“This is a USD 10 million idea” – Global Shrimp Council moves closer to reality

Gabriel Luna and David Castro.

Gabriel Luna and David Castro have been dreaming and scheming about a global shrimp marketing campaign board for years. Now their dream is out in the open, and they’re hoping enough other industry representatives share their vision so that it can become a reality.

Formally announced at the Global Shrimp Forum in Utrecht, the Netherlands, on 6 September, the Global Shrimp Council is “an initiative with the intention to harmonize the interests of participants in this significant industry through a systemic vision,” Castro said at the time.

The primary goal of the council is to establish a producer-led promotional body to market and encourage shrimp consumption globally, according to Luna, the owner of Ecuadorian shrimp trading and insights firm Glunashrimp,

The whole industry has been talking about this for years, about how long David and I have been talking about this as well,” Luna told SeafoodSource. “I'm sure there's some liver damage caused by how much we've talked about this campaign that should be done. But last year, we decided, you know what, if nobody else is going to do it, we have to do it.”

Luna said momentum is building behind the idea, with 25 companies now signed up, including representatives of large firms in Ecuador, India, and Vietnam, though he said names are not being released yet to provide more time to those on the fence or finalizing their decisions. He said at least 50 additional companies are considering joining, and that he expects still more to join once the council is set up and showing results.

“This is not a small commitment,” Luna said. “We want to start with between USD 8 million and USD 10 million [EUR 7.6 million and EUR 9.6 million], and that’s all going to come from donations. Our belief is that USD 3 million [EUR 2.9 million] gets us nowhere. This is not a USD 2 million [EUR 1.9 million] idea; This is a USD 10 million idea. There's a few steps to how we'll reach that and how we're going to use it, but the idea is big and the budget should be too.”

Luna said he has already hired Miguel Barcenas, the creator of the highly successful “Avocados from Mexico” promotional campaign, to create an outline for the council’s structure, though he said the final decision will be left up to the council itself. As for the council’s composition, he said those who join and donate will get to vote from options crafted and presented by Barcenas.

It’s great so many people are excited about this idea, but if everybody chimes in with their own thoughts on the way to do it, that won’t work. That's how we got nowhere in the past,” Luna said. “What we need is to simplify the process, at least to get started. We need a manageable amount of people sitting around a table and able to decide on something. So the consultant will come up with a couple of options for structure, then the board will create statutes and regulations. And then we’ll get into developing strategies, talking with different marketing agencies, and then we’ll have the board vote which campaign to go with.”

Luna acknowledged the challenge of balancing varying – sometimes competing – interests of the sector. He said while those who get involved will have …

Photo courtesy of Gabriel Luna

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