On November 2, nearly 150 people gathered at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum for “A Taste of the Sea,” an event hosted by FishSB, a local seafood marketing initiative. FishSB is a partnership between the Chamber of the Santa Barbara Region and the nonprofit group, Commercial Fishermen of Santa Barbara (CFSB). The event was a benefit for CFSB and the Maritime Museum.
Four top chefs, James Sly of Sly’s restaurant, Michael Hutchings of Michael’s Catering, Mossin Sugich, Executive Chef at the Santa Barbara Yacht Club, and Roberto Lopez, Catering Chef at Santa Barbara City College, offered delectable tastings from the sea, including Sly’s heavenly mussel soup and Sugrich’s decadent sea urchin velouté. After a leisurely reception hour, where guests were able to mingle with each other and the chefs, guests were seated for an interesting cooking demonstration by Chef Michael Hutchings. To add to the excitement, the demo was being filmed for The Inn Crowd, which airs on KEYT.
Afterwards, commercial fishermen Mike McCorkle, Chris Voss, and Harry Liquornik and commercial fisherwoman Stephanie Mutz fielded questions from guests on their fascinating work.
FishSB was created two years ago to address challenges to fisheries, promote access to local seafood, and build organizational capacity in the fishing community. It was funded by Plains All American Pipeline after the oil spill. This funding, which has allowed for one paid staff person, Executive Director Kim Selkoe, runs out next month.
Among Selkoe’s major accomplishments was the drafting of legislation to create a Spiny Lobster Marketing Commission, which was recently signed into law by Governor Brown. The legislation allows the fleet to organize and collect a self-assessment to fund fisheries management, marketing campaigns, and research. Last year, the catch of spiny lobster in Santa Barbara was valued at about $4 million (200,000 pounds).
Another major accomplishment was a signficant expansion and upgrading of the Saturday Fisherman’s Market. Selkoe secured funding for a fillet booth, giving customers the option of taking home a fillet instead of the whole fish. At the booth, customers can also learn how to fillet and obtain recipes. In addition, Selkoe has brought organization to the market, instituting an application process with limits on how many vendors can sell each product, and she has brought in new vendors.
Among Selkoe’s goals for next year is the launch of a seafood delivery program, which will increase access to local seafood through home delivery, restaurants, and institutions such as schools, food banks and hospices.
For more information about FishSB, go to cfsb.info/fish-sb/ or email Kim Selkoe at email@example.com.
By Gail Arnold