by Sue Giustino
Inlet Seafood Commercial Fishing Dock and Restaurant
At this year’s Seafood Festival, the Inlet Seafood Commercial Fishermen representatives will be on site to Present “Commercial Fishing to the Next Generation”. Among other activities, they will be on hand to discuss commercial fishing, and have old fishing nets to demonstrate how they repair and recycle them. In addition, there will be a tank with some uncommon fish and other interesting sea animals.
The Inlet Seafood Restaurant, at the end of East Lake Dr., has been locally-owned by commercial fishermen since 2006. The six longtime friends and fishermen own and operate the restaurant. After speaking with Amanda Jones [she’s part of one of the six families], she sent the following information about the property and their industry.
The sleepy fishing village that once was, is no longer. We purchased the Inlet property in 1990 after leasing the dock for many years. When the owner posted the property for sale, there was one stipulation – he would only sell it to commercial fishermen. That’s the way Montauk was back then. The fishing community WAS Montauk. The Montauk School was full of kids whose fathers were offshore for weeks at a time. The wives would sit together during school plays and videotape for them to watch when they were back on land. All the kids would get together for sleepovers during Nor ‘Easters, to distract them from the fact that their dads were offshore weathering the storm. We lived by the words- ‘Respect the Ocean, Harvest the Bounty, Feed the People’. Over the years, we lost some of the greats, and the fleet dwindled. Between fuel prices, government regulation, and lack of crew, keeping our heads above water has been a struggle until recently. Our quotas seem to rise, and the next generation is rising to the occasion. On any given day, three generations of commercial fishermen are putting fish over our dock. Those fish are shipped to the city and ultimately dispersed throughout the country.
As a whole, the world is more health conscious than it’s ever been. Everyone does their best to buy organic, non-GMO, no Antibiotics beef & chicken, but nobody seems to care or know where their seafood originates. Most of it comes from overseas, with little to no regulation. They inject the fish with plumpers and chemicals that aren’t legal in the US. The fish are raised in grossly unsanitary conditions.
We want the younger generations to be educated on this industry. We want them to know and respect the ocean. We want them to know that an industry that feeds you is an industry worth fighting for. We want them to continue the fight for sustainable fisheries. We want our grandkid’s grandkids to be able to feed the people. We’re trying to bring back that sense of community and respect. There are more commercial fishing boats in the harbor this year than there have been in years. While old Montauk may be gone- we’re still here, risking our lives to feed you.
Be sure to stop by and see them at the Kids’ tent at the Montauk Seafood Festival on September 10th and 11th.