COVID-19 and Our Seafood System

Today, we find ourselves living in unprecedented times as COVID-19 continues to devastate communities across the globe. With all of us at risk, our solutions can only come from supporting each other and fighting together. The NAMA team is doing their best to help flatten the curve and is lucky we have the privilege of working from home. We know how important it is to make every effort to reduce the risk of endangering the lives of our families and vulnerable members of our communities. For many fishermen, farmers, ranchers, food workers, and small business owners, the virus is causing great economic harm and anxiety. We’ve created this page to offer resources and action opportunities for local and regional food producers and community members. 

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Farmers, Fishers, & Food Workers Are Essential!

The people who produce our food are facing a crisis unlike any they have ever seen, encountering new threats sparked by COVID-19 while they endure a multi-year slump in prices for their goods, volatile trade disputes, frequent natural disasters, and climate disruption. Many of these fishing and farming businesses want to continue feeding their communities, but they are worried that many in their communities have lost their jobs and may not be able to afford food due to lack of income. Read one story from a fisherman's perspective. 

The US Congress has already passed three stimulus packages and negotiations on a fourth package are is already afoot. At NAMA, we have teamed up with our allies at the National Family Farm Coalition, Farm Aid, WhyHunger, the HEAL Food Alliance, and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy to develop a set of policy initiatives and economic stimulus package that Congress can and must incorporate into the next stimulus package.

Congress must act decisively to ensure that all farmers, ranchers, and fishers are included in any COVID-19 stimulus package, particularly small and mid-sized operations, limited resource producers, farms operated by farmers of color, and tribal nations who are often left out of federal farm policy.

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Seafood Access and Business Support

During this time of crisis, we know food security and access to healthy, local and minimally processed food is weighing heavily on our communities’ minds. Support, whether it be communal or operational is more important now than ever for many of our partners, members, and fishers. We’ve compiled a few resources and will continue to update this section of our page with resources and tools for you to use. Even in the face of this crisis, fishermen and fishing businesses want to continue feeding their families. Now more than ever, eating locally and regionally available food that has touched as few hands as possible is essential. We encourage you to seek out small and mid-scale fishing operations that can bring you food from the sea while nurturing their communities.

  • The Local Catch Network’s seafood finder provides you with the ability to search for a local fisher near you. 
  • The Local Catch Network has created a webinar forum for fishers, seafood businesses, and community advocates to discuss and share resources.
  • For fishermen and seafood businesses, the Local Catch Network has created a crowd-sourced emergency resource page. 
  • For chefs, seafood eaters, and fishing community supporters, the Slow Fish network is organizing a series of webinars that aim to build momentum toward next year's Slow Fish 2020 gathering while also addressing the COVID-19 crisis. This webinar series will complement the Local Catch forums by broadening the audience, topics, and infusing art and joy into the mix. Watch a recording of the first webinar in the series. 

The Local Catch Network is leading the charge around supporting values-based and direct marketing seafood businesses. At NAMA, we are proud to have helped launch the Local Catch Network in 2012. Today, we serve the network as backbone support. We are also proud to be part of the core team helping to grow the Slow Fish community and network. 

We also want to recognize our international allies and community. We are in contact with the World Forum of Fisher Peoples and contributing toward an international fishing community response to COVID-19. We will share updates as they come. Plus we want to recognize Urgenci and the global network of CSAs and CSFs around the world. See their message of solidarity to the international community.

 

Why We All Must Take COVID-19 Seriously  

Below NAMA has compiled a few helpful articles that dive into the importance of social distancing, self-quarantine, isolation, and treatment during this global pandemic. 

 

COVID-19 Resources 

If you’re in need of additional resources such as a COVID-19 101 on symptoms, how to stay protected, and hand-washing guidelines, please refer to the resources below.