PROVIDENCE, R.I (WJAR) — Students at Classical High School are the first in Rhode Island to get a taste of a new partnership, which features dogfish on the menu.
"Ninety-eight to ninety-nine percent of all dogfish caught in this country get exported to Europe," said Jamey Lionette, who is the director of Red’s Best Sustainable Seafood Program. “The people in Europe -- they know how delicious it is."
"Red's Best started about nine years ago and we're basically designed to support the local fleet in Southern Mass., and so we have four ports and 12 trucks that are picking up at large harbors up and down Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire," Lionette said.
At Classical, the students get to touch freshly caught dogfish and other locally caught fish, as well as sample the dogfish.
"They'll see this dogfish was caught by Doug Feeney in Chatham on the Noah," said Lionette.
The next day, they’ll have the opportunity to have baja fish tacos made using the dogfish.
"Getting local fish has been a bit of a challenge," said Andrew Viveiros, general manager of Sodexo in Providence.
The recent partnership between Sodexo and Red's Best --by way of food service distributor, Sysco -- is changing that.
"Partnering with Red’s Best -- they have the product so we're hoping it takes off," said Viveiros.
Students are certainly enjoying it.
"It was pretty interesting to see it and then eat it," said Pedro Moya, a junior at Classical.
"It has a really fresh taste."
Abigail Bateson, a sophomore, shared similar sentiments.
"I think it was definitely refreshing,” she said. “I'm not used to having something as good as this."
Another student agreed.
"It was different. It was nice," added Sarah Kahn, a sophomore.
"I could taste the fish. It didn't taste artificial at all,” said Mary Awopileda, a sophomore. “And the salsa also was really good."
The venture being viewed as a win-win.
"(It) wins for sustainability because it really cuts back on over fishing,” said Lionette. “It's really important for the fleet because they have an outlet for all the various species they catch in any given day and then the schools are getting fresh local fish."