Deck to Dish: Increasing the Visibility and the Resilience of the Community Supported Fisheries Movement

Joint Press Release by URGENCI, TNI, LocalCatch, Birlik and Pleine Mer.

Amsterdam, 19th of October 2019

Community Supported Fisheries and other direct forms of sales between fishers and consumers have been identified as a key component of the transition towards sustainable food systems. Thousands of new initiatives are spawning in different regions of the world: different forms of grouped direct sales to consumers, off-the-dock sales, community supported restaurants, cooperatives, cooperative shops and of course more classical forms of Community Supported Fishery groups, many linked to Community Supported Agriculture groups… This creative movement is providing a wide range of concrete, realistic solutions for protecting marine resources, jobs in coastal communities and the right to food. It is also an important element in the fight against the climate crisis.

The movement toward a values-based seafood system is needed now more than ever”, said Brett Tolley of Local Catch, a network coordinating CSF initiatives in the USA. “Fishing communities are facing a global seafood supply chain that is threatening the health of the ocean, small-scale fishers, and access to good seafood. We’re excited to support the movement in Europe to increase the visibility and support towards values-based seafood and models like Community-Supported Fisheries”.

URGENCI, the international network of Community Supported Agriculture, TNI, the international research and advocacy institute, the Istanbul-based fishers cooperative Birlik, Local Catch, the USA Community Supported Fisheries network and the French small-scale fishers’ platform Pleine Mer, met on 18th and 19th October in Amsterdam to launch a joint mapping, training and capacity building endeavour. The goals are to map the CSF movement and make it visible, foster fisher-to-fisher mentoring, consolidate the existing initiatives, raise consumers’ awareness and disseminate the various models of local, solidarity-based partnerships for sustainable seafood harvesting and consumption.

As Erdogan Kartal, a fisherman and president of the Turkish fishers cooperative Birlik says, “Forging international alliances between our movements is critical to all of us. We want to use this project to empower our communities and to develop real solutions for the environment”.

Deck to Dish will include several transnational training events over the next 2 years. The next step will be a Mapping methodology Seminar in Istanbul that has already been scheduled to take place in February 2020. During the kick off meeting, Judith Hitchman, the President of URGENCI, stresses the long gestation process of the project. “The project has finally set sail. Let’s wish Deck to Dish good luck and as the French would say to the crew setting off to sea, “bon vent!”.