ELLSWORTH — With Americans cooking at home more during the pandemic, state officials hope Maine seafood will be on the menu.
While rapidly changing seafood markets and restaurant closures have posed challenges for seafood producers, retail seafood sales are up 35 percent compared to last year, according to market research company Information Resources Inc.
The Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR), with support from Governor Janet Mills, is launching a $1 million branding and promotion initiative to celebrate Maine seafood and to help ensure it a spot on dining room tables everywhere.
The funding for the initiative is from the $20 million CARES Act relief funds allocated by NOAA for Maine’s commercial fishing and seafood industry.
“Like producers across the globe, Maine’s seafood industry continues to face the challenge of rapidly changing markets,” said DMR Commissioner Patrick Keliher. “But this challenge also presents an opportunity. The Gulf of Maine’s cold, clean water is home to a wide variety of premium seafood products that are easy to prepare. The Maine seafood branding and promotion initiative will help consumers learn about, find and prepare Maine seafood in their own kitchens.”
Maine’s seafood dealers and processors offer a range of products including ready-to-cook offerings.
“With more Maine people cooking from home, we have an opportunity to support Maine’s seafood industry by promoting the premium products we produce here at home,” said Governor Mills. “This initiative will support a vital sector of our state’s economy and connect consumers with high-quality seafood produced in the U.S. at a critical time.”
“When choosing Maine seafood, consumers can trust that their seafood products, from shellfish to seaweed and halibut to haddock will be the highest quality, best tasting seafood on Earth,” said Keliher.
The initiative, which will include an online directory, blog posts by influential food writers and a social media campaign, will emphasize “the premium nature of the products, the pristine marine environment of the north Atlantic Ocean and the industry’s passion for quality,” according to DMR.
A directory of Maine seafood suppliers, as well as a collection of recipes, is available at www.seafoodfrommaine.com.