Experience Westport’s Seafaring Culture with Fresh Catch

Image for post
Image for post

As one of Washington’s busiest commercial fishing ports, Westport — like many of our state’s towns that dot the coast — arguably celebrates Seafood Month all year long.

Located at the mouth of Grays Harbor on Point Chehalis, Westport has long been a hub for commercial fishing, shellfish harvesting, and seafood processing. The Westport Lighthouse, one of Westport’s earliest structures dedicated in 1898, was built to guide such seafarers home.

Commercial seafood continues to be a stronghold of the community and supports markets for Washington rockfish, Dungeness crab, Albacore tuna, halibut, coastal salmon, pink shrimp and prawns, and oysters — all of which are sustainably harvested.

“The Fresh Catch campaign has been a great way to highlight Westport’s Seafood Industry and promote fresh seafood availability,” said Mayor Rob Bearden. “Partnering with the Port of Grays Harbor has allowed us to engage with a broad base of people looking for fresh seafood. Our local fishermen, residents and guests all benefit, which is positive for the entire community and economy.”

“Westport community has long been a leader in commercial fishing in Washington and it is exciting to see the innovative ways that Westport markets seafood to consumers,” said Sarah Fisken, seafood specialist with Washington Sea Grant.

Image for post
Image for post

Recently, the Port of Grays Harbor and the City of Westport teamed up to support and promote local seafood sourced directly from the fishermen. The Westport’s Fresh Catch Project is designed to help fishermen reach consumers through the City’s new marketing efforts and the Port’s new signage at the marina.

Visitors and locals want quality WA seafood- and the Westport’s Fresh Catch Project is a great way to help them find it!” said Molly Bold, Westport Business Manager for the Port of Grays Harbor. “Thousands of folks visit the marina each year to experience our dynamic waterfront — finding new ways to connect these visitors with local Washington seafood is a win-win for our guests and our fishermen.”

A video Westport’s Fresh Catch launched this fall features Dungeness crab, which you can find at dockside markets or directly from commercial fishers 10 months of the year.

WDFW works with Westport and other commercial fisherman to oversee the management of fish and shellfish harvested in Washington waters that make their way to markets locally and around the world. This stringent science-based monitoring helps to ensure Pacific Northwest seafood will continue to make its way to restaurant menus and families’ tables year after year.

WDFW uses extensive monitoring to ensure sustainable, ecologically resilient Dungeness crab populations. Pre-season and post-season testing includes measuring crab shell size, hardness, and other data points to help get a better understanding of the health and abundance of the Dungeness crab population. Visit our Commercial Dungeness Crab Fishery web page to learn more.

For more information about Westport’s Fresh Catch, Westport markets, and commercial fishers, visit https://www.experiencewestport.com/fresh-catch.

Image for post
Image for post
Teresa Reeves, left, and Libie Cain, right, of Sassy Seafood, based in Westport. Photo by Cortney Kelley Photography.

Learn more about Westport’s community of folks helping to bring local Washington seafood to consumers, restaurants, and markets with this blog post from our friends at Washington Sea Grant. WSG interviewed commercial fisher Libie Cain to learn more about her experiences Dungeness crab and albacore fishing out of Westport.

Not in Westport, but still want to taste all that Washington has to offer? Plan a visit or find local Washington seafood near you with the help of Local Catch, a network of supported fisheries and small-scale harvesters.

Of course, when seasons are open, visitors who are inclined to try their own hand can also head out to beaches to harvest clams on nearby beaches, or with one of the port’s many guide and charter operations. Few actives can compete with the thrill of harvesting your own seafood meal.

Or, one of the simplest ways to enjoy Westport’s bounty, is to grab a meal from one of the restaurants featuring locally harvested options.

Learn more at wdfw.wa.gov/LocalWASeafood.

Photos and video courtesy of Capture.Share.Repeat.

Written by

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is dedicated to preserving, protecting and perpetuating the state’s fish and wildlife resources.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store