Fishermen targeting groundfish species (cod, haddock, flounder, monkfish, etc.) face increased costs due to management and fishery changes. In order for the industry, and fishing communities, to survive, fishermen have to earn an equitable price for their catch. Meanwhile, people are concerned about the safety and sustainability of seafood. A supply of fresh, high quality seafood caught in the Gulf of Maine by local fishermen with sustainable techniques would satisfy the demand for local food while selling for a higher price with reduced transportation costs and distances.
To determine the viability of a small-scale hook fishery in the region (which would command higher retail prices), Penobscot East Resource Center is working with five permitted groundfishermen from Stonington to Jonesport to augment existing trawl surveys with hook-and-line catch data.
In the summer of 2009, Penobscot East hired a coordinator to facilitate local groundfish marketing. The coordinator worked with area fishermen, consumers, restaurants, seafood businesses, and local media to develop a “local first” groundfish marketing initiative. The coordinator worked to educate the public about the status of local fisheries, the need for a sentinel fishery, and the advantages of buying locally caught fish. Sea Grant funds supported the coordinator’s travel costs.