By Chris Pulaski, National Wildlife Federation
Louisiana seafood is getting a whole new look. On November 16, the Louisiana Seafood Promotion & Marketing Board (Louisiana Seafood) held a stakeholder summit in Houma, LA to update the region’s producers, distributors and retailers on the state of Louisiana seafood 18 months after the BP oil spill. Representatives introduced Louisiana Seafood’s new branding and marketing strategy—developed as part of BP’s $30 million payment for the promotion of Gulf seafood—as well as the new safety and monitoring measures they have implemented.
Randy Pausina with Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDW&F) reviewed the data currently being gathered through trip reports and landings as well as the sampling from seafood–mainly shrimp, crabs and oysters. LDW&F’s sampling is funded by a 3-year, $13 million grant from BP which allows for around 329 samples per month. The results of the sampling, as well as other pertinent data, are available on the project’s website: www.gulfsource.org.
Researchers then unveiled results from recent surveys which indicate, among many findings, that the majority of seafood consumers are surprisingly between the ages 18-45, and that most of these “seafoodies” are eating seafood at home. Not surprisingly, shrimp tops the list of volume of Gulf seafood consumed, followed by crabs and oysters. Desire for Gulf seafood ranks slightly behind Alaska, New England and Pacific seafood markets.
Former Louisiana State University basketball coach Dale Brown gave a rousing address, calling for the seafood industry to remain undaunted in its willingness to overcome adversity and to speak with a unified voice. “If you want a helping hand, take a look at the end of your damn arm,” said Coach Brown.
The team of marketing and advertising specialists introduced a new look for Louisiana Seafood, calling for aggressive branding on every box and display cabinet. The strategy involves everyone: from fisherman to distributor to retailer—all the way from trap to table. The new look is clean and will target chefs and restaurateurs across the country, as well as retailers such as Whole Foods.
The event wrapped up with breakout sessions focused on three areas: commercial fisheries; processors, distributors and retailers; and tourism and economic development.