Portsmouth, NH - The Slow Fish campaign, an international effort to promote community based fishing, raise consumer awareness on the value of ‘underloved' species of fish, and create dialogue on the state of fisheries management, is kicking off in New England with a two-week Youth-led program starting at New Hampshire's annual Fishtival event on September 14, 2013.
The 4-part event series sparks the launch of the Slow Fish campaign in the United States. "We're really excited to help bring Slow Fish to New Hampshire and the U.S. where our fishing families are facing extremely challenges. Over 90% of the seafood the public consumes is imported and yet our fleet catches more than enough to feed everyone. We need to reconnect to the seasonality of fishing and let consumers know that there are plenty of healthy, abundant, and delicious fish species right in our back yard," says Padi Anderson, member of the Fishtival planning committee and co-owner of Rimrack Fisheries, a family owned and operated fishing business.
In New England, the campaign launch will take place from September 14th to October 1st 2013, starting at the Fishtival with the first ever youth-led Seafood Throwdown, a unique cooking competition that highlights the importance of local seafood in restoring a healthy ocean ecosystem. In this Iron-Chef inspired program, two young chefs will face off to see who can prepare the best locally-caught seafood dish using items from the farmers' market, followed by a tasting and panel of judges. The Throwdown will be Saturday September 14, 12:30-4pm in Prescott Park, where thousands of people will come to celebrate, educate, and build connections to the local fishing industry.
Following the Seafood Throwdown additional events will include a documentary film screening, fish fillet demonstration and workshop, and a ‘Merroir Manifesto' community discussion. Fishermen, chefs, youth, local sea and land organizations and consumers will come together in the same boat and engage around questions such as why and how should we embrace local community based fishing? Why should we include more local 'underloved' species of fish in our diet? How can we increase our layers of access to fresh local seafood, and begin bridging the gap between consumers and our community fishermen? How can we improve policy to assure long-term vitality of family-owned fisheries? How can we inspire more chefs to begin working with locally-caught seafood - in an effort to frame the unique & tasty merroir of the coastal community they serve?
Spencer Montgomery, organizer of the program and coordinator of the USA Slow Food Youth Network, explains that, "Underloved species of fish include fish that your community fishermen are pulling up in their nets but struggle to find any local market value for. They are either discarded or sold to foreign buyers halfway around the world. You may be more familiar with the term ‘trash fish', but ‘underloved' sounds entirely more poetic."
Fresh local seafood, including underloved species, will be provided by the local Community Supported Fisheries (NH Community Seafood). The entire experience will be documented and organized to inspire other young adults to step up and host Slow Fish activities in their own communities, and tap into the potential for Slow Fish to grow in the USA, drawing energy from community supported fisheries (CSFs), academia, fishermen, coastal chefs and preexisting Slow Food networks.
"The Slow Fish campaign could not come at a more critical time. Our source of food from the ocean is in danger of being taken over by industrial food production models like agribusiness and with that our marine environment is endangered," says Brett Tolley of NAMA. "Based on everything we've learned about our land based food system over the past few decades, we know industrialization will endanger our environment, biodiversity, food safety, food sovereignty and food security, and the economic and social fabric of fishing communities that are putting food on our tables."
- Fishtival Seafood Throwdown, Saturday, September 14th; 12:30pm to 4:00pm, Prescott Park; Portsmouth, NH. UNH Wildcat bus services available to students!
- The Fish Belong to the People movie showing, Wednesday, September 18th 2013; 6:00pm to 7:30pm, MUB Entertainment Center; Durham, NH
- Slow Fish filet & cooking workshop with chef Evan Mallet, september 29th 2013; 10:00am to 2:00pm, UNH campus at Peter T. Paul College (ground floor); Durham, NH
- Merroir Manifesto: Discovering the unique taste of NH fishing waters, September 29th 2013; 2:00pm to 4:00pm, UNH campus at Peter T. Paul College (ground floor); Durham, NH
For more information, please contact:
Spencer Montgomery, Slow Youth USA Coordinator, 603-660-3516,
Brett Tolley, Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance, 718-570-2377, firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Partners
Slow Food UNH is a youth-led Slow Food chapter that seeks to preserve and revitalize food culture on campus and in the community through education, celebration, and outreach. The passionate members of Slow Food UNH work to learn about, support and enjoy "Good, Clean and Fair" food. They meet every Wednesday to collaborate on ideas, plan events and trips, and share delicious food.
NH Community Seafood formed in 2013 in response to drastic cuts in some groundfish quotas, low prices for lobster and the continued high cost of fuel, which threatens to end New Hampshire's 400-year old tradition. Fishing boats from Seabrook, Hampton, Rye Harbor, and Portsmouth Harbor decided to take their future into their own hands by organizing into a harvest cooperative. They work to better protect marine resources, to fish more selectively, and to take ownership of the share of the fish that they have to catch. Visit www.nhcommunityseafood.com to learn more.
Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance is a regional organization working with fishermen and other stakeholders to create ecosystem based fisheries policies and markets that address social, economic, environmental and food system values. You can follow NAMA's work through their website, blog - Who Fishes Matters, Facebook, and YouTube.