BAYOU LA BATRE, AL – In a press briefing yesterday in Theodore, President Barack Obama declared seafood from the Gulf of Mexico safe to eat, and announced measures to ensure that it stays healthy for consumers.
Allaying fears that have arisen since the beginning of the oil spill, the President discussed a comprehensive, coordinated, multi-agency initiative that will continue to monitor and inspect seafood from the Gulf. "The FDA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are increasing inspections of seafood processors, strengthening surveillance programs and monitoring fish caught just outside restricted areas. We are also coordinating these efforts with states which are implementing similar programs."
"We want to ensure that the food industry down here, as much as possible, is getting the protection and certification they need to continue their businesses. So, this is important for consumers who need to know their food is safe, but also important for the fisherman and processors who need to be able to sell their products with confidence," added the President.
Bayou La Batre, Alabama has more seafood processors than any other area along the Gulf Coast from Key West, Florida to Brownsville, Texas. The Bayou community, along with the neighboring Coden area, accounts for 90% of all seafood sales and processing in the state of Alabama. Estimates from the NOAA place this annual revenue at over $500 million.
"You heard the President, any seafood that you find in the stores and restaurants is safe," Bayou La Batre Mayor Stan Wright commented. "The commercial fishing and seafood processing industries closely monitor their product for quality and multiple agencies inspect our facilities to guarantee they meet standards."