UMBC-led Aquaculture Research Center donates thousands of pounds of seafood to local food pantries

Published: Feb 22, 2024

A man holds a large fish over a huge blue tub full of ice and other fish.
Yonathan Zohar helps prepare salmon grown at the Aquaculture Research Center for donation to DC Central Kitchen. (Image by Tasia Talbert/IMET)

The Aquaculture Research Center (ARC) at the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET), led by Yonathan Zohar, professor of marine biotechnology, has been focused for years on advancing sustainable methods of growing fish on land to meet the growing global demand for seafood. In addition to helping develop new, environmentally responsible ways of producing nutritious food for the long term, the ARC is helping to meet immediate needs in the local community. 

Today, the center donated 1,200 pounds of Atlantic salmon to DC Central Kitchen, a food pantry in Southwest Washington, D.C., after donating 1,400 pounds in November 2023. ProFish, located in Washington, DC, processed the salmon for the donations.

The ARC’s seafood donation program launched in 2017, when the Feeding Individuals to Support Health (FISH) initiative was formed in partnership with several local businesses and non-profit organizations. The first major donation distributed thousands of pounds of European sea bass (also known as bronzino) grown in the ARC’s marine tanks to communities in need in the Baltimore area.

“The U.S. is the largest importer of seafood in the world. Currently the oceans are overfished, and IMET is working on innovative aquaculture platforms that will reduce U.S. and global dependence on wild fisheries stocks,” Zohar says. “Through these donations, we can also provide a small level of societal benefit right away and close to home.”

Learn more about groundbreaking work at the Aquaculture Research Center here.

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