Now That’s Fresh Fish: Community-Supported Seafood

Shrimp Photo

Image by istockphoto.com/aleaimage

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Anyone who’s sought out sustainable seafood knows how hard it can be to learn where your catch came from. Seafood lovers in Port Clyde, Maine, avoid this dilemma by buying directly from local fishermen, reports Orion (Sept.-Oct. 2008). During the 14-week shrimp season, members of the community-­supported fishery program run by the Midcoast Fishermen’s Association pay $189 to get 10 pounds a week of whole shrimp, a deal that works out to a thrifty $1.35 a pound.

Modeled after the booming community-­supported agriculture programs that deliver local crops to share-paying members, the program benefits both the fishermen, who get a better price than if they sold to a processor, and consumers, who save on supermarket markups. They also get a quality bonus, says Orion: “The small, succulent, pink shrimp . . . are so tender and sweet they can be eaten raw.”

The program recently added fish like haddock and pollock to its offerings, and similar programs have been proposed in the San Francisco area.