Getting the Dogs Out


Red’s Best Dogfish Launch Party in Boston. Left to right, NAMA’s Brett Tolley, fisherman Doug Feeney, fisherman Dave Gelfman, Red’s Best’s Jared Auerbach, and fisherman Luther Bates.

Values-based seafood distributor Red’s Best recently launched a new line of value-added domestic dogfish items aimed to support community-based fishermen and increase access to quality, locally abundant seafood for institutions and the greater public.

Dogfish is an interesting example of remarketing a plentiful product with special properties. Dogfish has been plentiful in New England waters for a long time. A member of the shark family, it can grow to 4 feet long. The flesh is white, mild tasting with less shelf life than most groundfish such as cod and haddock. Shelf life is why all Red’s Best dogfish is shipped frozen.

In the summer 70,000 lbs. of dogfish is landed daily at Chatham, MA alone. At this time 98% of New England dogfish is exported to England where it is the fish of choice for that country’s large fish and chips market.

Red’s Best started on the Boston Fish pier in 2008. Its mission, according to the company’s founder Jared Auerbach, is to support small vessel fishermen. The company has grown to three aggregating locations in Chatham, Menemsha and New Bedford, MA where it buys from 1,000 fishermen and operates 25 trucks.

The company buys everything fishermen land believing all the catch has value and markets 50 different species. Its business is 97% wholesale. Aggregation and distribution is international with large markets in Japan and Korea. “Finding markets for this product range requires a lot of informing buyers and educating consumers about these products,” said company spokes person Valerie Rosenberg. “Many people have trouble identifying whole fish today. Informing chefs and consumers about various fish products, their uses and preparation options is part of the marketing at Red’s Best.”