MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) Leaders in the Alabama seafood industry, the governor and food distributors rubbed elbows Tuesday at the Mobile Convention Center during the first Alabama Seafood Summit.
Alabama's coast line is only 53 miles long, but is responsible for as many as 10,000 jobs in the region. Industry figures boast an economic impact of $445 million every year.
But they'd like to see that number even higher, which is why the seafood summit was set up to network local suppliers with regional and national distributors.
Governor Robert Bentley addressed the attendees Tuesday.
"Everyone here is concerned about our seafood industry," he said, "whether you're a restaurant owner, a processor or a fisherman."
This is where rubbing elbows can really pay off.
"We don't do a lot of direct to the consumer," said Chris Nelson with Bon Secour Fisheries, an oyster supplier in Baldwin County. "We like to work with people like Whole Foods here, and our good restaurants here locally, Wintzell's Oyster House and others to get the seafood into the mouths of the consumer."
"We're here to really foster their business as well as our own," said Abbatt Story of the Whole Foods grocery chain, "and in the interim, supply that high quality product to the customer."
The summit is being sponsored by the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries, which has really been active on the coast lately, sponsoring a job initiative conference at Ingalls Ship Building in Pascagoula just last week.