Oyster farms or jet skis?

Does Great Bay need more oyster farms or jet skis?

Our mission at Seacoast Eat Local is to help people to eat more locally grown food. A diverse landscape of farms in the Seacoast is a lofty goal and it needs steady encouragement. Here’s a case of a local oyster farm on Great Bay that needs your help.

Many land-owners say Not In My BackYard to farms, but if we all said that there would be nothing but suburban sprawl on the beautiful NH Seacoast. Oyster farming, like organic farming, has the added benefit of improving the environment. Please help us out by signing this petition now.


Still not convinced? Let’s hear more evidence from the local small farmer:

Written by Troy Payne of NESO,

Fun Fact: The Great Bay Estuary is one of only 29 major estuaries in the United States. Collectively, these 29 sites provide nursery habitat for about 75% of all seafood harvested in the US. So, like damn, lets keep those around.


Maybe you caught this [link above] NPR piece last month with Rachel Rouillard of the Piscataqua Region Estuary Partnership (PREP,) a joint program between local, state and federal agencies established under the Clean Water Act with the goal of protecting and enhancing nationally significant estuarine resources, like Great Bay.  Rachel is PREPs Executive Director and was delivering a summary of their latest report on the health of our bay and the news isn’t good.  In a nutshell, the ecosystem is in crisis, it is in decline, and it lacks the resilience to recover on its own.

It turns out that oyster populations, whose occurrence in natural beds in Great Bay numbered 25 million individuals as recently as 1993, have been decimated to the point where current populations are estimated to number fewer than 2 million.  Want to guess what one of the leading indicators of estuary ecosystem resilience is.  Sure, it’s oysters.  That’s because oysters suck – literally.  A single healthy adult oyster can filter as much as 50 gallons of water a day.  The daily filtration of those 23 million missing oysters would approach 6 billion gallons, or roughly a tenth of the volume of the entire 60 billion gallon estuary at high tide.  That kind of daily cleanup power would help to stabilize the delicate biochemical and symbiotic species dance that underpins the health of the whole estuary by absorbing spiking influxes of runoff contaminants from the more than 1000 square miles of estuary watershed.  But they’re gone, so they don’t.  And pretty much every other species that relies on that missing stabilization is suffering.

Heroic oyster bed restoration efforts are underway in the bay and have been for years, but natural beds are susceptible to oyster parasites which can thrive more readily in a resilience challenged environment.  On the other hand, oyster farming practices are much less impacted by these parasites since the adult oyster are regularly removed to market and replaced with new cultured spat.  So it’s win-win.  Oyster farms keep growing out and removing adult oysters, which keeps the filters operating in the bay, in a way that natural beds can’t.

So with all this information well understood by every scientist, academic, and environmental stakeholder in the Great Bay ecosystem, you have to wonder why oyster farmers are having difficulty getting permitting applications approved by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department for open oyster sites in the estuary.

Meet New England Superior Oyster (NESO,) the little oyster farm with the big name.  They’ve invested in an old pontoon boat platform on which to do their oystering work, and purchased enough materials to build out fifty or so oyster cages and bags, and they have more than enough passion for the environment, to work at a local and sustainable scale.  The one thing the don’t have is a permit to put oysters in the bay near the south end of their fields on Royalls Cove at the mouth of the Bellamy River.

Though they have applied multiple times over nearly two years past, a small but vocal group group of condominium and homeowners across the water are opposed to the project. So much opposed in fact that they have started a petition to keep oyster farming entirely out of Royalls Cove (which contains about 10% of all available space open to oystering in the estuary.)  Their concerns, as stated in their petition are, their property values, their recreational access to the entire cove, their views, and murkily, their quality of life.

In self-defense, NESO has started it’s own petition asking Fish and Game to share the use of the cove, and to prioritize projects with significant environmental benefit over those with little or none.  We support this initiative based on it’s value to the entire estuary community rather than a small group trying to reserve a part of this rare and precious resource for their own use.  Visit the petition website here  (http://chn.ge/2myBBmj) to read more about the issue and sign the petition if you agree.  If you choose to sign, you can then scroll to the bottom of the page and open the Reasons for Signing section and leave a comment about why you signed.  The “why” is optional and need not be elaborate, but as we understand it, they are strongly weighted over “bare” signatures.

Eat Fresher Fish, Support Seacoast Fishermen — Shares Available Now!

NH Community Seafood, a community supported fishery, is now offering shares in their next session, from August 24th to October 4th:

We are a Community Supported Fishery, like a CSA, but for seafood. We offer fresh and local seafood caught in NH or the Gulf of Maine every week, you prepay and we deliver! We fillet the fish and deliver it right to your town! We also have Member Only Add Ons like Lobster Ravioli and NH grown oysters available!

~ Our Sessions run for 6 weeks, with a one week break in between
~ We are in our Third Session for 2015, it runs from August 24-October 4
~ If you are going away, you can HOLD your share and DOUBLE UP another week up to 3 weeks within the 6 week session
~ Our fish is local, sustainably fished, fresh off the boat to your plate and by buying through our Cooperative, you directly support and help local NH Fishermen maintain their dying livelihood!

Sign up today, the new Session starts AUGUST 24!

Thanks for you interest, we are helping our local Seacoast Fishing Community, in dire need, one pound at a time!!


Take a Bite out of Appledore: An Eco-culinary Island Retreat, August 28 – 30

appledore2-420x140The brain child of Chef Evan Mallett of Black Trumpet Bistro and sponsored by the Shoals Marine Laboratory, this weekend getaway is not to be missed! From Friday, August 28th to Sunday, August 30th, Take a Bite out of Appledore: An Eco-culinary Island Retreat will bring together ecologists and chefs to interpret the many natural gifts the Isles of Shoals have to offer:

Take a Bite out of Appledore: An Eco-culinary Island Retreat
Shoals Marine Laboratory
Location: Appledore Island, Isles of Shoals
Friday, August 28 – Sunday, August 30, 2015

Ten miles off the New Hampshire coast, the Isles of Shoals have always embodied both opportunity and sense of place. From the cod fishermen of the early 1600’s to the glamorous Appledore House of the nineteenth century to today’s world-class Shoals Marine Lab, Appledore Island in particular has played host to people with a deep connection to their food and the natural world. In this unique retreat, we bring together ecologists and chefs to interpret the many natural gifts the Isles of Shoals have to offer. Come as an individual or as a group to learn about the importance of sense of place, while also protecting a vital resource. And bring your appetite for food and knowledge!

Total cost: $630/person (double occupancy). Includes room and all meals, snacks and beverages, all program activities, and round-trip boat fare between Portsmouth, NH and Appledore Island. A portion of the proceeds will help support the Chef’s Collaborative of New Hampshire.

For more information: http://www.sml.cornell.edu/sml_culinary.html

NH Community Seafood needs volunteers!

NH Community Seafood’s CSF Manager has put out the call for volunteers. Their needs are varied (read: there’s something for everyone interested!). If you want to learn more about our local fisheries, please be in touch with Andrea Tomlinson at [email protected]

New Hampshire Community Seafood - give the gift of fish!Some of the possible work:

  • Putting labels on bags (500 used per week)

  • Assistance with member management using Small Farm Central website

  • Flyering to promote increased membership in NH Community Seafood

  • Social media support

  • Press release creation and processing

NH Community Seafood

Sensational Sea Vegetables, March 26

algal-ediblesSensational Sea Vegetables
Carol Steingart, Wells-Ogunquit Adult Community Education
Venue: Wells High School, 200 Sanford Rd, Wells, ME
Date: Thursday, March 26, 2015
Time: 6 – 8:30 pm
Fee: $35

Join Coastal Carol of Coast Encounters for a delightful culinary journey to the world of sea vegetables. Learn the many nutritional benefits of sea vegetables and the simple methods of preparation to incorporate them into your diet. Carol is a marine educator with over 15 years’ experience educating people of all ages about “life between the tides.” She has made these ancient plants of the sea a regular part of her diet. Find out why and enjoy tasting each of the recipes she prepares. Menu includes: hummus dip and cucumber salad with dulse, DLT sandwich, pinto bean soup with digitata, wild rice pilaf with arame, lemon pudding with agar agar.

For more information: https://maineadulted.coursestorm.com/wells-ogunquit/course/sensational-sea-vegetables

From Scratch: Maine Seafood and Edible Seaweed, February 21

From Scratch: Maine Seafood and Edible Seaweed
University of Maine Cooperative Extension Cumberland County
Venue: 75 Clearwater Dr, Suite 104, Falmouth, ME
Date: Saturday, February 21, 2015
Time: 10am – 1pm
Fee: $40

University of Maine Cooperative Extension in Cumberland County announces a new series called “From Scratch: Your Maine Kitchen” offered on Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. monthly between Nov. 2014 – Oct. 2015. A unique taste of Maine from a variety of local food sources to excite your appetite.

Chef Barton Seaver, a National Geographic Fellow, chef and author is one of three experts slated to talk about Maine seafood and edible seaweed at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension event Feb. 21 in Falmouth. Hillary Krapf founder of the 2014 Maine Seafood Festival will demonstrate how to incorporate seaweed into soups and salads. Sarah Redmond of Maine Sea Grant College Program at the University of Maine will discuss when each seafood is in season, where it is fished and what to look for when choosing, buying and preparing it.

For more information: http://umaine.edu/cumberland/programs/from-scratch-your-maine-kitchen/

Seafood dinner at UNH April 16

Seafood DinnerUNH Hosts Sustainable Seafood Dinner April 16

The University of New Hampshire will host a Sustainable Seafood Dinner Wednesday, April 16, 2014, in the Holloway Commons dining hall. The dinner, from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m., will highlight New England seafood and New England’s fishing community. The dinner is free to anyone with a UNH dining plan and open to the public for a charge ($22.95 for adults; $11.50 for children under the age of 10).

On the menu will be hake, scallops, lobster dishes, and oysters from regional waters. Dishes like skate wing tacos, seafood ceviche, and locally grown kelp will highlight efforts to alleviate pressure on overfished species by introducing diners to underloved but abundant New England seafood.

The dinner is part of a six-week pilot to source more regional seafood at UNH dining halls. UNH Dining is working with Red’s Best, a Boston-based seafood processor to bring more regionally caught seafood to the dining halls. [Red’s Best currently sources much of their seafood from Massachusetts based fishermen.]

“It’s been great working with UNH Dining Services,” says Spencer Montgomery ‘14, a nutritional sciences major at UNH and an organizer of UNH’s Slow Fish campaign, which builds upon the principals of Slow Food. “As one of the largest food purchasers in the state, this commitment from UNH could help revitalize conditions for the local fleet.”

The pilot and dinner represent a collaboration between UNH DiningSlow Food UNH, the Sustainability InstituteNH Sea Grant, and the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance to increase local seafood availability in the dining halls. UNH has a strong commitment to sustainable food system:  UNH Dining signed the international Slow Food Principles in 2006, the student Organic Garden Club grows produce for the dining halls, and on-campus eateries source greens and other vegetables produced as part of the sustainable agriculture curriculum. Learn more at sustainableunh.unh.edu.

Photo courtesy of NH Sea Grant


Trash Fish Dinner, February 9


The Chefs Collaborative Trash Fish Dinner series is coming to southern New Hampshire on Sunday, February 9th — join chefs from around the Seacoast area of New Hampshire and Southern Maine for cocktails and a delicious multi-course dinner featuring local seafood you may never have even heard of!

Trash Fish Dinner
Chefs Collaborative
7th Settlement Brewery, Washington St, Dover, NH
Sunday, February 9, 2014
Appetizers and cocktails to begin at 5 pm
Dinner to be served at 6 pm

Building on the success of the original Trash Fish Dinner in Boston, Chefs Collaborative Locals have been hosting Trash Fish Dinners around the country over the last year with the urgent mission of educating consumers about our imperiled fisheries. By featuring so-called “trash fish” on the menu, this event illuminates the need to create a market for underfished species so the overfished species populations have a chance at survival beyond our lifetimes.

Who’s Cooking:
• Evan Mallett, Black Trumpet (Chefs Collaborative Board Member)
• Rob Martin, The Oaks (Chefs Collaborative New Hampshire Local Leader)
• Mark Segal, Demeters Steakhouse (Chefs Collaborative New Hampshire Local Leader)
• Evan Hennessey, Stages at One Washington
• Jennifer Woods, Lil’s Cafe
• Brendan Vesey, Street 
• Matt Provencher, Martingale Wharf
• Brent Hazelbaker, 7th Settlement
• Ian Thomas, The District
• Justin Walker, Earth
• Mariah Maher, Beach Pea Baking Co.

$85 per person, wine and beer included with ticket price, cash bar for liquor.

For more information: www.chefscollaborative.org

Fishtival — 5th Annual Fish and Lobster Festival, September 14

5th Annual NH Fish & Lobster Festival
Prescott Park, Portsmouth, NH
Saturday, September 14, 2013
12 – 4 pm
Admission to festival free!
Seafood samplings from renowned local chefs – $4

Celebrating 400 Years of Local Seafood — Delicious, fun, and local!

The 5th Annual Fish and Lobster Festival is back and better than ever! Walk the decks of a local fishing boat, taste freshly-landed local seafood prepared by Seacoast chefs, learn to identify and prepare local fish, watch an on-location Seafood Throwdown cook-off competition, investigate the Gulf of Maine ecosystem, sing a song and hear a tale or two.

Along the historic waterfront in Prescott Park, right beside the NH commercial fishing pier, it’s a great event for all ages with games, live music, demos, foul-weather gear, a fish relay race, trap building, fish printing, touch tanks, and so much more.

The Festival raises awareness of the importance of local fishing industry, supports our fantastic community businesses, and features the many ways to enjoy all of the local species that live in New England. This unique event is from 12-4 pm, and is FREE for everyone who’d like to attend.

For more information: www.prescottpark.org