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.
- Alaska: Tips for Managing Risk and Uncertainty in Your Fishing Business. This is a 2-page PDF that provides a checklist of things to think about for your business during the coronavirus.
- Louisiana: COVID-19 Resources. This Louisiana Sea Grant web page has a list of general business resources, including a page devoted to seafood marketing and supply chains with a food safety video and coronavirus FAQs from the Food Marketing Institute.
- New York: COVID-19 Seafood Industry Resources. Another list of useful business and marketing links related to the current situation, including online training.
- Virginia: COVID-19 Fisheries Resources. Another list of useful resources with a webinar replay entitled, “Using Online Platforms to Sell Locally Produced Foods to Consumers.”
- 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.
- LocalCatch.org. LocalCatch.org, a partner of Slow Fish, is a network of community supported fisheries and small-scale harvesters. They have a searchable map of local suppliers to find seafood in your neighborhood. They also have a Google doc full of useful links and information, including a list of collaborative marketing software platforms at the end of the document. Their Facebook page has information on useful webinars and potential funds.
- National Fisherman: Buy Local Fish. National Fisherman has provided a list of seafood suppliers that ship to the consumer and offer local pick-ups and deliveries by state. There’s a contact form if you want to submit your company name to add to the list.
- XTRATUF. XTRATUF is a shoe and apparel store in Alaska, and they’ve set up a page listing places to buy seafood directly from fishermen across the U.S.
- 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.
- Alabama Gulf Seafood has a list of 25 restaurants serving Alabama seafood.
- Alaskans Own, Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association and Seafood Producers Cooperative have partnered up to deliver seafood donation boxes for Sitka families in need. It’s a great cause, so help them out!
- Monterey Bay Fisheries Trust has a local catch guide of community-supported fisheries, fishmongers, grocery stores, restaurants and wholesalers in central CA.
- Sea Grant California has a list of fishermen’s markets in California.
- Sea Grant Connecticut has a list of seafood direct sale and retail locations.
- Sea Grant Delaware has a list of Delaware seafood suppliers.
- Florida Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services provides a searchable seafood market locator for the entire state.
- Sea Grant Louisiana compiled a list of Louisiana direct seafood.
- Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association has a list of Maine seafood providers.
- Lobster207 offers options to buy directly from Maine lobstermen.
- United Fishermen Foundation has a Find a Harvester feature on its website.
- University of Maine has a Maine farm and seafood products directory.
- Mass.gov has a webpage to find a seafood retail location.
- Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance encourages support for local fishermen with a list of seafood businesses in the Cape Cod/Southeastern Massachusetts area.
- Local 130 Seafood is a seafood company that works directly with New Jersey boats and small fishing cooperatives.
- LocalFish.org is an initiative of Cornell Cooperative Extension Marine Program and has a local seafood locator for NY. Here’s a list of businesses that do pickup and/or delivery.
- 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.
- SeafoodRI.com from the Rhode Island Dept. of Environment Management has a page to find Rhode Island seafood markets and retail locations.
- 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.)
- VirginiaSeafood.org has a retail buyers directory.
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.