July 1st
Louisiana Seafood Board Endorses ‘Friends of the Fishermen’ Fund
Celebrity Chefs Folse, Colicchio, Tramonto and Others Gather in Support of Louisiana Seafood Industry

Public Can Make Donations Online at FriendsoftheFishermen.org

Grand Isle, LA, June 28, 2010 – In a press conference earlier today, the Louisiana Seafood Promotion & Marketing Board announced its endorsement of the “Friends of the Fishermen Fund,” which will provide financial assistance to the Louisiana fishermen whose livelihoods have been impacted by the Gulf oil spill. A website, http://www.FriendsoftheFishermen.org has been created to manage donations online.

Celebrity chefs John Folse, Tom Colicchio, Rick Tramonto, Charles Carroll, Dean Fearing, Rick Moonen and Susur Lee were also on hand at the press conference to show their support of Louisiana’s seafood industry and fishermen. Following the speakers’ remarks, renowned performance painter Michael Israel created three Gulf-inspired paintings to be displayed at the Great American Seafood Cook-Off in New Orleans this August and to be auctioned at a later date with proceeds benefitting the Friends of the Fishermen Fund. In addition, Chef Fearing of Fearing’s at the Ritz-Carlton, Dallas has pledged proceeds from the restaurant’s third anniversary dinner celebration to the fund. Entergy Corporation and Abita Brewing Company have also pledged their support of the fund.

“We’ve been telling people they can show their support to fishermen by continuing to ask for Louisiana seafood. That message hasn’t changed,” said Ewell Smith, executive director of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board. “But now people can also go online to make financial contributions that will go directly to the fishermen who are so essential to Louisiana’s culture, heritage and way of life.”

While many areas of the Gulf are still open to fishing and fishermen continue to harvest safe, quality Louisiana Seafood, more than 30,000 fishing families have been directly impacted by the spill. One in 70 Louisiana jobs are tied to the seafood industry and 70 percent of the seafood harvested in the Gulf of Mexico is caught by Louisiana fishermen. The majority of these seafood industry jobs are found among family-owned companies that have -- for as many as five and six generations -- harvested much of the world’s finest seafood.

The Friends of the Fishermen Fund is the officially sanctioned fund of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board, a program under the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. All donations are collected and administered by South Central Planning & Development Commission, a 501c1 organization. The Seafood Board selected this commission to allocate funds to Louisiana fishermen based on the commission’s exemplary work managing similar responsibilities following Hurricane Katrina.