Restaurants sell 70% of the seafood consumed in the United States each year, making them a critically important market for harvesters, dealers, and others who strive to increase demand and price for their products. Restaurateurs influence what is palatable, and they have a lot to say about what is acceptable from an environmental responsibility perspective.
GMRI has been working with local restaurateurs to raise their awareness of Gulf of Maine fisheries, harvest methods, and regulations, while also building awareness among fishermen on how to reach these discerning markets. On June 26, GMRI brought these groups together at a Trawl to Table event in Portland.
Trawl to Table included fishing gear demonstrations, quality handling training, sustainability presentations, and tours of the Portland Fish Exchange and North Atlantic Seafood. In addition to offering information on how seafood makes its way to a diner's plate, the day provided an important opportunity for fishermen and chefs to interact, building a better understanding of how their two worlds connect.
The day concluded with chefs and fishermen continuing their casual conversations at a post-event happy hour, hosted by Andy's Pub. Survey results from chef attendees indicated that they would buy more Gulf of Maine seafood as a result of the event, while one chef indicated that Trawl to Table helped "bridge the gap between the fishing industry and restaurants and consumers." Another participant said, "I have a better understanding of the local fishing industry and the efforts to preserve the Gulf resources."
The event was funded by the Saltonstall-Kennedy Grant from the National Marine Fisheries Service. GMRI and New Hampshire Sea Grant are currently coordinating a second Trawl to Table event, which will take place on October 23, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Please visit Trawl to Table page for more information.