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​ In New England, Respecting our Heritage Means Respecting the Sea

This post, by Joshua Berman, Project Coordinator for the Sustainable Business Network, orginally appeared on the Boston Local Food Festival Blog.

The city of Boston has a very interesting history, and no, I’m not talking about the pilgrims. I’m talking about the city itself. Boston originated as a trading colony for the British, a booming seaport exporting New England’s fish, farm, and lumber products to Europe. In fact, Boston boasts a historic connection to the sea. More than just relying on the ocean for economic opportunity, Bostonians literally built our city up on brackish wetlands originally composing the areas of South Boston, Back Bay, the Sea Port, and most recently Boston Logan Airport.

Boston today remains one of the nation’s “foremost fishing ports”, with two million pounds of fish being caught each year. However, the increasing pressure put on fisheries in the New England region – the depletion of the local Cod and Shrimp fisheries, pollution, etc. – has led some to ask what the future of New England fishing will be.

Enter NAMA – the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance – and our partner in highlighting the significance of New England fisheries to our health, our economy, and our community at the 2016 Boston Local Food Festival. NAMA is a fisherman-led organization working to build trust between fishermen and their communities across diverse sectors, including marine conservation, social, environmental, economic, and food justice groups. NAMA, through community engagement and participatory planning, aims to influence effective policy change and market strategies to ensure strong and healthy fisheries, fisherman, and communities.

chef filets fishTo celebrate our local fisheries, NAMA will be hosting a Seafood Throwdown! Think Iron Chef meets locavore. Chefs will be challenged to highlight ‘the mystery fish’, to be revealed at the start of the throwdown, as the star of the plate and to utilize only ingredients they can find in the Boston Local Food Festival marketplace to build the best dish that they possibly can! The results will be evaluated live for all to see by our panel of judges based on metrics of creativity, taste, and presentation.

Want to learn more about the seafood you see at the festival and maybe the sea creatures that you don’t? Wondering how you can help sustain New England fisheries? Head over to NAMA’s informational booth. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, drop by the Family Fun Zone and engage in the New England Aquarium’s interactive and educational activities!

fishmonger and fishWant to recreate the Seafood Throwdown at home, but don’t want to pass up the opportunity to learn? Join us at our Seafood Zone where Red’s Best, a local seafood aggregator working with over 1000 local independent New England fishing boats, will have an educational display showcasing the local catch and will have a limited supply of fresh seafood available for purchase!

But if all you truly desire is a tasty morsel, that one perfect bite full of crisp salinity and ocean air, well don’t you worry because we have two friends you just have to meet. The Shuckin’ Truck will be serving fresh raw oysters straight from Salt Pond Oysters, Chef and Owner Dave Roebuck’s family oyster farm, alongside a variety of delicious and succulent prepared seafood dishes. For the Oyster explorer and the avid learner, Big Rock Oyster Company out of Cape Cod, MA will be serving a raw bar for the ages, and don’t forget to pick their brains about oyster farming and aquaculture practices.

Just like the ocean, opportunity for tasting, learning, and local purchasing are vast. At the 2016 Boston Local Food Festival, you’ll get the chance to know your fisherman pretty darn well. And who knows, you might just sign up for a Community Supported Fishery share.

 

The Boston Local Food Festival is a FREE festival on Sunday, September 18 from 11am – 5pm on the Rose F Kennedy Greenway and is presented by the Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts. Bring your grocery bag and fill your kitchen with local food!

Read more about "Values of Local Seafood in the Spotlight" and view the schedule on our events page.