NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

June 26, 2010

Program catching on

Fisherman's co-op to sell shares of fresh fish, lobster

SEABROOK — The 61 local commercial fishermen of Yankee Fisherman's Cooperative will offer fresh whole fish and lobsters directly to the consumer by mid-July, in a new Community Supported Fishery's program, similar to its successful shrimp-share program.

"Our shrimp CSF was so successful this year, that we're going to offer whole fish and lobster shares to the public starting the second week in July," said Bob Campbell, manager of the co-op. "People can purchase either a whole share, which is about 10 pounds a week for eight weeks, or half a share, which is about five pounds."

The whole fish available will depend on what's landed during the week, he said.

"What we usually catch is cod, haddock, pollock or various kinds of flounder," Campbell said. "Pick up points would be here (at the Yankee Fisherman's Cooperative on Route 1A in Seabrook), or a location in Durham. We're looking at one of two locations in Durham, but we'll decide where by July 10."

It's the second community-supported fishery business to set up shop in the Newburyport area. Cape Ann Fresh Catch, organized by Gloucester fishermen, delivers fish to Newburyport customers every Friday afternoon at the waterfront parking lot next to the Black Cow restaurant.

The Yankee Fisherman's Cooperative is building on its success from the native shrimp CSF, which ended the first week in May, Campbell said.

"Most people don't realize that the shrimp they find in most stores are shrimp farmed in fresh water pools that come from Third World countries, some as far away as Vietnam," Campbell said. "We really need to educate the consumer about what they're buying."

Those who participate in the CSF not only get fresh fish as low prices, but also help support local commercial fishermen who are in a highly regulated industry. Federal changes to fishing rules make it very difficult for independent fishermen to survive, Campbell said, and providing fish directly to the consumer is one way to compensate for the difficulty the industry is experiencing.

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