations and, within 1 year, report to the President, through the National Ocean Council, on its progress.
(c) The Task Force shall also consider the need for other strategies for addressing IUU fishing and seafood fraud and may provide recommendations on the development and enhancement of those strategies.
(d) In undertaking these efforts, the Task Force shall coordinate its efforts with other Presidential initiatives focused on related issues, including the work of the Presidential Task Force on Wildlife Trafficking established in Executive Order 13648 of July 1, 2013 (Combating Wildlife Trafficking), and activities being conducted pursuant to Executive Order 13659 of February 19, 2014 (Streamlining the Export/Import Process for America's Businesses).
(e) The Task Force shall, as applicable, consult with governments at State, local, tribal, and regional levels to achieve the goals and objectives of this memorandum, as well as the private sector, nongovernmental organizations, and academia.
 
Sec. 5. General Provisions.
(a) This memorandum shall be implemented consistent with applicable domestic and international law, and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(b) Nothing in this memorandum shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department, agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(c) Nothing in this memorandum shall be construed to require the disclosure of confidential business information or trade secrets, classified information, law enforcement sensitive information, or other information that must be protected in the interest of national security or public safety.
(d) This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
BARACK OBAMA
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New Informational Site Helps Buyers Understand the Sustainability of Gulf Seafood

New Informational Site Helps Buyers Understand the Sustainability of Gulf Seafood
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Friday, March 14, 2014
 
Seafood buyers and other interested parties now have access to a one-stop-shop for the information they need to be confident that seafood harvested from state-managed fisheries in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico is sustainable. Launching at Seafood Expo North America, GulfFishInfo.org, or Gulf FINFO, gathers information from fisheries experts from across the Gulf states and puts easy to understand, science-based facts about Gulf state fisheries at the public’s fingertips. “The site will be a valuable tool in communicating this previously unpublished or hard to find information. With the species data broken down by state, plus overviews from a Gulf perspective, buyers have everything they’re looking for to make sound purchasing decisions,” said Chris Blankenship, Director of the Marine Resources Division of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and Program Administrator of the Alabama Seafood Marketing Commission.
 
A collaboration among the five Gulf states, the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission (GSMFC), and NOAA Fisheries, Gulf FINFO provides a platform for these authorities to communicate how they conserve and manage fisheries in Gulf state waters. Gulf FINFO complements FishWatch.gov, which covers fisheries in federal waters. “FINFO will be a great regional tool for introducing the public to state fisheries management,” stated Chief of External Affairs for NOAA Fisheries Communications Office Laurel Bryant. “We are pleased that it includes federally managed species by linking to FishWatch.gov. This collaboration with the Commission and states underscores the importance of partnerships necessary for successful marine fisheries management in the U.S.”
 
 
Gulf FINFO profiles top Gulf fisheries, with information ranging from basics about species biology and habitat to how fisheries operate and how each state ensures these operations are sustainable. Through FINFO, users can quickly review the status of Gulf fisheries resources or dig deeper to understand the robust science and responsible management at work to ensure these resources are viable for generations to come. According to GSMFC FINFO Coordinator Alex Miller, “This site is our response to a previously unmet need in the Gulf seafood industry, providing a tool through which buyers can understand the status of the seafood they purchase, and it fulfills the mission of the Commission by bringing the Gulf states together to promote Gulf fisheries.”
 
Gulf FINFO uses education, rather than advocacy, to help seafood buyers appreciate the unique environment of the Gulf and demonstrate that Gulf seafood is not only world-famous but sustainable, too. “For decades, our biologists, managers, and fishing industry have worked hard to ensure Louisiana’s fisheries operate sustainably and continue to provide some of the best quality, best tasting seafood on the market,” stated Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Assistant Secretary of Fisheries Randy Pausina. “And now, through FINFO, we’re able to clearly explain this to the world.”
 
The initial industry response has been positive. According to Carl Salamone, Vice President of Seafood Sustainability for Wegmans Food Markets, “Wegmans is very excited about the creation of this program with regards to sustainability of Gulf Seafood. This will enable us to educate our seafood folks who in turn educate our customers. We find more and more of our customers asking questions on the seafood we offer from this region. Being able to answer these questions with the help of the Gulf FINFO site will be a win-win.”
 
CONTACT:
Alex Miller
Staff Economist
GSMFC
228-875-5912
finfo@gsmfc.org
 
Katie Semon
Public Information Officer
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
504-286-8742
ksemon@wlf.la.gov
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Burn victim becomes counseling hero to others

Burn victim becomes counseling hero to others

Joe Versaggi, center, wishes patient Harley Cutlip of Brooksville well before he is discharged on the burn floor at Tampa General Hospital. At right is Vinnie Bruno, who met Versaggi met when Bruno was a patient. 

JASON BEHNKEN / STAFF
Joe Versaggi, center, wishes patient Harley Cutlip of Brooksville well before he is discharged on the burn floor at Tampa General Hospital. At right is Vinnie Bruno, who met Versaggi met when Bruno was a patient. JASON BEHNKEN / STAFF
By
Published:   |   Updated: October 22, 2013 at 06:15 AM

TAMPA — Seven years and three months ago, Joe Versaggi, a third-generation shrimp fleet owner and Vietnam War veteran, got a fevered introduction to the burn unit at Tampa General Hospital.

“I woke up after five weeks in a coma,” he says, chatting in front of the nurses’ station in the unit on the sixth floor of the West Pavilion. The fiery airplane crash that put him there on July 16, 2006, also killed his wife, Estelle.

After he opened his eyes, he spent three months in the unit, five weeks in intensive care and a year-plus in rehabilitation to heal the burns that covered 35 percent of his body. He didn’t know it then, but the burn unit would become his second home.

Now, Versaggi, long healed from his burns though he still carries telling scars, remains a fixture at the hospital, volunteering 30 to 40 hours a week, interacting with burn patients under treatment as only someone who has been there can.

The former Marine helicopter pilot tells patients how he took the helicopter ride from the Wimauma plane crash site to Tampa General.

He tells them the story because many took the same ride. He mentions that his mission in Vietnam was to evacuate the wounded from the battlefields.

“Thirty-eight years after Vietnam,” he says, “I got my ride and I didn’t enjoy it.”

Patients can relate, and many times hearing that is the first step in a long physical and emotional recovery.

More than 30 surgeries later, Versaggi speaks with experience when he counsels patients about what is happening to them and what to expect. He’s a living testament that even those with severe burns can return to normalcy.

The 70-year-old Davis Islands resident had never intended to take this course in his life. He is a third-generation co-owner, with his brothers, of a shrimping empire that includes six boats that sail out of Tampa to all over the Gulf of Mexico. For more than a century, the family has been shrimping in New York and Tampa.

One day while he was in physical therapy, Versaggi was chatting with another burn victim, “talking about how lucky we were and that we were going to get over this.”

Though he was just expressing his own optimism, Versaggi’s talk was visibly uplifting to the other patient. The therapists asked Versaggi to come back to talk with other burn victims mired in pain and depression over their burns.

Doing so made him feel good. He became a familiar face in the burn unit, offering upbeat advice that buoys patients and their families.

And there are a lot of patients.

The burn center at Tampa General is the only one in West Central Florida. It is one of three in the state and one of 63 in the nation to earn verification by the American Burn Association/American College of Surgeons. The center treats more than 300 critically burned patients a year, from initial emergency admission through reconstructive surgery and follow-up care, and Versaggi has become an important part of patient recovery.

Versaggi is certified by the hospital to counsel patients and he became the first member of the local Survivors Offering Assistance and Recovery, or SOAR program, which offers support for burn victims.

“It’s just talking to people, survivors and their caregivers,” he says. “The real heroes up here are the nurses. They are dealing with all of this every day.”

Among those he counseled this year is Vinnie Bruno, who was severely burned in a boat explosion in Cape Coral on July 28.

“I spent three weeks in the ICU,” says the 60-year-old New Jersey native, “and the rest of the time in rehab.”

He and Versaggi, originally from Long Island, became friends and keep in touch, even though Bruno has since been sent home.

“We just clicked,” says Bruno, who returned to Tampa General this week for a scheduled appointment and to visit with Versaggi.

“Joe was there for me and my family from Day One,” he said. He visitited with Versaggi in the burn unit, chatting with nurses and therapists there. Both got hugs from the nursing staff and handshakes from therapists. They all made a point of saying how great Bruno looks.

“He’s like a hero to all of us,” Bruno said, nodding to Versaggi. “He’s an inspiration not only to me, but to the whole community.”

While he was being treated at the hospital, Bruno drifted in and out of consciousness, but he recalls Versaggi being there when he emerged from the fog, offering words of encouragement.

“He always would ask if Joe was coming around,” says Bruno’s wife of 37 years, Deborah.

“This is not a casual acquaintance,” Bruno says. “This is a friendship.”

Together, Versaggi and Bruno strolled into the room where Harley Cutlip lies. The 33-year-old Brooksville man has his right arm wrapped loosely in a gauzy bandage, the right side of his face a blotchy purple red. He is dressed, ready to head home, but he looks like he could use a pick-me-up.

Versaggi and Bruno introduced themselves and shake hands, left hands, with Cutlip and ask how he got burned. Cutlip explains he was lighting a bonfire on Sunday afternoon, something he had done “millions of times,” but this time, the fire flared up, scorching him and setting his clothes on fire. Bruno pipes in that he, too, had started the twin-engine boat hundreds of times, but the last time a spark ignited fumes in the engine compartment and flames blasted into his face.

Versaggi tells Cutlip that he has undergone about nearly three dozen surgeries and says the most important thing is to be diligent in doing his physical therapy.

“Don’t get lax on that,” Versaggi says. Cutlip nods, promising he will.

Bruno rolls up his sleeves to show Cutlip that his wounds have just about healed.

“Wow,” Cutlip says, encouraged by the sight. “You can hardly tell.”

“You look great,” Bruno tells him. “Keep your spirits up.”

kmorelli@tampatrib.com

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Side Orders: Searching for fresh seafood in town

Side Orders: Searching for fresh seafood in town

by Anne Braly
view bio »
 
 
 

Being a landlocked state with no easy access to fresh seafood, Chattanooga has seen its share of seafood markets come and go. There once were several in town, but they didn’t stay open for long, and Chattanooga became known more for its fried catfish than fresh flounder.

While the Chattanooga area is no longer a dry seafood dessert, we’re not exactly drowning in choices. Things are improving, though, thanks to a few entrepreneurs who have dived in and brought fresh seafood to town, as well as grocery chains that have specialized seafood departments, not just frozen filets and fish sticks sitting in the freezer case.

Joanne McNeely, seafood marketing coordinator for the Gulf Seafood Marketing Coalition, says with grocery stores getting better about providing good seafood to customers, she’s not surprised that there aren’t too many seafood markets in Chattanooga.

“But there’s nothing better than walking into a seafood market and smelling all the fresh fish, along with supporting local businesses, which is something I always like to do,” she says.

Dedicated seafood markets are better at getting domestic products than many of the big-chain grocery stores, she says.

“Fresh fish is perishable, so it has to be sold quickly,” she says. “But if you buy it fresh and bring it home and freeze it, you’ll have it on hand when you’re in a time crunch. Fish takes just minutes to cook, compared to chicken and beef. And seafood is the best protein consumers can buy.”

The upcoming holiday season is a wonderful time of year to impress guests with good seafood. I don’t think there’s anything prettier than a beautiful shrimp cocktail at a place setting or a lovely filet of fish with lemon sauce and capers on the plate.

There are some excellent places in town to find seafood from U.S. waters and farms. Why is that important? According to the National Ocean and Atmospheric Association, America’s environmental and seafood safety regulations for domestically farmed fish are stronger than many of our major trade partners, particularly those in Asia and South America.

As for wild-caught fish, NOAA says America leads the world in attempts to end overfishing and managing our resources sustainably, helping to ensure there’s enough fish for generations to come.

Here’s a list of local places to find fresh, wild-caught and farm-raised fish from U.S. waters.

• Siren’s Seafood opened several years ago at the foot of Signal Mountain then moved to the top of Signal last December. They are still the only dedicated seafood market in Hamilton County. Fresh seafood is delivered most every day, so it’s never been frozen. Top picks from U.S. waters include red snapper, black grouper, trout, cod and, depending on the season, king, sockeye and coho salmon. Shrimp is flash frozen on a boat in the Gulf of Mexico and delivered within 48 hours. All fish are brought in whole, then cut into filets onsite. 411 Wood St., Signal Mountain. 710-2263.www.sirensseafoodmarket.com.

• If you can’t drive up the mountain, then let your seafood come to you. Mark Gilmore, owner of Happy Gilmore’s Seafood, will deliver. Gilmore travels to Florida several times a month to pick up fish from boats that have just come into shore. He says he’s gotten to know a number of boat captains through the years, and he won’t buy anything but wild fish from U.S. waters.

Chattanoogan Tracy Sarver is one of Gilmore’s clients and recommends “friending” Gilmore on Facebook if you’re interested in getting seafood from him. Just do a search for Happy Gilmore’s Seafood. I was very interested, so I did. He brings home Royal Red shrimp, among many other seafoods, on a regular basis. The shrimp are very large and great for dipping in spicy cocktail sauce or garlic butter. Just on their own they have an unbelievable taste and texture that some say is similar to lobster. Gilmore’s menu depends on what’s biting, but he’ll most always have the Royal Reds, as well as white shrimp, crab, oysters and alligator. If you’re not into social media, just shoot Gilmore an email at markgilmore536@hotmail.com.

As for seafood departments in local grocery stores:

• Whole Foods: It depends on the season, but many times you’ll find fresh, never-frozen Alaskan king, coho and sockeye salmon, turbot, swordfish and mahi-mahi from U.S. waters, as well as fresh shrimp and Alaskan halibut. Also, farm-raised catfish from North Carolina.

• Fresh Market: Alaskan king salmon and coho salmon; halibut caught off the coast of New England; and Atlantic grouper from U.S. waters, all wild and fresh, never frozen. Also, previously frozen wild shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico.

• Enzo’s: Fresh, never-frozen trout from Pickett’s Farm, just over Dayton Mountain in Dunlap, Tenn.; Alaskan wild coho salmon; and red snapper from the Gulf of Mexico, along with previously frozen U.S. farm-raised catfish and shrimp plucked from the Gulf of Mexico.

I tried this recipe with Gilmore’s Royal Reds, but it would be good with any shrimp. For more recipes, visit www.eatgulfseafood.com.

Mandarin Rice/Shrimp Lettuce Wraps

1 (11-ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained, juice reserved

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

2 teaspoon vegetable oil (for stir fry)

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup jasmine or long-grain white rice

2 tablespoons bottled Thai sweet chili sauce plus additional for topping

1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined

12 whole large leaves of red leaf lettuce

1 cup matchstick-cut or shredded carrots

Combine reserved mandarin orange juice with enough water to equal 2 cups liquid. Bring juice mixture, 1 teaspoon oil and salt to boil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in rice; cover and reduce heat to simmer. Cook 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Stir mandarin oranges and sweet chili sauce into cooked rice. Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add shrimp and saute just until cooked through, 4-5 minutes. Arrange lettuce leaves on large platter. Spoon rice mixture into center of each lettuce leaf. Top with carrots and shrimp. Drizzle additional sauce on top.

Contact Anne Braly at abraly@timesfreepress.com.

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Texas Sea Grant Staff Conducts Tests In Gulf To Streamline Federal Approval Process For Trawl Gear D

Texas Sea Grant Staff Conducts Tests In Gulf To Streamline Federal Approval Process For Trawl Gear Devices

Two members of Texas Sea Grant’s extension staff spent last month on a shrimp boat in the Gulf of Mexico testing devices designed to reduce the capture of other species during shrimp trawls.

Tony Reisinger, Texas Sea Grant’s Coastal and Marine Extension Agent for Cameron County, installs a bycatch reduction device (BRD) on a shrimp trawl net. Photo by Gary Graham

Tony Reisinger, Texas Sea Grant’s Coastal and Marine Extension Agent for Cameron County, installs a bycatch reduction device (BRD) on a shrimp trawl net. Photo by Gary Graham

Working under a grant from NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), Gary Graham, Texas Sea Grant’s Marine Fisheries Specialist, and Tony Reisinger, the program’s Cameron County Marine Agent, set out on the Miss Madelinein the offshore waters of Texas and Louisiana to test five new designs of bycatch reduction devices (BRDs). Bycatch is the term used to describe non-targeted species caught and usually discarded during commercial and recreational fishing; BRDs are equipment placed in trawl nets to allow non-target marine animals to escape the nets.

Federal regulations require commercial shrimp fishermen to use BRDs to reduce impacts on other species, but the devices also allow shrimp to escape the nets. Some models currently in use can reduce the shrimp catch by 10 percent or more, and shrimp lost from the net equals money lost for the fisherman.

Modified BRD designs or new models that would reduce shrimp losses or are easier or less expensive to install must go through lengthy and expensive federal testing before being approved for use. The goal of Graham and Reisinger’s research was to pinpoint those that are most likely to meet the stringent testing protocols at the federal level.

The crew of the Miss Madeline hoist the two trawl bags with their catch from the two starboard nets onto the deck. One of the nets includes an experimental BRD. Pictured are, from left, crewmembers Apolinar “Polo” Monsibais, Miguel Hernandez and Luis Mosibais, and Texas Sea Grant Marine Fisheries Specialist Gary Graham. Photo by Tony Reisinger

The crew of the Miss Madeline hoist the two trawl bags with their catch from the two starboard nets onto the deck. One of the nets includes an experimental BRD. Pictured are, from left, crewmembers Apolinar “Polo” Monsibais, Miguel Hernandez and Luis Mosibais, and Texas Sea Grant Marine Fisheries Specialist Gary Graham. Photo by Tony Reisinger

“We’re trying to make the testing process more efficient,” Graham said. “It costs a lot of money to go through the federal testing process, and it would be beneficial if we could be more certain that gear submitted for certification are good candidates to be approved.”

The five designs that the duo tested came from a broad range of sources — NMFS, private industry and a university researcher. In some cases, the models were provided to them, and in others, Graham and Reisinger purchased or assembled the equipment. The most expensive models they tested combined a BRD with a turtle excluder device (TED), which is another federally mandated piece of equipment shrimp trawlers must use.

Gary Graham, Texas Sea Grant’s Marine Fisheries Specialist, checks out an experimental Burbank Bycatch Reduction Device with a spooker/turtle excluder device (TED) combination before installing it between the body of the net and the cod end or bag, where the catch accumulates. Photo by Tony Reisinger

Gary Graham, Texas Sea Grant’s Marine Fisheries Specialist, checks out an experimental Burbank Bycatch Reduction Device with a spooker/turtle excluder device (TED) combination before installing it between the body of the net and the cod end or bag, where the catch accumulates. Photo by Tony Reisinger

Graham and Reisinger were aboard the Miss Madeline, which is owned by Anchor Seafood, for 50 days, including a two-week false start during which they were only able to test one design because of boat problems that required a return to port. They tested the other BRDs in the study over the course of a second, 36-day cruise. The regular crew harvested shrimp in the usual configuration of four nets, two large cones on either side of the ship, but one of the outer nets, alternating between the port and starboard sides, had the gear being tested, and the catch from that net was landed separately from the rest of the harvest for Graham and Reisinger to tally and record.

Graham said they so far have only preliminary results and are now beginning statistical analysis of the trawl results, but several of the gear designs look promising, and one could potentially be incorporated with other gear to further reduce bycatch.

The catch must be sorted by hand to remove the heads from the shrimp and separate them from unwanted species, which are known as bycatch. Pictured are, from left, Miss Madeline crewmember Miguel Hernandez and Texas Sea Grant’s Marine Fisheries Specialist Gary Graham. Photo by Tony Reisinger

The catch must be sorted by hand to remove the heads from the shrimp and separate them from unwanted species, which are known as bycatch. Pictured are, from left, Miss Madeline crewmember Miguel Hernandez and Texas Sea Grant’s Marine Fisheries Specialist Gary Graham. Photo by Tony Reisinger

“We think at least three or four of those gears look like they could be considered as potential candidates for further evaluation,” he said, adding that all five models showed little to no significant shrimp loss as a consequence of their use, an important consideration for shrimp fishermen who are already struggling to compete in a market that is dominated by imported, farm-raised shrimp.

###
Texas Sea Grant is a unique partnership that unites the resources of the federal government, the State of Texas and universities across the state to create knowledge, tools, products and services that benefit the economy, the environment and the citizens of Texas. It is administered through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and is one of 33 university-based Sea Grant Programs around the country. Within the university, Texas Sea Grant is a non-academic research center in the College of Geosciences. The program’s mission is to improve the understanding, wise use and stewardship of Texas coastal and marine resources.

Media Contact: Cindie Powell, cpowell@tamu.edu, (979) 862-3770.

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GULF SEAFOOD MARKETING COALITION CELEBRATES NATIONAL SEAFOOD MONTH

GULF SEAFOOD MARKETING COALITION CELEBRATES NATIONAL SEAFOOD MONTH

Coalition connects on-the-go seafood fans with new Gulf Coast seafood finder mobile app

 

TAMPA, FLORIDA – Oct. 2, 2013 – October is National Seafood Month, and the Gulf Seafood Marketing Coalition is making it easier than ever to celebrate by enjoying Gulf of Mexico seafood favorites with its new Gulf Coast seafood finder mobile app. Whether it’s baked, broiled, blackened or grilled, finding flavorful wild-caught Gulf Coast seafood at a market, restaurant or wholesaler is now just a “touch” away.

Available on iPhone and Android mobile devices, the Gulf Coast seafood finder mobile app provides consumers with the latest listing of retail stores, restaurants and wholesalers that carry Gulf Coast seafood. The mobile app allows users to search by state, city and/or zip code as well as by species (crab, finfish, oysters and shrimp).  Just in time for National Seafood Month, the mobile app also acts as a virtual recipe book providing everything from appetizers to entrees ideas for the next gathering. Additionally, fans will receive seasonality information to ensure they are serving the freshest, wild-caught, premium seafood available.

 

“National Seafood Month is observed to remind Americans to consume the recommended amount of seafood, which is at least two servings a week, promote sustainable fishing and encourage home-chefs to overcome the intimidation of preparing seafood at home,” said Joanne McNeely, Seafood Marketing Coordinator for the Gulf Seafood Marketing Coalition. “Now with the Gulf Coast Seafood finder mobile app, on-the-go Gulf Coast seafood enthusiasts can easily locate their favorite Gulf Coast seafood menu item as well as download quick seafood cooking tips and recipes.”

With the help of the Gulf states’ seafood marketing agencies, the Gulf Seafood Marketing Coalition will update the finder database on an ongoing basis. Retailers, restaurants and wholesalers that are unlisted but supply Gulf Coast seafood can add themselves to the finder by visiting http://www.eatgulfseafood.com and going to the "find it" page or by adding it directly through the app. Gulf Seafood consumers can also add their favorite business to the database by doing the same.

 

As October typically provides a respite from the heat along the Gulf Coast, warm up this National Seafood Month and celebrate with Corn and Gulf Coast Blue Crab Soup with Crispy Tortilla Strips, a sample recipe of what can be found on the recipe finder app.

 

 

 

Corn and Gulf Coast Blue Crab Soup with Crispy Tortilla Strips

Provided by Fresh from Florida Gulf Seafood

 

Ingredients

 

12        ounces Gulf Coast Blue Crab meat

3 ½      cups corn kernels cut from about 6 medium ears of corn

2          tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil

1 ½      cups onion, chopped

2          cloves garlic, minced

1          jalapeno pepper small, seeded and minced

5          cups low-sodium vegetable broth or chicken broth

¼         teaspoon chili powder

1          lime, zest half and squeeze the whole lime for juice

½         cup cilantro, chopped

2          cups crispy corn tortilla strips

TT        kosher salt

TT        pepper, freshly ground

 

Directions

 

Melt butter or heat olive oil in a large, heavy pot. Stir in onion, garlic and jalapeño, and cook over moderately high heat until lightly browned, about six to seven minutes.

 

Stir in corn and cook until the corn is lightly browned, about five minutes. Add broth, chili powder and simmer until corn is tender, about 15 minutes. Lightly season with kosher salt and pepper to taste.

 

Transfer half of the soup into a blender or food processor, and puree until almost smooth. Add the blended soup back into the unblended soup, and stir to combine.

 

Add the lime juice and zest, crab meat and cilantro to the soup and bring to a boil. Serve hot and garnish with tortilla strips.

 

The Coalition – comprised of the Gulf States of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida – provides a unified vision to promote Gulf Coast seafood, truly allowing a “rising tide to lift all boats” approach.  For more information about the Gulf Seafood Marketing Coalition and its new Gulf Coast seafood finder app, please contact Joanne McNeely at mcneely.joanne@gmail.com , 850-224-1129 or 813-286-8390.

 

 

About Gulf Seafood Marketing Coalition

The Coalition provides a framework for the seafood community to coordinate marketing efforts among the Gulf States with emphasis on working with tourism boards, restaurants, retailers and chefs.  The Gulf & South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation, Inc. is coordinating the Gulf Seafood Marketing Coalition through funding provided by the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission’s (NOAA Award #NA10NMF4770481).  For more information, please visit www.eatgulfseafood.com and follow the Coalition on Facebook at Gulf Coast Seafood and Twitter at @eatgulfseafood. 

 

About Gulf & South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation, Inc.

The Foundation is a private, regional nonprofit research organization with a general membership and Board of Trustees representing a wide spectrum of the commercial fishing industry throughout the southeast U.S.   Through the Foundation, the commercial seafood and fishing industry can collectively identify industry needs, and address those needs through appropriate research and other activities.  Representing the nine-state region from Virginia to Texas, the Foundation has sponsored more than 600 fisheries related research projects. 

 

For more information, please visit www.gulfsouthfoundation.org

 

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Gulf Coast builds brand around its seafood

Eric Stoessel

 

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Measure honors seafood leader

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Published: Wednesday, April 24, 2013 at 10:04 a.m.

 With unanimous approval granted by the House last week, the Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee is the next stop for a bill that would rename the oyster hatchery in Grand Isle after late businessman Mike Voisin of Houma.

House Bill 172 by Rep. Gordon Dove, R-Houma, would change the name of the existing bivalve hatchery to the “Michael C. Voisin Hatchery.”

Now known as the Sea Grant Bivalve Hatchery, it is part of the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ marine research laboratory in Jefferson Parish.

Before his death in February, Voisin championed the idea of off-bottom oyster harvesting, which is the technique being practiced and perfected at the hatchery.

“He was a pioneer in the oyster industry,” Dove told the House.

Aside from being the owner of Motivatit Seafoods, Voisin helped found the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board and has served as chairman of a large number of organizations ranging from the National Fisheries Institute and the Gulf and South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation to the Louisiana Seafood Processors Council and Louisiana Oyster Task Force.

All Houma-Thibodaux representatives voted for the bill.

 
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Applications & Nominations for Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources

 The Mississippi Commission on Marine Resources (CMR) invites applications and nominations for the position of Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (DMR).  Established in 1994 when the former Bureau of Marine Resources was separated from the Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks, the DMR is responsible for managing, controlling, supervising and directing any matters pertaining to saltwater aquatic life and marine resources.  The DMR is under the oversight of a five-member Commission on Marine Resources which is charged with submitting the names of three candidates for this position to the Governor who will select one and submit that name to the Senate for confirmation.  Mississippi Code Section 49-15-305(1) requires that all candidates for the position of Executive Director of the DMR "... shall be knowledgeable and experienced in marine resources management."

The DMR includes offices responsible for Coastal Ecology, Coastal Management and Planning, Marine Fisheries, and Marine Patrol.  Each of these offices is led by a director, all of whom are supervised by the Executive Director.  In addition to supervising the offices, the Executive Director has the authority to internally reorganize the Department, establish qualifications for positions within the Department including the deputy director, office directors, biologists and other personnel.  The Executive Director is also charged with:

             -supervising and directing all administrative and technical activities of the Department;

             - employing qualified professional personnel in the subject matter or fields, and such other technical and clerical staff as may be required for the operation of the Department;

             - coordinating all studies in the State of Mississippi concerned with the supply, development, use and conservation of marine resources;

             - preparing and delivering to the Legislature and the Governor, a full report of the work of the Department, including a detailed statement of expenditures of the Department and any   recommendations the Department may have;

             - entering into cooperative agreements with federal or state agencies in connection with studies and investigations pertaining to marine resources,

             - enforcing all regulations and rules adopted by the Department and enforce all licenses and permits issued by the Department.

 Applicants for this position must have an appropriate educational background and should have an excellent working understanding of and be firmly committed to the missions outlined for the DMR in all chapters of the Mississippi State Code.  In addition, preference will be given for knowledge of the environment, issues, concerns, and management challenges that are specific to the Mississippi Gulf Coast and associated marine and estuarine waters.  Applications, including a detailed resume and three (3) job references, should be submitted to:

Executive Director Applicant

Attention:  Joseph Runnels

MS Department of Marine Resources

1141 Bayview Avenue, Suite 101

Biloxi, MS  39530

 

The CMR will receive applications through 5:00 p.m. on March 12, 2013.  Receipt of all applications will be acknowledged via email.  Applicants should be prepared to interview in the days immediately following this deadline.  Applications will remain confidential. Thereafter the CMR will meet at a Special Called meeting in executive session and select not more than five highly qualified applicants to be interviewed by the CMR at a subsequently called meeting. Thereafter the names of the top three candidates will be submitted to the Governor for final selection.

 

The CMR sets the salary of the Executive Director. The salary range for the position is $83,427.13 to $108,455.27. For additional information contact Christy Royals, DMR Human Resources Director, at 228-374-5000 or 800-374-3449 or email her at Christy.Royals@dmr.ms.gov.

 

The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

 

 

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Mike Voisin left this world for a far better place where families will one day be reunited.

Thoughts from Bob Jones, Trustee about Mike Voisin, President of the Gulf & South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation, Inc.

Mike Voisin - Motivatit Seafood - Houma, Louisiana left this world about an hour ago for a far better place where families will one day be reunited.

Mike Voisin was always a shining light to help guide our seafood industry. It was my privilege to know and work with him for over thirty years. He was always a go-to-guy, not only for the shellfish industry in Louisiana, but for the entire fishing industry of the United States, especially serving as President of the the Gulf and South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation. Mike’s dedication to the culture of the fishing industry was without peer. 

Mike was with us in spirit last week, when GOIC and friends were in Washington, DC “Walking the Hill” for equity and recognition of the role we play as seafood producers. Our leader filling in for Mike was Chris Nelson, Bon Secour Fisheries and what a great job he did. Chris told the members of Congress about Mike’s condition in every office we visited and asked for prayers. Mike would have been proud not only of Chris, but all of his friends who visited so many Congressional leaders. Much will be written about all of Mike’s service on myriad commissions and boards, where he always emerged as a leader. His infectious smile, razor-sharp wit, gator-trapping handshake and lifelong integrity always brought him to leadership positions.

Mike Voisin was special to many people in many places. I loved Mike Voisin for so many reasons. I loved the way he treated sweet Sarah, as the love of his life….which she is and always will be. I loved the way he was proud to be a grandfather many times over. I loved the way he conducted meetings, without losing his temper, no matter how many Type A personalities, such as mine, were in the room arguing over fish issues. I loved the way that big, strong, articulate “Cajun” treated others in such a gentle, understanding and loving manner. I think most of all, in my own selfish way, I cherished the way he made me feel when I was in his presence.

God Bless Mike Voisin. God Bless Sarah, their children and grandchildren as they grieve. Mindy and I offer our deepest condolences at the passing of one of the best.

May his soul and the souls of all the faithfully departed, Rest In Peace. Amen

 

 

 

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Mike Voisin’s Strong, Calm Seafood Voice Goes Silent

February 2, 2013 | By © 2013 Louisiana Seafood News

 

A strong voice for both Louisiana and Gulf Seafood, Voisin was a clear, calm voice during crisis after crisis faced by the industry, especially during the Deepwater Horizon Oil spill – pictured during press conference with Gov. Jindal. Photo: Ed Lallo/Louisiana Seafood News

 

by Ed Lallo/Louisiana Seafood News

At 10:38 am on what was a sunny Saturday morning, the mood darkened in southern Louisiana as the state and Gulf seafood industries lost one of their strongest voices. Michael C. Voisin, owner of Motivatit Seafoods and a current Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commissioner, died in intensive care from a massive heart condition while at Terrebonne General Hospital in his hometown of Houma.

Voisin, owner of one of Louisiana’s oldest and best known oyster-processing companies, was instrumental in founding the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board in 1984. He was an outspoken voice, supporting both the quality of Louisiana Seafood as well as the culture of its community.

The Three Amigos

“Mike died peacefully to the songs sung by family and friends,” said longtime close-friend Chris Nelson, vice president of Alabama Bon Secour Fisheries. “It was both a privilege and honor to be so close to Mike during his final hours.”

 

Voisin (center) was always surrounded by those interested in a strong voice for Louisiana and Gulf seafood. Chris Nelson (back left), Harlon Pearce (front left) and Stan Harris (right) of the Louisiana Restaurant Association during a “Walk the Hill” meeting on Capitol Hill. Photo: Ewell Smith/Louisiana Seafood News

 

“Our friendship went beyond being in the seafood industry,” said Al Sunseri of New Orleans P & J Oyster Company. “Mike, Chris and I have been inseparable for as long as I can remember, so much so that we earned the nickname ‘The Three Amigos’. It is going to be hard not having Mike around to bounce ideas off of. We will sorely miss our amigo.”

Voisin, Sunseri and Nelson were instrumental in founding the Gulf Oyster Industry Council’s “Walk the Hill” more that 15-years ago. This year’s annual walk consisting of more than 30 Gulf coast participants was completed the day before Voisin’s death.

“It was a tragedy that Mike fell ill the day before he was scheduled to go to Washington,” said Nelson. “Everywhere we went on the hill, congressmen and senators asked how Mike was doing. Their offices contained Louisiana Seafood placards draped with a yellow ribbons to signify Mike’s ‘Gold Band Oysters’.”

From California to Louisiana

Born in Los Angeles, Voisin had lived in Louisiana for more than 38-years. He has owned Houma-based Motivatit Seafoods since 1971, and was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Voisin’s affiliations with organizations included; former chairman of the National Fisheries Institute, Louisiana Oyster Dealers and Growers Association, Gulf and South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation, Southeastern Fisheries Association, Louisiana Seafood Processors Council, Gulf Oyster Industry Council and the Louisiana Oyster Task Force.

As a current commissioner, Voisin viewed the management of Louisiana’s wildlife and fisheries resources as critical to the economic and cultural heritage that is Louisiana.

He would often state “We are known around the world and country for our tremendous seafood and wildlife resources. It is critical that they are managed in a sustainable manner for our enjoyment today and future generations to come.”

A Calm Voice of Reason

“In this world of mediocrity in which we all must live, there are few men that stand out above the rest. Then there was Mike,” said former Louisiana Seafood Board chairman Harlon Pearce. “His caring for his fellow man, his undying love for his family as well as the industry he held so dear, made this world a better place. I know I am a better man because of him.”

“We went through so many issues and fought so many battles,” said Sunseri of his departed friend. “ He had the gift of keeping everyone together, even when things seemed to be falling apart.”

 

Mike Voisin (left) with “Walk the Hill” members (l-r) Corky Perrett, Al Sunseri and Bobby Savoie. Photo: Ewell Smith/Louisiana Seafood News

 

“I loved the way he conducted meetings, without losing his temper, no matter how many Type A personalities, such as mine, were in the room arguing over fish issues.” said Bob Jones, executive director of Southeastern Fisheries Association, in a Facebook post. “I loved the way that big, strong, articulate “Cajun” treated others in such a gentle, understanding and loving manner. I think most of all, in my own selfish way, how I cherished the way he made me feel when I was in his presence.”

According to Nelson, it is going to take a whole lot more than a few people to fill the shoes that Voisin has left empty. “Mike was so involved in so many groups and organizations, the void he has left will be hard to fill anytime soon.”

“Our whole department is so terribly saddened at the passing of Mike,” said Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries secretary Robert Barham. “On a daily basis, I relied on his extensive knowledge of the coastal environment and seafood industry. No one was more versed on seafood management. It will be virtually impossible to find someone that has the ability, the knowledge and the will to ensure Louisiana remains a leader in the seafood industry.”

Giving Pointers from Above

Voisin was known for his ability to lead; be it family, church, community, state or industry.

 

During meeting with the FDA and EPA, Voisin would listen carefully to all sides of an issue. Photo: Ed Lallo/Louisiana Seafood News

 

“Mike led, that is what he did better than anyone,” said Ewell Smith, executive director of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board. “ He led with compassion, passion, sincerity and most of all love. We’ve lost a very, very dear friend.”

According to Smith who considered Voisin his mentor, “Our seafood community has lost an incredible leader. Our seafood community is where it is today because of Mike. It will continue to move forward because of all of his amazing efforts. We will miss him dearly and pray for his wonderful family.”

“One thing for sure, Mike was a leader while here on earth and we know he will continue to lead from above,” said Sunseri about his lost amigo. “I am confident that he will continue to send us messages to protect, not only the oyster industry, but the entire Louisiana and Gulf Coast seafood community that he worked so hard to serve, and loved so dearly.”


Editors Note: Mike Voisin’s Funeral Arrangements

A wake for Mike Voisin will be held Wednesday, February 6 at Chauvin Funeral Home, 5899 Louisiana Highway 311 in Houma, LA 70360, (985) 873-7787. The time is still to be determined, but usual visitation is 5-6pm for family and 6 – 9 or 10 pm for general public.

The funeral will be held on Thursday, February 7 at Living Word Church, 1916 Louisiana Highway 311 in Schriever, LA. The service is scheduled for 11am. Visitation at the church will start at approximately 9am until time of service.

Mike and his family are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The Living Word Church has extended the use of the church to the Voisin Family to accommodate the large crowd expected at the service.

 

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Gulf States Join Forces to Create Regional Brand for Marketing Gulf Seafood

 

Photo of William S. “Corky” Perret

William S. “Corky” Perret (blue shirt), who represents Mississippi on the coalition’s executive committee, explains to fishermen how coalition builds demand for Gulf of Mexico seafood by letting people know that Gulf seafood is safe, high quality and good for people to purchase. Photo: Mississippi Dept. of Marine Resources

by Mark Evans/Louisiana Seafood News

http://www.louisianaseafoodnews.com/2013/01/21/gulf-seafood-regional-marketing-brand/

The Gulf of Mexico produces 70 percent of the nation’s oysters and 69 percent of its domestic shrimp. Until recently, however, the states along the Gulf Coast did not work together to market seafood under one, unified brand.

That changed almost two years ago with the creation of the Gulf Seafood Marketing Coalition, which brought together the states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida to coordinate efforts on promoting the region’s seafood industry.

The Gulf & South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation under a grant from the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission formed the coalition. The coalition coordinates promotion efforts and helps provide “a cohesive vision and overarching strategy to showcase Gulf Coast seafood.”

Photo of Ewell Smith

The Gulf of Mexico produces 70 percent of the nation’s oysters and 69 percent of its domestic shrimp. Until recently, however, the states along the Gulf Coast did not work together to market seafood under one, unified brand.
Photo: Ed Lallo/Louisiana Seafood Board

Joanne McNeely, seafood marketing coordinator for the Gulf & South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation, said the coalition was established as a result of the damage the Gulf suffered during the BP oil spill. Since then, it has served as a rallying point for recovery of the region’s seafood industry.

“In the last few years, we’ve found ourselves in the middle of a ‘perfect storm’ (oil spill and hurricanes) that has challenged the confidence of trade and consumers about the safety of Gulf seafood,” she said.

Founded in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the five Gulf state’s seafood marketing directors hold seats on the coalition’s board.

“Having been trough the spill, as well as Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike, the members of the coalition understand the importance of the organization in helping rebuild the gulf seafood brand following a crisis,” said Ewell Smith, executive director of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board. “As a team our efforts re-establish the gulf seafood brand in the national and international arenas. Working together our impact is faster and greater than working alone.”

Correcting Misperceptions about Gulf Seafood

“Our challenge is to simultaneously correct misperceptions about Gulf seafood, while proactively marketing the broad spectrum of fresh, wild seafood from the Gulf waters,” said McNeely.

She said many people have commented on how easily the Gulf states came together for the greater good of the region. Member states understand that what’s good for the region is good for them directly, she said.

“Each member has more than an obligation to enhance the reputation of the region – they have a passion for Gulf Coast seafood and protecting the reputation that goes along with it,” she said.

Photo of Joanne McNeeley and Chris Nelson

“Our challenge is to simultaneously correct misperceptions about Gulf seafood, while proactively marketing the broad spectrum of fresh, wild seafood from the Gulf waters,” said Joanne McNeeley. Chris Nelson, vice president of Bon Secour Fisheries in Alabama, said the coalition has served as a way for the industry to share information across the Gulf region. Photo: Joanne McNeely

“We learned a lot about what other states were doing in starting our own seafood marketing effort,” said Nelson, who also serves as vice chairman on the coalition’s executive committee.Chris Nelson, vice president of Bon Secour Fisheries in Alabama, said the coalition has served as a way for the industry to share information across the Gulf region so states can work together on marketing their seafood. It also allowed his state to learn from the successes and failures of other states in their own marketing efforts.

“It was our desire to work cooperatively with other Gulf states, so that whatever seafood marketing we did complemented rather than conflicted with what other states were doing.”

Promoting Regional Product

Nelson said it makes sense to promote seafood as a regional product rather than as a state one. A Gulf of Mexico brand is much stronger than a state brand for seafood. It also reduces confusion among consumers.

For example, he said, a shrimp could be caught off Louisiana by a boat from Alabama and landed and processed in Texas. That’s fairly common. Consumers don’t care exactly where a shrimp comes from – only that it is a domestic item caught in the Gulf of Mexico.

“I don’t know what a Louisiana or an Alabama shrimp looks like, but I do know what a Gulf of Mexico shrimp looks like,” Nelson said.

Harlon Pearce, owner of Harlon’s LA Fish in Kenner, La., said the coalition is something that has been needed for a long time. Some states have spent a lot of time marketing their seafood, while others may not have had the resources to put toward the effort. The coalition brings more energy to bear on the marketing the region’s seafood by bringing together all of the Gulf states under a united program.

While the Gulf coalition is currently the only regional seafood coalition, Pearce said the industry might eventually see others established to represent the different coastal regions of the United States.

Setting an Example

This coalition is helping set the example for others to follow by bringing together all aspects of the seafood industry, such as retail, chefs, restaurants, tourism, processors, wholesalers and fishermen – to name a few.

Photo of Harlon Pearce

Harlon Pearce, owner of Harlon’s LA Fish in Kenner, La., said the coalition is something that has been needed for a long time. Photo: Louisiana Seafood Baord

“The coalition covers a good cross-section of everyone who touches the product,” said Pearce, who also serves as the seafood market representative on the coalition’s executive committee.

Pearce said the coalition is working with the region’s seafood industry to best position it for growth. The industry needs to figure out a way to move from the commodity market and into a niche market to see stronger demand for products.

To do that, he said, consumers need to be made better aware of the quality of seafood from the Gulf of Mexico so that they will seek it out at stores and restaurants.

“We have to teach the seafood industry that change is necessary and good for growth,” he said.

William S. “Corky” Perret, who represents Mississippi on the coalition’s executive committee, said the coalition is building this demand for Gulf of Mexico seafood by letting people know that Gulf seafood is safe, high quality and good for people to purchase.

Can Compete with Anybody

In part, the coalition does this by providing recipes for people who may not know how to cook seafood and by letting consumers know where they can purchase Gulf seafood.

“Mississippi is a smaller state as compared to Louisiana, Texas and Florida, but while we are a small state, we still have significant seafood production and processing,” he said. “By teaming with the other Gulf states, we can achieve a bigger bang for the buck in spreading the word about Gulf Coast seafood.”

Perret admits the image of the region’s seafood was tarnished in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill. While sales of Gulf seafood were down after these events, he said, the promotional work by the coalition has helped increase those sales again.

“We can compete with anybody in the world in the quality of our Gulf Coast seafood,” he said.

It is fresh, healthy, locally produced and excellent quality. Best of all, he said, it is American made and harvested by Americans.

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Foundation President Mike Voisin Set to Receive Honorary Doctorate

#180                           
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                        
November 30, 2012
Contact: Renee Piper
985-448-4143
 


 U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE TO HEADLINE NICHOLLS COMMENCEMENT

THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University will award approximately 650 degrees during its fall commencement Saturday, Dec. 15, in Stopher Gymnasium.

            Ceremonies will begin at 10 a.m. for College of Arts and Sciences, College of Nursing and Allied Health and University College graduates and at 2 p.m. for College of Business Administration and College of Education graduates.

            U.S. District Court Judge Jane Triche Milazzo, a 1977 Nicholls alumna, will deliver the keynote address at both ceremonies. After teaching elementary school for several years, Milazzo earned her law degree from Louisiana State University and went into private practice with her family’s business, the Law Offices of Risley Triche. In 2008, she became the first woman elected to the 23rd Judicial District Court. Milazzo has served as a U.S. District Court Judge for the Eastern District of Louisiana since October 2011 and is a member of the New Orleans Federal Bar Association’s board of directors.

            During the morning ceremony, Nicholls will also award an honorary Doctor of Commerce to Michael Voisin, owner and CEO of Motivatit Seafoods. Through his nationally recognized seafood company in Houma, Voisin has been active in Louisiana seafood initiatives and has become an industry leader, working closely with academics, local and state legislators, governors, congressional members and White House officials. He has served as president of the Louisiana Oyster Dealers and Growers Association, chairman of the board of the National Fisheries Institute and president of the Houma-Terrebonne Chamber of Commerce. On the Nicholls campus, Voisin is a present or past member of the College of Business Advisory Board, the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute, the LUMCON Board of Trustees and the Institute for Seafood Studies. Throughout his career, he has worked tirelessly for Louisiana fishermen and women, especially for those within the region Nicholls serves.

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Gulf Coast Seafood is Back Up and Running after Hurricane Isaac

 

For more information:
Joanne McNeely
Gulf & South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation, Inc.
mcneely.joanne@gmail.com
850-224-1129
813-286-8390
OR
Judy Jamison, Executive Director
Gulf & South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation, Inc.
judy.jamison@att.net
813-286-8390
 

 

The Gulf Coast Seafood Coalition reports that Gulf Coast seafood fared well throughout the storm that hit the Gulf

 

TAMPA, FLORIDA – August 31, 2012 – In the wake of Hurricane Isaac that caused widespread flooding and wind damage, the Gulf Coast Seafood Coalition reports that the seafood industry survived the storm.

Since hurricanes are a part of the coastal lifestyle, residents and officials, including fisherman and the seafood industry, prepared accordingly for the storm, closing facilities and postponing harvest where necessary. Now that the storm is passed, businesses in the Gulf states are gearing back up for business.

“Our first priority was for the safety of our employees and their families, so we shut down operations at our oyster processing plant to allow them to take precautions as necessary,” said Mike Voisin, chairman of the Gulf Coast Seafood Coalition and president of Motivatit Seafood in Houma, La. “People on the Gulf know how to prepare for tropical storms, and we also know how to quickly bounce back after them.”

With Labor Day right around the corner, restaurants and tourist venues are quickly rebounding to accommodate visitors. And these visitors may have picked the perfect time to visit and enjoy fresh Gulf seafood.

“Weather disturbances in the Gulf tend to mix up the nutrients in the water, providing an enriched environment where seafood can thrive,” said Gulf Coast Seafood Coalition Executive Chef and Executive Chef of Borgne Restaurant in New Orleans, Brian Landry. “While we of course never hope for storms, their presence in the Gulf enhances our already-delicious supply of fresh Gulf Coast seafood.”

This is the perfect time to enjoy the spirit and the flavors of the Gulf. The nutrients from the Mississippi River and marshlands around the Gulf transported by the storm contribute to the deliciousness of the Gulf’s catch. As always, the thorough and routine testing for safety ensures it’s as safe as it is fresh. The resilience of the Gulf’s coastal communities is yet another reason to love the fresh, flavorful and fun experiences waiting for you on the Gulf Coast. 

For more information on the Gulf Coast Seafood Coalition, please visit www.eatgulfseafood.com.

 

About Gulf Seafood Coalition

The Coalition provides a framework for the seafood community to coordinate marketing efforts among the Gulf States with emphasis on working with tourism boards, restaurants, retailers and chefs.  The Gulf & South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation, Inc. is coordinating the Gulf Seafood Marketing Coalition through funding provided by the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission’s (NOAA Award #NA10NMF4770481).  For more information, please visit www.eatgulfseafood.com and follow the Coalition on Facebook at Gulf Coast Seafood and Twitter at @eatgulfseafood. 

 

About Gulf & South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation, Inc.

The Foundation is a private, regional nonprofit research organization with a general membership and Board of Trustees representing a wide spectrum of the commercial fishing industry throughout the southeast U.S.   Through the Foundation, the commercial seafood and fishing industry can collectively identify industry needs, and address those needs through appropriate research and other activities.  Representing the nine-state region from Virginia to Texas, the Foundation has sponsored more than 600 fisheries related research projects. 

For more information, please visit www.gulfsouthfoundation.org.

 

 

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Begich to Introduce National Seafood Marketing Effort

Noting the success of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI), U.S. Sen. Mark Begich is introducing legislation to create a national seafood marketing and development effort to increase value and create jobs in the seafood industry. The proposal was drafted by a nationwide coalition and is supported by 75 fishing groups and others from the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, the Great Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico. The legislation is being finalized and will be introduced when the Senate reconvenes next month.

“Alaska fishermen have long benefitted from ASMI’s work on market research and promotion of our quality seafood products both at home and abroad,” Begich said. “Other regions have similar efforts but this is a good time to step up these efforts with a national program to improve seafood quality and new product development, conduct market research and better promote and respond when challenges like natural disasters affect to the industry. A national marketing and development program could help boost seafood sales and mean more jobs and stronger economies for our coastal communities.”

Begich announced the legislation today at a news conference at Copper River Seafoods in Anchorage. They were joined by Scott Blake, owner of Copper River Seafood, Bruce Schactler, Director of the National Seafood Marketing Coalition, David Vel from the American Shrimp Processors Association, Beth Casoni from the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association, Ray Riutta, Director of ASMI, and Arni Thompson from the United Fishermen of Alaska.

According to the coalition, American seafood products are increasingly forced to compete in the worldwide seafood market and other sources of protein. The U.S. seafood industry struggles to maintain a healthy business profile. Prices paid fishermen are often too low to sustain many domestic fisheries. Fishing jobs are being lost and fishery dependent communities suffer. Many processors do not have the funds available for market research and development of new products. Consumers can become confused by mixed messages regarding the health and safety of seafood, and turn to other forms of protein.

The coalition’s proposal would create a National Seafood Marketing Fund to provide a long-term and sustainable source of funds for the marketing effort. The legislation includes:

 

· $50 million annually into the fund but finding a sustainable source of income will be critical to the success of the program;

· Of available funds, 80 percent would be distributed equally between the regional boards and the remainder distributed based on actual seafood production;

· Establishes five Regional Seafood Marketing Boards to manage and direct these dedicated funds; and

· Members of the boards would include harvesters, large and small processors and others involved in the seafood marketing, food service, transportation and retail sectors.

“It is in the nation’s best interest to maintain a strong seafood industry for both the health of our people and the health of our economy,” Begich said. “Encouraging marketing activities such as quality improvement, market research, new product development, infrastructure, and promotion will increase the consumption and demand for seafood in the U.S., increase the value of our industry, help grow the economy and boost U.S. jobs.”

“America's seafood industry contributes over $145 billion in economic activity to this nation's economy and generates 1.4 million jobs. Sadly, our industry's overall share of the international market has declined, causing a loss of jobs and of economic benefits. Creating a seafood marketing and development program will reverse that trend and lead to increased jobs and economic activity in the United States. The return in terms of jobs and economic benefits will far outweigh the money spent on a marketing program,” said Bruce Schactler.

“This National Marketing and Development Program has the support of over 75 organizations and States, nationwide. The need for this program cannot be overstated and the opportunity it presents will lead to increased value of this national resource and will add a great many jobs to America that depends on the Seafood industry in a big way,” said Kevin Adams of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.

In 2009, the most current year for which data is available, U.S. commercial fishermen landed 8 billion pounds of fish and shellfish worth $3.9 billion at the dock. Overall seafood sales totaled $116 billion and the industry provided one million jobs nationwide including the harvesting, processing and retail sectors. The state of Alaska produces 50 to 60 percent of the nation’s seafood harvest every year.

Begich noted the seafood industry often suffers when disasters occur, both natural and man-made, like Hurricane Katrina or the Gulf oil spill. A mature and long-term marketing program allows for a timely and effective response during these troubled times which minimizes market damage.

Source: Alaska Business Monthly

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Recipes: How To Throw A Shrimp Boil (Access Hollywood Live)

Executive chef Brian Landry of Borgne Restaurant in New Orleans is a spokesperson for the Gulf Coast Seafood Coalition, and he visits Access Hollywood Live to share some authentic shrimp boil recipes.  Watch Chef Brian prepare the Shrimp Boil http://watch.accesshollywood.com/search/how-to-throw-the-perfect-shrimp-boil/1808700266001?searchterm=shrimp

First Published: August 27, 2012 12:54 PM EDT Credit: Access Hollywood

How to Throw A Shrimp BoilCaption How to Throw A Shrimp Boil

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- Chef Brian Landry — who is a spokesperson for the Gulf Coast Seafood Coalition — of Borgne Restaurant in New Orleans stopped by Access Hollywood Live to show how to throw a Shrimp Boil.

BOILED SHRIMP:

2 gal water

1/2 cup kosher salt

1/4 cup sweet paprika

2 tablespoon crushed red pepper

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 tablespoon black peppercorns

1 teaspoon garlic powder

2 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon crushed fennel seed

1 teaspoon whole cloves

1 teaspoon coriander

1 teaspoon allspice

2 ea lemons, halved

4 ea bay leaves

1 ea small onion, coarse chopped

2 stalk celery, coarse chopped

1 pound smoked sausage, cut into 2 inch pieces

2 pound red creamer potatoes

4 ears corn, cut in half

1/2 pound button mushrooms

1 head garlic, halved crosswise

1 sprig thyme

5 pounds jumbo shrimp

1. Place potatoes in bottom of a large pot. Add the 2 gallons of water, all of the dry spices, lemons, garlic, onion, and celery. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

2. Now add the sausage and corn and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.

3. Next add the shrimp and mushrooms and allow the shrimp to simmer for another 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and allow the shrimp to soak until just cooked through (5 - 10 minutes).

4. Pour the pot into a large colander in the sink, and transfer all of the shrimp, sausage, and vegetables onto a table lined with newspaper.

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SHRIMP BOIL POTATO SALAD

3 pounds red creamer potatoes (leftover from shrimp boil), diced

1 ea red onion, small diced

2 ea celery stalk, small diced

3 ea green onions, chopped

1/2 cup capers

3 ea hard boiled eggs, diced

1 head garlic (leftover from shrimp boil), smashed

1 cup mayo

1/4 cup creole mustard

1 tablespoon sweet paprika

Salt/pepper

1. In a large bowl combine the potatoes, red onion, celery, green onions, capers, and hard boiled egg.

2. In a small food processor, combine the smashed garlic, mayo, and creole mustard and blend until smooth.

3. Add the mayo mixture to the potato salad. Season with salt and pepper if necessary.

4. Refrigerate

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CANARY ISLAND ICE TEA

1/2 cup torn fresh mint leaves

1/3 cup grated fresh ginger

1/3 cup honey

2 cups boiling water

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 cups (about) cold water

4 cups freshly brewed black tea

Combine chopped mint, ginger, and honey in medium bowl. Add boiling water. Let steep 15 minutes. Strain. Add lemon juice, cold water and tea.

Fill collins glasses with ice cubes. Add lemonade & tea mixture. Garnish with mint leaves and lemon slices and serve.

For more information on all of these recipes, visit www.eatgulfseafood.com.

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Iowa Hy-Vee stores launch Gulf shrimp promotion

 


 

Iowa Hy-Vee stores launch Gulf shrimp promotion
Through 21 August, Midwestern U.S. retailer Hy-Vee will offer its customers Gulf shrimp samples and educational events at 15 of its Iowa stores.

Through 21 August, Midwestern U.S. retailer Hy-Vee will offer its customers Gulf shrimp samples and educational events at 15 of its Iowa stores.

“Our mission statement is to make lives easier, healthier and happier. We want to offer our customers the best of the best seafood,” said Kurt Johnson, Hy-Vee meat supervisor-Southeast region. “The Gulf Coast is known for their delicious shrimp, and we are confident that our customers are going to be excited to explore new dishes using fresh Gulf Coast shrimp.”

The Gulf Coast region provides 69 percent of domestic shrimp and is a major economic engine for the region and country. While shrimp is available year-round, the Gulf Coast states have reported that this summer has yielded a great harvest due to early openings. Gulf Coast states such as Alabama, Mississippi and Texas were able open shrimp season early as a result of warm winter waters and spring rain.

“Partnering with a top 20 supermarket chain is the perfect outlet to provide some of the world’s best-tasting shrimp to consumers,” said Mike Voisin, chairman of the Gulf Coast Seafood Coalition, which is partnering with Hy-Vee on the promotional efforts. “The Gulf Coast community takes great pride in providing premium shrimp to kitchens across the globe, and is pleased to offer the Midwest region a sample of the Gulf Coast’s unique flavors exclusively through Hy-Vee.”

Hy-Vee shoppers will be able to sample fresh seafood from the Gulf and take home information like recipe ideas. POS materials will be found in the stores, including seafood counter cards, banners and counter clings.

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FOUNDATION PRESENTS DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 10, 2012

CONTACT:

Judy Jamison

Executive Director, Gulf & South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation, Inc.

(813) 286-8390

Judy.jamison@att.net

 

FOUNDATION PRESENTS DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD

Tampa, Florida - The Gulf and South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation, Inc. announces the presentation of the Distinguished Service Award to Mr. Bob Gill.  This award recognizes the recipient’s many years of outstanding service to the seafood community.  Mr. Gill was recognized at the Foundation’s Annual Board of Trustees Meeting dinner in New Orleans, LA.  Past recipients include Mr. Larry Simpson, Ms. Joanne McNeely, Mr. Ewell Smith, Mr. Corky Perret, Mr. Wayne Swingle, Mr. David Harrington and others. 

Mr. Bob Gill is the owner of Shrimp Landings in Crystal River, Florida.  He has been an active member in the Organized Fishermen of Florida and the Southeastern Fisheries Association.  For the past six years he has served on the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, also serving as Chairman during his last term.  Mr. Gill is a graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology as an ocean engineer, MSME, and the US Naval Academy.  He served honorably in the US Navy.  Mr. Bob Jones, Past Foundation President noted, "Bob has been an outspoken proponent for the commercial seafood community in the Gulf Region."   

Mr. Gary Graham also received special recognition for his over four decades of work with the commercial seafood industry.  He received his Bachelors Degree in Range Science from the Texas A&M University.  Mr. Graham has worked as a Fisheries Specialist with the Texas Sea Grant Program for over 40 years, the vast majority of that time spent in the field, working directly with industry.  He has been an instrumental cooperator for the Foundation, acting as the Gulf Regional Coordinator since 1992.  Mr. Graham is a past recipient of the Distinguished Service Award.  “The Foundation is immensely appreciative of the efforts Gary has put forth and we look forward to continuing the cooperative relationship and friendship that has developed,” said Ms. Judy Jamison, Foundation Executive Director. 

The dinner was held at Chef John Besh’s Restaurant August and ~100 people were in attendance.  The dinner was also sponsored by the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board and included local Gulf seafood products. 

The Foundation is a private, regional nonprofit research organization with a general membership and Board of Trustees representing a wide spectrum of the commercial fishing industry throughout the southeast U.S.   Through the Foundation, the commercial seafood and fishing industry can collectively identify industry needs, and address those needs through appropriate research and other activities.  Representing the nine-state region from Virginia to Texas, the Foundation has sponsored more than 700 fisheries related research projects.  For more information visit our website at http://www.gulfsouthfoundation.org/

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Go for the Gold With Olympic-Inspired Gulf Coast Seafood Recipes Created by Gulf Chefs

Support Gulf Coast Chefs and Seafood at Olympics

7/31/2012 by: Coalition

 

SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR GULF COAST CHEFS AND SEAFOOD AT THE 2012 LONDON OLYMPIC GAMES

 

Go for the Gold With Olympic-Inspired Gulf Coast Seafood Recipes Created by Gulf Chefs

 

TAMPA, FLORIDA (July 31, 2012) - The Gulf Coast Seafood Coalition (Coalition) is proud to cheer on the eight Gulf Coast chefs that will be touting the Gulf region and serving its fresh and flavorful seafood at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

The best-of-the-best chefs from Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida will be participating in BP’s “Spirit of the Gulf,” a series of events for Team USA during the 2012 London Olympic Games. According to BP, more than 1,000 people each day will visit the “Spirit of the Gulf” events where they will be encouraged to visit the Gulf Coast and sample some of the world’s best seafood.

The chefs include: Chef John Folse (Louisiana), Chef Michael Sichel (Louisiana),Chef Chris Poplin (Mississippi),Chef Calvin Coleman (Mississippi),Chef Chris Sherrill (Alabama),Chef Alec Naman (Alabama),Chef Justin Timineri (Florida)andChef Paul Stellato (Florida).

While you are watching the games on television, the Coalition encourages the Gulf Coast community to get into the spirit and eat like you’re at the 2012 London Olympic Games. Not only are these recipes fit for Team USA, they also include the rich Gulf Coast seafood nutrients and energy needed by the armchair athletes to keep up with the more than 302 medal events.

“We are proud of the Chefs that were selected to represent the Gulf Coast region,” said Mike Voisin, chairman of the Gulf Coast Seafood Coalition. “The 2012 London Olympic Games is the perfect venue to showcase all of the great things that the Gulf Coast region has to offer - from the notable seafood to southern hospitaltity to great music - we’re honored that the rest of the world will be able to have a little taste of our hometowns.”

Recipes include: (For full recipes, visit www.eatgulfseafood.com  to download the official recipe book)

Chef Calvin Coleman’s Gulf Seafood and Gator Sausage Gumbo

Chef John Folse’s Ultimate Louisiana Crab Cakes

Chef Alex Naman’s Cajun Shrimp with Artichoke Cream Sauce

Chef Chris Poplin’s Southern BBQ Shrimp with Smoked Sausage, Green Onion and Goat Cheese Grits

Chef Chris Sherrill’s Grouper Jubilee

Chef Michael Sichel’s Crabmeat Maison

Chef Paul Stellato’s Grouper with Onion-Corn Relish and Creamy Crab Sauce

Chef Justin Timineri’s Crispy Pan-Seared Swordfish

What’s more, be sure to visit the Gulf Coast Seafood Coalition’s Facebook page at Gulf Coast Seafood for the latest news and updates from the 2012 London Olympic Games. The team will be posting photos from the “Spirit of the Gulf” event, including cooking station demos, chefs in action and delicious recipes. And you might catch an Olympic winner or two enjoying Gulf Coast seafood. Additionally, vote on your favorite recipe from the games as the Coalition will be awarding a gold, silver and bronze medal to the top picks. Follow us on Twitter @EatGulfSeafood and don’t forget to include the #GulfCoastGold when you mention #TeamUSA and #SpiritoftheGulf.

###

About Gulf Coast Seafood Coalition The Coalition provides a framework for the seafood community to coordinate marketing efforts among the Gulf States with emphasis on working with tourism boards, restaurants, retailers and chefs. The Gulf & South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation, Inc. is coordinating the Gulf Seafood Marketing Coalition through funding provided by the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission’s (NOAA Award #NA10NMF4770481). For more information, please visit http://www.eatgulfseafood.com and follow the Coalition on Facebook at Gulf Coast Seafood and Twitter at @eatgulfseafood.

About Gulf & South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation, Inc. The Foundation is a private, regional nonprofit research organization with a general membership and Board of Trustees representing a wide spectrum of the commercial fishing industry throughout the southeast U.S. Through the Foundation, the commercial seafood and fishing industry can collectively identify industry needs, and address those needs through appropriate research and other activities. Representing the nine-state region from Virginia to Texas, the Foundation has sponsored more than 600 fisheries related research projects. For more information, please visit http://www.gulfsouthfoundation.org.

BP “Spirit of the Gulf”As part of BP’s ongoing partnership with Team USA, the “Spirit of the Gulf” is a celebration of the U.S. Gulf Coast and two of the region’s most distinctive qualities – the culture and cuisine. BP is proud to use the power of the London 2012 Olympic Games as another way to promote the Gulf Coast, draw new visitors to the region and demonstrate our ongoing commitment to the community. With a taste of the Gulf’s seafood and a sampling of the sounds of the region, the Spirit of the Gulf will use the best the Gulf Coast has to offer to cheer Team USA on to victory during the London 2012 Olympic Games. Enjoy.

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Fish you buy may not be what you think

 


The Miami Herald
 

Fish you buy may not be what you think

When you order fish at your favorite South Florida restaurant or buy fillets from the supermarket, there’s a chance you are not eating what you thought you bought. The marine conservation group Oceana recently tested 96 fish samples purchased from 60 outlets from West Palm Beach to Key Largo and found that nearly one-third of the seafood was mislabeled.

According to Oceana’s report released Monday, the species most often misrepresented was red snapper, which usually turned out to be a less-expensive snapper species such as dog snapper or lane snapper, and even sea bream from the Pacific — not a snapper at all — in 86 percent of samples. Grouper, mislabeled 16 percent of the time, was substituted with king mackerel or Asian catfish in several samples.

The report says sushi sellers were the worst offenders, with 58 percent of samples mislabeled. Fish advertised as “white tuna” turned out to be escolar — a snake mackerel containing a toxin that causes digestive distress — in all the samples collected from 15 sushi venues in South Florida, Oceana said.

Grocery stores had the lowest numbers of wrongly labeled fish — about 8 percent of samples collected. Restaurants were in the middle at 36 percent.

Oceana senior scientist Kimberly Warner, one of the report’s co-authors, says seafood fraud has a negative impact on consumers’ wallets, health and the health of the world’s oceans.

“Depressing, very troubling,” Warner said last week in a telephone interview. “This is not a local problem. We see it every place we look.”

The good news for South Florida: seafood fraud is less rampant here than in Southern California where Oceana found more than half the fish samples it tested from grocery stores and restaurants were something other than what was advertised, and in the Boston area where up to 48 percent of seafood was mislabeled.

Warner said eating the wrong fish can cause health problems for consumers who are allergic. There’s also the potential for ciguatera — a neurotoxin found in some large reef fish that can lead to chronic, long-lasting symptoms. In the case of king mackerel being substituted for grouper, there’s the issue of mercury: the Food and Drug Administration says women of child-bearing age and children should not eat kingfish due to high levels of the heavy metal. Escolar, falsely called ‘white tuna’ by some sellers, is the subject of FDA health warnings for its gastric effects.

Seafood fraud also hits consumers in the wallet, the report warns, when they pay for what they think is red snapper but is really tilapia — a much-cheaper, farmed freshwater fish. Diners who thought they were eating “wild” or “king” salmon got farmed Atlantic salmon instead about 19 percent of the time.

Warner said Florida has put a lot of effort into ferreting out seafood fraud, but “extra efforts in traceability is going to be the ultimate solution,” she said. The U.S. imports more than 85 percent of its seafood, and Warner said the supply chain worldwide is very murky—“it’s very hard to tell the path from when it’s caught to when it reaches your plate.”

Mahmood Shivji, an expert in genetics who heads the Guy Harvey Research Institute at Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center in Dania Beach, has performed DNA testing on numerous seafood samples over the past few years. He reviewed the Oceana report but did not conduct any testing for it.

Shivji wasn’t surprised at the findings, and said more could be done to track and test seafood as it makes its way from the water to the plate, “but the agencies that are supposed to be doing it don’t have the resources, so you’re stuck,” he said.

He suggested suppliers could pay for DNA testing, which costs about $200 for a sample the size of a fingernail, then provide a certificate.

“I don’t think you need to test every fillet,” Shivji said. “Do spot checks. If you do it on a larger scale, the cost comes down.”

Bob Jones, executive director of the 300-member Southeastern Fisheries Association, says his organization works with state and federal agencies to make sure fish sold in Florida are properly identified, and accurately weighed and measured before they appear on consumers’ plates.

“The health aspects, the economic aspects of selling you a fish you didn’t ask for, that concerns us greatly,” Jones said.

But Jones says current requirements of the FDA, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and others overseeing the seafood supply chain – especially in the wake of 9/11 terrorism threats — are adequate.

“I find it’s mostly in the restaurants,” Jones said. “You get a seller that says, ‘I can give you a fish that tastes as good as grouper for less money.’ We have no problem till he calls a catfish a grouper. We are very conscientious about what we do and how our members operate.”

Carol Dover, president/CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, called seafood fraud in Florida “completely unacceptable.”

“We fully support enforcement efforts requiring truthful labeling and representation of all seafood products,” Dover wrote in an email. “We urge not only our members but the entire industry to protect themselves and their customers by using only transparent and reputable seafood suppliers.”


 

 

© 2012 Miami Herald Media Company. All Rights Reserved.
http://www.miamiherald.com

 


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/07/22/v-print/2906932/fish-you-buy-may-not-be-what-you.html#storylink=cpy
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Legacy of Resilience - Bon Secour Fisheries Sets Standard for Industry

 Click on the link to the full article in "Coastal Alabama", July 2012

The business has roots dating back to 1896 when Frank A. Nielsen (the family name was Americanized to become Nelson) began harvesting oysters in the rich, fertile waters around Bon Secour in  South Baldwin County. The recent emigre from Denmark, it turns out, had quite the knack when it came to the tasty mollusks. He was an early practitioner of the now common practice of planting and harvesting oysters in and around Weeks Bay, Mullet Point and south to the shell banks.

It was an early form of aquaculture that proved to be ahead of its time. The oysters were kept alive in pens offshore and transported by sailing vessels to Mobile, where they were sold at the foot of Eslava Street. Many were eaten locally at oyster bars, but many more were shipped up the East Coast, where they found a new and willing market.

The natural bottom and fresh, clean water found in the area were an ideal combination for producing some of the fattest, tastiest oysters anywhereTheir renown was widespread, and with the advent of refrigerated railcars, their acclaim spread even further.  In fact, Chris Nelson - great-great grandson of the founder - noted that arguably the most famous oyster bar in the world, the Oyster Bar at Grand Central Station in New York City, once proudly featured Secour oysters. "Up until about the early 1960s, Bon Secour oysters had quite the name and were known for their distinct flavor," Nelson said. "I still bump into folks who recall seeing Bon Secour oysters featured on menus."

Up to that time, most of the family-run business was centered on oysters. But around 1950, Nelson said, things began to evolve. "After World War II, Mobile Bay began to change, environmentally and otherwise," he explained. Lots of factors were to blame. The opening of the Mobile Bay Causeway interrupted the flow of fresh water; construction of dams upriver, the building of the Mobile ship channel and the dredging of the Intracoastal Canal also had adverse effects on oystering operations.  Combine that with changing land use practices that resulted in more runoff, and things just got worse. The once-fertile natural bottoms became clogged with silt and mud. "That's not good for oysters." Nelson said. "They will smother in the mud."

Paradigm Shift

Also about the time of World War II, Bon Secour Fisheries shifted gears toward the harvesting of another Gulf of Mexico staple - shrimp. By adding shrimp to the successful oyster production, the company continued to thrive. Today, the group supplies seafood of all sorts to restaurants and stores all over the Southeastern United States. They operate a fleet of three shrimp boats, with the family's 30,000 square foot plant in Bon Secour serving as home base. The firm is still very much in the oyster business, Nelson said. Only now, many of the oysters come from elsewhere to be processed at the sprawling South Alabama plant. "Rather than have the boats dock here, many of the oysters are trucked in from Louisiana or Texas where they are opened, shucked and graded," he explained.

While some aspects of the operation have transformed with time, Bon Secour Fisheries remains at its core a family business.  John Ray Nelson, the father of the clan, serves as chairman of the board, while son John Andrew is president. Chris is vice president in charge of oyster procurement and government affairs. His brother David is vice president in charge of shrimp procurement.  The company has undergone a lot of changes over the years (where once they owned a fleet of large ocean-going shrimp boats, they now own three) not the least of which was the BP oil spill in 2010.

Raising Hope

The spill devastated the fragile seafood business and Nelson said the effects are still being felt today - but not as much.  "Consumer confidence was damaged," he explained. "It was driven by what I would say was 'an abundance of caution.'" While the spill seemed overwhelming, it was buoyed by a sense of common purpose that led many in the region to band together to right the improbable wrong that had occurred. If anything good came from the horrific episode, it's that it proved the resilience and strength of the Gulf Coast region.

Still, it is imperative that we remember the lessons learned.  "That was something we need not forget, that the potential is there for it to happen again," Nelson said. "No one expects another blowout, but let's make sure that we can look back at this playbook and make sure that it doesn't happen again." The industry and the region discovered a lot in the wake of the disaster, not the least of which was that we can pull together as a region if need arises.

Nelson, who has a background in science, also stressed the importance of relying on the findings of the Coastal Recovery Commission of Alabama and other groups to prevent such an event from happening again"It's important that we continue monitoring so that problems down the road don't sneak up on us," he said. "But we also need to continue to support the scientists out there and embrace the information they come up with." The seafood business remains a business of ifs," he added. There is a lot of potential for growth, but it remains a very fragile economic environment.  "We are fragile, but we are also resilient - because that's all that's left," Nelson said. "As long as we don't have anything else, we will slowly recover."

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Family businesses beat the odds

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Family businesses beat the odds

Stephen Hood
Correspondent
Published: Saturday, June 30, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Abby Tabor/Staff
Mike Acosta works a printing press Thursday afternoon in Bazet Printing in Houma.

 

 

Family businesses don't survive, according to the statistics.

The Family Business Institute reports about 30 percent of family businesses continued into the second generation, 12 percent make it to a third generation and about 3 percent operate into the fourth generation or beyond.

Don't tell that to Michael Acosta, owner of Bazet Printing, a fourth-generation business in downtown Houma. Acosta's business has been family owned and operated since its conception in a shed in 1878.

Don't tell that to Allison Rouse, granddaughter of the late Anthony Rouse Sr. and managing partner of third-generation Rouses Markets based in Thibodaux.

And don't tell that to Mike Voisin, CEO of Motivatit Seafoods, a second-generation oyster business established by his late father, Ernest, on a small farm in south Terrebonne Parish in 1971 and now based in Houma. The Voisin family has been in the seafood industry for eight generations.

Acosta said the secret to his company's longevity is “quality, price and service.”

The secret to Rouses' success is hard work, Allison Rouse said. “But it's passion that drives you to surpass expectations to keep growing and getting better,” she added.

Voisin attributes his company's longevity to “hard work early on and good family members to help us.”

SUCCESSION

 Voisin said succession was easy after his father died because he merely had to divide the company into two parts. He shares ownership responsibilities with his twin brother Steve.

Voisin said succession will be more difficult the next time around because there are a lot more family members to consider.

“The next generation is expected to participate in the business and to maintain a certain level of integrity and to participate in who we are,” he said.

All of Voisin's children have worked at Motivatit, and all but one still do.

“It's you, it's who your family is and who your family becomes,” he said.

Voisin said his business is taking succession planning very seriously, and it has requested assistance of a third-party consultant to help with the process. The consultant was brought in to analyze strengths and weaknesses and to build from within.

If no viable candidate reveals himself or herself, the company might bring someone in from outside the family for the survivability of the corporation, Voisin said.

“I'd like to see it go more generations and be successful,” he added.

As of now, he said, the company has not determined who the next CEO will be.

Acosta bought Bazet Printing from his uncle Emmett “Butch” Robichaux four years ago. Acosta said he plans for his daughter, Lindsey Acosta, to take over the company provided she learns the business.

“We have a long way to go between now and then. Hoping it will be Lindsey,” he said.

Allison Rouse, who has spent more than 15 years working in Rouses grocery stores, said the company has a plan for succession.

“It is a family business, and we plan to keep it that way,” she said.

Anthony Rouse Sr. and his cousin Ciro DiMarco founded Rouses in 1960. After DiMarco retired, Anthony Rouse's children took an interest in the business.

Anthony Rouse remained active in the business until his death in 2009 at 79. His two sons, Donald and Tommy Rouse, who had been operating the business for decades, then took over.

FAMILY DYNAMICS

 “When you fire a family member, you go have lunch with them on Sunday,” Voisin said.

Complicated dynamics are part of the bargain when operating a family business. Voisin said he has a good dynamic with his brother that makes resolving disagreements in a reasonable manner simple.

He said it is important to keep a healthy perspective.

“None of us mind working hard, but I'm always looking over my shoulder for the day I'll be shoveling oysters again,” he added.

Rouses encourages family members to enter the business, but it is not compulsory, Allison Rouse said.

“With such a diverse landscape in a full service grocery store, there is almost always a place for a family member to work in the family business, should they want to,” she said.

Family members working for Rouses are held to the same standard as all other team members, and promotions are determined by “hard work, dedication and motivation,” she said.

ADAPTATION

 To maintain success, many businesses have had to reinvent themselves because of technological advances or fluctuations in the marketplace.

Acosta said Bazet Printing has not had to reinvent itself. The technology the company used 50 years ago still works soundly and “doesn't break,” he said.

Bazet Printing has had the same customers for generations, he said.

The key to maintaining success in printing, Acosta said, is quality service.

“We not only sell rubber stamps, we will service them, we will go over personally and fix it for them or replace them,” he said.

Rouses employs more than 5,200 people and has 38 stores across southern Louisiana and coastal Mississippi.

Allison Rouse attributes the company's success to innovation, passion, a strong work ethic and the company's ability to employ the old with the new.

“Rouses tries to stay ahead of the curve. We believe it's not enough to change reactively with the times, you also have to seek out new, innovative ideas,” she said.

“Over the past 50 years, much has changed in the way people ‘make groceries,' but much has stayed the same. Finding the right balance is key,” she said.

Innovation and adaptation is a necessary part of life for Voisin, whose father started the business “with nothing but a conveyor, a single boat and a dream.”

From the small farm, the company moved into a processing plant in 1973 but expanded and began to focus more on harvesting oysters in 1975, moving into the current location on Palm Avenue in 1976.

Voisin said his business is continuously evolving and streamlining from the inside, but outside forces such as changing government regulations make sure the industry is relentlessly variable.

To maintain success, he said, a business must be willing and prepared to modify any situation.

“Things are easier now. We used to have to lift heavy oyster bags. Now there are machines for that. But shucking an oyster is basically the same.”

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Gwyneth Paltrow lands seafood session with top chef

 

Cooking at Catch

The other day I had the great fortune of getting a kick-a** cooking lesson from James Beard nominee Keith Rhodes (one of if not the best chef in Wilmington, N.C.). He and his lovely wife Angela are the owners of Catch, a casual and delicious seafood spot serving local, seasonal food with a lot of thought behind it. Careful to stick with what is in abundance in his community, Keith feeds his customers food that is fresh, inventive and delicious. It was a really great afternoon.

Love,
gp

The Menu

Shrimp Ceviche

Cucumber Tequila Cocktail

Pan Seared Black Grouper with Local Veggies

Tuna Tataki

Shrimp Ceviche

Light and refreshing, Keith’s ceviche is delicious, and what makes it even better is that everything but the Florida oranges, not-too-peppery Sicilian olive oil and Himalayan rock salt is from the area.

Local Shrimp

Keith explains that in addition to the usual grey (sometimes red) shrimp from the sea such as these, in the Wilmington area, you can also find small, brown river shrimp, which are good for frying.

Deveining & Blanching

Deveining is not a difficult process but it does take some patience. Then the shrimp are blanched in water for just a couple minutes until they turn pink.

The Marinade

The tomato is sliced and added along with the oranges, red onion, lime,

some Himalayan rock salt and ripe avocado.

Fish in Cups

Perhaps the coolest part is this sealing contraption. The shrimp are placed in these plastic cups to marinate for four hours with the citrus and other ingredients before serving. I’m pretty impressed.

Ceviche

The gorgeous final product.

This week’s goop collaboration

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Cucumber Tequila Cocktail

Catch’s mixologist, Richard Watson, whips up the most refreshing cucumber margaritas, made with muddled cucumbers, 100% agave tequila, triple sec and a splash of soda. He then dusts the rim with salt, pepper and ancho (red poblano) chili powder. We happily enjoyed these while we worked.

Local Pan Seared Black Grouper
with Local Veggies

This grouper, pulled off the North Carolina shores, is simply seared to highlight rather than mask the opaque, flaky and clean-tasting fish. The vegetables at Catch, like these, are often grown and brought in by customers, who Keith calls friends.

Butterfly before Searing

First, Keith butterflies the black grouper, “the king white fish of North Carolina”, opening it up like a book so it cooks evenly. Next, Keith adds a touch of soybean oil, which he prefers to peanut oil because it’s local and cooks at a high temperature. The fish is seared for about a minute then flipped and covered, so it basically steams. After a few minutes more, he hits it with some white wine ("Mad Housewife" brand!), salt and pepper (note how he seasons the fish after it’s cooked, not before) and it’s done.

A Break

Keith speaks passionately about local and sustainable seafood, emphasizing how he would never throw a West Coast fish like halibut onto the menu just because customers may recognize the name, when there are plenty of fish in the local sea to choose from. Keith encourages education about such issues amongst customers and the larger Wilmington community.

The Veggies

Raised as an Adventist and a vegetarian until he was 16, Keith was exposed to tons of fresh veggies growing up and non-meat proteins like tofu, which he says was not common for someone in the African American community in the south at that time. Consequently, he’s a huge vegetable man, all about taste, and not really into starches (pasta, rice, potato and the like), which he calls ‘fillers’. Today, he pairs the grouper with purple okra, zucchini, carrots and breakfast radishes, all fresh and local.

Asian Style

In this preparation, the veggies are touched with some South East Asian overtones. Toyomansi, a calamansi (Filipino citrus) - infused soy sauce, and a soy sauce with bonito. He adopted these flavor profiles from his time cooking in Philly.

Plating

Veggies are plated first on a bed of raw arugula, then the fish.

Tuna Tataki

In this raw appetizer, Keith pairs local tuna with a refreshing burst of local watermelon, which he then contrasts with a whisper-thin slice of jalapeno, a sliver of mint and a shake of Madras curry powder. The tataki is then dressed with creamy coconut milk, fresh ginger, savory fish sauce (3 Crabs brand, the best), and toasted sesame oil. This is a piquant mélange of flavors.

Knife Skills

First, Keith slices this high-quality, buttery tuna into small cubes.

Then, he cubes the watermelon and slices the jalapenos paper thin. Check out the size of that knife, and the gorgeous plating.

Sauces

Keith’s Asian-inspired condiment rack. Sesame oil is drizzled into the coconut milk before dressing the tuna.

Final Product

Scenes from the Kitchen

About Keith

Keith and his wife Angela of 22 years. They have two sons.

Keith Rhodes is North Carolina James Beard Semifinalist, Best Chef Southeast, 2011 and was on Season 9 of Bravo's Top Chef. He’s a Wilmington native and has been voted the city’s best chef for three consecutive years. Keith is dedicated to local products and passionate about informing his customers about all the fresh and amazing stuff available in their own community. His outreach work, such as schools speeches informing kids about nutrition (tips such as drinking coconut water instead of Gatorade), makes him not just a chef, but an educator and an indispensible part of the community.

Catch
6623 Market Street
Wilmington, NC
www.catchwilmington.com

 

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Chef Chris Hastings spearheads campaign for Alabama seafood industry

Published: Friday, June 01, 2012, 8:00 AM

By Martin Swant --- The Birmingham News

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- A video camera hovered behind chef Chris Hastings on Thursday morning as he picked apart pieces of Gulf Coast shrimp, arranging them onto a plate.

Hastings, owner of Hot and Hot Fish Club on Birmingham's Southside, was the only chef in the kitchen. No patrons were in the restaurant that early in the day. For that morning, the fish, oysters, and crabs being prepared by the award-winning chef were not for tables, but for television.

Birmingham chefs and homegrown shrimp (and oysters, fish and crabs) are the centerpieces of a new statewide marketing campaign to promote Alabama's seafood industry.

The commercial shot Thursday is part of that campaign by the Alabama Seafood Marketing Commission. The commission, created by Gov. Robert Bentley in March 2011, aims to increase demand for Alabama Gulf seafood among consumers and restaurants in the region. Annual sales by the state's seafood industry are around $390 million, Bentley said when the campaign was launched last month.

At Hot and Hot Fish Club on Thursday morning, Hastings was busy preparing five dishes for commercials shot by Six Foot Five Productions. Each dish featured a different type of Alabama seafood. There was a plate of shrimp, lamb and fennel. Another had crab, kohlrabi, arugula and celery root. Yet another had oysters baked in lime.

"It's a unique moment in the Gulf's history and Alabama's seafood history for us to be part of a conversation," Hastings, who in May won the James Beard Foundation's title of best chef in the South, said in an interview after the commercial shoot.

He said the commission is fulfilling an important mission.

"For me, it gave me access to a lot of science that would have been otherwise a little harder to find. So I then could better educate myself about all of what's going on in the Gulf as it relates to the oil spill, so then I could be sure for myself -- both for my business and for my advocacy of the Gulf."

Hastings has served on the commission since he was invited last year.

"It'd be a real tragedy if the fishing industry in Alabama had collapsed due to that, and what would have collapsed it in hindsight would not have been the spill itself but the entire gulf being completely destroyed," he said. "People quit buying seafood and businesses around the Gulf were very close to having to shut down because nobody was buying fish, but I knew it was out there. I was buying it. I thought, we need to do something. And I said, 'What can I do to help?'"

Ford Wiles, chief creative officer at Big Communications, which is handling the advertising and public relations for the seafood commission, said the style of the television spots is a hand-held feel, almost like the show "Deadliest Catch" on Discovery.

In the series of five spots, the first captured the essence of Alabama seafood. The second -- part of which was filmed Thursday -- highlights talented Alabama chefs like Hastings, Highland Bar and Grill's Frank Stitt and Wesley True, owner/chef at True Restaurant in Mobile. All three chefs were nominated for James Beard awards this year. The other commercials will highlight a different type of seafood.

One hope of the campaign is to rally the base and create Alabamians into ambassadors for the state's seafood and other fish products, Wiles said.

"I was thinking about when we shot these spots, and how it was an eye opening experience for everyone involved. It was truly amazing to see the journey of how seafood gets to our plate," he said. "The hard work, passion and pride that goes on everyday is extraordinary. I mean, when you see two guys in a boat with 20-foot tongs that are pulling oysters up a handful at a time -- you definitely have a new appreciation for every oyster you eat for the rest of your life."

Join the conversation by clicking to comment or email Swant at mswant@bhamnews.com.

© 2012 al.com. All rights reserved.

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Getting Blessed with Abundant Seafood

A parade of fun

Posted by Stephanie Barna on Mon, Apr 30, 2012 at 2:17 PM

 

The Magwoods boat ready to leave port
  • The Magwood's boat ready to leave port

 

On Sunday morning, the scene at Shem Creek was unusually festive. Familiar shrimping boats like Wayne Magwood’s Winds of Fortune and Tommy Edwards’ Mrs. Judy Too were festooned in colorful flags as they readied themselves for the 25th Annual Blessing of the Fleet.

 

blueboat.jpg

 

 

shemcreek.jpg

 

Meanwhile over at the Mt. Pleasant Waterfront Park, thousands of people were gathering on the pier for the town’s day-long celebration, which included live music, lots of food, and the 1 p.m. blessing of the fleet, which marks the beginning of the fishing season.

 

park.jpg

 

 

Mark and Kerry Marhefka of Abundant Seafood
  • Mark and Kerry Marhefka of Abundant Seafood

 

On board Captain Mark Marhefka’s fishing boat, the Amy Marie of Abundant Seafood, were family and friends, including chefs like John Ondo of Lana Restaurant and Jill Mathias of Carolina’s.

 

Yummy fried chicken, courtesy of John Ondo
  • Yummy fried chicken, courtesy of John Ondo

 

Marhefka and Matt Wrann had just put a fresh coat of paint on the boat, and his wife Kerry had made a delicious grouper salad (think tuna salad but with their own freshly caught fish), and everyone else brought a dish or two to share, which means there was a pretty amazing spread.

 

Mrs. Judy Too
  • Mrs. Judy Too

 

 

wheelhouse.jpg
The kids roamed the boat and sat up top on the wheelhouse, until the Department of Natural Resources pulled alongside and told the captain everyone had to get down. Apparently, the policing was much more strict this year, according to the Marhefkas. One shrimp boat had to turn back to Shem Creek because they had too many passengers.

 

 

Miss Paula
  • Miss Paula

 

After a pleasant cruise of the harbor (the Amy Marie tops out at 7 knots), Marhefka got in the boat parade line and was blessed by the priest, which ended with a rousing cheer from the gathered crowds, both in the water and on the shore. After the blessing, the boats cruised back to Shem Creek where kids frolicked in the water and both dolphin and manatee were spotted. A fitting end to a magical day, which was marred only by the poorly done T-shirt design by Guy Harvey, who chose to depict a spot tail bass (or drum) and a spotted sea trout, two species that are sport fish and have not been open to commercial fishermen for decades.

 

swimming.jpg

 

 

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Gulf continues PR push, while West Coast basks in bumper crop

Top Species: Wild shrimp

Gulf continues PR push, while West Coast basks in bumper crop

 
 
Wild Shrimp - Photo courtesy of Ralph Brennan Restaurant GroupBBQ Shrimp PoBoy is a menu favorite at Red Fish Grill in New Orleans.  - Photo courtesy of Ralph Brennan Restaurant GroupWild shrimp - Photo courtesy of Ralph Brennan Restaurant GroupDemand for Gulf shrimp is picking up, but not as quickly as some had hoped.  - Photo courtesy of Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group

By Joanne Friedrick
April 05, 2012

The oil spill may be cleaned up in the Gulf following the BP disaster at the Deepwater Horizon platform, but those involved in the wild shrimp industry are still struggling to put questions about the safety of the seafood from that region to rest.

Florida was one of several states impacted by the oil spill and was on the receiving end of BP funds for testing and marketing its seafood. Martin May, management review specialist for the Florida Bureau of Seafood and Aquaculture Marketing in Tallahassee, says the state received $10 million from BP to test Gulf seafood and another $10 million for marketing. In the past, Florida marketed wild shrimp separately, but under its latest program all wild seafood is marketed together. “It’s in the vein of a rising tide floats all boats,” explains May.

In 2011, Florida landed 11 million pounds of shrimp worth about $22 million, he says. Although the state’s fishermen net many different species of shrimp, the majority are pink shrimp, says May.

Tests have shown no issues with the health of Florida’s shrimp population, he says, “but we’ve still combated a lot of negative press” especially when photos of the oil spill reappear. “We found as long as this had exited the news cycle, people weren’t concerned.”

Demand for shrimp is recovering, May adds, but probably not as quickly as had been expected. When there are scares in other food sectors, such as produce, the items affected tend to bounce back more quickly. With shrimp, he says, “it has been a slower return, although the economy could have had some impact on that.”

Some people who are watching their dollars may have eliminated seafood from their shopping list and haven’t yet started buying it again. Ewell Smith, executive director of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion & Marketing Board, says there are still some perception problems for shrimp and other seafood, especially in other parts of the country. So there is still a need to educate consumers about the safety of Louisiana shrimp.

Like Florida, Louisiana has received funds from BP for testing and promotion. As a result, Smith says the marketing budget has jumped roughly tenfold to $10 million.

The state’s offshore shrimp season gets under way in April and inshore in mid-May, he explains. There will continue to be events to highlight Louisiana shrimp, he says, such as the restaurant promotion that took place last September in New Orleans. Although geared toward all Louisiana seafood, wild shrimp was certainly a focal point. Now the plans are to expand the event to other parts of the state such as the north and central sections, Smith says.

September is typically a slower month for restaurants, but the promotion helped fill the seats, he adds.

One of the newest promotions involved a fitness challenge in which participants were urged to eat seafood two to three times a week. The event, which features shrimp in its promotional materials along with crab and red fish, was launched during Lent, but has year-round implications. “It helps people think about incorporating seafood into a healthy diet,” says Smith. Tied in with this promotion are a website, seafoodfitness.com, social media and a healthy recipe contest.

Another effort recently launched to support not just wild shrimp from Louisiana, but all Gulf fisheries, is eatgulfseafood.com. The marketing campaign was unveiled at last month’s International Boston Seafood Show and is a project of the newly formed Gulf Coast Seafood Marketing Coalition founded by the Gulf and South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation through a grant from the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission.

The Gulf restaurant trade has also taken on the task of rebuilding the market for wild shrimp. For a multi-unit restaurateur such as Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group in New Orleans, buying wild Gulf shrimp is important to the restaurant’s image.

Haley Bittermann, director of operations and corporate executive chef, only buys Gulf shrimp, using a number of purveyors to fill demand. Collectively, the restaurants
purchase about 30,000 pounds of shrimp each year, she says, ranging from U10s to peeled 40s and P&D 50s.

“Shrimp is a natural part of the diet in New Orleans,” she explains. The restaurant group operates Red Fish Grill, Jazz Kitchen, Ralph’s on the Park, café B, Heritage Grill and Café NOMA, and all typically serve brown or white shrimp, either fresh or frozen. At times, if she thinks the price will be going up, she’ll do a larger buy that is good for five months. This typically has given her a 40- to 50-cent difference on the market price.

The executive chef at each of the restaurants creates dishes and Bittermann’s job is to work with them to see that they are staying within the lines of the different concepts.

In another part of the South, Amber von Harten, fisheries specialist at the South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium in Columbia, S.C., hopes the warmer waters of this past winter will bring a greater yield to the state’s shrimp fishermen.

In 2011, the state’s shrimpers landed 2.9 million pounds, down from 4 million in 2010. A cold snap in January 2011 caused about 80 percent of the shrimp to die off, she says, so there wasn’t a white shrimp season. This year’s season is expected to open in mid-May, ahead of last year’s June start.

At the recent South Carolina Seafood Summit, von Harten says marketing was definitely a topic. Unlike some states, South Carolina doesn’t have a dedicated seafood marketing organization, but Sea Grant is trying to work with the state’s Department of Agriculture to promote shrimp and other seafood, especially since the Wild American Shrimp group isn’t operational anymore.

One of the ideas, says von Harten, is to get shrimp fishermen interested in participating in community-supported fisheries, which allow consumers to buy shares of the catch in advance, guaranteeing sales and a market for the shrimp.

Many of the state’s shrimpers participated for the past couple of years in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Program, she says, which allowed them to receive a $4,000 cash benefit for 12 hours of training, as well as an additional $8,000 if they developed a business plan with the help of a consultant.

The outlook on shrimp is entirely different moving from the South to the West: It was a banner year on the West Coast, according to Brad Pettinger, director of the Oregon Trawl Commission. Production of coldwater shrimp (Pandalus jordani) in 2011 was the fourth-highest on record, he says, reaching 48 million pounds, up from 31 million pounds in 2010.

Sizes and prices were also up in 2011, he notes, with shrimp selling for 51 cents a pound versus 35 cents the previous year.

Much of the improvement is related to ocean conditions, which were favorable and coincided with the mature lifecycle of the shrimp. “It’s a good time to be a shrimper,” he says.

Most of the catch off the Oregon coast is salad-size shrimp that is cooked and peeled and exported to Europe. But buyers from Asia are also interested, he says, especially in whole frozen shrimp, which may result in more product going into that market.

Pettinger acknowledges that some buyers are looking for larger shrimp, “but coldwater shrimp make up in flavor what it lacks in size.”

 

Contributing Editor Joanne Friedrick lives in Portland, Maine

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Gulf Oil Spill Anniversary Op-Ed

April 20, 2012

Much has been reported about the Gulf’s physical and economic health since the Deepwater Horizon spill two years ago.  Just this week, a report from the Arabic news network Aljazeera dredged up a raft of questions about deformities of Gulf seafood.  Unfortunately, the story has taken flight and has been picked up by various other news outlets around the country.  One has to wonder why alarmists want to tarnish the image of the Gulf of Mexico, because we’re not seeing sick shrimp, crab or fish like what has been portrayed.  Sure, the natural and man-made disasters have left the Gulf Coast with a few scars and we understand the outrage over the environmental damage.   If anyone should be upset, it’s the fishermen who work the waters every day.  Working in the Gulf is not just our businesses; it’s where we come from and what we will pass on to future generations.  So instead of looking back and fixating on isolated negatives, let’s look forward and acknowledge the positive momentum.  There are three key points we’d like for you to take away: 1) when you eat seafood purchased from a local restaurant or retail store, you can be assured it meets the strictest of standards; 2) consumer demand for fresh, wild-caught seafood is on the rise; and 3) hardship can forge powerful partnerships, such as the Gulf Coast Seafood Coalition.

We can confidently say that Gulf Coast seafood is safe to eat. Our wild-caught seafood is among the most rigorously tested seafood in the world with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, NOAA and state agencies continuing their monitoring and testing efforts.  (Source: Fishwatch)  In fact, the FDA says a person would have to eat 63 pounds of shrimp or crab, 5 pounds of oysters or 9 pounds of fish every day for five years would and they still would not exceed the level of concern. In their words, Gulf Coast seafood is passing tests with “flying colors.”  So you can be assured that when you eat Gulf Coast seafood at your favorite restaurant or serve it up to your family, it’s safe, healthy and delicious.

The seafood community is on the upswing, with demand increasing for fresh, wild-caught Gulf Coast seafood.  In fact, more than 70% of consumers say the oil spill isn’t affecting their consumption of seafood – especially those in the region. That’s significantly up from 30% after the spill. (Source: Gulf Coast Seafood Coalition 2011 Consumer Study)  And that’s a good thing, because seafood is an economic engine that powers the entire region.  With a combined income of $26.9 billion and more than $60 billion of sales influence nationwide, the Gulf Coast seafood community has a profound effect on the nation’s economy, producing 30% of the continental U.S. seafood.  The fertile Gulf Coast produces 70% of the nation’s oysters, 69% of domestic shrimp and is a leading producer of domestic hard and soft-shell blue crabs. 

The Gulf Coast Seafood Coalition is an incredible initiative and a positive example of collaboration.   The Coalition was formed in 2011 as a result of a grant from the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission through National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and includes Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.  Under the auspices of The Gulf & South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation, Inc., the Coalition has become a powerful group including tourism boards, restaurants, retailers, chefs, commercial fishermen, and charter boat sectors focused on coordinating marketing efforts and building business of wild seafood from the Gulf.  The group was formally launched earlier this year at the Boston Seafood Show and is being applauded for working together to benefit all states and the entire Gulf Coast seafood community. Go to www.eatgulfseafood.com for the latest information on the Gulf Coast seafood community, news, recipes and more.   

And yes, that’s the message: eat gulf seafood.   In fact, instead of buying into negative reports and media alarmists, right now would be a good time for some fresh boiled shrimp . . . or a few tender soft shell crabs . . . and a dozen oysters on the half shell . . . or grilled snapper . . . or maybe . . .

 Author:

  • Mike Voisin, seventh generation oysterman, President of the Foundation, Chair of the Gulf Coast Seafood Coalition which represents the five Gulf Coast states, and CEO of Motivatit Seafoods in Houma, Louisiana, one of America’s largest oyster processors
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Welcome New Members

Bobby and Dawn Aylesworth
Aylesworth's Fish & Bait, Inc.
St. Petersburg, FL

Thomas Murray
Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Gloucester Point, VA

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Shrimp Season Officially Under Way In South Carolina

 

   
  Shrimp Season Officially Under Way In South Carolina
by Grant Martin, The Island Packet
Posted: Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 2:48PM EDT

Monday marked the first day of the 2012 shrimp season in South Carolina, as the S.C. Department of Natural Resources lifted its restrictions on provisional trawling areas.

The areas are essentially pockets of open water about two to three miles offshore used by the DNR to gauge the shrimp fishery’s readiness for more extensive trawling closer to the coast.

And while the areas make up only about 25 percent of the general trawl zone — which the DNR might not make available for another few weeks — local shrimpers like Larry Toomer of the Bluffton Oyster Co. said they’re glad to be back on the water.

“The first day coming out is always a blessing,” said Toomer, adding the day’s haul was about 1,000 pounds of white shrimp. “It turned out better than I anticipated.”

To read the rest of the story, please go to: The Island Packet

 

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GULF COAST SEAFOOD MARKETING COALITION MAKES A SPLASH AT INTERNATIONAL BOSTON SEAFOOD SHOW DEBUT

For more information:
Judy Jamison, Executive Director
Gulf & South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation, Inc.
813-286-8390
or
Joanne McNeely
mcneely.joanne@gmail.com
850-224-1129
 

 

Coalition Activities Highlighted Launch of New Website, Seafood Survey Results Panel and Flavorful Gulf Coast Seafood

 

TAMPA, FLORIDA – March 21, 2012 – The Gulf Seafood Marketing Coalition (Coalition) hosted an official kick-off event and launched its website – www.eatgulfseafood.com - at the 2012 International Boston Seafood Show. With more than 980 exhibitors and 18,000 plus buyers and sellers from all over the world, the show presented an excellent opportunity to introduce the organization as well as increase awareness of the seafood produced from the Gulf of Mexico.

“We began the day with a breakfast reception for approximately 125 guests including seafood buyers from prominent retailers and restaurants. Coalition members shared information about ongoing marketing efforts and guests were treated to Gulf Seafood Stuffed Breakfast Crepes with Mornay Sauce, a recipe that was created for the event,” said Mike Voisin, Chairman of the Coalition and President of the Foundation.

The Coalition unveiled its new website at the breakfast that launched to the public shortly after the reception. The site will be the official Gulf Coast source for consumers, media, seafood buyers and Gulf enthusiasts. The website includes: Gulf news, information about the Coalition, Gulf tourism, recipes, Gulf species, where to buy/find Gulf Seafood products, seafood safety, press announcements, and recipes. The site features information from all five Gulf States and links to each state’s seafood marketing organization.

The Coalition closed its launch day with a panel, Development of a Regional Seafood Marketing Coalition, the Gulf of Mexico Experience. Coalition members shared results from a nationwide consumer survey on seafood buying patterns. Overall the survey indicated that two out of ten consumers account for 46 percent of the consumption of seafood.  Gulf seafood’s appealing qualities include healthy, variety, flavorful and comfort food.  Speakers included: Chris Nelson - Bon Secour Fisheries; Joanne McNeely - Gulf and South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation, Inc.; Mike Voisin - Motivatit Seafood; Patrick Riley - Western Seafood Company Inc.; Robert Novotny - Bonefish Grill and Andy Furner - Trace Register LLC. 

“All attendees expressed excitement and support for the launch of the Coalition and the website,” said Chris Nelson, Vice Chairman of the Coalition. “We had great conversations with industry leaders and we’re looking forward to building on the positive momentum for Gulf Coast Seafood.”

For more information about the Gulf Seafood Marketing Coalition please contact Judy Jamison, Executive Director, Gulf & South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation, Inc. at judy.jamison@att.net - 813-286-8390 or Joanne McNeely at mcneely.joanne@gmail.com - 850-224-1129.

About Gulf Seafood Marketing Coalition

The Coalition provides a framework for the seafood community to coordinate marketing efforts among the Gulf States with emphasis on working with tourism boards, restaurants, retailers and chefs. The Gulf & South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation, Inc. is coordinating the Gulf Seafood Marketing Coalition through funding provided by the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission’s (NOAA Award #NA10NMF4770481). For more information, please visit www.eatgulfseafood.com and follow the Coalition on Facebook at Gulf Coast Seafood and Twitter at @eatgulfseafood.

About Gulf & South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation, Inc.

The Foundation is a private, regional nonprofit research organization with a general membership and Board of Trustees representing a wide spectrum of the commercial fishing industry throughout the southeast U.S. Through the Foundation, the commercial seafood and fishing industry can collectively identify industry needs, and address those needs through appropriate research and other activities. Representing the nine-state region from Virginia to Texas, the Foundation has sponsored more than 600 fisheries related research projects.

For more information, please visit www.gulfsouthfoundation.org.

 

 

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Fishermen to rally in DC as industry struggles

Associated Press

BOSTON — Fishermen from California to New England plan to rally for their struggling industry in Washington next week with an election year message for Congress: helping the fishing industry will save jobs.

Organizers expect a roster of lawmakers to speak before about 5,000 commercial and recreational fishermen in a park next to the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.

The crowd is expected to include fishermen from all the Atlantic coast states plus Alaska and California.

They represent diverse interests who chase a mix of species and haven't always agreed. But Jim Donofrio, head of the Recreational Fishing Alliance, a rally organizer, says they share concerns that federal regulators are using flawed science to make cutbacks that are killing fishing jobs around the country.

In an election year when jobs are a dominant issue, Donofrio said he hopes the rally's calls reach new corners on Capitol Hill and prompt action on legislation fishermen believe can help.

"This election is being defined by jobs right now, and this is a jobs issue," Donofrio said.

Sam Rauch, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration fisheries arm, agreed fishing jobs are a key concern. But he said the recent numbers on fishing jobs show progress. According to the most recent statistics, the number of fishing-related jobs in the U.S. went from 1 million to 1.2 million between 2009 and 2010.

But Rauch said he knows the growth hasn't been felt everywhere. In New England, for instance, fishermen are facing a possible fishery collapse in 2013 because of the too-slow recovery of cod in the Gulf of Maine.

Rauch added he welcomes whatever views are shared at the rally.

"It's good to have a constituency that cares so much about the future of fishing in this country," he said.

The Recreational Fishing Alliance helped host a similar event in Washington two years ago, which Donofrio said increased the visibility of key legislation that can really help fishermen. This time, he said, he hopes lawmakers can be spurred to finally act on it.

He pointed to a bill by U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., that's introduced regularly but never goes anywhere. The bill would ease fish catch cutbacks by giving fishermen more time to rebuild struggling species.

Jim Hutchinson, managing director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance, said it also contains underappreciated reforms, such as allowing the U.S. Commerce secretary to suspend tough catch limits on various species, if the science doesn't justify those limits.

Fishermen repeatedly complain that wildly shifting estimates of the health of fish populations invariably lead to huge cuts and lost jobs. The say Gulf of Maine cod, thought to be robust just four years ago, is just the latest example.

"The arrogance becomes astounding," said Tina Jackson, president of the American Alliance of Fishermen and their Communities.

"If this rally says anything, it's to tell NOAA we're not asking you to be accountable anymore ... we're demanding it," said Jackson, who's organizing a busload of fishermen from New England to travel to Washington.

Donofrio said Massachusetts U.S. Sens. John Kerry, a Democrat, and Scott Brown, a Republican, and New York Sen. Charles Schumer, a Democrat, are among a list of politicians expected to speak, and Speaker of the House John Boehner has been invited.

Bob Jones, of the Florida-based Southeastern Fisheries Association, which is sending about 100 people to the rally, said resistance from groups such as the Environmental Defense Fund always makes it tough to move stalled fisheries legislation. But he thinks the rally can help.

"If I wasn't an optimist, I wouldn't stay in this business," he said.

Johanna Thomas, of the Environmental Defense Fund, said better fisheries science is needed but huge changes in the law aren't.

"We sympathize with the challenges that fishermen face," she said. "Moving forward let's focus on improving the system and transitioning to better management rather than gutting existing laws."

Rauch agreed better science is needed, and he said the agency has responded by increasing spending on it, even amid budget cuts, so that is becomes increasingly solid and consistent. He added that the science, and the rules that result, are always fully hashed out in public view.

"I understand the fishermen's, at times, frustration with the process," he said. "We do have the most open and transparent process in the world."

—Copyright 2012 Associated Press

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New Foundation Website Receives Two Awards

 

Posted: March 01, 2012

For more information:
Judy Jamison
Gulf & South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation, Inc.
Judy.jamison@att.net
813-286-8390

 

TAMPA, FLORIDA – February 28, 2012 - Last July, the Foundation contracted Moore Consulting Group, based in Tallahassee, FL, to update and re-launch the Foundation’s website. The updated website features research news, industry developments, recipes and retail locations, as well as information on seafood handling and safety. Member spotlights and project highlights showcase the value of Gulf and South Atlantic seafood to the region's economy, quality of life, and consumers. Everyone involved is very proud of the work put into creating the finished product. That hard work paid off last week when Moore Consulting Group was awarded two ADDY® Awards for their work on the Foundation website.
The GSAFF website won two awards 1) Gold ADDY in the interactive media category and 2) Best in “Interactive”. The American Advertising Federation of Tallahassee (AAFT) hosts the ADDY® Awards. The annual competition recognizes creative excellence in Tallahassee and the Leon County area in all media including print, broadcast, interactive, out-of-home and public service advertising.
“Moore has been an awesome, wonderful team of professionals. We appreciate all their hard work in making our webpage an excellent, user friendly representation of the seafood community,” said Foundation Seafood Marketing Coordinator Joanne McNeely. “Please visit the award winning site, http://www.gulfsouthfoundation.org/. We update it regularly and hope it proves to be a useful resource for the southeastern seafood community,” said Foundation Executive Director Judy Jamison.

About Gulf & South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation, Inc.
The Foundation is a private, regional nonprofit research organization with a general membership and Board of Trustees representing a wide spectrum of the commercial fishing industry throughout the southeast U.S. Through the Foundation, the commercial seafood and fishing industry can collectively identify industry needs, and address those needs through appropriate research and other activities. Representing the nine-state region from Virginia to Texas, the Foundation has sponsored more than 600 fisheries related research projects.

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Seafood, Mardi Gras a perfect match

The Clarion-Ledger

8:25 PM, Feb. 14, 2012 |
 
 
Mississippi Gulf Shrimp Etouffee takes on a Mardi Gras flair.
 Mississippi Gulf Shrimp Etouffee takes on a Mardi Gras flair. / Special to The Clarion-Ledger

Gulf Coast seafood and Mardi Gras celebrations fit together like shells on shrimp.

"Seafood has been tied to Mardi Gras because Mardi Gras started along the Gulf Coast - not only in New Orleans, but in the Biloxi area as well," Mississippi Seafood Marketing director Irvin Jackson said.

Brought by the French explorer d'Iberville in 1699, the traditional celebration dovetailed with the gulf's abundant seafood for delicious results.

"Boiled shrimp is always a main staple, but then you have jambalaya and etouffee, and I could go on like Forrest Gump, I guess," Jackson said, chuckling. "The po-boys, everything and anything you can think of, gumbo of course, and oysters are normally big during the cooler winter months."

"It all goes back to the traditional Louisiana food - the Cajun-based or Creole-based, and some of it's just a good hybrid," said Broad Street Baking Company chef Matthew Kajdan, who has family in New Orleans. Beignets - even a savory beignet - are popular during the season, and so are shrimp and grits dishes.

"All that New Orleans-based food is what everybody's going to eat for their Mardi Gras parties. It doesn't matter where you are, it all goes back to that New Orleans heritage," Kajdan said.

Mardi Gras is Tuesday, followed by Ash Wednesday Feb. 22.

Keep an eye out for calendar-savvy seafood specials at restaurants that mark the Mardi Gras season and on through the Lenten season. Seafood sales increase during both seasons all along the Gulf Coast, but especially in Mississippi and Louisiana, Jackson said. Mississippi is part of the fairly new Gulf States Seafood Marketing Coalition that combines the five Gulf Coast states to promote seafood. For more recipes and a Mississippi seafood industry directory, visit www.dmr.ms.gov.

Vicksburg's Mardi Gras revelers can follow up the 4 p.m. Saturday Mardi Gras Parade along downtown's Washington Street with the first Carnaval de Mardi Gras & Gumbo Cook-off at the Southern Cultural Heritage Center. Presented by the Vicksburg Foundation for Historic Preservation, the celebration morphed its Mardi Gras festivities (previously, a ball) into a post-parade celebration with family appeal, foundation executive director Nancy Bell said.

A dozen teams will fire up for the event's Cajun Gumbo Cookoff, Bell said, "whatever kind of gumbo they want to make." Still, a good bit of seafood is expected. The 5 p.m. Saturday event is $5 entry for adults ($3 children), and $5 for the tasting; the band Slaphappy supplies the music.

Mississippi Gulf Shrimp Etouffee

5 lbs. Mississippi Gulf Shrimp, peeled, de-veined and chopped

1 c. butter or margarine

2 onions, chopped

6 stalks celery, chopped

3 tbsp. garlic, chopped

4 tbsp. flour

1 c. mushrooms, chopped

3 tbsp. paprika

Salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes to taste

In a large skillet melt butter; saute onions, celery and garlic. Stir in flour and cook slowly for 5 minutes. Add shrimp and cook for 20 minutes. Add 2-3 cups of water and mushrooms. Stir in paprika and seasoning. Cook for 30 minutes. Serve over rice with hot French bread.

Shrimp Dip

1 lb. Mississippi Gulf shrimp (boiled, peeled and chopped)

2 tbsp. chopped green onions

8 oz. Philadelphia cream cheese

1 c. mayonnaise

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. Tabasco

Mix all of the above and serve with crackers or bread.

Source: Gulf Seafood Marketing Coalition

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“Keep Fishermen Fishing” Organizers Unite to Fix Federal Fisheries Law

THOUSANDS OF COASTAL FISHERMEN

TO RALLY IN WASHINGTON DC ON MARCH 21

 

In another historic show of solidarity, U.S. recreational and commercial fishermen will gather at Upper Senate Park in Washington DC on March 21, 2012 starting at noon in an organized demonstration supporting sensible reform of the Magnuson Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act. 

This is a follow-up to a rally in February of 2010 that brought some 5,000 recreational, commercial and party/charter vessel owners, fishermen and people in fisheries dependent businesses from all over the country to Washington. Twenty plus Members of the Senate and House of Representatives spoke regarding efforts to reform Magnuson.  

Signed into law in 1976, the 36-year-old law “most notably aided in the development of the domestic fishing industry by phasing out foreign fishing.”  In recent years however, the act has been transformed from its original intent into a weapon employed by a handful of mega-foundations and the so-called marine conservation organizations they subsidize aimed at reducing overall participation in our nation’s rich fisheries while driving both commercial and recreational fishermen off the water. 

Rally organizers are asking legislators for help to amend the law to provide a better balance of marine conservation and coastal commerce, as it was originally intended to do.

The upcoming rally is being billed as Keep Fishermen Fishing, and once again unites the commercial and recreational sectors under one common message, “fix Magnuson now.”  There were more than 40 chartered buses filled with rally participants in 2010, and efforts are once again underway in many coastal states to transport fishermen back and forth to the rally.

“Those who didn’t attend or perhaps chose not to support the original rally are mostly unaware of the strides we’ve taken since 2010,” said Jim Donofrio, executive director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance and one of the rally organizers.  “With the support of the two dozen members of Congress who addressed us at Upper Senate Park, leaders from both sides of the aisle have pushed to make Magnuson reform a Congressional priority. As a result, the House Natural Resources Committee is now reviewing eight different pieces of fisheries reform legislation.” 

“Our coastal fishermen represent the true spirit of Main Street America, as over-burdensome regulations supported only by organizations and individuals supported by a handful of mega foundations is forcing third and fourth generation fishermen off the water and away from sustainable public resources,” said Nils Stolpe, executive director of FishNet USA which represents the interests of U.S. commercial fishermen.  “The plight of our coastal fishermen is finally getting the media and legislative attention it deserves, and we hope to keep that momentum moving forward on March 21.”

Keep Fishermen Fishing organizers thus far include Recreational Fishing Alliance, Southeastern Fisheries Association, National Association of Charterboat Operators, Morro Bay Commercial Fishermen’s Association, Garden State Seafood Association, United Boatmen, Long Island Commercial Fishing Association, Panama City Boatmen, Viking Village Dock, Fishermen’s Dock, Hull’s Seafood Markets, Lund's Fisheries, Westport Charterboat Association, Southern Off Shore Fishing Association, Garibaldi Charters, Florida Keys Commercial Fishermen's Association, New York Fishing Tackle Trades Association, Save the Summer Flounder Fishery Fund, New York Sportfishing Federation, Monkfish Defense Fund, Atlantic Capes Seafood, and North Carolina Watermen United.

For more information including bus details, visit www.keepfishermenfishing.com.
Follow Keep Fishermen Fishing on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Keep-Fishermen-Fishing/282791548442919, through our blog at http://fixmagnusonnow.blogspot.com/ and via our Twitter feed at https://twitter.com/#!/FishMarchDC2012.
Commercial sector contact:       Nils Stolpe (386-409-0675)
Recreational sector contact:       Jim Donofrio (888-564-6732)
 
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Efforts to help sea turtles effective

South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com

Efforts to help sea turtles effective

By Frank Helies

January 22, 2012

This month, the National Marine Fisheries Service is expected to present the findings of a two-year investigation into the interactions between sea turtles and the Southeastern commercial shrimp trawl fishery. The resulting document will have significant impacts on the future of the fishery in Florida. Before judging the document, it is important to consider the long cultural history and great strides taken over the years to reduce catching unwanted marine life, or bycatch, in this fishery.

Since the invention of the otter trawl and its use to harvest shrimp, commercial shrimp fishermen have been refining their fishing strategies and/or gear to reduce the harvest of nontarget species, and it started long before the prospect of regulations. In fact, bycatch-reduction technology for shrimp trawls pioneered by fishermen from the United States is now being utilized across the globe.

The advent of bycatch reduction in this fishery occurred in the late 1950s and early 1960s with the integration of gear designed to exclude softball-size jellyfish. These industry-designed "cannonball shooters" became the precursor to modern turtle-excluder devices and were integrated into trawl nets prior to the implementation of national and regional bycatch regulations.

In the late 1970s, the marine fisheries service began developing the first TED, specific to excluding sea turtles. The initial design of this device, while successful at excluding sea turtles, was cumbersome and led to high shrimp loss. A formal program was undertaken in the early 1980s to encourage the voluntary adoption of a modified version of the agency's TED. This program achieved little success.

The industry solicited the assistance of the University of Georgia Marine Extension to test several industry-designed TEDs. Several weeks of assessment tests were conducted off Cape Canaveral in the summer of 1986. Fishermen, environmental groups and state representatives from throughout the Southeast participated.

These tests showed that the industry-designed devices were not only more effective than the marine fisheries service TED, but were also less expensive and easier to use. Ultimately, the formal TED testing protocol and the first TED regulations came out of these industry-initiated assessment cruises.

TED regulations were implemented in 1990 and were thought to reduce sea turtle mortality by up to 97 percent. The current TED regulations went into effect in 2003 for the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, the principal difference focused upon larger escape openings for loggerhead, adult green and leatherback sea turtles.

The Kemp's Ridley population began to increase in 1985 (before the TED mandate) largely due to beach-protection efforts. The U.S. shrimp industry identified a need to support beach protection and turtle conservation on the important turtle nesting grounds in Mexico. Monetary support was provided to Mexican authorities to improve beach patrols to deter poaching.

Some of the generated funds were used to purchase a number of ATVs for beach patrol. Additional funding was raised to build lodging and drill a water well for visiting scientists and volunteers. This industry-generated funding continues, and turtle nest counts are at or near historic levels.

Not all turtles that strand do so because of interactions with shrimp trawlers. Despite increased restrictions, almost universal TED compliance, and seasonal fishery closures, the number of sea turtles that washed up dead on U.S. beaches still increased from 1,575 in 1992 to 3,747 in 1996.

A recent spike in strandings in the Gulf has occurred during little or no shrimping activity. The cause of the strandings is unknown and could be human-related or natural. In part, higher numbers of strandings may be due to increasing sea turtle populations brought about by vigorous TED implementation, restocking and past conservation efforts.

Despite a decreasing level of shrimp-fishing effort, the probability of chance encounters between turtles and trawlers/recreational watercraft increases as the turtles' populations increase.

Frank Helies is program director of the Gulf and South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation.

Copyright © 2012, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/fl-sea-turtles-oped0122-20120122,0,6876440.story

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Sahlman Seafoods President Marty Williams accepts the Award from US Sec. of State

 

 Sahlman Seafoods makes history with Corporate Excellence Award from US Sec. of State Hillary Clinton

SEAFOOD.COM NEWS by Michael Ramsingh - January 19, 2012
 
Sahlman Seafoods Inc. made history yesterday at the 13th annual Secretary of States's Award for Corporate Excellence (ACE) ceremony becoming the first seafood company to ever win the award.
 
The 75-year-old seafood company was honored at the United States Department of State in Washington D.C for demonstrating superb corporate social responsibility for the positive economic and environmental influence its Nicaragua-based shrimp farming operation has had on the country.
 
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was in attendance at the ceremony, and praised Sahlman for “leveraging the vast talents and expertise of American entrepreneurship” by providing the region with numerous upgrades to its educational, financial and environmental infrastructure.
 
“In an increasingly interconnected and interdependent world corporations are key actors in international affairs,” she said.
 
In 1999, ACE was founded to recognize the unique influence American businesses have on impoverished or developing nations by promoting ethical practices and democratic values; companies are selected through a rigorous process based on those achievements.
 
Since it established its operations in Nicaraga in 1996, Sahlman dedicated its resources to providing the local school system with new facilities, uniforms and educational programs for students as well as improvements to the region’s water wells, health clinics and other key utilities. Additionally, Sahlman was adamant that its operations never conflict with the local environment and made significant efforts to preserve, restore and maintain the region’s environmental assets—such as a company-wide initiative to plant 50,000 mangrove seedlings in the region per year.
 
Marty Williams, president of Sahlman Seafoods, said the award is a culmination of a company-wide culture.
 
“Our employees in Nicaragua have spent time, effort and energy trying to make a difference in the environment and communities in which we work, they continually prove that you can do well and do good at the same time,” he said. “It’s a testament to the way the company does business”
 
Williams added he hopes Sahlman’s national recognition of providing sustainable and environmentally friendly aquaculture operations is a reflection of the positive impacts of the aquaculture industry.
 
“There’s no reason you can’t run an aquaculture operation and coexist with the environment,” he said.
 
  
Sahlman Seafoods President Marty Williams accepts the
Award for Corporate Excellence from US Secretary of State
Hillary Rodham Clinton Source: Sahlman Seafoods

 

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Alabama oyster-shuckers to compete for spot at international show (video)

http://blog.al.com/live/2012/01/alabama_oyster-shuckers_to_com.html

Alabama oyster-shuckers to compete for spot at international show (video)

Published: Friday, January 06, 2012, 2:43 PM Updated: Sunday, January 08, 2012, 8:11 PM
Katherine Sayre, Press-Register
alabama-oyster-shucker-contest-russell-mauceri-wintzell.JPGRussell Mauceri, an oyster-shucker at Wintzell's Oyster House in downtown Mobile, gives a preview of the techniques required to compete in an oyster shucking contest Thursday Jan. 5, 2012. (Victor Calhoun/Press-Register)

MOBILE, Alabama -- Members of the Organized Seafood Association of Alabama were manning their booth at the International Boston Seafood Show last year, promoting their Gulf products, when they noticed people gathering on a stage nearby.

“Low and behold, they’re having an oyster-shucking contest,” said Ernie Anderson, head of the seafood organization.

None of the contestants, the Alabama crew soon realized, were from the Gulf Coast.

Now, the Alabama seafood group and Winztell’s Oyster House are sponsoring a local oyster-shucking contest for the first time — and the winner will get a two-day trip to Boston to compete on the international stage in March.

One key requirement to joining the competition: shuckers must be residents of Alabama, the No. 1 processor of oysters in the U.S.

The contest will be held at Wintzell’s in downtown Mobile on Jan. 14. Shuckers will spar in several heats, depending on how many sign up.

Anderson said that the rules closely mirror those at the contest in Boston.

Competitors must shuck two dozen oysters — prying open the shells, detaching the muscle and serving it plump on a half-shell.

They will be judged on speed, quality and presentation. A timekeeper will be assigned to each shucker.

Judges can subtract seconds for particularly appealing presentation or other successes. Seconds can be added for mistakes, such as puncturing or cutting the oyster. The identity of each platter’s owner will be secret from the judges.

The shucker with the quickest time wins.

Each year, 18,000 seafood buyers and sellers from 120 countries and 900 exhibitors attend the seafood show in Boston, according to the show’s website. This will be the sixth year that the show hosts an oyster-shucking contest.

Last year’s winner — a shucker from Seattle — won with a time of 1 minute, 36 seconds.

Russell Mauceri, a shucker at Wintzell’s for 6½ years, said he plans to enter the local competition for a chance to go to Boston.

He emphasized that it’s not just a matter of speed.

“It’s very important to have a properly shucked oyster,” Mauceri said.

Diners don’t want oysters that are sliced and deflated — it makes for a less satisfying eating experience, he said.

On any given day, at Wintzell’s restaurants around the area, between 15,000 and 25,000 oysters are shucked and served.

Mauceri said he’d never opened a single oyster before starting his job, and he still rarely eats them. Just by looking, though, he says he can tell which ones are saltier than others.

When he set out to learn the skill of shucking, he said, “I dedicated myself to finding out everything about oysters I could.”

Judges for the contest include: Buffy Donlon, owner of Wintzell’s Oyster House restaurants; David Holloway, Press-Register food editor; Darwin Singleton, reporter for WPMI TV Channel 15; and Willie Brown, a Wintzell’s oyster-shucker for 41 years.

 

 
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Oyster harvesters: our product is safe to eat

 
Oyster Harvesters push to convince public Oysters are safe to eat
 
Louisiana's oyster industry suffers from national perception problems. But new policies aim to convince the public that Louisiana oysters are perfectly safe.
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Chris Blankenship and Chef Steve Zucker with Baumhower’s show you how to cook seafood gumbo

www.fox10tv.com
Chris Blankenship and Chef Steve Zucker with Baumhower's show you how to cook seafood gumbo

http://www.fox10tv.com/dpp/studio10/seafood-gumbo?fb_comment_id=fbc_10150667087389115_24047275_10150667493289115#f178b828426ff4b

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Gulf Coast Seafood prepared by Emeril at NYC media outlets

http://espn.go.com/espn/page2/index?id=7424132

http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/fox-friends/index.html#/v/1366419281001/emerils-delicious-gulf-coast-cooking/?playlist_id=86912

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‘Tis the Season to Add a Little Jingle to your Holiday Feast with Flavorful Gulf Coast Seafood

 

For more information:
Joanne McNeely
Gulf & South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation, Inc.
Mcneely.joanne@gmail.com
850-224-1129
Or
Lisa Spence
Edelman
Lisa.spence@edelman.com
713-970-2145
 

 ‘Tis the Season to Add a Little Jingle to your Holiday Feast with Flavorful Gulf Coast Seafood Recipes

 With the holiday season come family and friends – and nearly always they’re gathered around a dining room table or crowded into the kitchen.  While it’s true that most of us have holiday traditions tied to specific foods and recipes, everyone likes something new and flavorful to wake up the senses and celebrate the season.

Seafood lovers from the Gulf Coast Seafood Marketing Coalition have a few fresh ideas for you. For your next casual holiday gathering, try an appetizer that features oysters from the Gulf Coast.  As a main dish, nothing can be better than the spicy comfort of homemade gumbo with plump and juicy shrimp, just like your great aunt used to make.  If your traditional Christmas dinner usually includes standard-issue dressing, surprise the family with a savory oyster dressing, spiked up with sausage and sweet potatoes.   Having someone special over for dinner one cold and frosty night?  Lighten up the menu with a healthy one-dish meal of shrimp mixed with lentils and rice. 

And if you’re looking for an elegant addition to your cooking repertoire, an easy to prepare fish entrée using fresh Gulf Coast fish like snapper will make quite the new cuisine for all the celebratory events and toasts in the New Year. Here’s to good eating this holiday season.  See recipes and photographs below.

  • Florida Snapper Pecan Meuniere (Recipe provided by the Bureau of Seafood and Aquaculture Marketing, Division of Marketing and Development, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service)
  • Aunt Myrtle’s Shrimp Gumbo (Recipe provided by Alabama Seafood)
  • Oyster Cornbread Stuffing (Recipe provided by Mississippi Wild Caught Seafood)
  • Bacon Wrapped Oyster with Shallot Confit and Cayenne Crust (Recipe provided by Louisiana Seafood; Begue's Restaurant - Royal Sonesta New Orleans)
  • Minted Shrimp with Lentils, Rice and Pasta (Recipe provided by Texas Shrimp)

 About Gulf Seafood Marketing Coalition

The Coalition provides the framework for coordinating seafood marketing efforts among the Gulf States with emphasis on working with tourism boards, restaurants, retailers and chefs.  The Gulf & South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation, Inc. is coordinating the Gulf Seafood Marketing Coalition through funding provided by the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission’s (NOAA Award #NA10NMF4770481).  For more information, please visit http://www.gulfsouthfoundation.org.

 

Florida Snapper Pecan Meuniere

Provided by the Bureau of Seafood and Aquaculture Marketing, Division of Marketing and Development, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service

Ingredients

4

6-ounce Florida snapper fillets

1

cup flour

½

teaspoon paprika

½

teaspoon cayenne

½

teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½

teaspoon salt

2

tablespoons olive oil

4

tablespoons butter, divided

½

cup Florida pecan pieces

2

tablespoons Florida parsley, chopped

1

tablespoon Florida garlic, minced

2

tablespoons fresh Florida lemon juice

1

tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

¼

cup heavy cream

1

teaspoon salt

¼ 

teaspoon cayenne

 Preparation

Combine flour and seasonings on a shallow plate. Dredge the fillets in flour mixture, coating evenly. Heat the oil in a large nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, pan fry fillets for 3 to 4 minutes on each side until golden and cooked through. Transfer to a platter and keep warm. In a medium pan; melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat until foamy. Add the pecans and cook for about 1 1/2 minutes, stirring constantly, until lightly toasted. Add the parsley, garlic, lemon juice, Worcestershire, and cream. Whisk for 1 minute and remove from the heat. Add the salt, cayenne, and remaining 2 tablespoons butter, broken into small pieces; stir until the butter melts completely. Spoon the sauce over the fillets and serve.

 Yields 4 servings.

 

Alabama Aunt Myrtle's Shrimp Gumbo

Provided by Alabama Seafood

Ingredients

1

large fryer chicken

1 ½

pounds shelled raw Gulf shrimp

3

cups of reserved chicken broth from chicken

½

stick butter or olive oil

2

cloves garlic minced

2

onions chopped

½

bell pepper chopped

2

tablespoons flour

2 ½

cups tomatoes with juice

1

package frozen cut-up okra

3

beef bouillon cubes

4

teaspoons Lee & Perrins brand Worcestershire sauce

¼

teaspoon ground cloves

½

teaspoon chili powder

1

pinch dried basil

1

bay leaf

1 ½

teaspoon salt

1 ¼

teaspoon black pepper

½       pound Gulf crabmeat (optional)

Preparation

Boil one large fryer chicken. Let cool and remove the meat from the bone, dice and set aside. Save broth.  In a large heavy kettle, sauté butter/olive oil, garlic, onions, bell pepper. Stir in flour. Cook over low heat until veggies are tender, then add tomatoes, okra, beef bouillon cubes, Worcestershire sauce, cloves, chili powder, dried basil, bay leaf, salt, black pepper and reserved chicken broth.

 Simmer 45 min. Just before serving, add to simmering mixture shrimp & the diced chicken. Cook uncovered 5 min. or until shrimp are pink and tender.  If desired, add crabmeat.

 Yields 4 to 6 servings.

 

Mississippi Oyster Cornbread Dressing

Provided by Mississippi Wild Caught Seafood and Dr. Linda Anderson

 Ingredients

1

quart Mississippi oysters chopped

1

pound sausage, hot or mild

2

packages dry cornbread mix

2

eggs

cups milk

1

sweet potato

1

stalk celery chopped

½

onion chopped

1

bunch green onion chopped

3

tablespoons butter

1-2

cans chicken broth

2

tablespoons Season All

1

teaspoon garlic powder

¼

cup parsley chopped

 Preparation

Make cornbread according to package. Let cool; crumble. Set aside. Boil sweet potato until tender. Mash – set aside. Cook sausage and drain. Chop celery, onion, and green onions. Sauté with butter. Add cooked sausage to skillet with vegetables. Add oysters, cornbread and sweet potato. Mix together. Place in 9 x 13 greased baking dish. Bake at 350°F for 1 hour or bake with chicken or turkey until bird is fully cooked.

 Yields 12 to 15 serving.

 

 

Bacon Wrapped Louisiana Oyster with Shallot Confit and Cayenne Crust

Provided by Louisiana Seafood; Begue's Restaurant - Royal Sonesta New Orleans

Ingredients

5

freshly shucked Gulf oysters

 

5

smoked bacon strips

 

5

shallots

 

TT

champagne vinegar

 

¼

cup brown sugar

 

1

tablespoon olive oil

 

2

tablespoons butter

 

TT

kosher salt

 

TT

black pepper

 

4

ounces cayenne pepper

 

2

quarts vegetable oil

 

 

sprinkle panko bread crumbs

 

 

Preparation

Blanch bacon in boiling water for three minutes. Cut bacon so that it wraps completely around oyster with ¼ inch overlap. 

To make the shallot confit, slowly caramelize shallots in oil and butter; add brown sugar. Season with salt, pepper, and vinegar. 

To make the cayenne crust, combine oil and cayenne pepper in saucepot. Bring to a simmer and allow to rest one hour. Strain and cool. In a food processor, puree breadcrumbs and add ½ cup of cayenne oil while running. 

Assemble oyster by searing bacon wrapped oyster in non-stick skillet till crisp. Warm shallot confit and place in oyster shell, place oyster on confit and top with cayenne breadcrumbs. Lightly toast oyster in broiler.

Yields 5 oysters.

 

 

Minted Texas Shrimp with Lentils, Rice and Pasta

Provided by Texas Shrimp; Created by Chef Michael H. Flores

Ingredients

1

2

pound Texas shrimp, peeled and deveined

tablespoons olive oil

1

yellow onion, chopped

1

14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes

½

teaspoon each salt and pepper

ounces each green lentils, rice, fettuccine

1

stick butter

¼

cup fresh mint chopped

 

salt and pepper

Preparation
Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat; add the onions and cook until golden brown. Stir in the tomatoes with the salt and pepper and remove from the heat.

Boil the lentils, the rice, and the fettuccine separately in pots of water until cooked. As each one cooks, drain and add to the tomato mixture; set aside.

Melt the butter in another large pan. Add the shrimp, mint, salt, and pepper. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes until the shrimp has turned a light pink. Serve immediately on top of the tomato-lentil mixture.
 

Yields 4 to 6 servings.

 

###

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Vitter and Gulf Delegation ask FDA to Step Up

Vitter and Gulf Delegation ask FDA to Step Up

| December 2, 2011 |

U.S. Senator David Vitter

Under the leadership of U.S. Senator David Vitter, a letter has been sent to Margaret Hamburg, Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, asking that the FDA step up its efforts to ensure the public understands that Gulf seafood is safe to eat.

The letter was also signed by Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker of Mississippi, Senators John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchinson of Texas and Senators Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby of Alabama.

Vitter is urging the Food and Drug Administration to “publicly and vigorously” declare that Gulf seafood is safe to eat. Outside groups such as the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) have recently claimed that Gulf seafood is not safe for consumption, even though all tests have shown that Gulf seafood is safe to eat.

The letter is the second one sent to Commissioner Hamburg by Senator Vitter urging the FDA to take a more public stand on the safety results of their own and other agencies’ testing. The first letter was sent November 4 and there was no response from Hamburg.

Gulf Delegation Seafood Letter- Dec 1 2011 FDAAccording to Vitter’s letter, “Sound science must prevail to protect American jobs and to help reinvigorate this important industry. We ask that you please help us by more actively promoting the safety of our seafood and refuting unscientific claims which assert otherwise.”

 

Gulf Delegation Letter to FDA

 

Ewell Smith, Executive Director of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board, said consumer confidence in the quality of Gulf seafood is critical. “It is vitally important that the FDA and other federal agencies involved in the testing of Gulf seafood continue to educate consumers at the national level regarding ongoing testing and the results of those tests, which show that our seafood is safe,” he said.

The letters are being sent at a time when the state is still recovering from the devastating economic effects of the BP oil spill. The Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board is about to begin a consumer marketing campaign that will depend upon consumers’ understanding that Gulf seafood is safe to eat.

 

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A Fish a Week Keeps the Brain at Its Peak

 

By Kristina Fiore, Staff Writer, MedPage Today
Published: November 30, 2011
Reviewed by Robert Jasmer, MD; Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco.
CHICAGO -- Eating fish at least once a week could help lower older patients' risk of developing dementia, researchers said here.

Those who ate baked or broiled -- but not fried -- fish on a weekly basis had a greater volume of gray matter in areas of the brain associated with Alzheimer's disease than people who didn't eat fish as often, Cyrus Raji, MD, PhD, of the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues reported at the Radiological Society of North America meeting here.

Preserving brain volume was also associated with lower rates of developing cognitive impairment, he said.

"Fish consumption benefits gray matter volume, potentially reducing the risk of [Alzheimer's disease and dementia] long-term," Raji said during a press briefing.
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Action Points
  • Note that this study was published as an abstract and presented at a conference. These data and conclusions should be considered to be preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.


  • In this study, eating fish at least once a week appeared to help lower older patients' risk of developing dementia.


  • Note that the study was based on MRI scans that showed greater volume of gray matter in the frontal lobes and the temporal lobes, areas of the brain associated with Alzheimer's disease.

Although a National Institutes of Health panel decided last year that nothing conclusively prevents Alzheimer's disease, researchers continue to investigate whether a healthy diet, or specific components thereof, can have any beneficial effects.

For their study, Raji and colleagues assessed 260 people, mean age 71, when they enrolled in the Cardiovascular Health Study between 1989 and 1990. At that time, they filled out questionnaires on dietary intake; 163 reported eating fish at least weekly, and some did so as often as four times a week.

All patients had an MRI 10 years later to assess brain volume, and then had follow-up cognitive testing between 2002 and 2003.

The researchers found that patients who ate fish at least once a week had greater volume in the frontal lobes and the temporal lobes, including the hippocampus and the posterior cingulate gyrus – "areas responsible for memory and learning, which are severely affected in Alzheimer's disease," Raji said.

Five years after the MRI, they found that 30.8% of patients who had low fish intake had developed mild cognitive impairment or dementia, compared with just 3.2% of those who had the highest fish intake and the greatest preservation of brain volume.

They also saw that 47% of patients with brain atrophy who didn't eat fish had abnormal cognition five years later compared with 28% of those who ate more fish and had more gray matter volume, Raji reported.

"That's an impressive reduction in the risk of developing mild cognitive impairment of Alzheimer's," Raji said.

In further analyses, the researchers found that mean scores for working memory -- a function severely impaired in Alzheimer's disease -- were significantly higher among those who ate fish weekly (P=0.02), and those findings persisted even after accounting for potential confounders (P=0.03).

This "simple lifestyle choice" of eating more fish increases the brain's "resistance" to Alzheimer's disease, Raji said, potentially via a few mechanisms: Fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help increase blood flow to the brain and can also act as an antioxidant, thereby reducing inflammation, he said.

Omega-3s may also prevent the accumulation of amyloid plaques in the brain, he added.

He noted that fatty fish like salmon have more omega-3s, while smaller fish, such as cod, have less.

Although dietary intake of fish was measured only twice -- once at baseline and again in 1995 -- Raji said patients tended to maintain their levels of consumption, and he suspects that the observed benefits "are more likely to be observed if eating fish is a long-term habit as opposed to a short-term approach."

Mary Mahoney, MD, of the University of Cincinnati, who was not involved in the study, told MedPage Today that future studies should investigate whether omega-3s specifically are leading to benefits in brain volume.

"We're making the assumption" that fish is a marker for healthy lifestyle, she said. "If we could just cut to the chase and look at the protective mechanism, that would be better."

Zaven Khachaturian, PhD, an Alzheimer's expert from Potomac, Md., told MedPage Today that the findings are preliminary and should be replicated in a larger sample.

"It would be safe to say that this study provides another hypothesis about the possible beneficial effect of a diet rich in fish ingredients and a delay of cognitive decline," Khachaturian said.

The study was supported by grants from the NHLBI, NIA, AHA, and RSNA.

The researchers reported no conflicts of interest.

 

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Agency Partners for Gulf Seafood Marketing Coalition

 

CONTACT: Joanne McNeely

850.224.1129

mcneely.joanne@gmail.com

 
 
 

 

GULF SEAFOOD MARKETING COALITION NAMES THE FOOD GROUP, EDELMAN AND ZEHNDER COMMUNICATIONS AS AGENCY PARTNERS

Integrated Team to Promote Gulf Coast Seafood

TAMPA, FLORIDA - November 28, 2011 – The Gulf Seafood Marketing Coalition, a seafood community organization dedicated to promoting Gulf Coast seafood products, today announced that it has named The Food Group, Edelman and Zehnder Communications for its integrated marketing, public relations and branding efforts. The trio of firms was selected through a request for qualifications process that generated interest and proposals from 27 firms. The Gulf Seafood Marketing Coalition was founded by the Gulf and South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation, Inc.

“We are honored to have three reputable marketing, public relations and branding agencies as partners to strengthen the Gulf States’ efforts to promote Gulf Coast seafood,” said Mike Voisin, chairman of the Gulf Seafood Marketing Coalition “All three agencies impressed us with their creativity, deep media relationships and marketing experience, as well as ambitious strategic planning.”

The Food Group will be responsible for strategic planning, the development of the Coalition’s consumer and member website, as well as culinary, foodservice and consumer programs and events.

Edelman will handle media and public relations activities which include the development of a news bureau of ongoing outreach, trade shows, crisis communication, spokesperson training and website content for consumer and media.

Zehnder Communications is responsible for the Coalition’s brand platform and creative execution, web design and social media outreach.

The three agencies will work together for the next three years to meet the Coalition’s core goals – to provide cohesive vision and overarching initiatives to showcase Gulf seafood, become the ultimate media source for up-to-date information about the Gulf, and increase consumer desire for Gulf Coast Seafood.

The Gulf Seafood Marketing Coalition will make their official debut at the International Boston Seafood Show, March 11-13, 2012. “The Boston Seafood Show is a perfect event to tell seafood buyers from all over the world about our beautiful Gulf and the variety of flavorful seafood available,” Chris Nelson, vice-chairman of the Gulf Seafood Marketing Coalition.“This is an exciting time for the Gulf Coast seafood community and we look forward to working together with our retail, restaurant, distributor, tourism and economic development partners.”

About Gulf Seafood Marketing Coalition

The Coalition provides the framework for coordinating seafood marketing efforts among the Gulf States with emphasis on working with tourism boards, restaurants, retailers and chefs. The Gulf & South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation, Inc. is coordinating the Gulf Seafood Marketing Coalition through funding provided by the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission’s (NOAA Award #NA10NMF4770481). For more information, please visit http://www.gulfsouthfoundation.org.

About The Food Group

The Food Group offers strategic integrated marketing services for the food, beverage and hospitality industries. The Food Group is a subsidiary of WPP Group plc. with offices in New York, Chicago, Tampa, Los Angeles, Buffalo and New Orleans.Visit www.thefoodgroup.com.

About Edelman

Edelman is the world’s largest independent public relations firm, with wholly owned offices in 60 cities and 4,000 employees worldwide. Edelman was named Advertising Age’s top-ranked PR firm of the decade and one of its “2010 A-List Agencies” and “2010 Best Places to Work;” PRWeek’s “2011 Large PR Agency of the Year” and “2011 Large UK Consultancy of the Year;“ European Excellence Awards’ “2010 Agency of the Year;” Holmes Report’s “Agency of the Decade” and “2009 Asia Pacific Consultancy of the Year;” and among Glassdoor’s top five “2011 Best Places to Work.” Edelman owns specialty firms Blue (advertising), StrategyOne (research), Ruth (integrated marketing), DJE Science (medical education/publishing and science communications), and MATTER (sports, sponsorship, and entertainment). Visit www.edelman.com for more information.

About Zehnder Communications

Zehnder Communications is a fully integrated advertising agency providing a wide range of services, including strategic marketing, public relations, media placement, creative services, social media, interactive design and programming. With offices in Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Nashville, the agency has been serving the greater Southeast region for 15 years. Visit www.z-comm.com for more information.

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Local industry to launch advertising campaign

Cara Bayles
Staff Writer

Published: Sunday, November 20, 2011 at 6:01 a.m.

 

During the Louisiana Seafood Summit last week, marketing strategists unveiled an aggressive campaign designed to foster brand loyalty to local seafood.

The three-year strategy, paid for with $30 million from BP, aims to restore Gulf seafood's reputation, which was wounded by the 2010 oil spill. The campaign will launch television commercials in the first quarter of 2012, as well as print advertisements showing crawfish and blue crabs splashing around in clear water. Billboards will be featured along highways statewide, with portraits of chefs and fishermen encouraging consumers with catchphrases like, “Put the ‘bon' in ‘bon appetit.' ”

“You're going to see a call to action with everything we do,” said George Graham, CEO of the Graham Group, a Lafayette-based advertising agency spearheading the campaign. “We're going to encourage consumers to ask for local seafood by name and check the labels.”

In the wake of the Gulf oil spill, the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board is trying to address lingering consumer concerns about seafood from local waters.

Randy Pausina, assistant secretary for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, said it was too early to say whether the oil spill has had an effect on the area's seafood population, but did admit that the population of marine wildlife decreased significantly after the spill. Shrimp was hit hardest; pre-spill, there were more than 61 million pounds in commercial landings, and in 2010, that plummeted to 27 million. Shrimp and crab populations have bounced back in 2011 so far, but are not back to 2009 levels. In the ongoing white shrimp season, shrimpers have complained of low catch numbers.

Oyster and saltwater fin fish populations have continued to decrease in 2011.

“This process takes time, and we feel confident that in three years, we're going to get a good picture of seafood in Louisiana,” Pausina said. “Was it too much fresh water, or a drought, or a freeze, or is it a direct result of the spill? We just don't know enough yet.”

He added that the state began testing local marine life three weeks after the spill, long before BP agreed to pay $18 million for regular seafood safety tests, which are now posted on Gulfsource.org.

“Not one piece of seafood post-spill was even remotely close to what the FDA considers a hazard,” he said.

Not everyone believes that. Margaret Curole, of Galliano, was a shrimper for more than 20 years, but hasn't eaten a bite of seafood since the oil spill. She doesn't trust the standards the state is using, and has heard too many stories about fishermen finding shrimp with no eyes and fish with sores on them.

“If a shrimp doesn't have eyes, I'm not eating it,” she said. “BP gave a grant to the Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board because they don't want to deal with the perception that seafood might be damaged. It was one of the first checks they wrote, because they don't want to pay more in the long run.”

That's the perception the campaign aims to address, said Sal Sunseri. He co-owns P&J Oyster, a restaurant in the French Quarter that buys many of its oysters from harvesters south of Dularge.

“We're correcting the negative perception nationwide by putting forth a campaign that brings our seafood to light,” Sunseri said. “Everyone has to share that message, from the housewife to the restaurants to the governor of our state, that Louisiana seafood is the best there is.”

New market research suggests that nationally, consumers no longer worry about oil contamination in gulf seafood, according to Joanne McNeely, seafood marketing coordinator of the Gulf and South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation, which represents five states.

Sixty percent of 1,800 consumers polled for the group's study said that the oil spill never affected their seafood consumption, and an additional 10 percent said that they had been concerned about gulf seafood safety in the past, but it was no longer an issue for them.

“That is not the issue, and we can't make that our focus,” McNeely said. “Our logo will not say ‘Gulf safe.' People are tired of talking about that.”

She added that 20 percent of those surveyed eat 46 percent of the market's seafood. The consumers McNeely's group would target are a population she identified as “seafoodies.” The group, which already consumes seafood at least 20 times in the course of three months, consists mostly of college-educated, affluent young adults, she said, and they prefer to prepare it themselves at home, which means the marketing campaign will include recipe suggestions.

“It's not a very large audience, but they eat a lot of seafood, and we want them to eat more of ours,” she said, adding that shrimp was by far the most popular of all the seafoods. “We need to promote shrimp, because it's the most popular, and there's already an association with the Gulf Coast there.”

Staff Writer Cara Bayles can be reached at 857-2204 or at cara.bayles@houmatoday.com.

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Mike Voisin and Patrick Riley on panel at the Smithsonian Institute

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrator Jane Lubchenko talked about her agency's new policies on aquaculture at a Smithsonian Associates discussion on the impact on seafood of BP's Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Other participants included seafood business owners, academics, and environmentalists. Ms. Lubchenko in her remarks said that although seafood is safe, testing should continue on fish larvae to determine the long-term effects on younger fish that are more susceptible to the chemical process. The program includes questions from audience members.

http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/299949-1

 

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A Typical Day Fishing in the Gulf of Mexico

A life dedicated to creating a family business shaped by honesty, hard work and a love of the sea! Captain Carl is a pioneer in the fishing industry here in the Gulf of Mexico. He is credited with many innovative fishing developments both in gear and boat design. He is known by watermen all along the Gulf Coast for his ability to catch fish and to make friendships that have no end. It is with this example of honesty and integrity that we strive to serve you...out valued customer!

Raffield Fisheries was incorporated in 1961, evolving from a family business of six generations. The company has moved from salting fish and packing them in wooden barrels in 1898 to state-of-the-art bagging machines, IQF packaging, and distributing through chain stores today. Raffield Fisheries is HAACP certified and has a USDC inspector on site to ensure absolutely the best quality available.

Members of the large Raffield family are pictured to your left salting fish in the early 1900s. This photo was taken just off current U.S. Hwy. 98 on what is now the Tyndall Air Force Base reservation. Schools of mullet three miles long and 300 to 400 yards wide were common then, and were caught in seine nets. With no means of preserving fish until the construction of an ice plant in 1908, the fishermen had to gut and salt all their fish. They preserved them by packing them in layers of salt for a few days until brine formed. Then they resalted the fish and packed them in wooden barrels.

Raffield family members still work in the family-dominated business. They are shown in the photo to your right working hand in hand with their employees pulling in nets along the shores of St. Joseph Bay in Gulf County. Fish are now preserved in the state-of-the-art freezer unit, part of our processing plant on the banks of the Intracoastal Canal. From there, various seafood products are shipped to many domestic markets and to a varied group of international markets, including emerging Third World nations, Canada, Caribbean countries, Europe and the Far East.

Raffield Fisheries, Inc., Eugene Raffield, Jr.
P.O. Box 309
Port St. Joe, FL 32457
Phone: (850) 229-8229 :: Fax: (850) 229-8782
Email: eugene@raffieldfisheries.com



 

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A Taste of Shrimp That Lasts A Lifetime

A Taste of Shrimp That Lasts A Lifetime

 

Summertime meant large, succulent white shrimp at Salvador’s Market on West King Street and at Riverside Fish Camp on Vilano Beach if you happened to be around when P.J Manucy’s Hoonya unloaded its days catch.

I was fourteen year’s old, living at the foot of the Vilano Beach Bridge in one of the white wooden cabins behind P.J. Sr’s. store on the north side of Highway AIA. If mama went to town with Sadie Manucy on Friday afternoon she always stopped by Salvador’s Seafood Market to buy fresh white shrimp. Seemed like we always had fish on Friday and I wasn't even Catholic back then.

Mama was usually greeted by Felix Salvador who had funny things to say or worldly advice to offer if he wasn’t hollering at one of the help to bring more ice and put on top of the fresh seafood. He weighed the shrimp then dumped them on a foot-high stack of newspapers and quickly rolled them up. The newspapers were referred to as the “mullet wrapper”, but in our case it was also a shrimp wrapper.

When mama returned from town, Richard, my younger brother and I, stood at the old, chipped porcelain sink and helped her peel the big shrimp. We usually stuck our finger with the sharp horn on the head of the shrimp a time or two during the process. Baby sister Lessie was too young to peel shrimp so she and her best bud Linda Manucy played dress-up with ladies clothes, hats and high heel shoes that belonged to Sadie.

Mama deveined the shrimp and cut them precisely down on top to a certain depth so they would all curl up the same way and cook in just a few minutes. She used white lard to fry the shrimp in her one and only cast iron frying pan. All she added to the cracker meal was salt and pepper before she coated each shrimp. Mama had a way of holding the tail tight so that when she placed the lightly dusted shrimp on a piece of wax paper the tail was always clean and easy to pick up from the platter after they were fried and she said it was time to eat.

There’s something special about St. Augustine white shrimp. The translucent shell is beautifully colored. The contrast of the dark eyes and reddish legs is prominent when you peel them. St. Augustine shrimp even smell good when they are raw. There is a slight sweet not pungent aroma when they are fresh. It must have been the clean ocean water and what they ate during their brief twelve months of life that gave them their superb taste.

As good as the raw shrimp smelled, I have no words adequate to describe the heavenly odor of fresh shrimp frying in first lard - in a small room - in a small cabin - on Vilano Beach. I loved watching the shrimp pile up in the big plate she kept next to the pan. If Richard or I reached for a shrimp before mama put them on the table we either got a stern look or a tap on the hand with hot tongs. We were quick learners. It took me two years before I was smooth enough to hug her with one arm and slip a hot shrimp in my pants pocket with my free hand then walk outside to eat it. I felt she smiled and knew exactly what I was doing.

When I have the chance to visit St. Augustine and eat at Osteen’s, Lonnie Pomar’s shrimp have the flavor and aroma I fondly remember. I’m sure there are a few other places you can get genuine St. Augustine shrimp for a while longer, but when all the shrimp boats are gone so will the opportunity to enjoy a seafood experience that’s been available since St. Augustine offshore shrimping began in about 1922.

Salvador’s Market is gone. Riverside Fish Camp is gone. The opportunity for me to eat shrimp in such a nostalgic setting is gone, but not forgotten. I would give anything to stand by that old stove in P.J.’s cabin watching mama’s iron skillet fry shrimp. Actually, there is nothing I wouldn’t give just to stand by Mama again.

Bob Jones

August 31, 2011

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Bob Jones Talks to Chefs about US Seafood Sustainability

Bob Jones, past-president of Gulf & South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation, Inc., was asked to speak to chefs from the Tennessee area for the Tennessee Aquarium Serve & Protect, long-term sustainable seafood initiative.  The initiative is collaboration with celebrity chef Alton Brown, host of the Food Network’s “Good Eats”.

As stated by the Tennessee Aquarium, “Let’s be honest, conversations about sustainable seafood can be confusing. As a simple solution to eating more sustainably, we support seafood caught or raised in the United States. Buying American not only supports U.S. jobs, but we also believe our own regulations are an important way to ensure sustainable fishing practices in wild caught or farm raised fish. And since public demand is the driving force for restaurants and grocery stores that provide products, this is an easy way for YOU, the customer, to get involved.”

 Mr. Jones spoke about the federal government sustainable regulations that the seafood community adheres to.   When you buy seafood from the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic Ocean you can be confident that the fishermen are following federal and state harvesting laws. U.S. fishery management includes 10 national standards that ensure fish stocks are maintained, overfishing is eliminated.  In addition, processors adhere to Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) requirements to make sure the domestic seafood you eat is handled properly.

For the Tennessee kick-off event Alton Brown stated, “I will be working with all of the chefs and wait staffs, because a lot of the selling of sustainable seafood is in the education and narrative," Brown said. "Then we're going to turn it over to these chefs to put their creativity on display and show the real culinary possibilities of these fish," he said.

 Inside the Aquarium, the locally-focused sustainable seafood effort will spotlight five new sustainable species over the next year in educational displays. American Lobster, oyster, yellow tail snapper, catfish and rainbow trout have been selected as the inaugural species to launch the new initiative. Brown has developed recipes specifically for this program using the five featured species in an effort to encourage the consumption of each.

"Hopefully this will bring people to the point where they're not only involved with understanding the fish, their habitats and what is sustainable, but then we'll start putting food on the plate that hasn't been there before," Brown said.

Photo Courtesy of BamberPhotogaphy.com

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Chef Jim Smith wins Great American Seafood Cook-Off 2011

By aroth | Published: August 9, 2011
GREAT AMERICAN SEAFOOD COOK OFF
www.greatamericanseafoodcookoff.com 
Press Contact: Shea Communications
Richard Shea (917) 584-3542
FOR RELEASE:                                                                   
 
JIM SMITH OF ALABAMA WINS FIRST PLACE AT GREAT AMERICAN SEAFOOD COOK-OFF IN NEW ORLEANS
 
NEW ORLEANS (August 6, 2011) – Chef Jim Smith, executive chef of the Alabama Governor’s Mansion, took first place at the eighth annual Great American Seafood Cook-Off in New Orleans today.  He impressed the judges with a dish titled “Late Summer Alabama Bounty” that featured sous vide shrimp and marinated crab with garam masala, scented yellow squash puree, farmers market lady peas, bacon-peach relish and Spanish basil oil.


The event, sponsored by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and presented by the Louisiana Seafood Promotion & Marketing Board, is known for pitting up-and-coming chefs against recognized culinary greats from throughout the United States. The chefs were asked to create unique dishes with domestic seafood, and utilize fish that’s native to their home states. Prior winners include John Currence of City Grocery in Oxford, MS and John Besh of Restaurant August in New Orleans.
 

“We congratulate Chef Smith on an extraordinary win and we’re proud to have him serve as an ambassador for domestic and sustainable seafood,” said Ewell Smith, executive producer of the Cook-Off and executive director of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion & Marketing Board. “The competition was very close this year and each one of our chefs demonstrated extraordinary culinary talents with an array of sustainable seafood from throughout the country.”


The 2010 King of American Seafood Chef Dean Max, executive chef at 3030 Ocean in Ft. Lauderdale, FL crowned Chef Smith King of American Seafood during the official awards presentation.  Chef Bud Gruniger of North Carolina earned second prize with a red drum creation, and Chef Scott Anderson of New Jersey took home third prize with a dish featuring New Jersey fluke.


NOAA’s Fisheries Service is the annual event’s chief sponsor and uses the cook-off to highlight – to American seafood consumers – the agency’s commitment to a healthy marine environment and improving the nation’s domestic seafood supply.
 
“At NOAA, we emphasize that U.S. seafood is healthy, safe, and good for you,” said Eric Schwaab, NOAA Fisheries Assistant Administrator. “Events such as the annual Seafood Cook-off are a terrific way to bring that message right to the public, especially those folks interested in new and creative ways to prepare seafood.”
Kevin Roberts, a chef/restaurant owner from Southern California and host of BBQ Pitmasters on TLC, co-hosted the Great American Seafood Cook-Off with John Folse, the chef known as Louisiana’s Culinary Ambassador to the World.


 Judges of the 2011 competition were: Chef Rick Moonen, an advocate for sustainable seafood, restaurateur, cookbook author and finalist in Top Chef Masters; Laura McIntosh, host of traveling cooking show Bringing It Home; Chef Roland Schaefer of the American Academy of Chefs; Patricia Mack of Gayot.com; Melissa Kogut, executive director of the Chefs Collaborative, and Will Blunt, managing editor of StarChefs.com.


Earlier this year, organizers of The Great American Seafood Cook-Off encouraged states to hold a qualifying round or appoint a chef to compete in the event.  There were chefs representing 14 states such as: Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas and West Virginia. The 2011 Great American Seafood Cook Off is endorsed by the National Restaurant Association and will be audited by the National Fisheries Institute.
 

Past winners of the Great American Seafood Cook Off are Dean Max of 3030 Ocean in Fort Lauderdale, FL; Tory McPhail of Commander’s Palace in New Orleans; John Currence of City Grocery in Oxford, MS; Tim Thomas of the Ocean Forest Golf Club in Sea Island, GA; Justin Timineri, Executive Chef for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services; Randy Evans of Brennan’s of Houston, and John Besh of Restaurant August in New Orleans.


Great American Seafood Cook Off sponsors include NOAA and FishWatch, Loubat Food Service Equipment, The Louisiana Restaurant Association, LouisianaTravel.com, Budweiser, Southwest Cargo, Tabasco, and Whole Foods Market.  The event also receives support from the National Fisheries Institute, Gulf and South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation, Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board and Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Royal Sonesta Hotel, Waterford Crystal, Hammer Stahl, Bayou Classic Cookware. A special thanks also to media sponsors, Culinary Concierge, Gulfscapes Magazine, Louisiana Cookin’ and Louisiana Public Broadcasting.
More information is available at www.GreatAmericanSeafoodCookoff.com.
 

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Foundation Presents Distinguished Service Award

Tampa, Florida - The Gulf and South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation, Inc. announces the presentation of the Distinguished Service Award to Mr. Larry Simpson.  This award recognizes the recipient’s many years of outstanding service to the seafood community.  Mr. Simpson was presented this award at the Foundation’s Annual Board of Trustees Meeting dinner in New Orleans, LA.  Past recipients include Ms. Joanne McNeely, Mr. Ewell Smith, Mr. Corky Perret, Mr. Wayne Swingle, Mr. David Harrington and Mr. Gary Graham.  Mr. Mike Voisin, Foundation President noted, "Larry has been a constant compass working with the seafood community and the Gulf States to foster communications and discussion relating to moving the fisheries communities forward in the Gulf. "    

Larry B. Simpson, received his Masters Degree from the University of South Alabama and his B.S. Degree from the University of Southern Mississippi.  Since 1983 Mr. Simpson has served as the Executive Director of the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission (GSMFC).  As the chief executive officer, Mr. Simpson is responsible for managing all affairs and programs for the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission.  He represents the Commission and member states' policies and activities to facilitate the overall mission of the organization.  In this capacity, Mr. Simpson interacts with State and Federal agencies, universities, and the public.  He is the longest standing member of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, having served that body since 1978.  He is involved in the development of all GSMFC's analysis papers, fishery management plans and other documents in support of the Commission's resolutions and established positions on fishery issues.  He is responsible for presenting these statements of position to appropriate State and Federal legislative and administrative agencies.

“The Foundation looks forward to continuing the cooperative relationship with Mr. Simpson and the Commission in the promotion and support of the seafood industry in the Southeast at this critical time,” said Judy Jamison, Foundation Executive Director. 

The Foundation is a private, regional nonprofit research organization with a general membership and Board of Trustees representing a wide spectrum of the commercial fishing industry throughout the southeast U.S.   Through the Foundation, the commercial seafood and fishing industry can collectively identify industry needs, and address those needs through appropriate research and other activities.  Representing the nine-state region from Virginia to Texas, the Foundation has sponsored more than 600 fisheries related research projects.  For more information visit our website at http://www.gulfsouthfoundation.org.

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Foundation Announces The Election of Officers For 2011/2012

Tampa, Florida – The Gulf & South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation, Inc., with membership including representatives of the commercial fishing and seafood industries from Texas to Virginia, announced the election of officers for 2011-2012.

Mr. Mike Voisin, Louisiana Seafood Processors Council, Houma, LA., was elected President of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees.  Mr. Jerry Sansom, Organized Fishermen of Florida, Cocoa, FL, was elected Vice President and Mr. Rutledge Leland, South Carolina At-Large, McClellanville, SC, was elected Treasurer/Secretary. 

Mr. Voisin replaces Mr. Robert Jones who has served as Foundation President for the past 4 years.  For his distinguished service to the commercial fishing industry, Mr. Jones received the Foundation’s Distinguished Service Eagle.  Mr. Jones also received recognition for his tireless work on the South Atlantic red snapper issue.

“The Gulf & South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation serves as liaison between the commercial fishing and seafood industries, general consumers and government agencies.  The Foundation’s function is to identify problems that affect the fisheries in the Gulf and South Atlantic states and develop practical solutions,” Voisin said.

Other Trustees of the Foundation include:  Jack Amason, representing Georgia At-Large, Valona, GA; Wilma Anderson, Texas Shrimp Association, Aransas Pass, TX; Joey Daniels, Virginia At-Large, Chesapeake, VA; Byron Despaux, Louisiana At-Large, Barataria, LA; Craig Dopson, South Carolina Shrimpers Association, Helena Island, SC; Philip Horn, Mississippi At-Large, Pascagoula, MS; Robert Jones, Southeastern Fisheries Association, Inc., Tallahassee, FL; Christopher Nelson, Alabama At-Large, Bon Secour, AL; Patrick Riley, Texas At-Large, Freeport, TX; James Ruhle, North Carolina At-Large, Wanchese, NC; Kay Williams, Mississippi At-Large, VanCleave, MS; and John Woods, Georgia Shrimp Association, Midway, GA.

The Foundation is a private, non-profit research and development organization serving the commercial fishery industry since 1976. Based in Tampa, the Foundation represents Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. Foundation membership includes commercial fishermen, seafood processors and other businesses or individuals closely associated with the industry.  Since its incorporation, the Foundation has administered more than 700 research and outreach projects assisting the commercial harvesting and seafood industries.

For more information, visit our website at http://www.gulfsouthfoundation.org.

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The Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission ODRP is Now Requesting Proposals

The Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commissions Oil Disaster Recovery Program (ODRP) is now requesting proposals to advance and support the traceability and seafood certification initiatives of the ODRP program through the services of an independent liaison. All proposals must be submitted by August 22, 2011.  View the RFP here. For more information, please contact miller@gsmfc.org.

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Latest tests offer more evidence of seafood safety (editorial)

One of the biggest winners at the Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo was the seafood industry. The tests conducted on the fish concluded that the seafood is completely safe to eat and the levels of oil pollutant compounds, PAH, found in the fish were low enough to be considered common components of the Gulf environment. Read the article here: http://blog.al.com/press-register-commentary/2011/07/latest_tests_offer_more_eviden.html

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Gulf & South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation, Inc. Launches New Website

Gulf & South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation, Inc. Launches New Website To Highlight Gulf and South Atlantic Seafood

Consumers, retailers, chefs and restaurants, wholesalers, distributors and commercial fishermen benefit from website’s resources

 

Tampa, FL — Continuing its commitment to supporting the economic well-being and quality of life for all stakeholders in the Gulf and South Atlantic seafood industry and consumer market, the Gulf & South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation, Inc. today launched a new website, www.gulfsouthfoundation.org.

The website features research news, industry developments, recipes and retail locations, as well as information on seafood handling and safety. Member spotlights and project highlights showcase the value of Gulf and South Atlantic seafood to the region’s economy, quality of life, and consumers.

“The Foundation is committed to helping the seafood industry sustainably harvest and process seafood from the Gulf and South Atlantic Ocean,” said Judy Jamison, Executive Director of the Foundation.  “There is no place in the world with such abundant, wonderful seafood as the salty shrimp from the Gulf or South Atlantic and our snapper and oysters. This new website is an important step in our ongoing mission to promote the safety and quality of our member states’ seafood.”

The new website, for example, includes recipes, seafood nutrition information, and links to recipe databases from the member states. The website also features a comprehensive database of completed and ongoing research projects to help the commercial fishing industry become more efficient and productive. Profiles of local fishermen and industry leaders collectively illustrate the depth of the region’s seafood economy and way of life.

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About The Gulf & South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation, Inc.

The Foundation is a private, non-profit research and development organization serving the commercial fishery industry since 1976. Based in Tampa, the Foundation represents Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. Foundation membership includes commercial fishermen, seafood processors and other businesses or individuals closely associated with the industry.  Since its incorporation, the Foundation has administered more than 700 research and outreach projects assisting the commercial harvesting and seafood industries.

The Foundation also manages the Gulf Seafood Marketing Coalition, which is comprised of fishermen, charter boat captains, seafood processors and wholesalers, retailers, chefs, restaurants and tourism marketers from the Gulf States. The Coalition, supported with a grant from the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission, aims to provide a cohesive vision and develop strategies that expand the market share for wild seafood products from the Gulf of Mexico.

 

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The USDA message: More (Sea)food on your plate!

Gulf and Atlantic seafood industry members should be celebrating the USDA’s new Food Plate model for healthy eating because seafood plays a starring role.

The Food Plate, unveiled in early June, replaces the familiar (but not always heeded) Food Pyramid with the “Food Plate” as a representation of which foods – and how much of them – Americans should be eating.  The Plate emphasizes lean proteins – and not just meats – with an emphasis on keeping seafood in the mix. “Go lean with protein” is the motto, and the USDA recommends a long list of seafood ranging from catfish and halibut to crab, shrimp and oysters.

The seafood emphasis makes sense, given how much nutrition seafood packs into each bite.  Seafood offers high-quality protein and other essential nutrients and contains omega-3 fatty acids. Protein in seafood is more readily broken down and absorbed than the protein in red meats and poultry. Research indicates that omega-3 fatty acids may help lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and arthritis. These essential fatty acids are also crucial to brain development and growth.

Seafood also offers vitamins and minerals that are not easily found in other foods. Seafood is an excellent source of B complex vitamins, particularly niacin, B12 and B6. Calcium is also found in fish, especially fish with small bones such as sardines and smelts. Other minerals in seafood include zinc, found in oysters and crustaceans, iron found in oysters, bluefish, and shrimp, copper found in oysters, crabs, and lobster, potassium found in mussels, scallops, and clams, and iodine, phosphorus, and selenium is found in all seafood in general.

These summer months are an ideal time to make seafood part of lunch and dinner a few times a week, with weather that calls for light, fresh food that can be cooked – and enjoyed – outdoors. So as you plan the week’s meals, why not fire up the grill and add shrimp, grouper or any other favorite seafood to the fire? Your plate – and your body – will be better off for it.