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Senators Want Gulf Seafood Advisory Group

U.S. Senators from the Gulf states are asking President Obama to name a Gulf Seafood Advisory Group to advise federal agencies on a menu of concerns that continues in the aftermath of the BP oil spill.

Seafood industry representatives see the request as both a positive sign and one that means, “the current procedures are not effective” when it comes to the federal government working with them on the recovery.

In an Aug. 16 letter to the President, the six Republicans and two Democrats that represent Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana in the U.S. Senate requested “immediate attention” to their request that the advisory group be named.

“Seafood is fundamental to the economy and culture of this region,” they wrote.  “In many ways, it defines the people and the places that make up our nation’s Gulf coast.”

According to the proposal, the advisory group would include “knowledgeable industry leaders representing each of the Gulf States, representatives of state and federal agencies, and the principal components of the Gulf fisheries.”

The new advisory group would be asked to provide advice and recommendations on such topics as: fishery closures and openings; seafood safety training and public dissemination of information; claims for compensation; the role of the Gulf seafood producers and their concerns regarding spill remediation; health and safety of remediation personnel; and other activities relevant to the seafood industry.

“The profound impacts of this spill on the fishery resources and seafood-based economy of our region will continue long after this event has faded from public attention,” the letter to the President said.

“We cannot allow the needs for monitoring, remediation, and compensation to go unmet.  The formation and sustained utilization of this advisory group will ensure this doesn’t happen.”

Signing the letter were Bill Nelson, D-FL; George Lemieux, R-FL; Mary Landrieu, D-LA; David Vitter, R-LA: Richard Shelby, R-AL; Jeff Sessions, R-AL; Roger Wicker, R-MS; and Thad Cochran, R-MS.

The President has not yet responded to the request.

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