By Laurel Tarantino
My friend June and I were fortunate to accompany Ann Molloy and her sister Maria Churchill up to Hampton Beach, NH last night, to see them accept Neptune Harvest’s award from the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment. The award was for outstanding innovation and leadership in achieving sustainable practices in the Gulf of Maine.
The Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment was established in 1989 by the governments of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts to foster cooperative actions for a healthy Gulf of Maine. Let me say, Neptune’s Harvest is doing just that and then some.
I grabbed an agenda and started jotting some highlights as the presenter of the awards gave a brief description of why each recipient was being given their award, thinking I could write all about it from my notes. Well, I never did take shorthand, and I can barely read my chicken scratches, but what I did bring out of this ceremony was a great sense of pride, for my friends, for Neptune’s Harvest, and for the City of Gloucester. The company that Neptune’s was in last night was exemplary on so many levels. Volunteerism, Protection, Conservation, Recycling, Awareness, Sustainability, Stewardship, Future… I capitalize these words as they are titles with so many efforts and people backing them up and following through on behalf of our Ocean, Watersheds, Wildlife, Forests, and even included, Community Pride.
As it turns out, I won’t make a great journalist, but I can tell you I’m terrifically happy there are people out there, not only watching over our environment, but doing things to protect it. When I went outside and saw young kids on Hampton Beach, I thought, “Do they know what’s going on in that big old ocean behind them? Are they aware how privileged they are to be playing in the surf and sand? Will they be the next generation of Stewards who will do great works like the people upstairs in that conference room?” I certainly hope so. If they don’t, where are the birds going to migrate, fish spawn, plants flourish and children play?
Why should Gloucester be proud of Neptune’s Harvest? Since 1986, they have been a leader in the industry and a model to follow. A spin off of their parent company, Ocean Crest Seafoods, a wholesale seafood company established in Gloucester in 1965. After processing a fish for its edible portion, up to 70% becomes waste. With the state of Massachusetts and local universities they developed a process to turn 100% of that waste into a highly beneficial organic fertilizer. Waste once dumped back into the ocean or into landfills is now improving soil locally and worldwide. Producing stronger healthier plants reduces and eliminates the need for pesticides. Increasing the organic matter in soil allows the soil to retain more water, reducing runoff and in turn, maintains healthier watersheds. Neptune’s sells their products out of Gloucester in one-pint containers and up to 4,500-gallon tanker trucks. The times that we’re in, with folks wanting to be rid of GMOs in their foods, I can only see Neptune’s growing each year.
Let’s just hope we can hang onto our fishing industry so the wonderful things that Neptune’s is doing can continue for generations to come.
I was truly impressed with each award recipient. As much as I wish I could talk about all of them, I have to stick with our home team as I’m short on time. I was never once bored at this function, as can happen as we all know. I think these people were so passionate about this all- important subject Marine Environment, they made you want to learn more.
On the ride home, on Rte. 133 just outside of Rowley, there was still enough daylight to cast a beautiful glow on some horses’ healthy coats. All four of us, at the same time said, “Wow!” Guess you had to be there. Green, green grass, happy romping horses, just an all around perfect scene. Ann beat us to what we were all thinking… “We truly live in a beautiful place, don’t we?” A question that didn’t require an answer, but one we should all think about each day and ask ourselves, “What can I do to help keep it this way?”
Laurel Tarantino is on the Board of Editors of Enduring Gloucester