May 12, 2015
By Moira Harrington
Wisconsin Sea Grant today announced it has received a new $29,000 grant to shine a spotlight on the locally produced, healthy and delicious fish choices harvested from the Great Lakes and the regulated, sustainable aquaculture operations across the state.
Yellow perch, Arctic char, burbot, chubs, lake herring, lake trout, lake whitefish, rainbow trout, smelt, tilapia and walleye are the bounty of producers and fishers right here in Wisconsin. Choosing those, consumers can be assured the fish are domestic, not part of the 90 percent of imported seafood Americans consume each year, most of it from Asia and up to only 3 percent inspected for health and safety.
“We welcome this new grant to continue our work on the Eat Wisconsin Fish outreach program,” said Sea Grant’s Social Scientist Jane Harrison. “Each year, Wisconsin issues 70 commercial fishing licenses to hard-working professionals—our fellow state residents—who are putting fish on our tables. Plus, there is a $21 million aquaculture industry that raises fish sustainably. It’s good to buy locally and support local businesses. Of course, the bonus is that the fish is delicious.”
Sea Grant has already launched a website, eatwisconsinfish.org, which includes recipes on how to prepare Wisconsin fish. The site further offers details about fish in local waters, nutrition, and locations to purchase Wisconsin fish. The new grant will strengthen ties among Wisconsin fish producers, fish sellers like grocery stores and restaurants, and consumers.
It will support awareness-raising events such as booths at public gatherings, advertising, and cooking demonstrations and tasting opportunities at restaurants and brew pubs.
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection’s Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin grant also will be devoted to the creation of a local fish buying guide distributed next spring to grocery stores and restaurants so those purveyors can make local choices to benefit their consumers and patrons. Those buyers, along with culinary school instructors and students, will also be invited to an Eat Wisconsin Fish workshop.
Sea Grant’s proposal was one of eight selected from 42 grant applications. Previous Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin recipients have generated nearly $6.6 million in new local food sales. The grants’ return on investment is calculated at 9 to 1.