This week Oren and I travelled to the little East Coast city of Portsmouth, New Hampshire to convene with CSFs from around North America. Organized by Sea Grant, the North West Atlantic Marine Alliance (NAMA), National Marine Fisheries Service, and the Island Institute, this three day meeting has brought together many of the organizations and CSFs Oren and I consulted with before we launched Local Catch Monterey Bay. It has been great not only for us to finally put faces to names of people that have supported and guided us through the process, but to also meet and learn about programs we have never heard of before. Some examples:
North Carolina’s Walking Fish has been one program that we approached early on in our research to learn about the CSF model. They started as a Duke University student project but have since transitioned to cooperative ownership by their fishermen suppliers.
Skipper Otto’s CSF up in Vancouver is one organization that we just learned about that provides just one species (salmon) and has also figured out a way to provide shares to landlocked prairie communities in Canada.
If you’d like to see where else CSFs have popped up, take a look at Localcatch.org.
Folks from as far as Alaska and Nova Scotia travelled here to share their experiences and learn from each other about our individual programs. We discussed ways to create more value to fishermen, communicate more effectively with our members, and potentially collaborate with each other toward mutual goals that serve the coastal communities we strive to support.
Some of the take aways so far are:
- There are many models of CSFs throughout North America
- We are part of a revolution and there are many CSFs currently in development
- We all share common values
- Our definition of sustainability encompasses the livelihoods of fishermen, health of coastal communities, as well as ecological sustainability
- Fishermen all over are enjoying knowing who their customers are and feeling appreciated
It was affirming to have Paul Greenberg, author of the bestselling book Four Fish, in attendance to provide his support of the CSF movement. Oren and I have met some amazing people at this summit and have shared inspirational conversations and experiences that will hopefully provide a foundation for future collaborations and gatherings like this.