NEW BEDFORD —The New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center and New Bedford Port Authority are teaming up to present a series of free seafood cooking demonstrations and classes. Funded by a grant from the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, these programs are designed to promote the New Bedford Seafood brand; educate the public about local, abundant and underutilized species; and inspire local residents to explore a wider variety of seafood choices while building a market for these species.

The first demonstration will take place at Kyler’s Seafood Market at 2 Washburn Street,on Saturday, June 9 at 2 p.m. Chef Maria Lawton, author of Azorean Cooking: From My Family Table to Yours, will demonstrate a recipe for Fresh Hake poached in onion, garlic, and tomato sauce (Bacalhau fresco escalfado com molho de tomatecebola, alho). The demonstration will be followed by a tasting opportunity. Signed copies of Ms. Lawton’s book will be available for sale.

Additional demonstrations featuring local cook Rhonda Fazio will take place at 11 a.m. on Friday, July 13 at DeMello’s Market (redfish) and Thursday, August 9 at the New Bedford Farmer’s Market (scup).

Cooking classes will be taught by Chef and Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School Culinary Arts Instructor Henry Bousquet. Classes will take place on Wednesday evenings from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at GNB Voc-Tech. Each class will focus on two underutilized species. Participants will prepare two dishes and enjoy their creations at the end of each class.

Dates and themes of the classes are:

June 27--The Mediterranean Diet: How the Foods You Eat Can Save Your Life featuring Pollock and Scup
July 25--How to Cook and Serve Whole Fish Preparations featuring Red Fish and Whiting
August 15--Crafting Sauces that Enhance and Highlight Underutilized Species featuring Red Hake and Dog Fish

Classes will be presented free of charge and limited to 20 attendees. Pre-registration is required. To register for each class, visit for more information.

This is a critical time for New England’s commercial fishing industry as it works to simultaneously protect the ocean resource and preserve a way of life. Paul Greenberg, author of Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food, suggests that the American taste for fin fish is largely limited to just four species: salmon, sea bass, cod and tuna. Without a market for other species, there is little incentive for fishermen to harvest them. There is a need to develop viable markets for abundant species, thereby raising consumer demand and market value and helping to sustain the overall resource.

Nearly 90 percent of the seafood consumed in the United States is imported. Educating the public about the seafood industry also encourages consumers to vote with their dollars, supporting wild, domestic fisheries which are well regulated, and adhere to high food safety standards, and fair labor practices.

Naturally high in protein, low in saturated fat, and rich in a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, seafood is an ideal source of protein. High levels of Omega-3 fatty acids provide protection against heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, inflammation, and diabetes, as well as improved brain development and function. While nationally, seafood consumption is on the rise, just 10 percent of adults eat enough fish, according the Department of Agriculture.

Over the past 50 years, Americans have moved away from home cooking in general. The majority of Americans are afraid of cooking fresh fish. They don’t know how to select fish, which fish to use for a particular dish, or how long to cook it. “Children grow up and think they don’t like seafood because they have never eaten it," said Lynsee Fowler, Communications Manager for the National Fisheries Institute.

The Port of New Bedford is managed by the New Bedford Port Authority, which aims to implement best management practices over port resources and develop economic growth strategies. To this end, it is the goal of the NBPA to keep New Bedford on top as the No. 1 U.S. fishing port, expand existing businesses and capitalize on new opportunities that will maximize the Port's potential as an economic engine to create jobs and strengthen the New Bedford economy.

The New Bedford Seafood brand was launched in 2017 to increase education and awareness around locally-landed seafood, and to ensure that the Port of New Bedford is recognized around the world as the most valuable commercial fishing port in the United States.

The New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center is dedicated to telling the story of the fishing industry past, present, and future through exhibits, programs, and archives. For more information, contact the Center at (508) 993-8894 or

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