Fighting for Food Justice
If we care about the ocean, we must care about who catches our seafood, their scale of operation, whether they get paid a fair price, where their catch goes, and whether those who really need seafood in their diet can have access to reasonably and fairly priced seafood.
The fight for food justice embodies all of our core values and is connected to everything that we do at NAMA. Fair wages and working conditions, equitable access and healthy marine ecosystems are essential to bringing about the food system we so desperately need. We envision a seafood economy based upon a triple-bottom-line set of values in which fish workers are paid a fair price, regional seafood markets adapt to the ocean’s health, everyone can access good, as-local-as-possible seafood, and the individuals who produce, distribute and consume seafood are at the center of decisions on food systems and policies.
This means shifting markets to benefit value-based seafood operations, ensuring access to affordable, healthy, culturally appropriate marine-based foods and ensuring the future of economically viable coastal communities and small-scale fishing fleets. We do this by working with traditional and non-traditional allies, shifting markets and policies, and including seafood in the food justice conversations. This work began with the first Community Supported Fishery (CSF) we helped create in Port Clyde, Maine in the winter 2007/2008 with an emphases on fair prices for fishermen. The CSF movement has grown and seeded new the new values-based seafood businesses that are supported by the Local Catch Network.
To date, most discussions around local food systems, food sovereignty, security, and safety have been limited to land-based foods. Despite the important role marine systems play in our diets either through direct consumption or as feed in agriculture, we often leave seafood off the discussion table. This omission has grave consequences not just for our food system, but also for the health of the marine ecosystem. Ignoring seafood and not applying lessons learned from land-based food systems gives fisheries managers and policy makers the green light to industrialize and privatize the marine ecosystem and push fisheries into the commodities market. In other words, repeat on the water the mistakes made on land at the onset of the farm crisis.
Local seafood paves the way for a truly safe, secure, sovereign and healthy regional food system and we are committed to ensuring seafood is included in local and regional food systems.
We do this by
- Ensuring seafood access for all
- Ensuring fair wages for fishermen and fair working conditions along the seafood supply chain.