Media watch: Touchdown for Gulf seafood


April Forristall, assistant editor

Published on
August 10, 2010

Finally, some positive news for the Gulf of Mexico seafood industry: a clam BLT, barbequed shrimp and a 30-foot shrimp and oyster po’boy were among the Gulf seafood items that garnered coverage in the mainstream media this week.

Multiple news outlets reported that Gulf seafood was served at a ceremony honoring the New Orleans Saints’ Super Bowl victory at the White House on Monday. President Barack Obama talked about efforts to contain the oil spill and assured the public that Gulf seafood is safe to eat.

“With the ongoing reopening of Gulf fisheries, we’re excited that fishermen can go back to work and Americans can confidently and safely enjoy Gulf seafood once again,” said Obama at the ceremony. “We’re certainly going to enjoy it here at the White House.”

On Sunday, Obama dined on Gulf shrimp at his belated birthday barbeque on the South Lawn.

Additionally, officials and about 60 White House staff members who have been working on the disaster in the Gulf were treated on Monday to a lunch hosted by the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board, which served a 30-foot Louisiana shrimp and oyster po’boy.

Ewell Smith, the board’s executive director, who was on Capitol Hill meeting with federal fisheries and health officials, said Obama’s endorsement and the coverage it received will definitely help restore consumer confidence in Gulf seafood.

“You can’t ask for anything better than the President making his birthday dinner Gulf seafood and then recognizing Gulf seafood on national TV with the Super Bowl champs. [He spent] a good chunk of his presentation speaking about the safety of Gulf seafood,” said Smith.

“It so important that they are helping to do this simply because they can help us accelerate the recovery process of our brand, not just Louisiana seafood but the Gulf as a whole,” he added.

In yet another boost for Gulf seafood, this weekend’s 10th annual Great American Seafood Cook-Off in New Orleans, which took on greater importance this year due to the oil spill, was won by a Gulf state chef. Dean Max, executive chef of 3030 Ocean in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., earned the title of King of American Seafood with his Sebastian Inlet Clams BBLT (bacon, basil, lettuce and tomato). Wesley True of True Restaurant in Mobile, Ala., placed second.

Hopefully, now that President Obama, the Super Bowl champs and some of the nation’s top chefs have shown confidence in the safety of Gulf seafood, the public will follow.

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