Alabama Wild Seafood to promote all Alabama seafood producers
BAYOU LA BATRE, Alabama — One word can contain all the fish in the sea.
The 6-year-old marketing effort “Alabama Wild Shrimp” is being renamed “Alabama Wild Seafood.”
The campaign will expand this year to include all types of domestic seafood caught and processed in the state, said Ernie Anderson, president of the Organized Seafood Association of Alabama.
“We’ve been talking about this change for 2 years, but the oil spill has made it more relevant than ever,” Anderson said.
The Bayou La Batre-based organization launched the branding push in 2005 with television spots featuring Winston Groom and Lucy Buffett using a one-time congressional appropriation of $1.2 million.
Anderson said the new “Alabama Wild Seafood” campaign, funded this time by a fuel tax on commercial fishing vessels, will include the now-familiar A-frame cards on restaurant tables.
But there will be a new focus on the development of an online presence for the state’s seafood sellers, he said.
A website will be created that will include a list of licensed retailers in the state, as well as provide a platform for sellers to inform would-be customers of exactly what kind of product they will have and when.
“For instance, someone from Birmingham coming to the coast for the weekend could go on there and find someone who sells what they’re looking for. The retailer could then blog in real time what is available,” Anderson said.
In 2003, the alliance was given federal assistance — Alabama’s share of a $100 million aid package for the nation’s shrimping industry — which local shrimpers decided to spend on a campaign to promote their catch.
That money was spent in a few years.
In November 2004, voters gave the state’s shrimpers the power to tax themselves. Shrimpers created a voluntary program in which they donated 1.25 cents per pound of catch.
The program raises about $130,000 a year, Anderson said.
The “Alabama Wild Seafood” campaign is independent of the state board created by then-Gov. Bob Riley to promote Gulf seafood using $9 million from BP PLC, he said.