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The Rhode Island Seafood Marketing Collaborative today announced today that has launched a mobile app and a redesigned website to heighten Rhode Island consumers’ awareness of the value, appeal, and year-round availability of fresh, local Rhode Island seafood.

Developed in partnership with the Commercial Fisheries Center of Rhode Island, the new app, FishLine, lets consumers search for fresh seafood to buy from seafood markets, farmers’ markets, and restaurants, as well as directly off the boat from fishermen. The FishLine app and newly updated SeafoodRI.com website are examples of ways that the state is trying to boost its commercial fishing and seafood industry, and strengthen Rhode Island’s local food system and food economy.

“Making it easier for people to find and buy Rhode Island seafood is good for everyone,” said Governor Dan McKee in a statement. “It supports the thousands of hard-working men and women of one of the Ocean State’s oldest industries, celebrates the restaurants and seafood dealers and food businesses that have made Rhode Island such a ‘foodie’ destination, and ensures a steady supply of fresh, healthy, locally caught seafood, which is a cornerstone of our state food security strategy.”

“From calamari to oysters to various species of finfish, Rhode Island seafood is already known around the world; what we’re trying to do is jolt interest in and demand for our seafood right here in Rhode Island,” said DEM Director Terry Gray. “Through the new FishLine app and website, DEM wants to help connect local consumers and especially younger consumers to local seafood because local is fresh and fresh is delicious.”

“Access to fresh Rhode Island seafood is now, literally, at the fingertips of all Rhode Islanders,” said Robert Ballou, Chair of the RI Seafood Marketing Collaborative. “Increasing consumer awareness of and demand for Rhode Island seafood products in Rhode Island increases in-state sales, spurs growth of the local seafood economy, and supports a stronger, more resilient local food system that is less dependent on less reliable out-of-state sources. Shorter supply chains, or food miles, also have smaller carbon footprints, thereby helping to mitigate the impacts of climate change.”

The new FishLine app and SeafoodRI.com list more than 40 restaurants, seafood markets, grocers, and direct sellers that offer local seafood, profiles about local species and harvesters, and tips for how to cook and enjoy it. Direct sellers and other seafood retailers can use the app to post real-time updates on landings and sales opportunities, helping consumers geo-locate the opportunities to purchase and enjoy RI seafood closest to where they are located. Simply go to SeafoodRI.com and click on the RI Seafood Finder to get started or download the FishLine app from the Apple or Android app store.

Both tools are initiatives of the RI Seafood Marketing Collaborative and industry partners to promote and market fresh Rhode Island seafood. The trademarked RI Seafood brand logo is a core component. Over the past year, the RI Seafood logo has been featured in a variety of online and print advertisements across Rhode Island and at public events including the Charlestown Seafood Festival, the Newport Seafood Festival, and most recently, the Taste of Rhode Island, where Chef Frank Terranova demonstrated how to prepare locally landed monkfish to nearly 1,000 attendees. The 2022 RI Seafood Marketing campaign is supported by a federal Saltonstall-Kennedy grant awarded to DEM and the Collaborative by NOAA Fisheries last year.

Established by the Rhode Island General Assembly in 2011, the RI Seafood Marketing Collaborative is a public-private body that aims to support local fishermen and seafood farmers and increase awareness and consumption of locally harvested species by the public. Its membership includes representatives from all key sectors of the commercial fishing, aquaculture, and seafood industries joined by representatives from URI, RI Sea Grant, and state agencies including DEM, which chairs the group, and the RI Commerce Corporation, Rhode Island Department of Health, and RI Coastal Resources Management Council.

Rhode Island has a diverse and dynamic commercial fishing and seafood industry. Steeped in tradition, the industry continues to thrive thanks to the health and abundance of locally available fishery resources and the ingenuity and sweat of thousands of hard-working men and women who harvest seafood and make it available to consumers in Rhode Island, across the United States, and around the world. Annual wild harvest landings total over 80 million pounds, valued at over $100 million (ex-vessel). These landings yield a total economic output valued at over $400 million and support over 4,000 jobs, according to a URI study. In addition, shellfish farms in RI waters produce more than 8 million oysters annually, with a farm-gate value of nearly $6 million. The commercial fishing industry has rebounded after huge challenges posed by the COVID pandemic, with 2021 landings, valued at more than $102 million, up by 31% over 2020 landings (ex-vessel), according to the DEM Division of Marine Fisheries.

Follow RI Seafood on Facebook or Instagram (@RI.seafood) for timely updates. Sellers of RI seafood interested in joining the RI Seafood Marketing Campaign can sign up on the RI Seafood website.

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