Are CSFs gaining momentum?


Steven Hedlund

Published on
February 17, 2010

Support for community-supported fisheries (CSFs) is building on the U.S. East Coast, said Pam Morris, president of Carteret Catch, at the inaugural South Carolina Seafood Summit in Charleston, S.C., on Wednesday.

Launched in 2007, the Carteret Catch program is designed to sustain the livelihood and heritage of North Carolina’s Carteret County fishing industry through public marketing and education.

“Consumers are often left out of the fisheries equation,” said Morris.

Under the CSF model, fishermen receive a better price for their catch by cutting out wholesalers and selling directly to consumers, who commit at the beginning of a season to a share of a catch and pay up front.

In the past two years, a number of CSFs have popped up along the U.S. East Coast. Currently, there are four in North Carolina — Brunswick Catch, Ocracoke Catch, Outer Banks Catch and DukeFish/Walking-Fish. There is also one in Maine, two in New Hampshire and one on Cape Ann in Massachusetts.

“We recognize that we can’t catch enough to satisfy demand,” admitted Morris. “Our intent is to bring a better price to fishermen.”

Imports represent about 85 percent of the U.S. seafood supply.

Last year, Joshua Stoll, a Duke University graduate student studying coastal environmental management, helped set up a pilot CSF with the university’s student chapter of the American Fisheries Society, DukeFish, in Durham, N.C. So far, it’s been a big success — 400 consumers subscribed and 400 more are on a waiting list.

Stoll told SeaFood Business magazine that before the CSF fishermen in 2008 received an average of USD 2.04 round weight for their shrimp. In 2009, they received USD 6 per pound for headed shrimp. Stoll and his colleagues are gearing up to run the CSF again for 12 weeks beginning this spring.

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