Squid made up most of the 48 million pounds landed at Point Judith, R.I., during 2018, a year when the port brought in $64 million, according to the latest National Marine Fisheries Service statistics.
So when the covid-19 pandemic shut down restaurants around the country – and with them most demand for fried calamari, the ubiquitous casual-dining appetizer – the Rhode Island seafood industry took a huge hit.
But fishermen and their supporters in state government regrouped, with a new licensing system to allow fishermen to sell directly to customers as “our restaurant and fishing industry have been decimated” by the lockdowns, state Democratic Party chairman Joe McNamara told the national television audience during the Tuesday evening broadcast of the national Democratic presidential convention.
With covid-19 precluding the traditional convention-center national political gathering, the party produced a novel state-by-state reading of delegate votes at often scenic, remote locations.
McNamara’s 30-second cameo was on a beach at Warwick, R.I., flanked by a black-masked John Bordieri, executive chef at the nearby Iggy’s Boardwalk restaurant – holding a platter of calamari.
With a renewed state marketing push, McNamara told the audience, “calamari is available in all 50 states. “The calamari comeback state of Rhode island casts one vote for Bernie Sanders, and 34 votes for the next president of the United States, Joe Biden.”