Gulf Wild program aims to restore fishing industry after BP oil spill

The BP oil spill that plagued the Gulf of Mexico last year brought many area fishing operations to a screeching halt. Aside from massive fish and wildlife deaths as a result of the spill, concerns over contamination and ocean sustainability have consumers, as well as fishers, unsure about the health of any post-spill catches.

In a recent study conducted by the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board, more than 48 percent of consumers say they have been consuming less seafood overall since the devastating incident.

Enter the Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders’ Alliance; they have just announced the launch of Gulf Wild, a program that will tag a gill on every fish caught by members of the region-wide branding effort to help consumers track their fish. Consumers can enter the tag ID number on a Web page called “Find My Fish” and see where and when the fish was caught, including a picture of the fisherman who made the catch.

The program aims to test fish for safety, beyond government regulations. And they hope that chefs and consumers will feel confident in the safety of these sustainably-caught fish,  specifically the regionally-loved red snapper, which is currently carrying a cautionary “avoid” warning from environmental advocacy groups including the Monterey Bay Aquarium, who last year launched a free sustainable fish iPhone app.

More than 5 million gallons of oil spilled into the Gulf waters as a result of the April 20, 2010 explosion that also killed 11 people. And now, federal prosecutors are considering whether or not to pursue manslaughter and perjury charges against key members of BP management for decisions made prior to the explosion.

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Photo: Gulf Wild