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United Fishermen of Alaska Support Gulf Shrimpers with Assistance
UFA donates equipment, services and personnel to Southern Shrimp Alliance in response to the effects of Katrina


September 09, 2005

The United Fishermen of Alaska, one of the nation's largest commercial fishing groups, has extended offers of support to the Southern Shrimp Alliance and its more than 500 members in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The offer of support includes gear, apparel and logistical support to SSA which is made up of shrimp boat, dock and business owners in eight states spanning the Gulf and South Atlantic coasts.

"As an industry we are one of the most competitive around," explained Mark Vinsel, UFA's executive director. "However, there's an unspoken code among all fisherman that whenever one of us is in need it's everyone's responsibility to do what's needed to help. It's a brutal business that is often at the mercy of Mother Nature, and this week's Gulf hurricane could be next week's Alaskan tidal wave."

Currently, the UFA is working with SSA and other organizations such as Wild American® Shrimp, Inc. to tally a list of pressing items of need. At the top of list is gear, including netting, apparel and replacement parts and machinery. In addition, UFA is working with Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski to initiate a coordinated effort with other sectors of the Alaska seafood industry.

"Shrimping in the United States has always been more than just a business, it has been a way of life," commented Joey Rodriguez, SSA president. "Shrimping has defined entire communities throughout the Gulf Coast and Eastern Seaboard.  Today, our tradition, our way of life is threatened. We welcome the support of our Alaskan brothers and thank them for their efforts as we rebuild our industry and communities."

"Obviously this disaster is without precedent. But the domestic shrimp industry and the American shrimper has a history of facing and overcoming obstacles, including natural disaster," explained Eddie Gordon, past SSA president and executive director of Wild American® Shrimp, Inc. "This is a region, a people and an industry that weathers storms and rebuilds communities. And in that respect, Katrina will not be different thanks to the generous support of UFA and others."

The United Fishermen of Alaska is an umbrella organization of 31 Alaska commercial fishing groups dedicated to keeping Alaska's commercial fishing industry viable and healthy while fostering positive relationships among all sectors of the industry from harvester to consumer. In addition, UFA also supports efforts to increase consumption of Alaska's seafood while educating the general public and politicians as to the economic, cultural and social importance of the Alaska seafood industry.

The Southern Shrimp Alliance (SSA) is a non-profit alliance of members of the shrimp industry in eight states committed to preventing the continued deterioration of America's domestic shrimp industry and to ensuring the industry's future viability.  Wild American® Shrimp, Inc. is the marketing and education arm of SSA, serving as the national voice for the shrimp fishermen and processors in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas.


Source of News:

United Fishermen of Alaska


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