Seafood NewsThis section provides seafood news related to seafood industries around the world.
In coastal communities of the United States, community supported fisheries (CSFs) help fishermen sell their catch to local markets. To participate in a CSF, members of the public pre-pay for a "season" of seafood in exchange for periodical shares of fish or shellfish.
Many commercial fishermen, like farmers, find the CSF concept worthwhile. They see the potential to boost profits by giving them access to new markets for their products and eliminating the need to distribute revenue to a host of out-of-region middle-men.
The benefits of CSFs are many; they help reconnect coastal communities to their food system; encourage sustainable fishing practices; and strengthen relationships between fishermen and communities.
During the last five years, CSFs have increased in number and popularity nationwide. Partnerships between fishermen, community-based groups, and partners like NOAA Fisheries and Sea Grant nurtured their growth. Today, fishermen, fishery scientists, managers and fishing communities continue to be interested in the CSF model.
Bringing fresh, seasonal seafood direct to local consumers is not without its’ challenges. CSF programs disrupt the traditional processing and distribution chain and represent a huge shift in thinking and doing for local fishermen.
Most small-scale fishermen lack the wide range of expertise required of any successful CSF including processing, distribution, safe seafood handling, pricing, business planning, web-based business applications, small business social media, and seafood marketing. Participants also need up-to-date, correct information on permits, licenses, insurance, and careful business planning.
Learning new skills can be a challenge, and with such challenges come the need for problem solving. "It sometimes feels like I'm fighting a system, like it's working against me, " said Carolyn Eastmen, founder of Eastmen's Fresh Catch, New Hampshire. "All the phone calls we have to make, all the permits we need—federal permits, fish and game permits, health permits, farmers market permits—it took so much work just to be present."
To address challenges and broaden the success of these programs, NOAA Fisheries and partners hosted the National Summit on Community Supported Fisheries, May 30 through June 1 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. A group of approximately 70 commercial fishermen, fishing communities, and other organizations came together to identify needs, share knowledge, and identify opportunities to expand and modify community supported fishery models.
"Some people think all you have to do is create and implement a business plan. They think that's the end of it. But it's an iterative process, " said Dick McGee from Port Clyde Fresh Catch. "You plan, do, check, and, and report the process. This summit helps spark new ideas that forward ideas." For McGee and others, the summit served as a forum to help strengthen a national network of CSF programs and an avenue to discuss encountered challenges.
Summit participants identified common hurdles and talked with people who have faced similar challenges. Fishermen, fishing communities, and other organizations discussed what is working and what is not in their CSFs. The national network of community supported fisheries will use the open, productive dialogue coming out of this meeting to improve and grow community supported fishery models in the future.
The National Summit was an important first step in helping further the success of CSFs and in building capacity for fishing communities across the nation. In June, a follow up webinar furthered the discussion process.
The planning committee will also produce summary materials from the workshop and establish a process for sustaining and growing the network of participants from the summit. As the conversation about community supported fisheries continues to evolve, so will the model as a whole.
source: NOAA FishNews