In Media: SBU Seafood Specialist Guides Interns Through “Fish-to-Dish” Program
Seafood Safety and Technology - News

The interns (l-r: Sarah Burke, Justin Chon, Nathaniel Eddy, Matthew Pluschau, Matthew Tobin) with Stephen Frattini (in white t-shirt, center) from the Center for Aquatic Animal Research and Management, whom NYSG partnered with for this program. Credit: All photos courtesy of Mike Ciaramella/NYSG.

Published for Stony Brook University's E-news Site, Happenings

Stony Brook, NY, August 21, 2018 - Mike Ciaramella, New York Sea Grant‘s (NYSG) Seafood Specialist at Stony Brook University, led a summer internship program focused on New York’s seafood industry and provided participants with a “Fish-to-Dish” education. Five interns participated in the two-month program — funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Sea Grant Program — which introduced students to an industry with exceptional growth potential and empowered them to pursue careers in seafood science and aquaculture.

Intern Matthew Tobin (at center) is seen along with NYSG's Seafood Specialist Mike Ciaramella (at back left) interacting with visitors at the NYC Greenmarket event.

As a seafood specialist, Ciaramella works with the seafood industry, regulatory agencies and food and nutrition professionals on issues related to seafood safety, quality and marketing. “This program helps us to meet a serious need in addressing the lack of seafood- and aquaculture-specific education programs,” he said.

Key to the success of this internship program is the direct industry support it receives, with students working with industry partners. Each intern received hands-on training in his/her assigned sector of the seafood and aquaculture industry and obtained a “Fish-to-Dish” education on the industry as a whole.

As part of their on-the-job experience in July, the interns had a table at Columbia Sunday Greenmarket, a New York City-based farmers market highlighting local products, and they showcased posters that illustrated their experience at the Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead.

In early August 2018, Congressman Lee Zeldin, a Republican representing New York’s 1st congressional district (Central and Eastern Suffolk County, LI) since 2015, met with NY Sea Grant’s interns showcasing their research on seafood processing & aquaculture business at the Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead, NY. This program works with local shellfish farmers, fishermen & other businesses to help grow & sustain their businesses.

Congressman Lee Zeldin attended the poster display at the Aquarium. “It was a great experience meeting with the New York Sea Grant interns showcasing their research on seafood processing and aquaculture business. This program works with local shellfish farmers, fishermen and other businesses to help grow and sustain their businesses,” he said.

NOAA announced $9.3M in funding for this effort in Fall 2017, with research being conducted in partnership with Sea Grant programs around the country to further develop the nation’s marine and coastal aquaculture industry. In New York, a $100,000+ grant from this funding supports the Fish-to-Dish program supported by Congressman Zeldin. “I am proud of this federal funding secured for New York Sea Grant, a crucial program that provides resources to our local anglers and businesses, which will be used to support this vital industry and help preserve our cherished tradition of saltwater fishing,” he said.

Intern Matthew Tobin (at left) engages children with NYSG's Go Fish activity at NYC Green Market, one of several opportunities during which he and the other “Fish-to-Dish” interns learned the importance of outreach and education.

NYSG Intern Justin Chon (at left) clears a commercial crab trap during a commercial fishing trip with Capt. Peter Haskell. (at right) NYSG Interns explore commercial fisheries.

Other topics the interns addressed during their summer 2018 internship: (at left) fish disease management and (at right) sustainable aquaculture.

More Info: New York Sea Grant

New York Sea Grant (NYSG), a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York (SUNY), is one of 33 university-based programs under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Sea Grant College Program.

Since 1971, NYSG has represented a statewide network of integrated research, education and extension services promoting coastal community economic vitality, environmental sustainability and citizen awareness and understanding about the State’s marine and Great Lakes resources.

Through NYSG’s efforts, the combined talents of university scientists and extension specialists help develop and transfer science-based information to many coastal user groups—businesses and industries, federal, state and local government decision-makers and agency managers, educators, the media and the interested public.

The program maintains Great Lakes offices at Cornell University, SUNY Buffalo, SUNY Oswego and the Wayne County Cooperative Extension office in Newark. In the State's marine waters, NYSG has offices at Stony Brook University in Long Island, Brooklyn College and Cornell Cooperative Extension in NYC and Kingston in the Hudson Valley.

For updates on Sea Grant activities: has RSS, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube links. NYSG offers a free e-list sign up via for its flagship publication, NY Coastlines/Currents, which is published quarterly. Our program also produces an occasional e-newsletter,"NOAA Sea Grant's Social Media Review," via its blog,

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