Local Catch Network yields bounty of fresh seafood options

During the coronavirus pandemic, some people are realizing they don’t have a strong relationship with the food system or local food producers.

Local Catch can help remedy that, says University of Maine assistant professor of marine policy Joshua Stoll.

The Local Catch Network is a community of fishermen, researchers and consumers committed to providing local, healthful, low-impact, and economically sustainable seafood directly from harvesters. 

The Seafood Finder map allows people to pinpoint where they can buy fresh lobster, scallops, clams, crabs and more from one of 537 sources in North America. 

From Unalaska, Alaska, to San Diego, California, to Halifax, Nova Scotia to Perry, Maine. From boat to fork.

Increasing access to fresh, local seafood was one of the reasons that Stoll founded Local Catch in 2011.

Local Catch is hosting a free forum at 1 p.m. EST Tuesday, March 31 for fishermen, community organizers, and other interested parties to share updates, lessons learned, and critical information to help fishermen involved in local and direct seafood marketing connect with consumers during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The public is generally aware of the local agriculture movement, says Stoll, who notes University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s recent partnership with farmers to create an online Maine farm product and pick-up directory.

“But people forget fish is food,” says Stoll, who wants the public to know seafood is a critical part of the food system and that consumers can find local seafood using the Local Catch online directory that’s been around for nearly a decade.

In addition to increasing access to fresh, local seafood, Local Catch initiates conversations about conservation, and sustains healthy fisheries and the communities that depend on them. And it provides a resource for fishermen and communities interested in starting direct seafood marketing arrangements.

Stoll says Local Catch connections have proven invaluable to his UMaine-affiliated research about seafood systems and dynamics, and provide beneficial learning and research opportunities for university students as well.

Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777, beth.staples@maine.edu