Eat Like a Fish!

Seacoast Eat Local is taking you all on an adventure for the next 26 weeks! Along with our new friends, Eating with the Ecosystem out of Rhode Island, we will be encouraging you all to “Eat Like A Fish!” as we participate in an ongoing citizen science project!

The goal of the research project is to understand the availability of locally caught species in markets and other points of sale across New England. Each week, participants in all the New England states will be randomly assigned 4 species of fish to look for in local markets. If they are able to find at least one of the four species which was caught and sold in New England, their task is to bring it home and eat it– all while recording their experiences and preferences. Researchers hope to understand not only the availability of local species, but the opportunities and barriers to increasing their purchase and consumption.

In a training webinar for the program, project leader Kate Masury provided fascinating information about our local fishing industry. It turns out that we export nearly 80% of the fish caught in New England waters! With education and adjustments to commercial markets, we could be eating more locally caught fish and, for that matter, fishing more sustainably. As shown in the image above, Eating with the Ecosystem supports an ecosystems-based approach to seafood consumption. This means that our efforts should not revolve around one particular species and how to harvest it more sustainably and effectively, but should focus on the health of the entire ecosystem and spread consumption (and conservation efforts) across the system as it exists (and changes). Much like Seacoast Eat Local, Eating with the Ecosystem encourages consumers to shop locally and to get to know and support local fishermen!

The citizen science project starts next week and we will be detailing our journey each and every week until October. Follow along with us as we search for and prepare a variety of local species including whelk, flounder, cod, tuna, lobsters and more!

The project is now closed to additional participants, but it’s never too late to focus on eating locally! New Hampshire Community Seafood is a great source of locally caught fish that supports day-boat fishermen in our region. They offer a great (if we do say so ourselves!) CSF program with a number of different options and pick up locations. Check them out and sign up today!

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