Get to Know Rhode Island Fishers, Harvesters + Growers Meet the People who harvest our waters and learn about the seafood industry. A new profile is added weekly. Check back to meet more local fishers, growers, and harvesters of RI Seafood! Meet Aquidneck Island Oyster Company Aquidneck Island Oyster Company of Portsmouth is a family-run aquaculture farm in the Sakonnet River that seeks to provide top-quality oysters while promoting a healthy marine environment and maintaining Rhode Island's working waterfront and maritime culture. You can find their oysters at farmer's markets, local restaurants, vineyards, breweries, and more – take part in RI's heritage by trying one of their oysters! Meet Aquaculturist Matt Griffin from Salt Box Sea Farms Matt Griffin, operator of Saltbox Sea Farm in North Kingstown, has been in the oyster business for close to eighteen years. He is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island with a B.S. degree in Marine Biology and an M.Sc. degree in Biological and Environmental Science. Matt has worked with the RI DEM/NOAA North Cape Restoration Program and as a Fisheries Specialist with the RI DEM and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. Today he operates Saltbox Sea Farm; a Rhode Island-based aquaculture farm focused on producing eastern oysters and providing consulting services in habitat restoration, fisheries science, and oceanography. He harvests oysters using both bottom and top gear and joins over 80 leases in the state of Rhode Island in producing oysters. His oysters are found both in the marketplace and in research studies integrating new shellfish culture technology with the local industry and serving as a technical advisor to the regional aquaculture community. Meet Captain Jason Jarvis out of Westerly Captain Jason Jarvis has been commercially fishing for 27 years and can spotted on the F/V Old Jake as well as F/V Jake Jr.. He is one of 30 small vessel fishermen in Westerly, and brings to port a variety of species including scup, sea bass, and quahogs. Jason says that he continues to fish because both fish and fishing are his life and after all these years he still finds joy in it. In addition to fishing commercially, Jason also sits on the Rhode Island Marine Fisheries Council and is the acting board president for NAMA (Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance). When he isn’t on the water, Jason can be found playing in three bands around town or at Fresh Harvest Kitchen, a co-op made up of fishers and farmers. Meet Rodman Sykes Captain Rodman has been fishing commercially for 52 years, starting in 1970 and then running his own boat, F/V Virginia Marise, in 1984. He comes from a third-generation fishing family and has fished for scup, squid, tuna, flounder, and most recently, skates which lobstermen use for bait. You can occasionally find Captain Rodman's catch at Champlin's in Narragansett. He has also provided the RI Food Bank with scup and other species. He regularly organizes a seafood dinner featuring local species from the local fishers to benefit the Pt. Judith Fishermen's scholarship fund. Captain Rodman has participated in research projects with the Commercial Fisheries Center of Rhode Island and the Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation. Captain Rodman says that despite the challenges in the industry he has experienced, he continues to find passion in his work and hopes to see the fishing industry to find continued success with the local fleet as the cooperative fleet continues to grow. Meet Nate Arruda Nate Arruda is a fourth-generation fishermen who currently works full-time with the RI DEM as an Environmental Scientist and commercially fishes after work. He has been in the industry for close to 10 years and fishes for conch and fin fish like flounder, scup, black sea bass, and tautog and dives for quahogs. Nate practices sustainable fishing methods and uses bait that he catches for his other fisheries. Nate sells from the F/V Grasshopper docked at the commercial fishing wharf in Wickford Village. Besides direct sales, Nate’s catch is sold to wholesalers and can be found at Champlin's Seafood in Narragansett, as well as Town Dock and Narragansett Bay Lobster. He likes connecting consumers with fresh RI seafood and has had many friends and customers tell him how fresh and delicious seafood caught the same day tastes. Meet Kelp Harvester Azure Cygler Azure Cygler has been on the ocean her entire life, from surfing to commercial fishing in Alaska and American Samoa to working now as a researcher and outreach specialist at the University of RI. Since 2020, she has been operating Rhode Wild Sea Garden, which grows and harvests sugar kelp from Narragansett Bay. Planting occurs in October/November and harvest is typically over a few days in April/May. Sugar kelp is a native species to Rhode Island waters and is a healthy, sustainable food source. It’s nutrient-packed and is often added to salads and slaws, dried into spices, and processed into many products such as biofuel, livestock feed, and to create bioplastics. Azure is one of three kelp farmers in Rhode Island. She has taken part in New England Kelp Harvest Week and sells to both wholesalers as well as direct sales with home delivery. Throughout March and April, Azure offers pre-orders for home delivery every week. Check out Rhodywildseagardens.com for more information on sugar kelp. Meet the Lobstermen from Newport Pier 9 The Newport Lobster Shack is a cooperative run and owned by the fishermen docked at Pier 9 in Newport, RI, and managed by Eileen Braman. The co-op's mission is to ensure a commercial fishing presence in Newport Harbor. There are 30 or so fishermen that fish off Aquidneck Island year-round catching lobster, crab, and conch. The 'Shack' was built back in 2010 and has expanded to offer both a live market and kitchen. The co-op exclusively sells lobsters that have been caught by local fisherman at Pier 9. Hours vary throughout the year and are subject to change based on available product and labor. Spring and Summer hours are generally Thursday through Sunday. Live Market hours are generally 10AM to 6PM and Kitchen hours are 11:30AM to 6PM. Check out newportlobstershack.com for more information and updates! Meet Scott Christopher of F/V Nicolas C. A lifelong Rhode Islander who grew up close to the water, a career in fishing came naturally to him. Scott has been involved with commercial fishing since the age of 12, now having over 40 years of experience on the job. Scott has been involved in many fisheries over the years, most recently making the switch from lobstering to dragging 10 years ago. Among the many species that Scott brings to port are squid, whiting, and butterfish. He has made commercial fishing a family business and his son joins him out on the water to gain experience and one day take the helm. Scott enjoys being his own boss and the freedom to travel and surf that it affords. Scott fishes year-round and offloads his bounty at Handrigan’s Seafood and Fox Seafood. Meet Wild Harvest Quahogger Jody King Meet renowned Narragansett Bay quahogger Jody King! Jody has been commercially fishing for 40 years, 30 of which have been in the quahog industry. Although Jody has fished just about every commercial fishery in Rhode Island, quahogging is, by far, his favorite. He bullrakes a living out of the Bay on his boat the F/V Black Gold – selling his daily haul to markets, where they make their way to various restaurants serving #RISeafood. Jody's clams are distinguishable as "Jody King clams" because of their clean shells. When asked what makes him love his job after 40 years, Jody pointed to the water and replied, "Look at my office. There is no better window than this." Jody also helps spread the Ocean State’s cultural heritage of clamming out on the water through the popular 'Come Clam With Me' classes with @Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management's Division of Fish & Wildlife's Aquatic Resource Education program. Jody instructs folks of all ages about the ins and outs of recreational clamming – helping them discover just what it takes to get local clams to your plate Meet Captain Jay Swoboda Captain Jay Swoboda has spent 53 years fishing in the water off Rhode Island’s coast. He has been fishing commercially since he first acquired his first lobster license at fifteen. Out of the docks in Narragansett, Jay brings in lobster, crabs, and black sea bass throughout the year. He participates in the commercial fisheries research program, started by fishers for fishers, and focuses on collaborative research while being funded by grants. He started participating in this research to give back to the fisheries that have supported him. Through this research, Jay tracks the temperature on the ocean bottom of 60 lobster and crab traps each month. After all these years, Jay says he does not fish for a profit but because he finds joy in his work. With his lobster permit, he is allowed 450 traps and lines containing 15 traps each. Jay and other fishers out of the Port of Galilee in Point Judith offer direct sales of their catch when available. Interesting in purchasing fresh RI seafood from Jay? Because plastic takes hundreds of years to biodegrade, Jay uses compostable bags in his dockside sales. You can reach him through text ONLY at (401) 742-4351. Know your Harvester Jack Moore F/V Shelldrake Meet Jack Moore of the F/V Shelldrake out of Pt. Judith . Since 2012, he has operated his own skiff and worked as a deckhand with other fishermen in the Port of Galilee. Jack was drawn to the fishing industry because he grew up in Galilee, having always admired the lifestyle of the fishermen and enjoyed spending time on the water. Having a degree in Wildlife Conservation helps him apply the best sustainable fishing practices on the water. He fishes for black sea bass and scup from a fish trap, and occasionally hook and line fishes for other finfish. His catch is offloaded and sold to the Town Dock in the Port of Galilee. Meet Captain Richard Lonks Rich is a 27-year-old Rhode Island native and quahogger out of Apponaug. When available, he also fishes for striped bass. Rich's original focus was culinary school and cooking, but in 2018 he switched to commercial fishing, and in 2019 bought his own boat. Rich started on a student quahog license and worked his way up to a commercial permit. He is among the few younger fishers who have found their way into the industry. He says the work keeps him grounded and his favorite days on the water are those where the snow is falling and he feels closest to nature. Rich is now part of the Shellfishermen’s association and fishes year round. You can shop for his quahogs at Twin Shellfish in Warwick. Meet Aquaculturist Perry Raso Perry Raso is a jack of all trades. He started digging littlenecks in Point Judith Pond when he was 12 and today is an aquaculturist based out of Potter Pond in East Matunuck (South Kingstown), RI. He is the founder and owner of Matunuck Oyster Farm, Matunuck Oyster Bar, Matunuck Organic Vegetable Farm, and Matunuck Shellfish Hatchery. Perry studied aquaculture and fisheries at URI in pathology science and aquaculture. He says he continues his work in aquaculture because "shellfish is what I know best. It's what I'm good at." He has fully submerged into the industry by attending shellfish conferences and exploring the academic aspect of the industry. Perry grows species native to the state of RI, and they can be found on Matunuck Oyster Bar's menu year-round. Meet Mason Silkes Mason is one of three brothers that make up the family-owned American Mussel Harvesters, Inc. Mason pursued a career in the fishing industry after growing up watching his father Bill operate the family business. Mason and his brother Adam take on the aquaculture farm side of the business while their older brother Greg handles the management side. Mason studied aquaculture and fisheries science at @URI and after traveling for a bit following graduation he returned to join the family business. He has been fishing and working at American Mussel Harvesters for ten years and says that he still enjoys being on the water because it affords him variety in his daily work. His one piece of advice to consumers is to try shellfish, specifically oysters because they aren’t as “scary” as they may appear – and aw *shucks* we agree with Mason! Meet Commercial Fishermen Sarah Schumann She has been active in Rhode Island and Alaska fisheries for a number of years and works in various sectors of the fishing community. She says that “fishing isn’t only about the harvesting. It is an important multi-layered industry.” Sarah obtained her BS in Marine Affairs from URI and an MSc in Nature, Society, and Environmental Policy from the University of Oxford. She is currently a deckhand on F/V Oceana with Captain Dean Pesante out of the Port of Galilee. Sarah got involved in fisheries in 2000 and took her first fishing job in 2004. She is currently harvesting finfish, but she has also participated in quahogging, lobster, and other inshore species. Sarah is working on the Fishery Friendly Climate Action campaign, a bicoastal campaign that calls on policymakers to support fishery-friendly climate solutions. Sarah is also the author of two books: Rhode Island’s Shellfish Heritage: An Ecological History and Simmering the Sea: Diversifying our Cookery to Sustain our Fisheries. Meet RI Commercial Fishermen Dean Pesante Since 1980, Dean Pesante has made a lifelong career of spending time on the ocean. He started at URI, participating in a fisheries and marine technology program, and has fished from the Port of Galilee aboard his vessel, the F/V Oceana, since 1991. Before that, he crewed for a boat out of San Francisco for herring and aboard off-shore draggers and sainters. Dean lands a variety of RI seafood, including bluefish, scup, black sea bass, dogfish, and bonito. After all these years, he still enjoys life on the water and the seasonality of the fishing industry, which for him is from April to November. His catch is offloaded to Town Dock, which sells hand-cut fillets and whole fish. For retail sales, you can find his fish at Fox Smoked Fish, a specialty food business in Narragansett that often smokes his bluefish and other species in small batches. Meet Quahogger Nick Celico of F/V Snafu Nick Celico is a 25-year-old Westerly native who grew up clamming and always enjoyed it. He got started on a student license in 2017 before getting a commercial license. Nick holds a Bachelor's degree in Biology and a Master's in Oceanography from URI. Currently, he is studying towards a law degree in Marine and Maritime at Roger Williams University. Meet Commercial Fishermen Peter Silva Meet Peter Silva, a commercial fisherman out of Misquamicut. Peter fishes for quahogs, crab , and finfish while also operating four additional businesses throughout RI. He grew up clamming with his grandfather and always enjoyed it, so he joined the commercial industry six years ago. Peter is a member of Fresh Harvest Kitchen in Westerly where he sells his catch. He is excited about the RI seafood marketing campaign and looks forward to connecting consumers to their seafood source and to spread knowledge on local species availability throughout the Ocean State Meet Scalloper Mike Marchetti Captain Mike Marchetti is a scalloper from Pt. Judith who owns and operates F/V Mister G. and is soon to be operating his second vessel the F/V Resilient. Mike has been a commercial fishermen since the late 1980’s and got started on a boat at the age of 15. He grew up around the salt ponds in Narragansett and got his start in lobster fishing before making the switch to scallops in the early 2000’s. Mike fishes offshore so scallop year round and his scallops can be found at Ferry Wharf Seafoods as well as Champlin’s. Scallops are harvested off the rocky and sandy ocean floor using a chain bag dredge that slides on the bottom. The meat, also known as the muscle in the scallop is what is saved and sold for consumption. After 30+ years on the ocean, Mike says he still wakes up and enjoys the work he does every day. Meet Captain Peter Brodeur of F/V Wendy Gail Peter has been commercially fishing for over 40 years and made the change after having a career in optical labs. He grew up on the salt ponds in Rhode Island and had crewed on other vessels before getting his own boat in 1983. Over the course of his fishing career, Peter has been the sitting President of the local lobster association as well as a volunteer. He fishes for lobster with bycatch species including crab, cod, black sea bass, and tautog. During the week, Peter can be found doing direct sales at the UU dock in Galilee and can be reached for availability by TEXT ONLY at 401-345-1307. Meet Captain Louis Fusco F/V Diversion Captain Louis Fusco of the F/V Diversion has been a commercial fisherman for 37 years. Louis harvests lobsters for nine months every year and enjoys fishing because he gets to be his own boss while having a great career and working hard. He wants to see the commercial fishing industry flourish as he gets closer to the end of his fishing career, which has been fast-tracked by many of the challenges lobstermen face. With the lack of resources and inability to fight back as small-scale fishermen, Louis fears this will drive many lifelong fishermen out of the trade. During the summer months, you can find a variety of fishermen, Louis included, selling lobsters direct off the boats in Narragansett's Port of Galilee. Meet RI Commercial Fisherman Adam Dyer Adam Dyer grew up around the salt ponds in Narragansett and made the easy decision to go into commercial fishing over 24 years ago. Adam fishes year-round for various species using traps. Some of these species include crab, fluke, scup, black sea bass, conch and quahogs. From January to March his focus is quahogs and occasionally crewing on a dragger. Adam offloads to Town Dock as well as Champlin’s throughout the year. Meet third-generation fishermen Greg Matorones Greg Matorones is a third-generation fisherman from Sakonnet, RI. He fishes year-round for a variety of species that include crab, lobster, skates, and monkfish. Greg has been fishing since he was eight and has been at the helm of his own fishing vessel for over 20 years. He started fishing with his dad in childhood and has always enjoyed the work. After getting a degree in Marine Biology from South Hampton University, he quickly transitioned into commercial fishing. Greg says his favorite way to use monkfish is in chowder, but that its tender white meat can be enjoyed in various ways. Direct Sellers- Port of Galilee Fishermen Did you know, you can buy #RISeafood directly from commercial fishers at the Port of Galilee? Commercial harvesters, including Mark Sweitzer of the F/V Erica Knight, Dick Dodson of the F/V Kathleen Mary, Peter Broda of the F/V Wendy Gail, the F/V Karen Ann, and various others offer daily dock-to-dish sales at RI's largest fishing port ! Find their direct contact information and #FindYourFresh at seafoodri.com using the RI Seafood Finder. A state-owned facility, the Port of Galilee highlights the importance of maintaining working waterfronts to ensure that Rhode Island's fishing industry remains resilient to development pressure. It provides tourists and locals alike the opportunity to eat fresh, locally landed seafood while providing a steady source of income to local fishers . In addition to providing consumers a year-round abundance of fresh and delicious RI Seafood, Galilee brings important economic contributions to the Ocean State . In 2019 alone, seafood landings at Galilee totaled 48.1M pounds and were valued at nearly $66M! Meet RI Seafood Harvester Dick Dodson F/V Kathleen Mary Meet Captain Dick Dodson, owner of F/V Kathleen Mary out of the Port of Galilee. Dick has been fishing commercially for over 40 years out of Pt. Judith. You can find him at dock UU in the Port of Galilee every week, selling lobster and crab from his boat. Dick fishes over 200 days of the year with over 500 traps and takes the winter months off to rest. He will also occasionally sell his catch wholesale. However, throughout his career, he has built relationships with customers and sells most of his catch through off-the-dock sales at RI's largest fishing port!. Meet Captain Davy Andrade F/V Reaper Meet Davy Andrade, who grew up on the waters of Bristol fishing with his father. He now fishes commercially for quahogs on his own boat, the F/V Reaper , year-round. His earliest memories on the water are when Davy and his two sisters would assist his parents on the boat every Sunday. Davy graduated high school in 2014 and went straight into the commercial fishing industry. He has owned and operated his boat for more than seven years now. Davy says that he has always loved everything about the industry; the fish, the seafood , the ability to work outside , and the opportunity to share his passion with people everyday. Davy’s catch can be found daily at Andrade’s Catch! Meet Commercial Quahogger Mike McGiveney Meet Captain Mike McGiveney. Mike was born and raised in Warwick and from a young age grew up around the water . Mike got his first boat in the summer of 1979 after spending his childhood working on boats and developing his love of the water. Before becoming a full time quahogger, Mike earned a degree in political science with a minor in philosophy from URI in 1980. Once he graduated, he began his career in quahogging. After more than forty-four years he says he still loves the job and all that comes with it; the challenges, the physicality, and most importantly, the work. Mike says that in all those, he has never had any two days be the same. Mike has been the President of the Rhode Island Shellfishermen’s Association, whose mission is to improve the working conditions for shellfishermen in RI, enhance and preserve the bay, and promote shellfish since 1995. Clamming runs in the McGiveney family, and Mike’s twin brothers own and operate their own business Twin Shellfish in Apponaug. At the end of each fishing day, Mike sells his clams to his brothers. Meet Captain Mike Foley F/V Staunch Meet Captain Mike Foley. Mike has been commercially fishing for many years and currently operates on the F/V Staunch. Mike got his start in the fishing industry because his neighbor was a fishermen and he admired the work. Mike received degrees in fisheries and agriculture, and shortly after graduating, he went into the business of commercially fishing himself. Mike regularly fishes for crabs, lobster, clams, and sea bass out of Point Judith. Once he returns to port, Mike can be found offloading his catch at Narragansett Bay Lobster.