Regular Board Minutes for 14 December 2016

I. Call to order. The Meeting was called to order by Chairman Tortorich. Mr. Mitchell Called the roll and it was noted that a quorum was present.

II. Mr. Tortorich then asked for the introduction of guests:
Tommy Lusco, Baton Rouge Shrimp Company
Don Schwabb, Baton Rouge Shrimp Company
Damon Morris, LA Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
Richard Williams, LA Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
Mike Ketchum, New Orleans Fish House
Melissa Parmelee, Baton Rouge Epicurean Society
Laura Picarello, Audubon Nature Institute
John Fallon, Audubon Nature Institute
Jason Recher, Audubon Nature Institute
Scott Couvillon, Trumpet
Marianne Ortiz, The Ehrhardt Group

III. Adoption of Agenda and Minutes. A motion was made to adopt the agenda by Mr. Jurasic and was seconded by Mr. Sclafani. Mr. Delaune made his intentions known to present a motion to enter into executive session before adopting the minutes. After a brief discussion, the Board voted unanimously to adopt the Agenda. Mr. Delaune then made a motion to enter into Executive session which was seconded by Mr. Sunseri. The motion was adopted and Chairman Tortorich asked the guests to exit the room to immediately enter Executive Session.

IV. Adoption of the Minutes: Mr. Sunseri made a motion to reconvene and return to the Agenda, which was seconded by Mr. Delaune. Mr. Jurisac pointed out the proper procedures for reconvening the meeting, which was voted on unanimously. Chairman Tortorich then asked for a motion to adopt the minutes from February, April, July, and October. Mr. Delaune made the motion and Mr. Sunseri seconded. There being no discussion or public comment, the motion carried unanimously.

V. Committee Reports

a. Executive: Chairman Tortorich commented that the Board had not achieved a quorum since February 2016.
i. Officer Nominations: Mr. Sunseri made a motion to present the nominations for 2017 officers: Mr. Chalin Delaune as Chairman, Mr. Kristen Baumer as Vice-Chairman, and Mr. Troy Paria as Secretary/Treasurer. Mr. Sclafani seconded the motion. There being no discussion or public comment, the motion carried unanimously.
b. Marketing: Mr. Delaune reviewed the items that were discussed and the recommendation s made during the December 6th Marketing Committee meeting, including the Inland Atlanta Show and other potential grocery shows to attend. He mentioned a meeting between the Lt. Governor and Board members Mr. Avery and Mr. Baumer where Lt. Governor Nungesser shared his guidance on the purpose of the Board. Incentive programs with retailers and restaurants was also discussed and how that can tie into the grocery co-marketing program. It was discussed that the Office of the Lieutenant Governor had decided to discontinue the American Seafood Coast Guard campaign and focus more on the Know Better Eat Better campaign. At that point, Mr. Delaune pointed out that the other topics from the Marketing meeting would be discussed during the Executive Director’s comments. Mr. Delaune then pointed out that Mr. Sclafani had a motion to present based on the Marketing Committee’s discussion of the Audubon G.U.L.F. proposal. Mr. Sclafani made a motion to accept the recommendation of the Marketing Committee to contribute an initial $250,000 which matches the contribution from the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. He proposed that a subcommittee be formed to review the proposed budget and set benchmarks of deliverables before further funding is committed. Mr. Jurasic seconded the motion. There being no further discussion or public comment, the motion carried unanimously. Chairman Tortorich asked for a motion to accept the Marketing Committee report. Mr. Sclafani made the motion and Mr. Sunseri seconded. There being no discussion or public comment, the motion carried unanimously.
c. Legislative: Mr. Delaune had nothing to report.
d. Education : Mr. Baumer had nothing to report, but wanted to point out that the Know Better Eat Better campaign aligns with our education goals and that the Board should also include the health benefits of consuming seafood.
e. Finance: Mr. Parria stated that the remaining BP funds were approximately $6,339,000, which did not reflect the $20,000 deposit paid for the Seafood Expo North America in Boston. Mr. Parria noted that $506,000 has been spent for this Fiscal Year as of the end of October. Mr. Parriah pointed out that total interest paid on the account was $152,000, but that the fees paid from the account were $177,000. Mr. Sunseri commented that the amount of interest currently being incurred is incredibly low compared to the amounts previously incurred. Mr. Mitchell clarified that the statements provided to the Board members this meeting were consolidated and reflected previous balances and what transactions have been made this fiscal year. He also mentioned that the interest rates currently being received on the account is much different than the interest from several years ago, and that the accounting firm in association with the Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation is looking into improving that rate of investment. The Board members further discussed the financials and Mrs. Profita agreed to provide further detail at the next meeting. Mr. Delaune then asked for clarification on several line items in the statement, which Mr. Mitchell, Mrs. Profita, and Mr. Couvillon provided. Mr. Edgar asked about the Board’s contracts with the marketing agencies, and Mrs. Profita highlighted that all agencies will be responding to RFP’s and competing for new contracts tomorrow, which is approved by the Lt. Governor and his committee. Mrs. Profita mentioned that the Board has the ability to recommend additional agencies as it sees fit, but using the same ones approved by the Lt. Governor’s committee has its advantages. Mr. Chalin then expressed his gratitude for the agencies currently working with the Board. Mr. Sclafani made a motion to accept the Financial Report, Mr. Sunseri seconded. There being no discussion or public comment, the motion carried unanimously.

VI. Executive Summary:
a. Mrs. Profita thanked the Board members for their contributions over the past year. Mrs. Profita then pointed out the Activities Handout that lists all the events and campaigns the Seafood Board has participated in the past calendar year. Mrs. Profita discussed some of the details of the Seafood Board’s involvement with the New Orleans Bowl. Mrs. Profita then discussed a restaurant co-marketing program the board is supporting where Louisiana Seafood would be featured on the menus of a national chain restaurant. Mrs. Profita then discussed the progress of the Seafood Incubator and the opportunity to have some tuna skin samples created, as well as the meetings and events scheduled around discussing the Incubator. She then discussed the visit from DyneAquaculture and their plans of bringing an acquaculture system to Louisiana and assisting with the Incubator. Some additional discussion ensued concerning species and funding related to the aquaculture facility. Mrs. Profita informed the Board of the sponsorship of the Independence Bowl and its potential of providing year round marketing in Shreveport. She then brought up “The World is Your Oyster” party in DC and a discussion began on how the Board and the Task Forces could work together on supporting it or creating a new event in order to maintain presence during the legislative visits. Mr. Jurasic said he could bring any discussion points before the Oyster Task Force. Mrs. Profita then discussed additional upcoming events including Catersource, Seafood Expo North America, and LASCO’s potential movement to combine with Crawfete and the Ebb and Flow Festival in Baton Rouge. She then concluded her report by briefly mentioning teaming with Northwestern University for an event, combining the Board’s Legislative Reception with Tourism Week, Gator by the Bay in San Diego, the National Restaurant Association show in Chicago, and the Atlanta Food and Wine show. Mr. Sunseri made a motion to accept the report, Mr. Sclafani seconded. There being no discussion or public comment, the motion carried unanimously.
b. Mr. Jurasic and Mr. Mitchell discussed trying to schedule a meeting for the Oyster Task Force Marketing Committee and the Seafood Board Marketing Committee in hopes of getting the Oyster Task Force to approve funding of $80,000 for the Board. The meeting was tentatively scheduled for January 11th at 10:00am at the Wildlife and Fisheries building in New Orleans, pending approvals.
c. Mr. Delaune pointed out that the Administrative Assistant position for the Seafood Board had been moved to another office under CRT, but was still being paid for out of the Seafood Board budget. Mrs. Profita clarified that that position will be made permanent in a different department which will allow the assistant position to become available again for the Board. Mr. Delaune also pointed out that there was no representation from the Lt. Governor’s office again. Mrs. Profita informed the Board that a last minute staff meeting was called for the Lt. Governor’s office that conflicted with this meeting. Additional discussion ensued concerning how the Wildlife and Fisheries Task Forces are funded and what the task forces expect to see from the Seafood Board. Mr. Baumer and Mr. Delaune commented that the actions of the Board are run on executive action and the Board must wait on the green light from the Lt. Governor. Mr. Baumer commented that the remaining funds should be allocated to support the four pillars previously established by the Lt. Governor. Mr. Morris commented that the Department Wildlife and Fisheries is supportive of the Board and would like to work closer together with all parties to better plan on initiatives to promote Louisiana seafood.
d. Mrs. Profita informed the Board that Deepwater Horizon provided an additional $100,000 to the Board to be spent on print media. Ads will be placed in several publications such as Garden & Gun and Country Roads. The media buys have been approved and we will be receiving the first installment of that money shortly.
e. Ms. Ortize from Ehrhardt discussed a satellite media tour with the Lt. Governor to discuss incorporating seafood during Lent. They would also like to be involved the New Orleans Bowl media day.
f. Mr. Mitchell informed the group that Miles was not present today, but that a one page summary from Miles was included in their packet.
g. Mr. Couvillon from Trumpet showed the commercial that was produced for the “in-broadcast” spot for the New Orleans Bowl and the Independence Bowl on ESPN. He pointed out that Seafood branding would be placed throughout the Mercedes Benz Superdome during the New Orleans Bowl. H-Mart order of Louisiana Seafood branded freezer cases has been shipped for the grocery marketing agreement. Trumpet is going to move forward with Shaws since their spend has gone above the one million dollar mark.

VII. Old Business was addressed during the Executive Director’s Summary.

VIII. New Business

a. Mr. Edgar is interested in receiving a presentation from the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries on the status of the fisheries to better understand the challenges the industry faces. Several Board members agreed. Mr. Richard Williams offered to relay Mr. Edgar’s request to the Department.
b. Mr. Tortorich presented an opportunity to participate with the Marketing Action Committee of TOPCO that will be holding its conference in New Orleans in April. Mr. Tortorich recommended making a presentation regarding the Co-marketing program and sponsoring a seafood dinner. After some discussion of TOPCO and the event, several board members agreed it was a good idea to pursue. Mrs. Profita informed Mr. Tortorich to have TOPCO send a proposal.
c. Mrs. Profita applauded Mr. Tortorich for his service as Chairman of the Board. Mr. Tortorich welcomed the incoming Chairman, Mr. Delaune, and commented that it will be a great fit. Mr. Delaune also praised Mr. Tortorich for his leadership and thanked him for his service to the Board.

IX. Public Comment
a. Mr. John Fallon of Audubon Nature Institute informed the Board that the official announcement of the Blue Crab Certification under the G.U.L.F. Responsible Fisheries Management Certification was released today. It is the first fishery to be certified under that program, which took four years to complete. The oyster fishery is currently going through the certification process. Mr. Fallon expressed his concerns that the money the Board recommended to provide Audubon was significantly lower than previously discussed, and that he would like to further discuss the expectations of the Board with regards to payment and further funding. Some discussion ensued concerning the time periods necessary for the certification. Mr. Delaune clarified that the Board fully supports Audubon and their work on sustainability certifications and that this was just an initial supplement, not barring the possibility of future funding. Mr. Delaune and Mr. Baumer both reiterated that the Board is advisory, and will continue to advise the Lt. Governor in favor of support to Audubon. Additional details were discussed concerning the details of the Audubon’s past and future work concerning sustainability certifications. Mr. Fallon and the Board agreed to continue conversations to further explore future funding.
b. The Board established a subcommittee, consisting of Kristen Baumer, Sal Sunseri, Chalin Delaune, and Peter Sclafani, to work with Audubon on sustainability certification.

X. Mr. Tortorich stated that the next meeting will be Febraury 8, 2017. Mr. Mitchell noted that the day would not work because of the Shrimp Task Force that day as well as DC Mardi Gras. A tentative date for the next Board meeting was set for February 1, 2017.

XI. Mr. Jurasic made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Mr. Sunseri seconded the motion. Mr. Tortorich adjourned the meeting at 4:25 PM.