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March 28, 2014

Auction wins $361,670 to build fishery

Cape Ann Seafoodto market redfish

Cape Ann Seafood Exchange is the lone Gloucester-based applicant that NOAA is recommending to receive a grant under the long-awaited 2013 Saltonstall Kennedy Grant dispersal of funding.

The Rogers Street business, which primarily operates as one of the city’s two seafood auctions, is set to receive $391,670, pending final cost analysis and legal review by NOAA’s grants management office, for its project to help build a sustainable redfish fishery and market the under-utilized species to consumers.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said it anticipates the recommended applicants will receive the grants within 30 to 60 days.

The award makes leaves Cape Ann Seafood as the last applicant standing among the more than half-dozen Gloucester-based applicants.

Cape Ann Seafood survived a witheringly competitive field to reach the final stage, with more than 261 Saltonstall Kennedy grant applications nationwide and 123 from the Northeast.

“We’re very happy about this,” said Jerry McCarthy, the sales and purchasing manager at Cape Ann Seafood and a key member of the team that assembled the grant application. “We’re very enthused here about the nature of our proposal and the broad benefits it should have for fishermen. It’s good for Gloucester and good for the fishery.”

The focus of the project is to build a sustainable fishery for Gulf of Maine-harvested redfish and to develop the capability to process and market the species to the domestic and international seafood-consuming public, McCarthy said.

That effort will require capital investment in the form of new equipment for processing the redfish. But in a larger sense, the real battle will come in the effort to create new markets for the species by shifting the prevailing attitude among consumers and retailers about the viability of the fish as a product and a food source.

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