PORTSMOUTH — An event at the Commercial Fishing Pier on Sunday intends to help New Hampshire fishermen cope with drastic cuts to catch limits on the most popular fish species by raising awareness about how delicious some lesser-known species can be.
The 2013 N.H. Fresh and Local Seafood Kickoff is an inaugural event that organizers hope will help spread the word about underutilized species such as redfish, soft-shell lobster, hake, pollock and dogfish. While fishermen are struggling under the weight of major quota cuts, including a 78 percent cut to Gulf of Maine cod catch limits, their quotas for these other species are stronger and increased demand could help the fishermen survive in these difficult times.
The problem, said organizer Gabriela Bradt, a fisheries extension specialist at the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension, is that most consumers are not aware of how the other species can be properly utilized and stick to the more-popular haddock and flounder.
"The community can play an important role in sustaining our 400-year-old fishing heritage," said Erik Chapman, also with the UNH Cooperative Extension.
The event, which runs from noon to 3 p.m., will provide participants a chance to meet their local fishermen, learn more about how the industry works and taste some unique dishes prepared by some of the area's top chefs. Chefs from Portsmouth's Black Trumpet Bistro, 100 Club and Moxy, the Oaks Country Club in Somersworth, and Stages at One Washington in Dover, will all be on hand to produce dishes utilizing the lesser-known species.
Redhook Ale Brewery will also be on hand serving samples of its Black Lobstah Lager, made with New Hampshire-caught lobster.
Erik Chapman said the goal of the event is to draw attention to the different layers of access consumers have to local, fresh seafood. Fresh-caught fish can be found at restaurants, sellers such as Taylor Lobster and Seaport Fish, and through groups like N.H. Community Seafood, a new multi-stakeholder cooperative aimed at connecting Seacoast residents with their local fishermen.
It is an important initiative, said Josh Wiersma, a sector manager of New Hampshire groundfish sectors, because 98 percent of what local fishermen catch doesn't end up in the hands of local consumers.
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