Quality is Cool: Ice Machines Support Fishing Ports

Tidings | Sep 26, 2023

Our sustainable seafood team is dedicated to enhancing fishermen's catch value by improving access to essential ice infrastructure in New England ports.

This is a picture of a silvery fish laying on ice.

For nearly a decade, our Sustainable Seafood team has been focused on improving the value fishermen receive for their catch by increasing the quality and consistency of the fish harvested and sold in our region. Access to ice is a fundamental need for fishermen trying to maintain good quality on their vessels — but many ports either lack local access to commercial-scale ice or need to upgrade existing infrastructure.

As part of an ongoing USDA-funded project, our staff are collaborating with fishing ports across New England to purchase and install industrial-scale ice machines to ensure commercial fishermen have access to ice to keep their catch fresh. Progress so far includes a new five-ton ice machine at Vessel Services in Portland, ME, a new three-ton ice machine on a town-owned dock in Marshfield, MA, and a new five-ton ice machine in Chatham, MA.

GMRI staff and partners at Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association and the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance are also talking with fishermen and processors to understand the at-sea and on-shore protocols, costs, and benefits of producing higher quality seafood. The team is partnering with fishermen and processors to design experiments and test the most effective, low-cost methods for high quality handling through the supply chain and will host workshops next year to share results with relevant seafood businesses.

A large ice machine sits on a pier.

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