PORTLAND, Maine — Top of the list when guests visit Maine is often lobster. Roasted mackerel, island-spiced pollock and maple miso redfish? Not so much.

On Thursday night a pod of chefs, scientists and fishermen will gather in the Old Port at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute to demonstrate how tasty these lesser known fish can be. And you’re invited.

Now in its third year, the annual Gulf of Maine Seafood Celebration held at GMRI’s headquarters on the Portland waterfront honors these abundant, local fish that don’t leap to mind when you think omega-3s.

“It’s fun to see the diversity. We will have a program with all the recipes so people can make it all at home,” Jen Levin, the institute’s sustainable seafood program manager, said. “People travel from out of state and make weekend trips out of it.”

The institute’s culinary partners, which include EVO and Five-Fifty-Five in Portland, Inn by the Sea in Cape Elizabeth and Five-O Shore Road in Ogunquit, will create innovative dishes with sustainably harvested fish. As guests flow through the three-story atrium, speakers such as lobsterman Kristan Porter of Cutler will talk about ways consumers can strengthen the state’s marine resources.

“People should really pay attention to the seafood they are eating, No. 1. If it’s caught locally, if it’s Maine seafood, all of our seafood is managed,” he said. “No. 2, sustainability. If you are eating Maine seafood, you are helping the economy.”

Approximately 90 percent of fish consumed in the U.S. is imported. Fisherman such as Porter, who also fishes for scallops and mahogany quahogs, would like to change that.

“This is a good opportunity for the public to get a taste of other seafoods harvested in Maine — great-tasting seafoods,” he said.

How gourmet can this get?

The menu includes Korean-style dogfish tacos, trofie with smoked pollock, redfish tacos with serrano jam and avocado relish, pickled mackerel with ginger salad and avocado toum, and smoked hake with bergamot on avocado toast with radish sprouts.

“Scallops, hake, fish tacos, fish cakes, fancy things,” Levin said. “It’s going to be really fun.”

A portion of proceeds directly support GMRI’s sustainable seafood programs.

The event takes place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. April 7 at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, 350 Commercial St., Portland. Tickets are $65 at the door. For more information visit gmri.org/events.

Follow BDN Portland on Facebook for more Portland coverage.

Kathleen Pierce

A lifelong journalist with a deep curiosity for what's next. Interested in food, culture, trends and the thrill of a good scoop. BDN features reporter based in Portland since 2013.