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Have we got some 'Fish Tales' for you

Even if you don't like seafood, you're going to want to nosh on The Day's series about the region's commercial fishing fleet.

Starting July 22, barring any major breaking news that delays our publication schedule, we're planning to introduce you to a way of life some of you have never imagined.

Up in the middle of the night, on the water before sunrise, surmounting mechanical problems and strict regulations, the men and women who ply our waters for some of the healthiest and most delicious food on the planet — OK, I'm biased about seafood, you got me — swear they wouldn't want to do anything else.

We'll show you the allure of the sea and the danger, too, through articles, photos, videos and podcasts. We'll tell you how the fish is caught, and what happens to it once it comes ashore.

Did I mention there will be sea chanteys and reader-submitted seafood recipes? We'll also have a very special story and video featuring a legendary and gracious French chef who lives nearby and is an avowed connoisseur of seafood.

You will see Stonington reporter Joe Wojtas' byline a lot. He's been covering the Stonington fishermen for decades, and lately has been spending so much time at the Town Dock, they should make him an honorary member of the fleet. You'll hear Wojtas' voice too, in a podcast we're producing about the search for the Heidi Marie, a lobster boat lost at sea in 1989.

As I write this, it's still coming together. Reporters are finishing their stories, photography director Sean Elliot is juggling so many assignments I've lost count, and editors are only just beginning the work of putting it all together.

Beloved veteran Day journalist Ann Baldelli is contributing to Fish Tales, having made her own trips to the Stonington Town Dock recently. New London reporter Greg Smith has been checking out the Whaling City's fishing fleet. Business reporter Erica Moser has been tackling the retail and restaurant angle. Norwich reporter Claire Bessette, a history and sea chantey enthusiast, has written an amazing story about Niantic's once prosperous menhaden industry and coordinated sea chantey coverage.

Features editor Kristy Dorsey and I have been stage-whispering, "Pepin!" in our best French accents every time we cross paths in the newsroom. We can't give enough credit to Lee White, food writer, who arranged the visit to Jacques Pepin's house and meticulously selected the seafood for the demonstration. (No, I'm not telling you which delectable shellfish he has offered to cook three different ways!)

We enjoy taking you behind the scenes at The Day, and we're guessing there are aspects of our business you may not have known about. Skilled staff members whose bylines you won't see also are working hard to bring you this informative and entertaining content.

As we set about compiling this series, designer Maria Reagan worked up a beautiful logo that you'll be seeing soon. Web developer Joe Ruggeri created a so-called taxonomy we will be using to code our online stories and, I'm certain, is doing other crucial things we take for granted.

Peter Huoppi, multimedia director, is producing a sea chantey video, and Carlos Virgen, assistant managin editor for audience development and wearer of many hats — and sometimes video cameras and headphones — is producing the Heidi Marie podcast. Scott Ritter, production manager, is making sure we have the space we need to publish the stories in print and working other magic still a mystery to me. Jaclyn Nardone, marketing manager, is helping with promotion.

To sum it up, it's all hands on deck for Fish Tales in the coming days. We hope you enjoy our work.

Karen Florin is The Day's engagement editor. She can be reached at k.florin@theday.com or (860) 701-4217.

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