As the third installment to my Sustainable Seafood Series posts, I' m thrilled to profile Off the Hook - Atlantic Canada's First Community Supported Fishery! Off the Hook fishing co-operative formed in June 2010 in Digby, Nova Scotia and is the work of five fishermen from different harbours who all shared the same desire to protect their small-scale fishing communities.
A CSF is an organization that connects fishermen directly with the community, without involving a middleman such as a grocer or distributor. A CSF contributes locally caught seafood to local markets while providing fishermen with a better price on their catch. CSF members support the local fishing community by paying fees prior to the fishing season and in turn, the fishermen provide a weekly share of the catch.
OTH's program involves small-scale groundfish bottom hook and line fishermen from the Bay of Fundy. Bottom hook and line fishing is a low impact alternative to bottom trawling, also known as "dragging'. The weekly shares of the co-op's catch include whole haddock, hake and pollock and will be available for an 8-week summer delivery starting on July 22.
The benefits of this type of project abound for both the fishermen and customers. For the fishermen, it provides increased safety, both for their business and for the fishermen themselves as they can choose when it's safe to fish. For the consumer, it provides the option of fresh, high-quality, sustainable seafood that is traceable...and don't we all want to know where our food comes from?
There are two options when it comes to purchasing shares:
Another great aspect to OTH's offer is their matchmaker tool. If you're unable to pay the entire fee yourself, or perhaps you're going to be out of town for a portion of the summer, why not splt the share with someone? A friend or family member might be interested in splitting the membership, but if not, us the Matchmaker Blog, which will help you to find individuals interested in sharing the deal.