Sea Grant project faves, Sharon Moen

The calendar has flipped to 2022. Our staff members are ready to tackle new projects in the coming 12 months, which also happens to mark Sea Grant’s 50th anniversary. Before they move more deeply into this anniversary, however, some staff members took a moment to retain the glow of their favorite 2021 project. Our resident fish and aquaculture maven—Sharon Moen who heads up the Eat Wisconsin Fish initiative—had a swimmingly successful effort to share for our last post in this series.

I dubbed my favorite 2021 effort, “Finding Fish in Wisconsin.” This quest for insights and interviews had me talking with commercial fishers, food-fish farmers and fish processors across the state in four bursts (see map). At different times, Wisconsin Sea Grant colleagues Bonnie Willison, Jennifer Smith, Titus Seilheimer and Marie Zhuikov were there, too.

My goal was to learn about the needs of Wisconsin’s food fish-producing industries and how Wisconsin Sea Grant could support their success, while gathering material to create fish producer profiles so that consumers can better understand who is producing their food and why fish from Wisconsin are safe to eat, a sustainable food choice and economically important.

While the conversations we had with fish producers are guiding Eat Wisconsin Fish activities in 2022, Willison has already turned some of the interviews into short videos that are available on Wisconsin Sea Grant’s YouTube playlist and elsewhere. If you are more into podcasts, Zhuikov wove interview excerpts into episodes of The Fish Dish, a new Wisconsin Sea Grant podcast.

This map, adapted from the Eat Wisconsin Fish website, shows Moen’s travels for the Finding Fish in Wisconsin effort. #1: Finding fish in Bayfield County (June) focused on Lake Superior commercial fisheries and processors. #2: Finding fish across the diagonal (July) spanned visits to farms raising shrimp, salmon, trout, yellow perch and more. #3: Finding fish near Sheboygan (August) was inspired by a tilapia farm and broadened to include visits with trout farmers, a fish smoking business and a commercial fisher. #4: Finding fish around Door County (November) included insights into the international fish roe trade and commercial fishing in Green Bay and Lake Michigan.