Many of us are familiar with the farm-to-table movement: we might shop at our neighborhood farmers market, or even subscribe to a CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture) model as a way to support local farms. But what about other products, like seafood? Can we find ways to eat fish locally and sustainably?
A network called Local Catch hopes to make sustainable seafood more accessible and affordable, by connecting over 270 small-scale fisheries across the U.S. and Canada directly with customers:
“LocalCatch.org is a community-of-practice made up of fisherman, organizers, researchers, and consumers from across North America that are committed to providing local, healthful, low-impact seafood via community supported fisheries and direct marketing arrangements in order to support healthy fisheries and the communities that depend on them.”
Local Catch outlines several core values, including “Traceable and Simple Supply Chains” and “Community and Ecosystem Based Fisheries Management”. Customers can use a map to locate fisheries in their region that offer dockside pickup, farmers market sales, or even a “CSF” delivery:
“Based on the community-supported agriculture (CSA) model, a community supported fishery (CSF) is a program that links fishermen to a local market. In a CSF, customers pre-pay for a ‘season’ of fresh, local, low-impact seafood, and in turn they receive a weekly or bi-weekly share of fish or shellfish.”
Paul Greenberg, author of “American Catch: The Fight for Our Local Seafood,” reports that over 90% of seafood consumed in America comes from outside the country. Buying local seafood gives us a direct link to our water resources, and an incentive to care for them.
One of the benefits of direct seafood sales, he tells The Guardian, is that fishermen “can message their community from the boat to let them know what’s coming in fresh that day. In short it kind of turns the whole idea of ‘catch of the day’ into something that fits into today’s concept of a social network.”
Photo by Terry Ballard