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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Baker-Polito Administration Announces Funding for Seafood Marketing Projects

Baker-Polito Administration Announces Funding for Seafood Marketing Projects

BOSTON – The Baker-Polito Administration today announced $72,000 in grants to seven marketing campaigns designed to increase awareness and demand for Massachusetts seafood products. The grants were awarded through the Division of Marine Fisheries’ (DMF) Seafood Marketing Pilot Grant Program, a program created to support the Commonwealth’s fishing and seafood industries.

“The waters off the coast of Massachusetts are home to a fishing industry that is vital to both the state’s history and economy,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The funds awarded through the Seafood Marketing Grant Program will continue to help increase awareness and demand for Massachusetts seafood products.”

Seven organizations were awarded funding for projects to stimulate demand though education, promotion, and other strategies. These organizations have experience and significant ties to the commercial fishing and seafood industries and communities, focus on different species and span geographical areas throughout the state.  Funding for the grant program, now in its second year, comes from commercial fishing and dealer permits through the Seafood Marketing Program.

“The Baker-Polito Administration is committed to the commercial and recreational fishing industries, and the vital role they play within the Commonwealth and around the world,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “Through the Seafood Marketing Grant Program, Massachusetts is able to continue to support the state’s healthy food economy while promoting and recognizing coastal communities and their contributions to the success of the seafood industry.”

The Baker-Polito Administration launched the Massachusetts Seafood Marketing Program in August 2016 to increase awareness and demand for local seafood products. The program has since announced a partnership with the Massachusetts Farm to School Project to promote the consumption of local seafood in schools.

“The seafood marketing grants will provide support for fishermen and species where it is most needed,” said Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Ron Amidon. “We are proud to fund these projects being done by our awardees from the North Shore to Cape Cod and the Southcoast.”

“The Seafood Marketing Grant Program continues to enhance the Commonwealth’s support to our commercial fishing industry, fishing families, and coastal communities,” said DMF Director David Pierce. “We support local advocacy and expertise to better to promote the sale of sustainably-harvested, fresh, nutritious, and delicious seafood.”

The following marketing campaigns received grants:

Metropolitan Area Planning Council, Boston: “Procuring Seafood for Schools” – $10,000 – Developing and issuing a collective procurement on behalf of school districts across Eastern Massachusetts and Central Massachusetts.  MAPC will develop the specification for the seafood products to be procured, focusing on underutilized or undervalued species from Massachusetts fishermen. 

Our Wicked Fish, South Deerfield: “Let’s Make Underutilized Species Accessible and Approachable; Showcasing Underutilized Species to Restaurants and Consumers in Massachusetts” – $10,000 - Western Massachusetts regional market accessibility evaluation of restaurants, workshops for restaurant staff, and outreach events on underutilized species to increase access and approachability. 

Williams Agency, Cambridge “Marketing Campaign to Promote Cape Shark within Ethnic Markets” – $15,000 – Promotion of Cape Shark (otherwise known as dogfish) domestically to new markets, including ethnic and Caribbean consumers/eaters in the Greater Boston area as a highlight of this year’s Boston JerkFest, a Caribbean food festival held in Boston.

City of Gloucester/Gloucester Fishermen's Wives Association, Gloucester: “Gloucester Fresh Yellowtail Flounder and Monkfish Demonstration and Promotional Program” – $12,000 – For the 'Gloucester Fresh' Yellowtail Flounder and Monkfish demonstration and promotional program at the New England Food Show, and Seafood Expo North America.

Green Crab R & D Group, Ipswich: “Scaling Up from a Small, Occasional Source of Gourmet Seafood to a Robust, Profitable Commercial Supply” – $5,000 – To increase both the culinary supply of value-added green crab products and to increase the culinary demand to ease the pressure on native shellfish species and eelgrass through partnerships with seafood wholesalers and other organizations doing green crab research and development.

New Bedford Harbor Development Commission,  New Bedford: “Moveable Feast: Cultivating New Markets for Underutilized Species” – $10,000 – Consumer education about underutilized species through cooking classes, educational material, work with retailers to document the local supply chain, and development of a stakeholder group.

Wellfleet Shellfish Company, Wellfleet: “ Global Seafood, Local Markets: A project to increase consumer knowledge and confidence at the point of sale” – $10,000 –Signage, marketing, employee training, take-home recipe cards, and tasting events to promote lesser-known but plentiful local species with sales monitoring and a survey of customers and staff on willingness to try new species.

“These funds provide opportunities to support the partnership between the City of Gloucester and the Fishermen’s Wives Association as they offer to the marketplace an underutilized species,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R- Gloucester). “The pioneering and innovative green crab initiative undertaken in Ipswich has taken an environmental threat and turned it into an economic product, the grant will help support our native species while furthering what we know and what we can do with the green crabs.”

“I am pleased to see that the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association is receiving a grant for their promotional program on yellowtail flounder and monkfish,” said State Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante (D-Gloucester). “Their innovative approach to educating the public on underutilized species plays an important role in the much needed expansion of marketing in light of the current challenges facing our struggling fishing industry.”

“I am happy to learn that the Baker-Polito Administration has chosen to support the innovative efforts of the Green Crab R & D Group by awarding them a grant through the Seafood Marketing Grant Program,” said State Representative Brad Hill (R-Ipswich). “The R & D Group is working hard to increase the culinary demand for green crabs.  This will help reduce the population of this destructive invasive species, and improve the health of the Great Marsh and the soft shell clam industry.”  

“New Bedford has the freshest and best seafood in the country,” said State Senator Mark Montigny (D-New Bedford), who helped create the Seafood Marketing Program in the Senate in 2014. “Helping educate consumers about the availability of different species makes total sense at a time when popular fish like cod are subject to harsh quotas and federal regulations.”

“There are many delicious seafood options in our waters beyond cod, scallops, and haddock that restaurants and home cooks simply haven’t tried yet,” said State Representative Antonio F.D. Cabral (D-New Bedford). “This Seafood Marketing grant will help expose the community to these underutilized species, allowing New Bedford to cultivate new markets and expand its economic potential.”

DMF’s Seafood Marketing Program works to educate people on seafood availability, preparation, health benefits, economic contribution and environmental sustainability through printed material, events, partnerships and more. Legislators, agency heads and industry members comprise the program’s steering committee.

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is responsible for promoting the conservation and enjoyment of the Commonwealth's natural resources. DFG, with its divisions including the Division of Marine Fisheries, carries out this mission through land protection and wildlife habitat management, management of inland and marine fish and wildlife species, and ecological restoration of fresh water, salt water, and terrestrial habitats. DFG promotes enjoyment of the Massachusetts environment through outdoor skills workshops, fishing festivals and other educational programs, and by enhancing access to the Commonwealth's rivers, lakes, and coastal waters.