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Right off the farm, a fresh idea for selling daily catch

By Clarke Canfield / Associated Press

Article from

ROCKLAND, Maine - Alice and Larry Hatch always bring a cooler filled with ice when they shop for seafood each week.

They don’t go to a supermarket or even a seafood shop. This summer they’re getting their fish - whole, with eyes staring up - directly from the fishermen who caught it.

A similar agriculture model has been around for decades; farmers sell portions of their harvest directly to people who take it home and prepare it for dinner. Now fishermen are getting in on the act, selling their fresh fish to people who pay in advance for a share of the catch.

The aim is to help fishermen earn a premium on their catch as they struggle with burdensome fishing regulations and declining fish populations. In return, shareholders are guaranteed fresh local fish and a chance to support their local fishermen.

The Port Clyde initiative, Port Clyde Fresh Catch, began last year with about 200 people who agreed to buy cod, haddock, pollock, redfish, monkfish, and other species from a dozen fishermen. About 250 people are participating this summer.

The idea is spreading.

In Gloucester, Mass., regarded as the nation’s oldest commercial fishing port, 750 people have signed up for the Cape Ann Fresh Catch project - making it the largest community supported fishery venture so far.

By selling a mix of fish at the same price every week, fishermen aren’t forced to chase fish that are fetching the highest price on the market that week, according to Niaz Dorry, who helped spearhead the program. It also gives the fish more time to reproduce, she said.


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