State Officials Finalize Deal to Fund Projects to Restore Louisiana’s Seafood and Tourism Industries

Release Date: 11/19/2010

LDWF and Lt. Gov. Angelle secure $48 Million dedicated to seafood safety and marketing; $30 million for tourism marketing

Late yesterday evening, Lt. Governor Scott A. Angelle and Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Secretary Robert Barham finalized plans with BP to fund marketing efforts aimed at revitalizing Louisiana’s tourism and seafood industries. Both industries were drastically impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The agreement finalized on November 18, 2010 requires BP to fund $18 million in seafood safety and monitoring, $30 million in seafood marketing and $30 million in tourism marketing.

The agreement in principle was announced on November 1 in New Orleans at Acme Oyster House. Negotiations then continued to facilitate a memorandum of understanding to solidify the details.

Through negotiations with BP, Lt. Gov. Angelle was able to secure tourism funds for $5 million per quarter for six quarters, rather than the original distribution schedule or $10 million per year for three years. The new schedule will allow for a surge of funds if necessary to address impacts.

Consistent with BP’s requirements, the agreement will invest a total of $21 million (70%) into Louisiana’s coastal parishes and New Orleans for the purpose of tourism recovery. The parishes of St. Tammany, St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, Lafourche, and Terrebonne will each receive $2.166 million for a total of $13 million (43.34%). Additionally, the City of New Orleans will receive $6 million (20%) and the parishes of St. Mary, Iberia, Vermilion and Cameron will each receive $500,000 for a total of $2 million (6.66%). The remaining 53 parishes will split $2.5 million (8.33%) distributed using a tiered methodology based on proximity to coast and population.

The remaining $6.5 million (21.67%) will be used by the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism (CRT) to plan and execute, in conjunction with the Louisiana Travel Promotion Association (LTPA), a marketing and advertising campaign branding Louisiana as a destination. A portion of CRT’s $6.5 million will also provide tourism event support. A breakdown of fund allocation by parish can be viewed here: http://www.crt.state.la.us/press/2010/Bp_Parish_Allocation_plan.pdf.

“In Louisiana, our tourism and our seafood are inextricably intertwined. The success of one determines the success of the other, and in Louisiana we would have it no other way,” said Lt. Gov. Angelle. “I am pleased that we have reached an agreement with BP on the distribution of these much-deserved tourism recovery funds. After over 100 days of negative visual coverage, the Louisiana tourism brand was tarnished. Potential vacationers canceled plans, restaurants stopped serving Louisiana seafood and the perception existed that our state was dirty and covered with oil. I believe that with these funds, Louisiana and its parishes can take the next step toward revitalizing our image to visitors.”

“This is a real step forward in our commitment to ensure seafood safety, both for our citizens and for the rest of the country. We are excited that BP has committed to funding seafood safety and monitoring programs so that we may continue to protect all those who enjoy Louisiana Gulf seafood,” said LDWF Secretary Barham. “We now also have the opportunity to fund seafood and tourism marketing, ensuring that we can begin the hard work to restore the image of Louisiana seafood and the places that serve it. Today marks the next phase in the recovery for our seafood industry and the communities along our coast, which are so integral to the character and identity of our state.”

“We’re very glad that a portion of the funding will go directly to Plaquemines Parish. We’ve said from the beginning that the parishes most affected by the oil spill are the ones who carry the burden, both in product sales and product marketing. We’re pleased that that money will soon flow to the impacted parishes, the ones who know best how to promote their area for seafood and tourism,” said Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser. “I was especially pleased to learn that Lt. Governor Angelle was able to negotiate a surge in funding from 36 months to 18 months. That will help us immensely.”

“No place in Louisiana has seen tourism evaporate like Grand Isle. We will work with Jefferson Parish and our regional partners to make Grand Isle a number one destination again,” added David Carmadelle, Mayor of Grand Isle.

“Out of adversity comes opportunity,” said Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board Chairman Harlon Pearce. “Thanks to the efforts of Lt. Governor Angelle, Secretary Barham and Governor Bobby Jindal’s staff we have the opportunity to create the future we want for Louisiana’s seafood industry. The best way to predict the future is to create it.”

“Both our tourism - particularly our world-class charter boat fishing - and seafood industries were devastated by the oil spill,” said Lafourche Parish President Charlotte Randolph. “These funds will assist us in making great strides to revitalize those industries and make sure everyone knows that Lafourche Parish is still a great tourism destination.”

"One last piece of the puzzle that will make the Louisiana Seafood Community whole is the ability to return the perception of our seafood products in the marketplace to the high quality, fresh and available seafood products as it was prior to the spill,” said Mike Voison, member of the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, and owner and CEO of Motivatit Seafood. “With BP's commitment to seafood marketing and safety dollars this should help to get us back to this point.”

“Since our coast was the hardest hit, both physically and economically, it makes sense to allocate most of the funds to Louisiana’s coastal areas,” said Paul Arrigo, CDME President and CEO of the Baton Rouge Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We appreciate the state’s efforts to allow the other parishes who were indirectly affected by the spill to share a portion of the tourism recovery funds.”

“On behalf of the parish leadership across the state, I agree that it is good public policy to include every parish in Louisiana in the tourism recovery fund allocation,” said Roland Dartez, Executive Director of the Louisiana Police Jury Association. “Given that tourism was adversely affected in all regions of the state, we are grateful for this opportunity that will aide in mending the unique brand of each individual parish.”

Seafood Safety, Monitoring and Marketing

Louisiana’s commercial fishing industry represents $2.4 billion annually and is responsible for supporting more than 26,000 jobs throughout the state. The BP oil spill kept waters off Louisiana’s coast closed throughout some of the seasons’ most productive moths.

Although 98.5 percent of the state’s waters have been re-opened to both commercial and recreational fishing, the industry has taken a hit. From January through August in 2010 compared to a four-year average (from 2006 to 2009) commercial shrimp landings were down 51 percent, crab landings were down 33 percent and oysters landings were down 35 percent.

The agreement signed today provides $18 million to LDWF for seafood safety testing and monitoring efforts in conjunction with the Louisiana departments of Environmental Quality, Health and Hospitals, and Agriculture and Forestry. This funding will allow Louisiana officials to continue to sample, monitor and test Louisiana seafood from the Gulf waters off its coast.

Since the spill began, more than 300,000 individual shrimp, crab, finfish and oysters have been tested at independent labs; none have been found to contain hydrocarbons at “levels of concern” established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

LDWF will also receive $30 million for the promotion of Louisiana Gulf seafood to be spent in conjunction with the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board (LSPMB).

LDWF is still in negotiations with BP to secure funding for a saltwater hatchery and an oyster cultch program, which are crucial to the state’s recovery plan.

Tourism Funding

BP has agreed to the state’s request to compensate the losses in Louisiana’s tourism industry with $30 million in funding to help the industry get back on its feet. Under the agreement with BP, $30 million will be provided to the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism (CRT) over three years to support the marketing of Louisiana as a tourist destination. This funding and the three-year commitment also would be reset upon any oiling that would trigger the closure of fishing areas.

The agreement will invest a total of $21 million (70%) into Louisiana’s coastal parishes for the purpose of tourism recovery. Additionally, $2.5 million (8%) will be distributed to the remaining parishes so that tourism damage can be mitigated using a decentralized approach. The remaining $6.5 million (21%) will be used by the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism to plan and execute, in conjunction with the Louisiana Travel Promotion Association (LTPA), a marketing and advertising campaign branding Louisiana as a destination. A portion of CRT’s $6.5 million will also provide tourism event support. The use of CRT’s funds will be approved through a plan submitted by the newly-elected Lt. Governor.

The $30 million will be invested in:

A Louisiana Tourism Campaign, including a focus on nature-based tourism - $10.5 million

The $10.5 million will be distributed to:

  • $5 million – Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism
  • $2.5 million – Six physically impacted parishes making up the Louisiana Tourism Coastal Coalition (LTCC)
    • St. Tammany, St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, Terrebonne, Lafourche Parishes 
    • $416,666,67 each
  • $500,000 – Four remaining coastal parishes comprising the LTCC
    • Iberia, St. Mary, Vermilion, Cameron
    • $125,000 each
  • $2.5 million – 53 remaining parishes

A Coastal Tourism Response - $6 million

The $6 million will be distributed to:

  • $4.5 million – Six physically impacted parishes making up the LTCC
    • St. Tammany, St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, Terrebonne, Lafourche Parishes
    • $750,000 each
  • $1.5 million - Four remaining coastal parishes comprising the LTCC
    • Iberia, St. Mary, Vermilion, Cameron
    • $375,000 each

Greater New Orleans Tourism Response - $6 million

Tourism Events - $7.5 million

The $7.5 million will be distributed to:

  • $6 million - Six physically impacted parishes making up the LTCC
    • St. Tammany, St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, Terrebonne, Lafourche Parishes
    • $1 million each
  • $1.5 million – Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism
    • Funds will be used for statewide tourism event support

The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana's abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

For more information, please contact Olivia Watkins at LDWF at 225-610-8660 or owatkins@wlf.la.gov, or Anna Dearmon at the Office of the Lt. Governor at 225-252-3529 or adearmon@crt.state.la.us.