The program started off with me giving some presentations on seafood safety and sustainability as well as an overview of the Florida seafood industry. We next headed over to Randy’s Fish Market Restaurant, a nationally-acclaimed restaurant and seafood market, where participants had the opportunity to sample some of the restaurants fresh seafood. The group started off with some Gulf pink shrimp, and then were served of black grouper, tripletail, and escolar (white tuna). Randy was also kind enough to give everyone some of his famous key lime pie. Each participant received a $20 gift certificate to the restaurant as well.
Our next stop included a visit to Captain Tom Marvel, a commercial grouper/king mackerel fisherman based out of Naples (he also runs a charter fishing business as well; http://www.captmarvel.com/). It was raining at this point, and Tom was kind enough to let everyone onto his boat. I'm willing to be it was the first time many of the participants had ever been on a commercial grouper boat. Tom's talk was fantastic! He showed us the type of gear he uses and told us about his involvement in the local fishery. Tom is a very knowledgeable fishermen and did a great job of explaining how grouper and king mackerel are manged in the Gulf of Mexico. The group really seemed to enjoy the interaction. One of the things he told us was that most of the grouper he lands is sold in the Naples area (just shows how high the demand is locally) where most of his king mackerel goes to New York and Canada because there is more of a demand there for that species.
Captain Kirk’s Stone Crabs Fresh Seafood Market, a historically well-known market in Naples, to visit with its owners, Pat and Damas Kirk. Damas is a 4th generation Florida commercial fisherman and gave a very insightful overview of his 40-year experience as a commercial grouper and stone crab fishermen. Like Capt Marvel, Damas is extremely knowledgeable about the region's fisheries and seafood industry, and the group learned a lot from him. At one point, Damas talked about how fewer young people are getting into the business because of the regulations and hardships associated with it. He said he was a "dinosaur" but just wasn't extinct yet!
As a added bonus, Pat served the group samples of some smoked mullet and an absolutely amazing fish dip (it had both mullet and king mackerel) to expose the group to some local fare. It was quickly devoured with much gratitude.
This was the first time I attempted to do this program, and it certainly will not be the last. Based on the evaluations I received, it is clear people have a great interest in learning more about seafood and our region's fisheries. I owe many thanks to several of my colleagues in the County who helped me plan and carry out the program as well as my partners in the local industry. I couldn't have done it without their help.
If you'd like to hear a little more about the tour, NBC-2 did a story on the program while we were at Randy's. http://www.nbc-2.com/Global/story.asp?S=14228689
See more photos below!
|Guy Ewing, seafood consultant for Randy's Fish Market Restaurant|
shares with the group the type of fish they will be trying.
|Sampling black grouper, escolar, and tripletail at Randy's.|
|Aboard the Sea Marvel, Captain Tom Marvel discusses what a typical|
grouper fishing trip is like. The large containers you see are ice boxes.
|Tom shows the group some of the gear (an umbrella rig) he uses to fish with for king mackerel.|
|Captain Damus Kirk talks to the group about his family's long history associated with fishing Florida's waters.|
|Pat Kirk explains the challenges of finding a steady supply of locally-caught seafood.|
|Pat gives participants a taste of smoked mullet and their famous fish dip. YUMMY!!!!|