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By Slow Food USA

“We’re really excited to help bring Slow Fish to New Hampshire and the U.S., where our fishing families are facing extremely challenges. Over 90% of the seafood the public consumes is imported and yet our fleet catches more than enough to feed everyone. We need to reconnect to the seasonality of fishing and let consumers know that there are plenty of healthy, abundant, and delicious fish species right in our back yard,” says Padi Anderson, member of the Fishtival planning committee and co-owner of Rimrack Fisheries, a family owned and operated fishing business.

{{ image(2514, {“class”: “flor round”, “width”:160, “height”:160,”method”: “img”}) }}In New England, the campaign launch will take place from September 14th to October 1st 2013, starting at the Fishtival with the first ever youth-led “Seafood Throwdown,” a unique cooking competition that highlights the importance of local seafood in restoring a healthy ocean ecosystem. In this Iron Chef-inspired program, two young chefs face off to see who can prepare the best locally-caught seafood dish using items from the farmers’ market, followed by a tasting and panel of judges.

Other events include a documentary film screening, fish fillet demonstration and workshop, and a ‘Merroir Manifesto’ community discussion. Fishermen, chefs, youth, local sea and land organizations and consumers are coming together to discuss: why and how should we embrace local community based fishing? Why should we include more local ’underloved’ species of fish in our diet? How can we increase our layers of access to fresh local seafood, and begin bridging the gap between consumers and our community fishermen? How can we improve policy to assure long-term vitality of family-owned fisheries? How can we inspire more chefs to begin working with locally-caught seafood – in an effort to frame the unique & tasty merroir of the coastal community they serve?

Fresh local seafood will be provided by the local Community Supported Fisheries.The entire experience is being documented and organized to inspire others to step up and host Slow Fish activities in other local communities.

“The Slow Fish campaign could not come at a more critical time. Our source of food from the ocean is in danger of being taken over by industrial food production models like agribusiness and with that our marine environment is endangered,” says Brett Tolley of the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance (NAMA). “Based on everything we’ve learned about our land based food system over the past few decades, we know industrialization will endanger our environment, biodiversity, food safety, food sovereignty and food security, and the economic and social fabric of fishing communities that are putting food on our tables.”