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Three of the world’s most recognizable commercial fishing personalities are helping Florida mark National Seafood Month in October, and will soon be featured in a public awareness campaign promoting Florida seafood products and the “working waterfronts” where the state’s fishing heritage is preserved and cultivated.
Captains Sig Hansen and Johnathan and Andy Hillstrand -- well known to viewers of the Discovery Channel’s wildly popular “Deadliest Catch” series about Alaskan crab fishing in the Bering Sea – will appear in television spots and other media promoting Florida’s fishing industry.
Florida agriculture commissioner Charles H. Bronson, whose department promotes the state’s agriculture and seafood industries, and helps administer its “Working Waterfronts” Program, appreciates the popular fishing celebrities’ willingness to bolster Florida’s efforts.
“Whether fishing in subfreezing temperatures in the Bering Sea or in balmy waters off the Florida coast, America’s commercial fishermen understand the hard work that goes into bringing in their catch,” said Bronson, noting the “Deadliest Catch” captains’ efforts to help the Sunshine State “raise public awareness of the important contributions that Florida’s fishermen make to our state and nation.”
Bronson said with the numerous challenges Florida’s fishing industry has faced in recent years, he hopes that as the public learns more about Florida fishermen and their struggles to supply consumers with quality products, the more they’ll seek out domestically harvested seafood when shopping or dining out.
“In recent years, hurricanes have damaged fishing fleets, equipment and processing infrastructure; cheap seafood imports have flooded U.S. markets; and soaring fuel prices have drastically increased our fishermen’s cost of doing business,” said Bronson. “But, even when faced with this ‘perfect storm’ of adversity, our state’s fishermen persevere. Consumers can help by always asking for Florida-harvested seafood products.”
Florida’s commercial fishermen annually harvest over 83 million pounds of quality seafood and fishery products with a dockside value of more than $168 million. Florida leads the United States in the number of seafood-processing businesses, with 500. Another 800 businesses buy and sell seafood as dockside fish buyers, wholesale brokers, importers or exporters. Retail and restaurant sales of Florida products total $24 billion annually.
The television public service announcements featuring the three fishing-boat captains are expected to start airing statewide in December. Images of Hansen, captain of the “Northwestern,” and the Hillstrand brothers, co-captains of the “Time Bandit,” will also appear in print and Web-based media.