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Community Seafood
updated: Jan 12, 2013, 10:00 AM

Do you want easy access to FRESH, LOCAL SEAFOOD directly from your Santa Barbara fishermen? You're in luck! Community Seafood is gearing up to start it's 3rd season. Never heard of us? We're a grassroots program aimed at connecting the SB community with your local fishermen by providing you weekly shares of amazing seafood! Our 1st and 2nd season customers got a taste of the Santa Barbara Channel with King Salmon, Halibut, Black Cod, Swordfish, White Seabass, Rockfish, Black Gill, Mussels, Spiny Lobster...and so much more!

Local, sustainably-caught seafood is not easy to find in stores in Santa Barbara. The local seafood counters are stocked with foreign products that may or may not be harvested sustainably or labeled truthfully. This is not good for the fishermen, the environment or the public.

The majority of the seafood harvested in Santa Barbara is bought by seafood processors and distributors operating out of Los Angeles. This leads to a 90% exportation rate of the seafood landed in Santa Barbara Harbor. With few options for direct marketing, our fishermen often get poor wholesale prices and have to respond to unpredictable foreign markets.

Community Seafood uses a CSA-based model to help promote local retention of seafood harvested in the Santa Barbara channel. We provide the Santa Barbara community greater access to all of the delicious, local, sustainable seafood caught responsibly right here, while supporting and recognizing the value of our local fishing community!

Being a fishermen is more than a full time job! The majority of fishermen don't have the time, energy, or resources to market their seafood directly. By cutting out the "middle men," Community Seafood is able to transfer the financial benefits directly to the fishermen, while providing locally caught seafood to the consumer at or below market value!

Because most of our seafood leaves town, our community is largely unaware of how desirable our local seafood is and how much better it is for the environment compared with buying imported seafood. California fishing regulations are some of the most environmentally stringent and progressive in the world. But these limits make it hard to make a profit fishing here. We want to actively create the means to provide support for our fishing industry to ensure its heritage and the continued access to local seafood into the future.

Our Goals:

  • Establish a transparent "food chain" from boat to fork;
  • Increase access to premium, locally caught seafood;
  • Ensure fishermen receive a fair price for their catch that reflects the value of their work;
  • Engage fishermen and community members in strengthening our local food system;
  • Encourage public interest in preservation and stewardship of our fisheries.

    Check out our website for more information: http://www.communityseafood.com/

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    Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

     COMMENT 362793 agree helpful negative off topic

    2013-01-12 10:45 AM

    That looks like a great idea. I'm probably going to join. Thank you!


     COMMENT 362835 agree helpful negative off topic

    2013-01-12 01:24 PM

    Swordfish and rockfish (including "black gill") are not at all sustainable fisheries. It undermines your credibility to offer them state that they are sustainable.


     COMMENT 362932 agree helpful negative off topic

    2013-01-12 06:38 PM

    great service if you are the 1 percent


     COMMENT 362947 agree helpful negative off topic

    2013-01-12 07:19 PM

    The 203 area code is in Connecticut. That is not local but may be the same area code as Edhat, Hmmm! Bi weekly and bi monthly service are confused, not to mention you have a only a 2 hour window for pick-up or you lose your money. Expensive too. This sounds like a something fishy may be going on.


     COMMENT 362971 agree helpful negative off topic

    2013-01-13 06:38 AM

    Great idea, but implementation is lousy. First, your pricing and schedules are way too complicated. Simplify and reduce the schedule and package options so people can easy grasp what they're buying. Second, you pitch this as a means for local fishermen to bypass LA wholesale buyers that pay global commodity rates. Cool, but don't charge us high end retail rates and keep all the excess profit. Split the differerence with us so the fishermen get paid above wholesale and we buy at less than retail. Third, your "portions" don't appear to be family friendly. Give an example of how much fish one can expect so we can calculate how much to order. Use pounds of salmon as an example. This is very fixable. Good luck.


     COMMENT 362999 agree helpful negative off topic

    2013-01-13 09:00 AM

    believe it or not, the "middleman" provides a valuable service - most fishermen do not want or have the ability to sell their catch to the public. They deserve to get paid for this service, and claiming that they are taking money out of the fishermen's hands is wrong. 971 is correct - you ought to be charging closer to wholesale prices. And if you're charging retail because you have overhead etc., well then you are just the new middlemen.

    I see no benefit to this service over buying at the fish market, except that you get no choice of what to buy or how much. Particularly considering the earlier correct comment that not all the fisheries are sustainable and probably none are certified as such.


     COMMENT 363027P agree helpful negative off topic

    2013-01-13 10:23 AM

    I would be interested if it becomes what is promised.


     COMMENT 363040 agree helpful negative off topic

    2013-01-13 11:12 AM

    This group does have very good intentions. But I agree it's too expensive, too confusing, and too hard for pick ups forthe a stage family. Hopefully they will streamline those issues soon.


     COMMENT 364060 agree helpful negative off topic

    2013-01-16 11:20 AM

    I’m Stephanie Mutz, co-founder of Community Seafood and local commercial fisherman. Community Seafood provides new access of local seafood to our community, gives good prices to fishermen, and contributes 5% revenues to non-profit Commercial Fishermen of Santa Barbara (CFSB). Our seafood has a “transparent” origin and comes with info on who caught it, how and where, recipes and fishery facts. These are valuable and unique features of our program that customers appreciate. And, it is incredibly fresh -- literally the 'catch of the day.'

    We are competitive, and at times, substantially cheaper than fish market prices.

    We have enjoyed the challenge of launching the program and will continue to improve it as we grow. For the dozen plus fishermen and hundred plus fans of local seafood who have participated, it has been a very fun and positive way to connect as a community. We appreciate the community effort to help better our program!


     COMMENT 364064 agree helpful negative off topic

    2013-01-16 11:29 AM

    Edhat comment test


     COMMENT 364070 agree helpful negative off topic

    2013-01-16 11:45 AM

    This is Kim Selkoe, another co-founder of Community Seafood &a marine scientist. Keeping up with the latest on seafood sustainability is tricky. Bottom line: buying local seafood is a nice way to know for sure what you are eating and know it was caught legally and sustainably. In our view, sustainability is about relying less on imported seafood, which is mostly far from sustainable or fair trade, and doing as much as we can to support local fisheries which are highly regulated and providing low-carbon footprint protein to our community.
    While some rockfish up north have had overfishing, local stocks are doing well. Local rockfish is caught hook and line. Fish and Game strictly monitors the fishery. Swordfish is gillnet caught. This fishery is small & highly regulated to avoid interactions with mammals, turtles and shark. 90% of remaining bycatch is mola and 90% are released alive. See 'southern fried science' blog 'Good intentions and negative transfer effects’ post for more.


     COMMENT 364144 agree helpful negative off topic

    2013-01-16 02:49 PM

    I think the bottom line is the prices are too high. Buying from local fishermen above wholesale sounds great, but not if it means the customer still pays retail or more. You have to get the end cost below retail. If you did I'd say you could really increase the number of people using and continuing to use your service. Otherwise, you're gonna be limiting yourselves to those willing to pay over retail to keep things local and a large percentage of you possible cliental can't afford to, or won't do that. Good luck I think it's a great idea.


     COMMENT 364457 agree helpful negative off topic

    2013-01-17 09:28 AM

    If you want seafood more at the wholesale price and get exactly what you want, your best option is to go to the Fisherman's Market on the Navy pier near the Breakwater on Saturday mornings 7am-~10am and buy your seafood directly from the boat. I am there most Saturdays, and I can also talk with you more about SB seafood and Community Seafood in person. The best part is the SB Fish Market can clean your fish for free. Stephanie


     COMMENT 365864 agree helpful negative off topic

    2013-01-21 04:05 PM

    where are the data to suggest that "local stocks" of rockfish are doing well? Answer - there is no data. The gillnet fishery for swords may be better than longline, but they still result in many dead dolphins and even some whales every year. Furthermore, swordfish is very high in mercury.


     COMMENT 365914 agree helpful negative off topic

    2013-01-21 06:00 PM

    no way do gas powered boats operating up and down our coast have a low carbon footprint. Eat local chicken or catch your own off the beach.


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