BOSTON — The Baker-Polito Administration today announced $105,500 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 new program created to support the Commonwealth’s fishing and seafood industries.
“Massachusetts’ commercial fishing and seafood industries are an important part of the Commonwealth’s economy, employing many residents and attracting visitors from all over the world,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Through innovative programs like the Seafood Marketing Grant Pilot Program, our Administration is working to ensure the future viability of our fishing industry and the continued vibrancy of our coastal communities.”
“The Seafood Marketing Pilot Program is designed to leverage the knowledge and connections of local groups and companies to better to promote the sale of sustainably-harvested Massachusetts seafood products,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “By launching this program, we are continuing our commitment to a historically and culturally significant industry that is an integral part of our coastal communities.”
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 this pilot grant program comes from commercial fishing and dealer permits through the Seafood Marketing Program.
“Funding projects by organizations with experience and significant ties to the fishing industry and coastal communities will help the Seafood Marketing Program expand its reach and programming capabilities,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “The Baker-Polito Administration is committed to supporting the Commonwealth’s commercial fishing industry and creating a vibrant, healthy food economy in Massachusetts.”
The Baker-Polito Administration launched the Massachusetts Seafood Marketing Program in August 2016 to increase awareness and demand for local seafood products. The program recently announced a partnership with the Massachusetts Farm to School Project to promote the consumption of local seafood in schools.
“The seafood marketing grants will support a wide variety of projects to promote Massachusetts seafood products in communities from the North Shore to Cape Cod and the Southcoast,” said Department of Fish and Game Commissioner George N. Peterson, Jr. “Providing private marketing expertise and local advocacy to the Division of Marine Fisheries’ Seafood Marketing Program will greatly enhance the Commonwealth’s support to our commercial fishing industry, fishing families, and coastal communities.”
“We are very proud to fund these projects being done by our inspirational awardees across the Commonwealth to engage consumers with our state’s fishing heritage,” said DMF Director David Pierce. “This pilot grant program gives breadth to our Seafood Marketing Program, expanding our ability to support the Massachusetts communities who work hard to bring us fresh, sustainable, nutritious, and delicious seafood.”
The following marketing campaigns received grants:
Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance, Cape Cod: “Supporting the Local Economy: Demonstrating Skate and Dogfish” – $15,000 – Two boat-to-plate recipe demonstration videos on dogfish and skate for social media, in partnership with Buy Fresh Buy Local Cape Cod.
Fishing Partnership Support Services Massachusetts, Burlington: “The Faces of Fishermen and their Families” – $10,000 – Five photo essays of fishermen and their families to increase public awareness by showing positive impact of our commercial fishing industry on our coastal communities.
Red’s Best, Boston: “Promoting Local Catch at the Boston Public Market” – $14,000 – Twelve free sample sessions for public tastings prepared by Red’s Best kitchen staff with promotional material, and four seafood events at the Kitchen at the Boston Public Market.
City of Gloucester/Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association, Gloucester: “Collaborative Local Seafood Product Development for a New Audience” – $13,000 – Product development for various locally caught species such as Red Fish, Whiting, Pollock, Hake, and Yellowtail Flounder in order to market seafood better to buyers in restaurants, hotels, hospitals, and universities.
Green Crab R & D Group, Ipswich: “The Nation’s First Soft-Shell Green Crab Harvest” – $20,000 – Production of the country’s first harvest of soft-shell green crabs, refine techniques and create market demand.
New Bedford Harbor Development Commission, New Bedford: “Creating a Portal to New Bedford Seafood” – $13,000 – Creation of a New Bedford Seafood website that offers a central location for local, regional, and international buyers, and a Seafood Throwdown.
Wellfleet SPAT, Wellfleet: “Taste the Merrior: An Educational Experience” – $20,500 – A pilot educational and tasting event in Boston this spring to reacquire and increase market share for Wellfleet oysters and clams after the damaging norovirus outbreak last fall.
“This funding will provide a major boost to local innovators what are working to support our fishing industry by harvesting and adding value to species that can play an important role in terms of strengthening our fisheries and providing consumers with the types of healthy and nutritious choices they want,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester).
“Cape Cod Commercial Fisherman’s Alliance and Wellfleet SPAT do tremendous work to promote more sustainable fisheries and aquaculture management, scientific research, and community education,” said State Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro). “I am encouraged that they have been selected to receive grants from the Seafood Marketing Program. These grants will go a long way in helping to promote and encourage the consumption of Massachusetts seafood products.”
“This grant funding will further elevate New Bedford’s position in the seafood industry,” said Senate Assistant Majority Leader Mark Montigny (D-New Bedford). “I am proud that our city is home to America’s number 1 value fishing port and have consistently advocated for its promotion in the State Senate.”
“As a Representative of a fishing community, I am pleased to see that the Baker-Polito Administration is committed to continued investment in the marine economy,” said State Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante (D-Gloucester). “Through these grants, they show that they are willing to reward innovation in the fishing industry as Cape Ann works to build on its fishing economy while looking to the future.”
“Here in New Bedford, the fishing industry is the lifeblood of our community,” said State Representative Antonio F.D. Cabral (D-New Bedford). “That is why this grant, which will be used to create a one-stop shop for all information about New Bedford seafood, is so meaningful. Home to the country’s #1 fishing port by dollar value, New Bedford deserves our attention and we need to use every resource at our disposal to make sure that the industry is getting as much exposure as possible.”
“I want to applaud the efforts of the Division of Marine Fisheries and the Seafood Marketing Program for identifying a number of worthwhile projects,” said State Representative Bill Straus (D-Mattapoisett). “Support for our working waterfront is vitally important, and I believe these projects will provide a meaningful boost to our ports and the local businesses that depend on them.”
“Skate, dogfish, and Wellfleet shellfish are all essential to the outer and lower cape economy. Scores of families count on the income generated by the sale of these delicious and sustainable caught and harvested products,” said State Representative Sarah Peake (D-Provincetown). “These grants to the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance and to Wellfleet SPAT to raise awareness, market share, and by extension incomes to our fishing families are important and welcome.”
“We are extremely grateful to the Baker-Polito Administration for the generous funding provided to Green Crab R & D Group in Ipswich through the Seafood Marketing Pilot Grant Program,” said State Representative Brad Hill (R-Ipswich). “Our communities rely heavily on commercial fishing and the seafood industry, and these funds will be put to excellent use in the Town of Ipswich.”
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.
—Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
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