People want fresh, locally caught seafood to eat. But according to the latest findings by NOAA, 91 percent of all seafood consumed in the United States is imported. Traceability or knowing the point of origin of seafood and improper labeling of fish has compounded the problem. (Read US Seafood Catch Up 23 Percent to 17 Year High)
The solution has come in e form of community-supported fisheries. This ties local fishermen directly to local consumers and purchasers of seafood and eliminates the middle man. It requires a commitment by both parties. Consumers have to be inclined to purchase what is available to the fisherman. The benefit to the resource is less pressure put on specific species while utilizing the abundance at hand.
Fishermen traditionally have worked independently in isolated and remote locations. But for the collaborative effort of community-supported fisheries to work the work effort and attitude had to change.
According to the NY Times: Joining forces was hardly an easy sell. “Fishermen are independent,” Mr. Libby said, juggling a cellphone in one hand and a pick for plucking 30 pounds of redfish from an iced bin in the other. “Maybe you don’t like people, so you want to sit out in a boat by yourself. But the whole ‘I want to be the Lone Ranger’ stuff doesn’t work when things get tight, when people are in a lot of financial pain. Then you either have to look for alternatives, or you quit.”
There are currently 30 community-supported fisheries the country and the numbers are growing. For detailed information read the NY Times article “For local fisheries, a line of hope”