Local Fishermen Catch Seafood for Community

Taking a sustainable approach, Local Catch provides customers with local seafood while supporting the fishing community.

If you’re looking to support the local fishing community, now there’s a way to do that and enjoy local sustainable fish.

Local Catch Monterey Bay is a Community Supported Fishery (CSF) that sells fresh seafood from local fishermen in Monterey and Santa Cruz counties on a weekly basis.

“A lot of these species aren’t even defined out there,” said community coordinator and manager Oren Frey. “People are preparing things that they’ve never prepared before, that they didn’t know how to prepare or didn’t have access to before.”

Customer Amy Williams of Carmel wrote in a testimonial, "I feel far more educated and confident about local seafood–about what's available, what's involved in catching it, how to prepare much of it–compared to before we joined." 

Customers don’t get to choose what species they are going to get because it’s all about what’s local and what’s in season, said Frey.

“It’s a surprise,” he said.

Since program manager Alan Lovewell and Frey opened Local Catch Jan. 17, 2012 their customer base has grown from 140 to 300 customers.

Frey said that customers are being exposed to the freshest fish that they have ever tasted and such a variety. People have said that they’re never going back to buying fish from the grocery store again because it doesn’t compare, said Frey.

After having tried salmon delivered by Local Catch, “People are saying I’ve never actually had salmon before,” Frey said.  

Lovewell and Frey created the concept for Local Catch as a graduate school project while studying at the Monterey Institute of International Studies.

In the last year, they interned as California Sea Grant Fellows where they finalized the logistics for their company. Lovewell served at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center and Frey at the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

“We got to put the pieces together and figure out how to turn it from theoretical to applicable,” Frey said.

To put their plan into action, the missing link was the fishermen to provide the fish. One Santa Cruz fisherman that Frey met with connected him to Greg Young, owner of .

“We didn’t find anyone who had the enthusiasm or passion to dive into the endeavor like Greg,” Frey said.

Young already worked with Santa Cruz fishermen to source seafood for his restaurant, so those connections were already established. Young is in charge of sourcing the various fishermen and filleting the fish at his restaurant.

 “We hope the fishermen can see the benefit for them. That they’re getting a better price and knowing who their customers are,” Frey said.

To improve customer and fishermen interactions, Local Catch surveys members on a weekly basis to allow customers to ask fishermen questions and for fishermen to share stories with customers.

In the weekly newsletter, customers receive recipes for preparing their fish and a fisherman is profiled to put a name and face to the man who provides the fish.

The fishermen are loyal to their customers, Frey said. Unlike other grocery stores and markets, Local Catch has a predictable demand, which is advantageous for fishermen because they know how much fish to catch.

In the future, Frey said he hopes the fishermen start to collaborate with each other to plan who will catch a certain species of fish each week so that there isn’t an excess amount of one type.

“We’d like the fishermen to start to feel invested in the program,” he said.

By distributing seafood locally, they are addressing the problem of global climate change while supporting the local fishing community.

Over 80 percent of the seafood consumed in the U.S. is imported from another country, according to the Local Catch website.

When signing up, customers choose among size, form, pickup location and payment frequency options.

  • Size: Small share feeds 2-3 people and costs $20 per week; Family share feeds 4-6 people and costs $36 per week.
  • Form: Whole fish or fillet.
  • Location: Many pickup sites around Santa Cruz County
  • Payment frequency options: Every 4, 8 or 12 weeks

After selecting their preferences, customers pick up their fish every Tuesday from their selected location.

To find out more about Local Catch Monterey Bay, visit their website or call 831-345-5153. 

Cathy P. July 24, 2012 at 07:26 PM
No pickup sites in Watsonville, closest is MBARI in Moss Landing.
Jennifer Squires July 24, 2012 at 07:40 PM
Or Sesson House at Cabrillo.
Shannon Burkey (Editor) July 24, 2012 at 08:37 PM
I love this concept! I think I might have to join.
randy July 24, 2012 at 08:55 PM
this sounds wonderful to me. We eat a lot of fish. Aptos would be the closet
Oren F. July 25, 2012 at 07:51 AM
Cathy: We're very much interested in developing a Watsonville pickup location. Do you have any ideas of a compatible business near Highway 1 that might be interested in hosting our site? Thanks - Oren, Local Catch
Watzon McWats July 25, 2012 at 07:45 PM
As far as Watsonville locations go, I might suggest talking to Farm Fresh Produce on Holohan and E. Lake. They carry a lot of locally made or locally grown goods such as eggs, produce, snacks, breads, etc. Freedom Meat Locker comes to mind as well. It would be nice to be able to get high quality seafood in Watsonville.
Brian July 25, 2012 at 09:21 PM
fukushima ....http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/28/us-japan-nuclear-tuna-idUSBRE84R0MF20120528
Brian July 25, 2012 at 09:23 PM
This is a projection of the spread of radiation in the Pacific sea waters since the Fukushima incident. (11.11.11) http://www.nuc.berkeley.edu/forum/218/fukushima-radiation-spread-map-pacific-ocean.2012-02-15
Oren F. August 02, 2012 at 12:11 AM
Great news! We are launching a Watsonville pickup location at West Marine, 500 Westridge Drive. Please click on "Join Now" at www.localcatchmontereybay.com if you would like to sign up. The first delivery will occur once we have a minimum of 10 members signed up. Thank you and please help us spread the word!
Oren F. August 02, 2012 at 12:13 AM
Great news! We are launching a Watsonville pickup location at West Marine, 500 Westridge Drive. Please click on "Join Now" at www.localcatchmontereybay.com if you would like to sign up. The first delivery will occur once we have a minimum of 10 members signed up. Thank you and please help us spread the word!
Jennifer Squires August 02, 2012 at 01:21 AM
Awesome. Watsonville gets a seafood pick-up site of its own! http://watsonville.patch.com/articles/local-seafood-service-catches-on-in-watsonville
Cathy P. August 02, 2012 at 02:22 PM
Great news, thanks!


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