Alabama Governor Bob Riley has vowed to form a new state panel focused on promoting Alabama seafood in the wake of last summer’s massive Gulf oil spill.
Riley announced that he will create the new panel, called the Alabama Fisheries Marketing Board, which was an idea originally proposed in a report from the Alabama Coastal Recovery Commission.
Ernie Anderson, president of the Organized Seafood Association of Alabama welcomed the news. The industry needs to counteract the negative perception that the oil spill has left Alabama seafood contaminated and unsafe, he says. “The governor understands that correcting perception is the first step, and we’re thankful for that,” Anderson told the AP.
A spokesman for the governor’s office said it would be a few weeks before Gov. Riley issues an executive order establishing the seafood panel, with some details still needing to be resolved.
In addition to marketing Gulf seafood to consumers, the board also plans to fund scientific testing for contaminants. Governor Riley has said he believes the board could receive as much as $9 million in funds from BP, but the state is still negotiating with the oil company over funding for post-spill economic recovery.