Mike Ciaramella, New York Sea Grant‘s (NYSG) Seafood Specialist at Stony Brook University, led a summer internship program focused on New York’s seafood industry and provided participants with a “Fish-to-Dish” education. Five interns participated in the two-month program — funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Sea Grant Program — which introduced students to an industry with exceptional growth potential and empowered them to pursue careers in seafood science and aquaculture.
As a seafood specialist, Ciaramella works with the seafood industry, regulatory agencies and food and nutrition professionals on issues related to seafood safety, quality and marketing. “This program helps us to meet a serious need in addressing the lack of seafood- and aquaculture-specific education programs,” he said.
Key to the success of this internship program is the direct industry support it receives, with students working with industry partners. Each intern received hands-on training in his/her assigned sector of the seafood and aquaculture industry and obtained a “Fish-to-Dish” education on the industry as a whole.
As part of their on-the-job experience in July, the interns had a table at Columbia Sunday Greenmarket, a New York City-based farmers market highlighting local products, and they showcased posters that illustrated their experience at the Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead.
Congressman Lee Zeldin attended the poster display at the Aquarium. “It was a great experience meeting with the New York Sea Grant interns showcasing their research on seafood processing and aquaculture business. This program works with local shellfish farmers, fishermen and other businesses to help grow and sustain their businesses,” he said.
NOAA announced $9.3M in funding for this effort in Fall 2017, with research being conducted in partnership with Sea Grant programs around the country to further develop the nation’s marine and coastal aquaculture industry. In New York, a $100,000+ grant from this funding supports the Fish-to-Dish program supported by Congressman Zeldin. “I am proud of this federal funding secured for New York Sea Grant, a crucial program that provides resources to our local anglers and businesses, which will be used to support this vital industry and help preserve our cherished tradition of saltwater fishing,” he said.