Thursday, June 3, 2010

Community Supported Fishery

This isn't exactly on the subject of Elephant Seals, but it does relate to maintenance of the ocean, their habitat. Cal Poly’s Organic Farm launched the first Community Supported Fishery on the West Coast. The first delivery will be next week, June 7.

The Organic Farm sells Community Supported Agriculture shares, which we’ve bought for several years. It’s been wonderful, excellent produce at lower price than we could buy at the farmers market or the supermarket. So we were eager to sign on when we got the notice in April.

The organizers had tested the waters by circulating an Interest Sheet, which 54 people signed. That was enough to encourage them to go ahead with bringing it to fruition.

Community Supported Fisheries are functioning in Maine and North Carolina, and have gotten coverage from major media, As one of the articles says, it’s such an obvious idea, it’s surprising no one has thought of it sooner.
“These programs are for people who want to support local fishing communities and contribute to marine conservation solutions at the same time,” reads organizer Margie Hurd’s flyer. “The California fishing industry is one of the most regulated in the world. This particular CSF is one part of a fishery reform project involving The Nature Conservancy and Central Coast Salmon Enhancement.”

For a great idea, it’s taking time to catch on. We remain, after three years of telling people in our community how terrific it is, the sole subscribers to the farm CSA. I’ve promoted both the farm and now the fishery at every meeting where I can reasonably announce it. People are enthusiastic, but always have some reason why they can’t sign up.

This morning, one woman was confused about the amount of fish involved. She couldn’t possibly eat that much fish, she said. Apparently she misunderstood that the plan delivers half a pound each week. That’s one meal for two people. Cost is $75 for a half share, 8 ounces of fish per week for 12 weeks. A full share is $144, 16 ounces of fish per week for 12 weeks.

I’m looking forward to the first delivery next week, of Vermilion Rockfish, at right. Here’s the word from Morro Bay fisherman Mark Tognazzini’s wife Bonnie:

“How about a flat ocean, very little wind, and good catching? This pretty much describes what the past several days have been like here in Morro Bay…In a nutshell, here is what our weekly tally board looks like for locally caught fish... Capt Schuyler (Paul Schuyler is a Cal Poly Organic farm member!) had a few good days catching Halibut while Capt. John Smith weighed in with some beautiful Vermillion Rockfish.

“ It was caught by hook and line. Fishermen are allowed to catch 250 pounds of it every 60 days according to the Pacific Fisheries Management Council, a federal government agency.”
Contact Margie Hurd,, to sign up.

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