Community Supported Fisheries: Helping Fishermen Fish Smarter, Not Harder
With the constant changes in the life of fishermen, one place where they can begin to take back some control is their relationship with those who eat what they catch, the price they get paid for their day's work and the food systems into which their catch enters.
It makes no sense any more to pay fishermen a price that doesn't cover their real cost of operation while the consumers are paying much more than they should for packaged, frozen or days-old seafood trucked hundreds or thousands of miles when it was caught steps away from our homes.
In addition to getting fishermen a better price for their catch, Community Supported Fisheries allow us to have a conversation with seafood consumers about the entire food-supply-chain process of what swims in the ocean to what lands on our plates. By creating transparency around our seafood production processes, CSFs help define the importance of local food sources by emphasizing sustainable fishery practices; encouraging environmental sensitivity among fishermen; ensuring higher quality processing standards; providing a direct-to-consumer, low-carbon foot-print; and ultimately, a competitively-priced, higher quality seafood experience for the consumer.
In short, CSFs help achieve not only the triple bottom line so many of us are striving toward, but a quadruple bottom line including:
CSFs encourage an ethic of ecological stewardship that results in creative, community-based approaches to marine conservation.
CSFs increase the viability of traditional coastal communities by fostering economic opportunities that support natural resource-based livelihoods.
CSFs cultivate ties and establish bonds between shoreside communities and inshore urban, suburban and rural communities by providing fresh, local seafood.
Healthy Regional Food Systems
CSFs pave the way for a truly safe, secure, sovereign and healthy regional food system by ensuring seafood is included in local and regional food systems.
To help fishermen and fishing communities get started, we’ve put together a primer, a Bait Box if you will, of what a CSF is and why it can work in their community. There you’ll find more tools that you’ll need as you get started, like a sample CSF contract, a shrimp preparation handout, recipes and contact information for regulatory agencies in your state. We can even set fishermen up with their own web pages hosted on this site that can serve as their permanent or start up website. We encourage CSFs to maintain their page on this website even if they eventually set up their own independent website because connected to their page on this site is a CSF search feature. Consumers looking for a CSF can enter a zip code to find the CSF pick up point closest to them. They can even print a Google map directly from the site with directions to get to drop off points.
NAMA is available to help communities get started, promote their CSF and work out the kinks as they go along. We’re committed to helping fishermen and the shore side communities who agree that if we truly care about the health of our oceans it is important how, when and where we fish and how that fish gets to our dinner plates. Not because we are in the seafood marketing business, but because we believe saving the fish doesn’t mean we have to lose our ecologically minded fishermen.