The Monterey Bay Fisheries Trust is launching a new project aimed at keeping sustainable and locally caught seafood in local and regional restaurants, supermarkets, and cafeterias. With funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Trust will be exploring the feasibility of a seafood-based food hub or “fish hub” and is seeking input from community members.
“Monterey Bay has some of the most sustainably-managed fisheries in the world,” said Sherry Flumerfelt, Executive Director. “This is an exciting opportunity to reward local fishermen for their investments in sustainable fishing, while tapping into the growing local food movement.”
In recent years, food hubs have emerged across the country as a way to help farmers and ranchers connect with local institutions like schools, universities and hospitals, as well as grocery stores and restaurants. Food hubs, which vary widely depending on local needs, offer a range of affordable services to food producers, such as aggregation, distribution, marketing, and processing. While each food hub is different, they all share the same goals of rebuilding communities’ access to healthy, local foods, and producers’ access to local markets. To date, there are only a few seafood-focused food hubs.
“I would love to see fresh, local, affordable seafood back in our restaurants and markets,” said Giuseppe Pennisi, commercial fisherman. “It used to be that way in Monterey, but today 90% of the seafood we eat in the U.S. comes from other countries. If this model works, and can help rebuild the infrastructure and markets for local seafood, then it would be a win-win for fishermen and our entire community.”
The Monterey Bay Fisheries Trust has recruited Karen Karp & Partners (KK&P), one of the nation’s leading experts on regional food systems, to spearhead this project. KK&P will explore how a fish hub model could best meet local needs.