By buying and selling our own fish, we can own the fish a little further up the distribution chain and return a higher value to the producers.
-Larry Collins, SFCFA
An article today in the San Francisco Business Times features the ongoing efforts of a San Francisco-based fishers cooperative to insure the survival of small family-owned fishing businesses in the region. San Francisco Community Fishing Association (SFCFA) became the first community fishing association in California when it was formed in 2010. The success of SFCFA can be measured in revenue sharing more than doubling amongst its 18-members in the past three years. Now SFCFA is seeking to open a retail shop in the famous Fisherman’s Wharf district of San Francisco so they can sell direct to consumers, completing the arc of sea-to-table continuity that is an inherent goal of many community-based fisheries initiatives.
The number of community-based fishing organizations like SFCFA are on the rise in the United States, as a growing number of commercial fishers look for innovative ways to adapt to a changing fisheries landscape. In the face of serious questions concerning overfishing and the attendent quota cuts that have been so devastating to some fishing communities, community-based fishing initiatives have the opportunity to provide commercial fishing communities with a sustainable path forward.