Fish Share Reels Local Catches To Area Dinnertables

By Toni Waterman   |   Monday, July 25, 2011
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Jul. 25, 2011

Watch: Fish Shares in Gloucester on Greater Boston 

BOSTON — Angela Sanfilippo knows her fish. She’s been the wife of a Gloucester fisherman for 41 years, and in her family there aren’t many nights when fish isn’t on the menu. But her dream of getting fresh, local fish out to the wider community seemed like a pipe dream until 2008.
That’s when she started the Cape Ann Fresh Catch initiative. It’s a “fish-share” program in which customers pay for a share of that week’s catch. It works similarly to farm shares.
“You join for a season and every week you would get your share, not knowing what kind of fish you would get – it could be haddock, it could be Cod, it could be Pollack,” Sanfilippo said.

On the morning of the delivery, shareholders get an email, telling them what fish to expect that night. Sanfilippo throws a recipe in there too, just in case.
To make it all happen, Sanfilippo partnered with day fishers at Ocean Crest Seafoods in Gloucester.

Fishing nets are seen in front of a fishing boat in Gloucester, Mass. (}{enry/Flickr)

It’s mid-morning and the docks are buzzing with activity. Outside, boats are lining up to offload the morning catch. And upstairs, Ocean Crest Seafoods president Lenny Parco goes over the day’s orders. He says the program has given him a lot of new — and much needed — customers.
“I would say the program is probably using between 3 and 5 thousand pounds of fish a week, and that’s fairly significant,” Parco said.
Significant, especially in light of strict fishing regulations that were put in place last year, placing hard catch limits on how much groundfish a fisherman can catch. Under the old system, fishermen were allowed a certain number of days at sea.
Sanfilippo says the program pays day fishers up to 100 percent more than they would normally get.
“We pay the fisherman between $2 and $2.50 a pound, even if the fish sold for a dollar,” Sanfilippo said.
But Parco says it’s not all about the money. His favorite part is letting people in on the big secret to liking fish – fresh seafood.
“Once you get a good fresh product out there, people are excited by it. They always say, well, it smells,” Parco said. “Well, fresh fish does not smell. Fresh fish smells like the ocean. So if you walk by the seafood case and you smell fish, you wanna keep on walking.”
Once off the ship, the fish gets loaded into a truck and heads over to Turner Seafoods to be skinned, filleted and packaged into 2 pound bags.  This morning’s catch: Cod.
 “This fish is caught, landed, it’s processed here in the morning, and it’s on a truck on its way and it’s on someone’s plate tonight. And you can’t get any fresher than that,” said Turner Seafoods President James Turner.
He says the program, which now has over 680 customers, has become one of his biggest clients. 
And for that reason we’ve hired a couple more people in order to do – to get their business out the door.”
Once out the door, the fish is loaded into the delivery truck and, depending on the day, delivered to a handful of the program’s 18 pick up locations. Today, Harvard Square makes the list. And it’s here that David Wright makes his pick-up. Since joining, Wright says he has not been disappointed.
“It’s good – the first time they had Dabs and I’ve never had them before so I couldn’t compare to anything, but they were fantastic. You can taste the freshness,” Wright said.
Back in Gloucester, Angela Sanfilippo says her dream of making all fish local is finally being realized.
“We don’t need to eat imported farm fish from Chile where this seafood is available here and will be available with the help of God for many, many more generations,” Sanfilippo said.

A Look At The 2010 Fishing Season

By Heather Goldstone   |   Wednesday, May 18, 2011
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One Year Old, Catch-Share Sectors 'Effective For Business'

By Bob Seay   |   Friday, April 29, 2011
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Apr. 29, 2011

It has been one year since fishermen in the Northeast began using a new system for regulating how much they could catch.

Until 12 months ago, the quantity of flounder, wolffish, cod and other groundfish that could be hauled in was kept in check by a system that limited the number of days a fisherman could be at sea. A lot of people who made their living from the ocean went bust and there were questions about the effectiveness of the days-at-sea regulations. But the new system is also being heavily criticized. It's called “sectors,” and it essentially works like a cooperative, pooling fishing rights based on past histories of members.    

Many fishermen in New England say the new system is worse than the old, arguing that it favors larger congolmerates over independent fishshermen. But not all fishermen think that sectors is a bad idea. Some are even embracing it as a way to save their industry.

Eric Hesse is one of them. He has been fishing these parts since 1984, based out of Wychmere Harbor in Harwich. Hesse spoke with Morning Edition's Bob Seay about why he thinks sectors are good for fishermen.

About the Authors
Heather Goldstone Heather Goldstone
Heather Goldstone is the science editor at WCAI, the Cape and Islands NPR Station. She holds a Ph.D. in ocean science from M.I.T. and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and spent a decade as an active researcher before leaving the lab to become a writer. In her nine years with the Cape and Islands NPR Station, Goldstone has reported on Woods Hole’s unique scientific community and key environmental issues on Cape Cod. Her reporting has appeared in venues ranging from NPR and PBS News Hour, to Cape Cod Times and Commercial Fishery News. Most recently, Goldstone hosted the blog Climatide – an exploration of how climate change is impacting coastal life in the region. 
Bob Seay Bob Seay
Bob Seay is the host of NPR's Morning Edition on 89.7FM WGBH Radio. He got his start in radio during college at WMUH, got involved with WGBH TV while in graduate school at Boston University and formerly hosted ME at WRNI in Rhode Island.


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