Rhode Island to launch year-long local seafood marketing campaign

According to the DEM, Rhode Island commercial fisheries export most of the seafood caught in the state, while most of the seafood consumed by Rhode Islanders is imported from out of state.

By: Tim Studebaker

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – Starting in January, the State of Rhode Island is hoping to encourage residents and visitors to seek out locally caught seafood to help grow the in-state seafood industry.  They’ll do so by way of a year-long marketing campaign.

Bob Ballou with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management says, “What we want to try to do with this program is promote the availability of this abundant, diverse and delicious supply of fresh, local seafood to help stimulate the local market.”

The campaign will run for all of 2022, funded by $300,000 in federal grant money.  According to the DEM, commercial fishing in the state supports more than 4,000 jobs and harvests 80,000,000 pounds of seafood per year.

Ballou says, “…much of which is exported.  Many of the markets for Rhode Island seafood are out of state, and much of the seafood consumed in Rhode Island is actually imported into Rhode Island.  So, there a little bit of an upside down aspect to that.”

The DEM says keeping shipping distances smaller, within state borders, would benefit the local commercial fishing industry, would make fresher seafood available to the public, and would decrease the industry’s carbon footprint.

Ballou says, “Our seafood supply chain is much like many of the supply chains for other products that rely on long, out of state transit and production.  What we want to try to seize upon are the advantages of using local seafood in the local market.”

Experts at URI will be tracking seafood sales in 2022 to see if the campaign was effective.

Ballou says, “The most important people are those involved in the Rhode Island commercial fishing and seafood industry.  This is all about supporting their interests and the interests of Rhode Islanders.”

© WLNE-TV / ABC6 2021

Categories: News, Rhode Island