There is a reason a cod hangs in the State House as our official emblem. For almost as long as there has been a port in Boston, seafood has been a part of it. Seafood is linked to our regional identity, it is embedded in New England’s food system, and it needs to be — and can be — part of our economic future. But it should not be taken for granted.

The metropolitan area’s neighborhoods are, in many ways, known by their industries. Longwood equals medicine. Kendall Square is high tech. South Boston’s waterfront has become an innovation center. But few know it’s also home to innovative ways to process seafood. Long before the biotech firms, cool restaurants, and law firms made a home there, seafood companies were doing business in that part of town. It is important that there be room for the industry going forward.

Massachusetts ranks second to Alaska in the value of seafood caught nationally. Several of the state’s ports — especially New Bedford and Gloucester — bring in bigger catches than Boston. But Boston has the rare ingredients that position it as an epicenter of the state’s seafood processing industry. In close proximity, it has dockside access to fishing boats and seafood processors, an international airport, the interstate highway system, and a global shipping container facility.

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