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Groups form Gulf Coast trade association

A group of recreational marine industry leaders from Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle established a new trade association.

The Central Gulf Marine Trades Association will represent businesses involved in the sales, storage, service and utilization of recreational vessels.

Goals of the association include promoting the Gulf region as a place to enjoy boating, fishing and water sports; advocating on issues that affect the recreational marine community; and increasing awareness about the economic impact of the boat owner and supporting industry.

"Marine recreation is a very important economic engine for the Gulf Coast," said group president John Fitzgerald, of Saunders Yachtworks in Gulf Shores, in a statement. "Our 200 miles of coastline is home to 2,000 businesses and 15,000 employees involved in recreational marine trades. At our organizational meetings, everyone agreed that we needed a unified voice on major issues affecting our businesses and our customers."

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