The Monterey Bay Fisheries Trust is working to rebuild local and regional seafood markets for sustainable, Monterey Bay seafood.
In 2018, we launched our new "Fish Hub" program to leverage the growing desire for connection to local foods. Real life hand shakes and modern technology will be used to find ways to make more seafood from Monterey, Moss Landing and Santa Cruz more accessible to the people who live on California’s Central Coast. Our initial strategy does not include investing in a physical processing facility or other physical fish hub headquarters, nor will we hold any inventory – though this may be in our future.
For now, the fish hub will focus on the following:
The primary goal of the fish hub is to rebuild market demand for Monterey Bay seafood. We will meet with a range and diversity of local and regional buyers — including high volume institutional markets — to seek out market opportunities for sustainable, Monterey Bay seafood. We will aggregrate supply and demand and orchestrate the logistics from boat to market, leveraging existing infrastructure (e.g., processing and distribution services) to start. Over time, we expect that increased and consistent demand for Monterey Bay seafood will attract more fishermen and more landings, which will in turn inspire investments in shoreside businesses and infrastructure like ice, hoists, and processing.
EDUCATION AND OUTREACH
An important part of the fish hub will involve educating the public about local seafood and the importance of commercial fishing to our history, culture, identity, and economy. Through our website, social media, newsletter, presentations, events, and through local press and partnerships, we will work to tell the story of the fish, the fishermen, the Monterey Bay, and what the fish hub accomplishes.
Increasingly, buyers and consumers want information about where and how their seafood was caught. One of the early goals of the fish hub will be to explore a traceability program that verifies the source, gear type, and sustainability of Monterey Bay seafood. We hope that menus will stop listing generic ‘rock cod’ (which could come from anywhere on the West Coast of North America) and start listing source-identified and verified “Monterey Bay caught Chilipepper rockfish” (for example) with information available on the gear type, vessel, and possibly even the captain. This technology is available, and we plan to explore whether it could work for Monterey Bay.
As we gear up, we’ll be working with community partners to increase business and capital support for commercial fishing businesses, so that they can thrive once again. We expect the Fish Hub to evolve as we develop and grow new markets and fishing opportunities, and we are excited to see where this takes us!
Fish Hub in the News!
The Who, What, Why of a Local Fish Hub. Monterey Bay Fisheries Trust Newsletter | April 2018.
'Fish Hub' Plans To Restore Monterey’s Fishing Roots, One Piece At A Time. Erica Mahoney | 90.3 KAZU, NPR for Monterey, Salinas, Santa Cruz. February 22, 2018.
Can a new “fish hub” revive the Monterey Bay fishing industry? EDIBLE NOTABLES FISHING FOR A COMEBACK. Elizabeth Limbach | Edible Monterey Bay | Winter 2017
Local group sparks idea of a fish hub. A way to keep local fish... local. Steven Fundaro | KION 5/47 | February 13, 2017.
Can Fish Hubs Rebuild Demand for Local Fish? Anna Guth | Civil Eats | February 2, 2017.
West Coast Groundfish Regional Market Demand and Opportunities: Key Findings and Recommendations (February 2017) By Wilderness Markets and Changing Tastes
West Coast Groundfish in California Value Chain Assessment (December 2015)
Describes the value chain dynamics impacting groundfish harvesters in California, by Wilderness Markets.
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