A strong marketing campaign will help to restore customers’ demand for local seafood. After a manmade or natural disaster, all possibly affected seafood should be tested to ensure safety for consumption. If it is safe, the testing results should be used to highlight the availability of quality local seafood and to encourage customers to purchase domestically.
Professionalization will help promote the industry both domestically and internationally. Permit restrictions can help create a limited-entry program to better manage the resources and products harvested. A fishery-wide sustainable certification program that tags seafood will not only attract higher prices but will create seafood brand recognition.
Communities should collaborate to form a regional seafood marketing association with the goal of developing domestic and internationally recognized markets for their fishing communities. Representatives from the association should be sent to international industry trade shows to market the local fishing community. The association should also work to create a brand for local seafood and to grow awareness for the fishing community. Once the brand is established, a marketing campaign, which includes fishermen telling their stories in order to inspire the food-to-table consumer preferences, should be created.
Following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, Greater New Orleans, Inc. and Chevron created the Coastal Vitality Project . The project focuses on marketing, workforce development and small-business capacity building and development. As part of the project, a public relations toolkit was developed that includes talking points for fishermen. Learn more about the project and review the public relations toolkit at: http://www.coastalvitalityproject.org/.
In Alaska, fishermen pay a 2 percent tax to support the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI). For almost a decade prior to the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill (EVOS), ASMI had been marketing the Alaskan seafood industry, especially the salmon industry in the face of the increased market share of farm-raised salmon. Following EVOS, ASMI hired a public relations and research firm to analyze the impacts on various markets. Using the results, ASMI re-shifted its marketing approaches following EVOS. One initiative was to focus on “origin branding” of Alaskan salmon. Another initiative focused on sustainability of the Alaskan salmon industry. A public relations representative was hired from within the industry to conduct media training for members and fishermen following the oil spill.