Cornell program promotes buying local fish

by Rachel Siford

07/29/2017 6:00 AM

A fluke taco caught and prepared by Southold Fish Market to promote freshly caught local seafood. (Credit: Cornell Cooperative Extension courtesy photo)

A fluke taco caught and prepared by Southold Fish Market to promote freshly caught local seafood. (Credit: Cornell Cooperative Extension courtesy photo)

The marine program operated by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County received a grant of $65,000 to launch its Local F.I.S.H. project, which promotes eating fish caught locally on Long Island.

Local F.I.S.H. — which stands for fresh, indigenous, sustainable and healthy — received the funding in December from the New York Farm Viability Institute, a grant-making agency supported primarily by New York State, and the project is ready to launch with the summer fishing season. Cornell has partnered in this effort with several North Fork fisheries, including Blue Moon Fish in Mattituck, Braun Seafood in Cutchogue, PE & DD Seafood’s Little Fish Shop in Riverhead and Southold Fish Market.

“We’re marketing local seafood because 90 percent of the seafood that people eat in the United States is imported,” CCE fisheries specialist Jacqueline Wilson said. “We’re trying to work with fisherman to help them enhance their businesses.”

Local fisheries will receive help in promoting their businesses online as well as through tastings around Long Island. A Taste and Tour event, for example, will be held Friday, Aug. 18, the Suffolk County Marine Environmental Learning Center in Southold.

“It would be great if people would buy local fish because it’s fresher, for one thing; it’s better for the planet,” Stephanie Villani of Blue Moon Fish said. “It’s helping the local fishing community. It’s nice to have the local support.”

Ms. Wilson said buying local fish is important, noting that fish imported into the country can be a week to two weeks old by the time it’s consumed, but buying locally ensures that it’s only a day or so old.

“It was very easy to match up with this because it’s something we do anyway,” Kenneth Homan of Braun Seafood said. “We’ve been promoting local fish. We want to help the local fishermen and it helps the community.”

More information can be found at

Photo caption: A fluke taco caught and prepared by Southold Fish Market to promote freshly caught local seafood. (Credit: Cornell Cooperative Extension courtesy photo)

Help for Seafood Marketing

By Christopher Walsh

July 13, 2017 - 12:55pm

Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. and State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle have sponsored legislation that would set up a seafood marketing task force to promote the marketing and sustainability of seafood landed in New York State waters.

The legislation, passed last month, requires Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s signature to become law. Mr. Thiele said last week that he hoped that would happen before summer’s end.

Along with promoting the marketing and sustainability of New York seafood, the task force would provide the governor and Legislature with a report of its progress and findings, addressing research, marketing, expansion, and funding opportunities. Its intent is to stimulate the economy and create jobs for coastal communities.

In addition, the task force is intended to help New York’s commercial fishermen compete with those of other coastal states; Massachusetts and Rhode Island have established similar entities.

A request from the Cornell Cooperative Extension initiated the legislation, Mr. Thiele said. “I see all this married together into one effort to promote the product and create demand for product, particularly locally,” he said. “Increasing demand for product is good for commercial fishermen. Another part of it is, we compete with these other states.”

“There’s been regional interest on a state-by-state basis to promote local seafood,” said John Scotti, a marine educator at the extension who proposed legislation creating a task force to Mr. Thiele. “I think it’s an outgrowth of the local-food movement. Sometimes there’s an opportune time for an idea. Right now, we see that consumer demand is all about ‘local.’ ”

Along with competition from neighboring states, New York’s commercial fishing industry competes with imported seafood, which constitutes more than 80 percent of the seafood consumed in the United States, according to an estimate by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“There are some issues relative to seafood imports,” Mr. Scotti said. “One has to do with depressing local product. But it’s also very often mislabeled and unregulated.”

About the Author

Christopher Walsh


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Encouraging New Yorkers to eat more locally caught seafood


Jul 12 2017 07:02PM EDT

NEW YORK (FOX 5 NEWS) - Captain Phil Karlin may call it work but when he is on the water it never feels that way. His job relies on catching and then selling local seafood.

We didn't go far before pulling fish pots to catch blackfish. Next, we set the net.

"The local fish can't be beat. It's fresh off the boat to the market," said Karlin, who has been fishing for fifty years.

A new Cornell Cooperative Extension project, Choose Local F.I.S.H. (short for fresh, indigenous, sustainable, healthy), is promoting local seafood and highlighting underutilized species, such as sea robins and porgies.

"People need to taste them. They make fish tacos out of them," said Jacqueline Wilson of Cornell Cooperative Extension. "They're delicious white meat and an alternative to the import of tilapia."

Believe it or not, experts say 90 percent of seafood consumed by Americans is imported from other countries. The U.S. has strict regulations to ensure locally harvested fish is sustainable. 

From the Sound to the Southold Fish Market, freshly caught fish is filleted. Owner Charlie Manwaring said fishermen are the backbones of the business. Now more so than ever before they're emphasizing the local fish many of us aren't familiar with.

"We have blue fish, which is less desirable, but people are starting to like it, skate is another one, people look at it but after they eat it they like it," Manwaring said. "Sand shark is another one. You take it and fry it with a little garlic sauce on it. It's really good."

For more information on where to buy or how to cook local seafood, visit

Cornell program aims to promote locally caught fish

By Mark Harrington

July 4, 2017 10:22 PM

The Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Marine Program has received a $65,000 state grant to help promote locally caught seafood as a viable alternative to fish imported from other countries, which now composes more than 90 percent of U.S. seafood consumption.

The grant from the New York Farm Viability Institute is funding local fish tastings; helping with business plans for local fishermen and women; offering promotions; and providing nutritional information and educational programs for customers and fishermen.

Cornell will lead the program, said Jacqueline Wilson, a Cornell fisheries specialist.

Local fish is “fresh, it tastes a lot better, and it supports the local economy,” said Wilson. “We have a huge fishing community out here on Long Island and we want to support it.”

Ten fisheries specialists at Cornell already are at work on the program, which includes marketing materials in stores to highlight locally caught fish. Fishermen will get help launching Facebook pages and other marketing programs, Wilson said.

The program has hosted tastings at Braun Seafood in Cutchogue and PE & DD Seafood’s Little Fish Shop in Riverhead, and more are planned through the rest of the year, including at Southold Fish Market.

A fundraiser is planned for Southampton Town’s Tiana Beach Bayside facility for July 14, and exhibits are in the works for the Montauk Lighthouse and the new Long Island Expressway welcome center, Wilson said.

The program will also promote what Cornell calls “underutilized” fish that are not commonly consumed, to help spur new markets. These include dog fish, sea robins, skates and scup.

Fishermen said the Cornell effort will provide a needed boost.

“It benefits us a lot when the local community buys local fish,” said Riverhead fisherman Phil Karlin, who also operates the Little Fish Shop there. He said the majority of his customers are older than 55, suggesting that a younger generation of fish consumers hasn’t been fully developed locally.

Cornell has launched a Facebook page and the website to support the effort, featuring a local fish market locator, recipes and upcoming events.