Community Supported Fisheries: the basics

Community Supported Fisheries: the basics

My name is Dennis Robillard, commercial fisherman for 23 years. [boat engine starts] The name of the boat is the fishing vessel Julie Ann II. We are docked in Gloucester most of the time and Portsmouth, New Hampshire sometimes. [piano music playing] [gull calls] (male narrator)
Fishing communities have always adapted to changing ecosystems, management and economies. This continues today as fishermen, in order to fish sustainably, must find ways of marketing their fish to get a higher
price for the fewer fish that they can catch. At the same time, people increasingly want to know
where their seafood is coming from. They want to choose seafood that supports local businesses. They want healthy seafood
that is harvested locally and sustainably. [fish bin bangs against wall]
[fishermen talking in background] [hydraulic lift whines] Direct marketing represents a range of alternative ways
for fishermen to sell their fish. This approach markets the story of the catch,
including the fisherman, fishing method, management and processing of the fish
to capture more value for the seafood and to keep that value in fishing communities. [people talking] One method of direct marketing has grown significantly in the past five years: the community supported fishery, or CSF. Modeled after community supported agriculture, a CSF is a community of people who buy fish directly
from fishermen for a pre-determined length of time. CSF members give the fisherman financial support and then receive a weekly share of seafood
caught during the season. The presence of CSFs in a community can lead
to an increasing interest in locally caught seafood that can benefit other businesses within the community as well, including fish processors, dealers, restaurants and retailers. [fish falling out of net onto deck] CSFs provide a fair price to the fishermen who are struggling to increase profitability, resiliency and sustainability
of their businesses. (Dennis)
I like the idea of starting a CSF to try to take, well for me it was to try to take some of the control
of my own product into my own hands instead of having somebody else dictate to me
what I’m going to get. And the second part was because I felt like people didn’t get an opportunity have what we have:
the freshness of the fish. There’s a variety of species that we catch: four
different flounders, and cod, haddock, some pollock. That’s mainly what makes up our catch for the year. (narrator)
In a CSF, consumers know who catches their weekly share, where they fish, how they fish, plus they receive fresh seafood choices
that change depending on what’s in season. (Eric)
I got involved with a CSF because I want to support the people that are actually out there fishing, and the kind of fish you get from them
is just so fresh and wonderful. There’s nothing like supporting the locals that are here
and making sure that they survive because if you’re getting your food from far away, you
don’t know what’s happened to it in between. (female #1)
Having the opportunity to not only support our local fishermen but to also pick up something that looks like this,
you can’t buy this in the shop. This is something that’s local and prepared by locals and eaten by locals, and that’s something that’s pretty special. (narrator)
This approach allows fishermen to directly interact with the people who eat their catch, providing a strong connection
and mutual learning opportunities. (Carolyn)
Our customers came to understand, [piano music softly plays]
they became educated about federal regulation, they started reading those articles in the newspaper
when they came up and being able to understand
the language and the vocabulary. There’s a deeper relationship between you and your customer than you’ll ever find just on a regular
customer/business-owner relationship. There’s a sense of family. [piano music]

Comments (1)

  1. Has much progress been made in this model around the U.S.? Even halfway through 2017, it seems to take a serious amount of research to find regularly available fresh, locally caught/raised, sustainable seafood. The Monterey Bay seafood app (which isn't the best designed app in the world), lets you look up a specific fish and find the best geographical areas and method for a particular fish, but it doesn't let you look up, say, "what is a current fish in season in my area that I should be looking into purchasing."

Comment here