Southern New England at Cook & Brown Public House, September 10, 2012

Cook and Brown Public House hosted an Eating with the Ecosystem dinner on Sept 10, featuring Southern New England waters. The elaborate menu included shellfish, finfish, and coastal plants and fruits from Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island's coastal salt ponds. The 60 guests assembled also heard presentations from scientist Jon Hare, oceans advocate John Torgan, and floating fish trap operator Anthony Parascandolo. The speakers shed light on how the oceans, and the fishery ecosystems they sustain, are changing rapidly and unpredictably due to global climate change and other factors. While we enjoy these delicious fruits of the sea, we must try to understand what makes these ecosystems work and how to take diligent care of them so that they continue to feed us!


  • Pre-dinner cocktail course: Pt Judith Pond periwinkles in blue crab sauce
  • First course: Whelk and Slipper Shell "Snail Salad", with whelks harvested by Dan Eagan in Mount Hope Bay and slipper shells harvested by Sarah Schumann in RI salt ponds.
  • Second course: Top Neck Quahog Tartar, with topnecks harvested by Sarah Schumann in RI salt ponds
  • Third course: Butterfish Amandine, with butterfish and skate from Black Point Fish Trap in Narragansett. Also featuring salicornia (coastal succulent greens) from Seapowet Salt Marsh in Tiverton
  • Fourth Course: Bouillabaisse. Featuring mussels from Pt Judith Pond and shad and dogfish from Black Point Fish Trap in Narragansett.
  • Dessert: Bay Leaf Panna Cotta,featuring bay leaves from Touisset Marsh, and Rose Hip Jam Shortbread Sandwiches, featuring rose hips from Seapowet Salt Mars

Guest speakers:

Dr. Jonathan Hare (Northeast Fisheries Science Center): Jon has been director of the NEFSC’s Narragansett Laboratory since 2005. He has conducted research in the Gulf of Mexico, South Florida and along the southeast U.S. coast.  Recently, Jon has started to examine the effect of climate change on fish population dynamics. This work involves coupling the output of IPCC-class climate models with fish population models to simulate the effects of climate change on population dynamics. Jon is also involved in the development of ocean observing systems in the broad sense. He oversees the NEFSC operational oceanographic programs and works to integrate these data into regional physical and biological models.

John Torgan (The Nature Conservancy): John grew up on the water and worked summers through high school and college on charter fishing boats out of Point Judith. He served for more than 18 years as Narragansett Baykeeper and Director of Advocacy for Save The Bay, where he dealt with nearly every issue affecting Rhode Island’s waters -- oil spills, wastewater, dredging, power plants, nutrient pollution, coastal development, urban waterfronts, invasive species, and more. John now leads the Nature Conservancy’s Ocean and Coastal Conservation programs in Rhode Island, focused on ecosystem-based management, water quality and habitat restoration, coastal adaptation and protection, sustainable fisheries, and regional ocean planning and management.

Anthony Parascandolo Jr. (floating trap fisherman): Anthony is a third generation fisherman.  He has been fishing since 1967, and is now the captain of the F/V Christine Roberta and the F/V H.N.Wilcox.  He is also president of The R.I. Fish Trap Association, and manager of H.N.Wilcox Fishing Inc., and Seal Rock Fishing Inc.

Cook & Brown Public House is located at 959 Hope Street  Providence, RI 02906.