For ethically motivated consumers, community-supported agriculture is the ideal shopping model. Buying directly from farmers means they get fresh, local goods grown in season — and all while cutting out the middleman.
So ideal is the concept, in fact, that it's taking to the water. Community Supported Fisheries are springing up along the East Coast, offering just-caught shrimp, cod, hake, redfish and other species, oftentimes right from the dock where they're hauled in.
In turn, fishermen are getting more money for what they catch, and can afford to be less aggressive. That helps preserve stressed fish stocks, as well as the ecosystems they inhabit. According to the Marine Stewardship Council, one-quarter of the world's fish stocks are overexploited, depleted or recovering from depletion.
“It's good for the environment, it's good for the fishermen, and it's good for the people who are buying it, because they are getting local seafood that's fresher than what they get at a store” said Jennifer Plummer, CSF coordinator with Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance, a fishing advocacy group based in Windham, Maine.
CSFs could prove to be quite a catch for supermarkets. Plummer and others believe the two entities could benefit from each other. For example, stores could consider hosting a seafood pickup site, where members go to collect their fish.
Seafood departments could offer cleaning and cooking services, or they could merchandise marinades and other items for preparing the week's catch.