Resources to Support Local Fishermen & Seafood Businesses

Newport, Oregon

The Marine Fish Conservation Network is hearing from all sectors that times are obviously very tough, and we’ve been looking for resources that can be helpful to small seafood and fishing businesses in making it through these difficult times.

Because restaurants that are now closed or reducing hours of business had largely driven the demand for much of our nation’s seafood, some fishermen have been finding new markets by selling directly to consumers from the dock. Shifting to this model during COVID-19 has its challenges, especially marketing to a new set of customers to get the word out that they are in business and have product to sell. But we can all do our part to help!

Today we’re posting resources to help fishermen and seafood purveyors sell directly to customers. We’re also posting resources for consumers to find seafood sources open during the pandemic that support small-scale fishermen and local seafood businesses, which make up the fabric of our coastal communities and working waterfronts.

This list is far from exhaustive, but we hope it highlights good places to start for both seafood providers and consumers.

Marketing Seafood During COVID-19

  • Market Your Catch. This website offers guidance on seafood direct hmarketing, with information provided by fishermen for fishermen. It’s a great place to begin when starting or expanding direct-to-consumer sales.
  • Sea Grant: Seafood Information and Resources. NOAA’s Sea Grant program is a good place to start as well. This web page has a number of useful resources, including links to processing, marketing and distribution resources. We’ve also listed some helpful resources provide by several state chapters that can help anyone.
  • United Fishermen of Alaska. UFA has a COVID-19 website that includes a page about Alaska seafood and food safety during COVID-19.
  • Seafood Nutrition Partnership. A new coalition of U.S. seafood industry organizations has launched its “Eat Seafood, America” campaign to support fishing and seafood industries and promote healthy eating. Read more about the campaign in this Seafood Source article.

Finding Local Seafood to Buy

The following websites highlight places to buy local seafood that are still operating during COVID-19. If you are a fisherman or seafood business, many of them provide contact information for your business to be included on the website.

NATIONAL

REGIONAL

  • Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders’ Alliance: Find Gulf Seafood. The Shareholders’ Alliance has compiled a list of businesses to support through buying seafood in the Gulf of Mexico region.
  • Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute: Suppliers Directory. Although this directory mostly focuses on Alaska, it includes other states in the Pacific Northwest and a few East Coast mentions.
  • Real Good Fish delivers wild-caught seafood from small-scale sustainable producers in seven states in the western U.S.

STATE

Alabama

Alaska

California

Connecticut

Delaware

Florida

  • Florida Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services provides a searchable seafood market locator for the entire state.

Louisiana

Maine

Massachusetts

New Jersey

  • Local 130 Seafood is a seafood company that works directly with New Jersey boats and small fishing cooperatives.

New York

Oregon

  • Flying Fish Co. in Portland is a Network partner and top-notch supplier of fresh, local and sustainable seafood. They have fresh and frozen options for pickup or delivery, or choose a variety of delicious items from the restaurant.
  • Forever Wild Seafood is another Network partner offering sustainably caught sockeye salmon jerky from North Pacific waters.

Rhode Island

Texas

  • Sea Grant Texas has a list of open seafood retailers in the state. (Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the list. You’ll pass other useful links along the way.)

Virginia

Please leave a comment below if you know other resources or have additional ways to support our vital working waterfronts and coastal communities… and remember, please support your local fishermen, fresh seafood markets and related family businesses.

About Rob Vandermark

Rob Vandermark is the executive director of the Marine Fish Conservation Network.