Learning to love and protect your own resource…
Last week Morgan and I travelled to Portsmouth NH to attend the first National Summit on Community Supported Fisheries sponsored by Sea Grants across the country, NMFS, the Island Institute and the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance. The best thing about it was the opportunity to meet new friends, all engaged in the same pleasure of running csf’s.
I had to do some reflecting on why I care about keeping this weir alive. Cape Cod was at one time covered with them, (I think I remember someone telling me at one time there were 27 in Cape Cod Bay alone – Shan correct me if I’m wrong on that!)
But to make a living we all need a good price on fish, and the support coming further away helps us to keep the price high. A good chunk of interest comes farther from home than nearer our shores here in our own community. Local demand is often less than from markets further away. Why is this? Some tell me it’s social, that all people who live on the water fish their own fish & don’t need to buy it.
Not true! Most people I meet at the farmer’s market have never caught a fish in their lives. Those that did, caught a fish once or twice a year. I come from a farming town and worked on both market vegetable farms and a dairy farm.I found that demand for local product increased with a developing interest in what the farmer did. In fact, many of our neighbors had never planted a tomato. After a season or two of buying local produce they were experimenting in their own gardens, planting their own seeds in backyard soil.
It’s hard to replicate the life of a fisherman. It’s not that easy – it’s more difficult to catch a fish than it is to grow a plant. What you can do however, is pickup a local share every week. Learn how it’s caught, when it’s in season; become a master chef in your own kitchen utilizing what swam into your local inshore. Learn how to buy, clean,prepare and cook your local fish. Nurture a care for what grows or swims nearby. Learn to care about your resource, so you can protect it. If we can’t do this locally any fisherman will pay loyalty to the price to keep his boat fishing. Protecting the fisherman is protecting your investment in the community.
Here are some comments recorded at the conference: