Developing a Financially Sustainable, Regionally-Oriented Seafood Industry in Rhode Island
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20 August 2019

KK&P is thrilled to announce we’ll be working with the Rhode Island Food Policy Council on a pilot Fishing for Success program, this fall and into winter 2020.

The team, led by KK&P Senior Consultants Christophe Hille and Shayna Cohen, will make a business case for the building of a financially sustainable seafood processing facility that will supply regionally caught, source-identified, well-traced seafood to markets. The business case study must take into account environmental impacts, workforce impacts and the current commercial seafood business landscape. It will also need to be nimble enough to address current and projected future shifts in supply and demand.

Rhode Island has a bustling fisheries and seafood sector, employing more than 4,000 people and landing more than 82 million pounds of seafood in 2016. The estimated economic impact of the industry is more than $500 million. And though there is some significant seafood processing capacity in the state already, an estimated 90% of the catch is exported out of state or overseas for processing, limiting the ability of state-landed seafood to reach local and regional markets in the processed form wholesale buyers—like chefs and supermarkets—are seeking.

To design a facility that advances the industry and leverages its strengths, KK&P’s work will include a supply analysis that evaluates current and projected future fish stock supplies. There will be consideration for the impact of changes in climate, regulatory controls, ocean use (e.g. offshore wind), and other factors; a demand analysis organized around wet-fish, fin fish, and new-to-market or underutilized species; a review of processing technologies, to match supply and demand with the most appropriate and environmentally sustainable technologies; and a review of best practices in regional seafood processing facilities and other relevant food sectors (i.e. meat and vegetable processing), as well as of current Rhode Island-based seafood processors.

KK&P will work in close collaboration with another consultant team, led by Ed Backus of Collaborative Fisheries Associates, whose work focuses on increasing wastewater processing capacity in Rhode Island and leveraging the nutrient-rich water used in seafood processing to create nutraceutical ingredients; making new products and new revenue streams for the seafood industry while addressing a critical infrastructure gap that has restrained growth for decades.