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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program

Environmental Conservation

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



New England’s seafood industry has been searching for opportunities to diversify their landings and build resilience as it faces socio-economic challenges from a changing climate. Developing markets for underutilized species is one way the New England community could help their seafood industry build resilience. This thesis identified New England’s underutilized fish species and explored their marketplace potential by examining their availability in a changing climate, current availability to consumers, and consumers’ responses. In Chapter I, I account how New England’s seafood preferences have changed over time. In Chapter II, I identify New England’s seven underutilized seafood species: 1) Acadian redfish (Sebastes fasciatus), 2) Atlantic pollock (Pollachius virens), 3) butterfish (Peprilus triacanthus), 4) the Georges Bank and Georges Bank East stocks of haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus), 5) scup (Stenotomus chrysops 6) the northern stock of silver hake (Mercluccius bilinearis), and 7) white hake (Urophycis tenuis). In the same chapter, I show that climate change will likely affect the availability of these species differently and that the broader ecological and socio-economic responses from shifting distributions and phenology are largely unknown. In Chapter III, I demonstrate that besides haddock, underutilized species were rarely accessible to consumers in restaurants. In the same chapter, I show how resources would likely help consumers and restaurants connect with their underutilized species since popular seafood suggestion guides either overlook or provide inconsistent recommendations for all underutilized species. In Chapter IV, I suggest that younger generations (Millennials and Generation Z) are interested in engaging with underutilized species. These younger consumers responded positively to hake, haddock, and Atlantic pollock in sensory assessments. Finally, in Chapter V, I suggest how New England’s seafood supply chain can use results from this research to make more informed policy, marketing, and purchasing decisions that align with their sustainability goals. These insights into availability, access, and consumer response may help New England’s seafood industry strategize approaches that will connect younger consumers to their local seafood options and build new adaptive markets in a changing climate.


First Advisor

Michelle Staudinger

Second Advisor

Ezra Markowitz

Third Advisor

Katherine Mills

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.