U.S. embraces community supported fisheries

Published on
September 8, 2009

Fisheries in New Hampshire and North Carolina are the latest to form community supported fisheries (CSFs) that sell memberships to local consumers, much like community supported agriculture programs (CSAs).

The CFS launched by Eastman’s Fish has been a success this summer. The Seabrook Beach, N.H., commercial fishing vessel and retail outlet organized the CSF earlier this year to support local seafood.

“With a flood of imported fish coming in all the time, it drives our prices down to 60 cents a pound or less at the boat,” said Carolyn Eastman, co-owner of Eastman’s Fish.

Members of Eastman’s Fish CSF pay USD 190 (EUR 131) for two pounds of fish a week for 12 weeks, or USD 380 (EUR 261) for four pounds of fish a week for 12 weeks. Sixty people signed up for the program this summer, and Eastman is expecting 100 members this fall.

“We have a lot of locals that are now interested in having local fish, now that they have tried it,” said Eastman. “They realized what they thought was fresh, may not have been.”

Eastman’s Fish also provides recipes to its members when it delivers filleted fish, including haddockcodflounder, white hake, ocean catfish, cusk and monkfish.

Meanwhile, Duke University in Durham, N.C., and Carteret County fishermen launched the region’s first CSF, dubbed the “Walking Fish” program, in late August. Members, who opt to receive weekly or biweekly deliveries of fresh fish and shellfish, will be receiving their first shipment on 17 September.

The type of seafood offered in the North Carolina program varies, depending on seasonal availability of product landed in Beaufort. Shares range from USD 70 to 420 (EUR 49 to 293) for the season, which ends 10 December.

“Our goal is to increase access to locally harvested fish, let consumers know where and how their seafood was caught, and, ultimately, strengthen our local food system,” said Joshua Stoll, one of the Duke environmental management students who organized the CSF.

Similar CSFs have been established in Port Clyde, Maine, and Gloucester, Mass.

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Contributing Editor



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