News Seafood Marketing Update

  • Division of Marine Fisheries
DMF staff at the Boston Food Show

DMF’s Seafood Marketing Program seeks to increase consumer awareness and preference for local seafood products. Our activities under this program are guided by a 19-member steering committee and funded by commercial harvester and dealer permit revenues. Here are some recent highlights of our seafood marketing efforts in support of the state’s commercial fishing and seafood industries and communities.

Grant Program’s New Look: a Partnership and Virtual Pitch Event! 

The Seafood Marketing Program partnered with Woods Hole Sea Grant (WHSG) to give away the most funds in the six-year history of the program. $175,169 was awarded in grants for eight projects that will benefit the Commonwealth’s seafood sector. Woods Hole Sea Grant contributed $100,000 to the Seafood Marketing Grant Program budget and the remainder of the grant program is funded through a portion of commercial fishing permit fees at no extra cost to the permit holder. Also, unique this year, a pitch event was held in December 2021 where selected projects were invited to do a five-minute virtual presentation in front of a panel of industry judges. The goal of the grant program is to enhance the viability and stabilize the economic environment for the state’s local commercial fishing and seafood industries and communities.  

The eight funded projects will support the commercial seafood and fishing industries and their communities by increasing awareness and the preference for seafood from Massachusetts through education, promotion, research, marketing, and other initiatives. Priority was given to proposals that will serve the greatest benefit to the Commonwealth’s seafood industry as a whole and that will address the continued impacts associated with the COVID-19 pandemic on the seafood industry in Massachusetts.  

The following projects received Seafood Marketing Program grants:
Eating with the Ecosystem - Influencing the Influencers: Utilizing Food Influencers to Promote Massachusetts Seafood - $47,841
New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center - A School of Fish: Infusing Sustainable Seafood into Culinary Arts Programs & the Public Palate - $25,000
University of Massachusetts/Gloucester Marine Station - Enabling Tools to Build a Sustainable, Equitable, and Inclusive Seafood Marketing Program - $25,000
Ryan Curley - Community Seafood HACCP Facility Serving the Outer Cape Feasibility Study - $17,500
Lobster Foundation of MA - Crustacean Nation Education Dissemination - $10,000
Red’s Best - Highlighting Local Species Through Video - $17,000
Williams Agency - Marketing Campaign to Promote Underutilized Seafood within Ethnic Markets - $18,550

Projects have begun and will be completed by June 30, 2023.

Fisheries and Seafood Industries Receive over $4.5 Million from Food Security Infrastructure Grant

$22.5 million was awarded in Spring 2022 through the Food Security Infrastructure Grant Program which seeks to ensure that individuals and families throughout the Commonwealth have access to food. The program puts special focus on food that is produced locally, equitable access to food, and supporting systems in which farmers, fishermen, and other local food producers are better connected to a strong, resilient food system to help mitigate future food supply and distribution disruption.

DMF coordinated ten individuals to consult with the Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs on their read of the grant applicants. Last round DMF provided two grant readers, and the increase was due to the high number of fisheries/seafood applications that were submitted to address food insecurity issues exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, 147 total projects were funded through the Food Security Infrastructure Grant Program, with 26 of them being fisheries/seafood projects. Of the $22 million awarded, fisheries received $4,752,922. 
The awardees are:
A.P. Fish Company, Inc. (Worcester, MA): $279,841
Aquacultural Research Corporation (Dennis, MA): $391,670
Bay-Breeze Inc d/b/a Westport Sea Farms (Westport, MA): $39,200
Beaus Seafood Company Inc. (Boston, MA): $86,709
Boat Santa Rita II Inc (Peabody, MA): $80,575
Boston Smoked Fish Co. (Boston, MA): $63,595
Boston Sword and Tuna (Boston, MA): $420,491
Calamari Fisheries Inc (Boston, MA): $114,733
Cape Ann Fresh Catch Inc (Gloucester, MA): $149,321
Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance, Inc. (Chatham, MA): $21,191
Cape Seafoods Inc. (Gloucester, MA): $482,257
Chatham Harvesters Cooperative (Chatham, MA): $31,675
F/V Underwing (Kingston, MA): $120,995
Fisherman’s Wharf Gloucester (Gloucester, MA): $153,120
Fishing Vessel Mystic (Hanover, MA): $152,240
Grandeur Enterprises, LLC D.B.A.: Ferullo’s Seafood (Boston, MA): $489,874
Legit Fish Inc. (Boston, MA): $245,000
Letts Trucking Inc.  - FV Addy Rose is in the fishing industry (Fairhaven, MA): $196,698
Lisa T. Corp (Gloucester, MA): $69,908
Miss Emma Lobster & Crab LLC (New Bedford, MA): $60,426
Shellfish Broker LLC (South Chatham, MA): $26,588
Sunny’s Seafood Inc (Boston, MA): $76,500
Tony’s Seafood Inc. (Seekonk, MA): $495,636
Tremont Fisheries LLC (Lakeville, MA): $376,100
Wulf Fish Wholesale, LLC (Boston, MA): $104,324
ZNK FISHERIES, INC. (Plymouth, MA): $24,250

The Return of the Seafood Expo

It was exciting to be reunited with the seafood businesses and attendees at the Seafood Expo North America, March 13-15! Boston hosted North America’s largest seafood exposition at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center for three days of business, education, and networking after taking two years off due to COVID-19. Over 30 businesses from the Commonwealth exhibited. While this year’s show was smaller than in previous years, the energy was bigger!

For the third year, DMF coordinated a Mass. Ave. at the Seafood Expo. This is a cluster of businesses from the Commonwealth that received 50% cost-share for the show via the state and federal departments of agriculture and is promoted by the Seafood Marketing Program. A banner was purchased to drive traffic to the Mass. Ave. area and DMF posted on social media leading up to the event. 

New Massachusetts Seafood Pavilion at the New England Food Show

The Seafood Marketing Program spearheaded a Massachusetts Seafood Pavilion at the New England Food Show for the first time in early April 2022. A call went out to all permitted wholesale seafood businesses to table at the region’s largest restaurant, retail, and foodservice event taking place at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. Nine businesses attended our Massachusetts Seafood Pavilion and sampled their products to show-goers. DMF had a booth that successfully directed people to the businesses and answered general questions about Massachusetts seafood. The location of the Massachusetts Seafood Pavilion was excellent and that was appreciated by all. DMF received feedback from dealers including Scott Hutchens, Vice President Raw Seafoods, Inc., Fall River, MA  who stated “Thank you for doing such a great job organizing the Seafood Pavilion. It was great being a part of the Massachusetts Seafood Team! Our sales staff thought the show was extremely productive and everyone looks forward to it being an annual event.” 

By Wendy Mainardi, Seafood Marketing Coordinator

Division of Marine Fisheries 

The Division of Marine Fisheries manages the state’s commercial and recreational saltwater fisheries and oversees other services that support the marine environment and fishing communities.