Acadian redfish made its debut at Hannaford supermarkets this summer, giving shoppers a new regional seafood option.
For the last three years, we’ve partnered with restaurants and retailers to help build markets for redfish and four other abundant species from the Gulf of Maine – whiting, Atlantic pollock, dogfish, and mackerel.
“While we’ve seen declines in some traditional commercial species, there are many others that are doing very well,” said Kyle Foley, manager of GMRI’s Gulf of Maine Responsibly Harvested brand. “The New England seafood industry is trying to diversify, and fishermen are looking for support from consumers when they shop and dine out.”
In fishing year 2013, New England fishermen were allowed to catch up to 6 million pounds of cod, and they harvested about 85 percent of it. In contrast, they were allotted about 22 million pounds of redfish that year, but they only harvested about 40 percent of it due to low market demand.
With the stark news from NOAA this summer that Gulf of Maine cod is at 3 to 4 percent of its target levels, quotas for the species are likely to see further reduction next fishing year. The need to identify and support new sources of revenue for New England’s fishing industry has never been greater.
“Large retailers send ripples throughout the marketplace when they offer underutilized species,” Kyle said. “It increases the availability of these species to smaller retailers, restaurants, and, ultimately, consumers.”