Local fisherman and Abundant Seafood owner Mark Marhefka with a king mackerel on Geechie Dock at Shem Creek
The Marhefkas’ 35-year-old fiberglass workhorse, the Amy Marie
Mark and Kerry at Geechie Dock, where they launched Abundant Seafood’s Community Supported Fishery in 2010. Mark was among the first wave of fishermen to create a seafood membership plan that allows individuals to pay for quarterly allotments of fish, available for pickup twice each month.
A Family Affair: A second-generation fisherman, Mark (above center) and his brothers learned the ropes from their father, Gerald...
... aboard his boats, Bandit and later Bandit II, in the waters off Jacksonville. After Gerald died from a heart attack while at sea, Mark joined his older brother, Michael, aboard the Bandit II, working the North Carolina coast.
Mark in 1989 with a 92-pound wahoo
The fishing tradition continues with Mark’s eldest son, Andrew (not pictured), who has joined the business, and the Marhefkas’ younger children—Rebecca, with an amberjack in 2013...
... and Benjamin, in 2016, join their dad on the Amy Marie when time allows.
Kerry, a former fisheries biologist, handles everything from the financials to filleting.
Mark scaling croaker at Geechie Dock
For about a decade, local chefs have vied for Mark’s diverse and sustainably caught seafood. (Left to right) NICO chef-owner Nico Romo eyes some red porgy; Mark with The Grocery chef-owner Kevin Johnson, private chef Aaron Swersky, FIG’s Jason Stanhope, and Romo
FIG and The Ordinary chef and co-owner Mike Lata says that working with Mark and Kerry helped shift the local seafood conversation to diverse and sustainable practices.
On the Menu: Marhefka’s catch determines the menus at many top local restaurants: grilled pompano with ginger-scallion sauce at Chubby Fish
(Left to right) FIG’s baked bass with turnip and ramps; beeliner (vermillion snapper) with lady peas, red lime, and charred onion; and grilled triggerfish with spring peas, shiitake, sherried shallots, and cilantro
Chefs and restaurants proudly share their Abundant Seafood catches and compositions on their Instagram feeds: (left to right) king mackerel with Carolina Gold rice middlins and popped sorghum at FIG, a whole lookdown jack destined for someone’s dinner at Delaney Oyster House, banded rudderfish at Chubby Fish, and albacore tuna katsu at Jackrabbit Filly
In 2015, Abundant Seafood was featured on the late Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown. Here, chef Sean Brock, Mark, chef Aaron Swersky and Bourdain pose at Geechie Dock.
The catch of the day on Geechie Dock
With decades of involvement in fishery management, the Marhefkas are committed to working with scientists to ensure long-term sustainability of wild fish stocks. They aim to help spread the word of alternate catches at Abundant Seafood’s new market on Mixson Avenue (opening March 2020).
After years of catching a diverse array of fish for the city’s finest restaurants, the sustainable seafood champion is sharing the bounty, opening a market in Park Circle this spring