Again this summer, Oregon Sea Grant is offering “Shop the Dock” free, guided educational tours of Newport’s commercial fishing docks.
Shoppers learn a bit about the fisheries, meet the people who catch the fish, and have an opportunity to buy the freshest salmon, tuna, halibut, and crab, usually at prices lower than they’d find at their local supermarkets.
The program has its roots in Sea Grant’s early work on direct-marketing of fish and other seafood. Historically, most seafood caught off the Oregon coast has been sold to seafood processors or to dockside buyers who resell the catch to supermarkets, restaurants, and other retailers.
While that’s provided a steady living for generations of fishing families, fluctuating market prices and a growing consumer demand for fresh seafood led fishermen to experiment with direct marketing.
Although the Oregon Sea Grant dock tour program took a while to gain traction, its popularity has taken off recently.
Kaety Jacobson, Sea Grant’s Newport-based Extension fisheries specialist, explained:
“We’re trying to rethink things a little to keep our educators and the fishermen from being overwhelmed. Fifty people is really too many; with a smaller group, everybody gets to ask questions, everybody gets to buy and we don’t overcrowd the docks.”
Oregon Sea Grant hopes to provide more walks in July and August and up to several in a single day.
source: National Sea Grant College Program
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