UNH alum supports local fisheries in New England

Wednesday, January 22, 2020
Brendan Landry ‘17 at fishing pier

Brendan Landry ‘17 is all about fish and fishermen. When he graduated with an undergraduate degree in health management and policy, he was interested in food systems. His sustainability fellowship in the summer of 2017 ignited a passion for fisheries. Today, Brendan is part of Gulf of Maine Sashimi where he works with local fishermen to sell their high-quality seafood to restaurants in New England, and beyond.

“Without my time as a sustainability fellow, I am confident I would not be where I am today,” Landry says. “I entered the program with an interest in food systems and left with a full-fledged passion — and obsession — for the fisheries. I learned incredible problem solving and leadership skills through the Sustainability Fellowship program.” 

“We noticed a major disconnect between restaurants and their fish supply. All of the high-quality product they served was coming from overseas."

During his Sustainability Fellowship, Landry worked with New Hampshire Community Seafood to develop a presence in farmers markets across New Hampshire. He learned the importance of local communities in supporting fisheries, as well as the challenges associated with driving grassroots change. Landry was introduced to Jen Levin at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute during his fellowship. Shortly after, they teamed up to start Gulf of Maine Sashimi in Portland, Maine. 

“We noticed a major disconnect between restaurants and their fish supply. All of the high-quality product they served was coming from overseas,” Landry says. “We saw this as an opportunity to really add value to the fisheries here in the Gulf of Maine by getting fishermen more money for their catch and giving talented chefs a chance to source high quality, whole fish directly from local fishermen. They needed a connector, and this is where Gulf of Maine Sashimi comes in.”

Landry spends most of his time on the sourcing side, working with boats, and teaching fishermen advanced handling practices that result in high-quality product and a premium price back to the boat — sometimes as high as 500% for underutilized species. All thanks to his summer fellowship.

UNH’s Sustainability Fellowships are one aspect of UNH’s multifaceted sustainability leadership and part of why UNH has been recognized as a national “cool” school by Sierra Club and why UNH has a Platinum ranking by AASHE STARS.

The Sustainability Fellows and the Social Innovation Internship programs are currently seeking applications for summer 2020. Projects include expanding functionality of SIMAP, calculating the carbon and nitrogen footprints for Durham, New Hampshire, supporting energy education and outreach for the Burlington Electric Department in Burlington, Vermont, and many more. Applications are due by Feb. 10, 2020.