To follow up on a post from last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service recently announced that the Cape Ann Seafood Exchange will be the recipient of a federal Saltonstall-Kennedy (S-K) Grant in the amount of $361,670 for the purposes of developing marketing opportunities for locally caught redfish. In last week’s post on redfish, we explained that this species has great potential as an underutilized species but is currently undersold at market because of a general lack of awareness by the public as well as limited processing facilities on the waterfront.
As noted in a recent Gloucester Daily Times article on this grant award, “The focus of the project is to build a sustainable fishery for Gulf of Maine-harvested redfish and to develop the capability to process and market the species to the domestic and international seafood-consuming public, [Jerry] McCarthy [of the Cape Ann Seafood Exchange] said.
That effort will require capital investment in the form of new equipment for processing the redfish. But in a larger sense, the real challenge will come in the effort to create new markets for the species by shifting the prevailing attitude among consumers and retailers about the viability of the fish as a product and a food source.”
In a culture dominated by cod and haddock, it has not been easy to shift public awareness towards the value of balancing what we consume from local waters. However, hopefully as new programs like these are funded, the public will become increasingly aware of the benefits- both environmental and culinary- of purchasing species like redfish.