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Chefs and Fishermen Collaborate to Strengthen Markets and Improve Quality of Local Seafood

Jun 2, 2014

Chefs, fishermen, restaurant owners and researchers will gather at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute Wednesday to work together to improve the journey seafood takes on its way from the sea to dinner plates. The event, Trawl to Table, provides a unique forum for the group to identify and pursue new opportunities in the Gulf of Maine seafood supply chain.

“Trawl to Table helps us build a community of fishermen and food service professionals – two groups that depend on each other, yet seldom work directly together,” said Jen Levin, sustainable seafood program manager at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute. “We ultimately hope that these new relationships will help develop more robust and higher-end markets for Gulf of Maine seafood.”

During the all-day forum, the group will exchange information about commercial fishing, with varying perspectives represented from all levels of the supply chain. Together, they will learn more about fishing gear and practices, fisheries management, quality handling and identification practices and sustainability strategies.

“As fishermen, we have developed strategies to fish more selectively and reduce our environmental impact,” said fisherman, Al Cottone, who participated in last year’s Trawl to Table event in Gloucester, Mass. “It’s important for us to be able to share with chefs, restaurant owners and consumers how new gear technologies and regulations are helping us maintain a sustainable fishing industry in the region.”

As part of their supply-chain discussion, the group will focus specifically on improving the market for underutilized species from the Gulf of Maine, such as whiting, pollock and dogfish.

Although Trawl to Table is invitation-only, a media hour will take place from noon – 1:00 p.m. on the back lawn at GMRI. The hour will include seafood demonstrations and commercial fishing gear explanations from the experts themselves. In addition, interested members of the public will have an opportunity to explore GMRI as part of the Walk the Working Waterfront event on Saturday, June 7 during the weekend of the Old Port Festival.

GMRI scientists will be on hand to talk about current research and demonstrate new fishing gear technology. Visitors will also have the opportunity to walk next door to North Atlantic Seafood and sample dogfish prepared by Charles Bryon, owner of Salt Exchange and GMRI Culinary Partner.