The initiative aims to showcase Maryland's seafood industry amid COVID-19.

Governor Larry Hogan introduced a proclamation last month called "Buy Maryland Seafood Days." The initiative is scheduled for each Saturday during the month of September and encourages Marylanders to purchase locally-sourced seafood to support the industry amid the COVID-19 crisis.

“The Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries provide some of the world’s best and most bountiful seafood, including blue crabs, rockfish, oysters, and blue catfish,” Hogan said in a statement. “Supporting Maryland’s sustainable seafood industry and related businesses by purchasing their products throughout the year is important to Maryland’s economic recovery.”

According to Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder, seafood is a crucial resource to the statewide economy, as well as a cultural enterprise associated with the state itself. Seafood distributors and processors contribute $355 million to Maryland's economy, and according to a 2018 study from the Maryland Agricultural and Resource-Based Industry Development Corporation, over 3,000 jobs come from the fisheries alone.

maryland seafood

Courtesy of seafood.maryland.gov

Though the industry has been active during the pandemic, the longterm economic impact remains uncertain.

“Now more than ever, it is important that we continue to support these dedicated men and women who have worked hard throughout the state of emergency to continue providing the fresh, delicious seafood Maryland is known for," Bartenfelder said. 

In addition to the initiative, the Department of Agriculture's program Maryland's Best Seafood has launched an interactive database connecting consumers to seafood producers around the state. The tool links to spaces like farmer's markets offering direct sales of seafood like blue crab, rockfish, and other regional delicacies that may be difficult to obtain during the pandemic.

In the meantime, check out the Maryland Seafood page for more info on the industry and the state's variety of fish species. If you're feeling hungry, they even have tasty seafood recipes you can try at home! (crab cakes, anyone?).

Will you be purchasing some seafood next month? Let us know in the comments, along with your favorite seafood recipes!