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Building Sashimi-Grade Markets for Gulf of Maine Seafood


Groundfish fishermen in New England are facing steep reductions in allowable catch for many high value species and increasing competition from imported seafood from massive volume fisheries. With lower catches, fishermen must make the most of each pound harvested. Working with a small group of sushi chefs, restaurateurs, distributors, and fishermen, this project aims to build markets for sashimi-grade seafood products from the Gulf of Maine. 

The majority of sashimi-grade seafood used in restaurants around the region is imported. The term sashimi-grade is used to denote a high level of freshness and quality, typically implying fish that is safe to serve raw. While there are no official standards around using this label in the US, many traditional sushi chefs reserve this label for fish that are killed and handled using the ike jime method. Through training and tools to apply this technique, fishermen can build value for their harvests and tap into these new high value markets. Understanding the supply chain logistics and the market appetite for these new seafood products is another important component of this work.

Project Participants

Josiah Bonsey, Manoa Poke Shop

Togue Brawn, Downeast Dayboat Scallops

Randy Cushman, fisherman

Michael Dimin, Sea to Table

Matt Howe, Sushi Maine

Richard Kolseth, fisherman

Justin Libby, fisherman

Masa Miyake, Miyake

Knoep Nieuwkerk, fisherman

Justine Simon and Marty Odlin, Salt and Sea

Joseph Steinberger, Suzuki’s Sushi Bar

Zack Yates, Harbor Fish Market