Sea Grant Launches New Great Lakes Fresh Fish Finder Website

Sep 8, 2021

Duluth, Minn. — Are you looking for local, fresh fish caught and raised by producers in the Great Lakes region?

Check out the Great Lakes FreshFishFinder.org.

Created by Minnesota Sea Grant and the Sea Grant programs in Illinois-Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, New York, Vermont/Lake Champlain and Wisconsin, this new website features businesses where consumers can buy wild-caught and farmed fish and shellfish to eat, for stocking ponds, to use as bait and for ornamental purposes.

"Because of COVID-related restaurant closures and other commercial market reductions, many fish producers told Sea Grant that they had excess product they couldn’t sell,” said Amy Schrank, Minnesota Sea Grant fisheries and aquaculture extension educator and project lead. “The Great Lakes Sea Grant programs collaborated to create FreshFishFinder.org to help regional fish producers connect with and sell directly to consumers.”

FreshFishFinder.org features a map of the Great Lakes region with fish locator “pins” for each participating fish producer. Each featured business may include a list of the types of fish sold, whether sales are online and/or in-person, retail outlets that sell their products, a short description about their business and a link to their website.

Partial map of United States showing locations of fish producers in the Great Lakes region.
Fish producer map from the Great Lakes Sea Grant FreshFishFinder.org website.

"For fish producers in the Great Lakes who want to be included on FreshFishFinder.org, all they need to do is contact their state Sea Grant program person listed on the site’s about page,” said Schrank. “The contact person for each state’s Sea Grant program will review and update the businesses listed for their state several times a year.”

The Great Lakes FreshFishFinder.org website is one of a growing number of Sea Grant-led fish and aquaculture education and extension programs in the Great Lakes region, including the Sea Grant Great Lakes Aquaculture Collaborative.

“We hope that FreshFishFinder.org will help foster the growth of future long-term direct-to-consumer markets for Great Lakes fish and aquaculture producers,” said Schrank. “Such direct sales may help producers sustain their businesses and improve their resilience to future market problems.”

The National Sea Grant Office and each of the 34 university-based programs in every coastal and Great Lakes state, Puerto Rico and Guam, invests in the development of sustainable marine and Great Lakes aquaculture to help coastal communities maintain a safe local fish and seafood supply.

FreshFishFinder.org was supported by a FY2020 COVID-19 Rapid Response grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Sea Grant Office. Continued website support of FreshFishFinder.org is provided by Minnesota Sea Grant. New and updated business information provided by the participating Great Lakes Sea Grant programs.

Learn more about what each Great Lakes Sea Grant program is doing in fisheries and aquaculture:

CONTACTS:

Amy Schrank, fisheries and aquaculture extension educator, Minnesota Sea Grant, University of Minnesota and University of Minnesota Duluth, aschrank@umn.edu

Marie Thoms, communications manager, Minnesota Sea Grant, University of Minnesota and University of Minnesota Duluth, methoms@d.umn.edu

Great Lakes FreshFishFinder state Sea Grant program contacts:

  • Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant: Amy Shambach, aquaculture marketing outreach associate.
  • Michigan Sea Grant: Lauren Jescovitch, extension educator.
  • New York Sea Grant: Emma Forbes, aquaculture specialist.
  • Ohio Sea Grant: Nicole Wright, aquaculture extension educator.
  • Pennsylvania: Amy Shambach, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant aquaculture marketing outreach associate.
  • Vermont/Lake Champlain: Theodore Willis, aquaculture education specialist.
  • Wisconsin: Sharon Moen, Eat Wisconsin Fish outreach specialist.

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Programs and Outreach Projects