Supporting Local Fishing and Underutilized Fish Species

Americans consume only a fraction of available fish species. By purchasing greater amounts of fish that are abundant in New England waters but not typically purchased or consumed, one local team of institutions and community partners hopes to support local fishermen and raise awareness along the way.

The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Northeastern University, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, and Eastern Connecticut State University are making a substantial commitment to tackling this food system challenge. The institutional partners have committed that 75% of all fish served on each campus will be locally sourced. To get there, the campuses will work with their food service manager, Chartwells, as well as community partners Ipswich Fish, the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center, Red’s Best, Farm Fresh Rhode Island, the New Bedford Port Authority, and Buyers & Sellers Seafood Auction (BASE) to identify abundant yet underutilized local fish and improve the sourcing and purchasing systems that will incorporate these fish species onto campus menus.

The project, slated to launch during the fall semester of 2019, will include a portable kitchen kiosk on each campus to build visibility and enthusiasm for the campaign, events such as cook-offs and tasting opportunities, and culinary arts opportunities that feature the targeted fish species. The project team also plans to hold a 2020 student-led symposium, bringing together fishermen, scientists, authors, educators, vendors, chefs, and procurement officers to improve the system and share best practices.

A goal of the project is to raise awareness of the unique challenges of local fishermen, similar to the recent increased understanding of the challenges faced by local farmers brought about by the Farm-to-Table movement.