Community Supported Fisheries Taking Off

It’s taken us a while to get to the latest copy of Gourmet, but we finally did last night, and we were struck by a brief note on Community Supported Fisheries. Community Supported Agriculture has been here for a while and has really taken off in the past few years, but only recently has the same idea been applied to fish in an effort to save the dying fishing industry, just like CSAs have helped save many a small farm.

There are still a few issues: there’s a lot of confusion about what exactly are sustainable fishing practices, and while it’s one thing to deal with a head of lettuce that’s full of dirt, it’s quite another for the average home cook to gut and scale a whole fish.

Still, it seems like the idea is catching on. The CSF mentioned in the Gourmet piece, Catch a Piece of Maine, offers the entire catch from one lobster trap for $2,995. That’s at least 40 1.5-lb lobsters, although each trap usually catches 50. They’ve currently got 150 subscribers.

The Island Institute, also in Maine, offers 12-week shares of 8-12 lbs per week of haddock, cod, flounder, hake, dabs, grey sole, monkfish, pollock or redfish for $360. For those who can’t quite see themselves going through that much fish, half shares are $180. North Carolina also boasts some CSFs, though they seem less organized; we get the sense you just call up a fisherman and negotiate how much to pay up front for a portion of the season’s catch.

Small Fishermen Borrow a Page from Small Farmers
[Christian Science Monitor]
Catch a Piece of Maine [Official Site]
The Island Institute [Official Site]
Community Supported Fisheries [Project Green Leaf]

Photo: herons/flickr

Community Supported Fisheries Taking Off