ANNAPOLIS, Md.– Governor Larry Hogan has proclaimed Saturdays in the month of September as “Buy Maryland Seafood Days,” encouraging all Marylanders to support the state’s iconic seafood industry. Lieutenant Governor Boyd K. Rutherford presented the proclamation today to Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder and Natural Resources Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio during a virtual meeting of the Board of Public Works.
“The Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries provide some of the world’s best and most bountiful seafood, including blue crabs, rockfish, oysters and blue catfish,” said Governor Hogan. “Supporting Maryland’s sustainable seafood industry and related businesses by purchasing their products throughout the year is important to Maryland’s economic recovery.”
Maryland watermen and seafood distributors, processors and suppliers are essential to the state’s food supply chain, and have continued operating throughout the COVID-19 pandemic response. The state’s seafood and aquaculture industry has an economic impact of $355 million and supports more than 3,000 jobs across the state according to a 2018 study from the Maryland Agricultural and Resource-Based Industry Development Corporation.
“Seafood is an important part of our state’s culture and critical to our rural economies,” said Agriculture Secretary Bartenfelder. “Now more than ever, it is important that we continue to support these dedicated men and women who have worked hard throughout the state of emergency to continue providing the fresh, delicious seafood Maryland is known for.”
“Iconic seafood like crabs, oysters, and rockfish are associated with Maryland in local, national, and even international markets,” said Natural Resources Secretary Haddaway-Riccio. “We are very proud of our work with the seafood industry and other stakeholders to sustainably manage these fisheries so populations remain healthy well into the future. We are also working hard to expand Maryland’s menu of options and protect native species by encouraging consumption of invasive species.”
As demand has shifted toward direct-sales during the state of emergency, Maryland’s Best Seafood—a marketing program within the Maryland Department of Agriculture—has created an interactive GIS map application that helps consumers find local producers. In addition to “Buy Maryland Seafood Days,” the program will continue its advertising and outreach efforts aimed at promoting the seafood industry and connecting producers directly to consumers. In 2019, the program’s advertising campaigns reached 14 million consumers and wholesale buyers.
For more information on Maryland seafood, including recipes to try at home, please visit seafood.maryland.gov and follow @MDsBestSeafood on Twitter. Maryland’s Office of Tourism also maintains a list of seafood restaurants on its Seafood Trail.
–Megan Guilfoyle, Maryland Department of Agriculture