On San Francisco’s Pier 45, the cooperative San Francisco Community Fishing Association is making waves in the fishing industry.
During salmon season, the co-op moves tens of thousands of pounds of salmon directly into the market — skipping the middlemen and ensuring fair prices for co-op members. Not only are co-op members active in fisheries conservation efforts, but they have delivered healthy profit sharing to members for three years running. Ecotrust is working to implement this business-savvy, stewardship-minded approach of community-based fishing organizations across the country.
Community-based fishermen in San Francisco have started a quiet revolution.
Healthy oceans, fair fish
Longtime crab fisherman, Larry Collins, and his wife, Barbara Emley, formed the San Francisco co-op in 2010. They wanted to command better fish prices at the dock to put more money in fishermen’s pockets and develop new dock infrastructure to support independent operators — all while creating a more sustainable fishery that protects fish stocks for future generations.
Collins and Co. are now part of the Community Fisheries Network, a nationwide network convened by Ecotrust and the Island Institute that is helping community fishing organizations shape sustainable businesses, while leading fisheries and marine ecosystem protection and building lasting economic value for coastal communities.
Boat to table
Already, members from Alaska to Maine are pioneering new techniques for direct sales and fisheries conservation, while maintaining access to traditional, cultural uses of coastal resources.
They are also answering consumer’s demand to know who caught their fish and how it was harvested. Around 70 percent of the San Francisco co-op’s product goes into local markets.