Building Economic Empowerment

Building Economic Empowerment

"The current industrial food system works in the interest of the middleman — mostly large companies that dominate the processing and distribution of food — to squeeze farmers and fishermen and externalize costs. The industrial model may work for some things, but it's time to admit that it doesn’t work for food."

- Anim Steel, co-founder and Director of the Real Food Challenge

We envision a future in which vibrant and viable fishing communities are thriving and supporting community-based fishermen. A future in which fishermen are economically empowered, with the compensation for their catch meeting the true cost of operations. A future in which fishworkers along the seafood value chain and crew are paid fairly, have safe working conditions free of threats, racism, and intimidation, and have a voice in the workplace.

The current economic system, especially when coupled with current policies, fails to incorporate our values and fails our fisheries. NAMA seeks to shift the seafood market toward more independent, values-based fishing operations and then use the power of this new market to change policies. By shifting away from traditional economic models and taking part in spurring innovative, community-based fishing businesses, we can return the power and profits to communities.

We do this by

  • Supporting and nurturing new business models such as Community Supported Fisheries (CSFs). NAMA helped launch and continues to support the network which represents the leading voice for CSFs and values-based seafood businesses around the country. Read more.

  • Creating and organizing values-based fishing operations and cooperatives. NAMA is currently working to strengthen a fishermen-led cooperative that will be the first of its kind to weave core values into its organizational fabric. 

  • Organizing our network to strengthen supply chains from boat to institution. This includes partnerships with the Real Food Challenge, Healthcare Without Harm, Farm to Institution New England, and many others. Read more.

  • Supporting fish workers and deckhands' rights by pressing for:

    • Fair price and work with dignity. All those in our seafood value chain and fishing communities must have a say in the price they are paid, be paid fair wages, and afforded lives with dignity.

    • Safe working conditions. Fishworkers along the seafood value chain must have safe working conditions free of threats, racism and intimidation, and have a voice in the workplace. We recognize that the marginalization of any peoples is rooted in a long history of racism, exclusion, and oppression. We seek to dismantle these structures.

  • Advocating for a suite of values throughout the entire seafood supply chain that includes: fair access, fair price, eating with the ecosystem, traceable & simple supply chains, catch and handling with honor, community & ecosystem based management, honoring the ocean, and creativity and collaboration. Read more.

  • Educating the public. Through our Seafood Throwdown model and other events we are continually generating new ways to engage the public, develop new leadership, spread our narrative, and strengthen our movement toward changing our current seafood system. Read more about how we engage the public.