Community Supported Fisheries

Posted by: | January 21, 2013 | 4 Comments

Community Supported Fisheries (CSFs) are organizational concepts emerging in coastal communities that can be effective in the development of sustainable fisheries. CSFs are modelled after Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) enterprises. Such collectives work to connect consumers to local and sustainably-produced foods which are often also fair-trade. CSFs are social enterprises which work to ensure that small-scale, independent fishing families can continuously sustain their livelihoods in an industry dominated by corporate fishing companies. A key focus of CSFs is to offer small-scale fishers’ opportunities to market their products directly to local consumers; bypassing the distributor or middleman allows fishermen to obtain higher profit margins. CSFs also help independent fishing operations capitalize on conscious consumers willing to pay above-average prices for local and sustainable seafood. There are currently several CSFs operating in the US and on the East Coast of Canada.

Off the Hook is Atlantic Canada’s first CSF that helps to sustain jobs in  in the fishing industry of Nova Scotia. It offers consumers direct access to fresh, local seafood harvested by community-oriented fishing operations. This organization believes that healthy and prosperous fishing operations are vital to cultural, environmental and economic resilience in coastal communities. This CSF offers members of the public the opportunity to purchase shares of the collective. Shareholders get to build relationships with local fishermen, and they also get fresh seafood – caught in local waters – delivered to various pick-up locations. CSFs work to support local families and coastal communities that practice low-impact fishing, such as line and hook. Sustainable fishing practices give fish stocks more time to replenish their populations from deep-sea trawling, methods that drag up far too much bycatch which ends up being dumped back into the ocean, dead.

I would like to thank Sadie Beaton of the Ecology Action Centre for her information regarding sustainable initiatives in Atlantic Canada.



Ecology Action Center:

Small Scales:

Off the Hook:


4 Comments so far

  1. Zac on January 22, 2013 6:35 am

    Question. What forms of long line gear are you referring to? Hook and line gear and fish pot gear are the two which I have experience with in the West Coast fishery (as an observer in the US west coast ground fish fishery). Neither are comparable to trawl vessels in bycatch volumes.

    That aside, I like this idea as a less top down approach than has been taken in the fishery over here.

  2. fred horner on January 22, 2013 2:12 pm

    Hi Adom,
    It all sounde good,I wished that it worked that way!How are you making out on the so called lobster glut of 2012 and the legalities of the fishery

  3. Adam Soliman on January 23, 2013 5:08 pm

    Hi Zac,

    Thank you very much for your comment. You are absolutely right about the trawl vessels. I wonder how many operating boats in the groundfish fishery on the west coast?! My experience in the Canadian West Coast fisheries is that they have much less (and larger) operators than the East Coast and hence the challenges are different! Your comment would be highly appreciated.

  4. Adam Soliman on January 23, 2013 5:14 pm

    Hi Fred,

    Thank you for the comment. I am still working on this “licence stacking” issue. I will spend the next bit looking for more resources on this. Then, I will be visiting in May to conduct some interviews and get a better understanding. I will keep you posted of course. Did you come across this:

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