Fishermen Feeding Mainers
Meals for hungry Mainers and a lifeline for Maine's fishermen
The groundfish fleet in Maine (those who fish for species like cod, haddock, and flounder) has seen declining value for the past five years. When COVID-19 struck, and the food system and restaurants closed, those struggles were amplified in an astounding way. From the five-year average, the value of landed groundfish in Maine is down an astonishing 73%. Most shockingly, a large driver for the decline is the high percentage of fish not even being sold. This means that fishermen were landing fish and it is going unsold even at low prices. This caused many fishermen to be forced to stay tied to the dock despite needing to make money to support their families.
Simultaneously, we have seen a significant rise in food insecurity in Maine with the onset of COVID with close to 15% of our population needing better access to food.
In response, MCFA has built the Fishermen Feeding Mainers Program which seeks to provide direct financial relief to fishermen by helping them supply food banks and families in need with healthy Maine seafood meals.
For this effort, fish will be purchased directly from participating fishermen to create a livable wage. Local processors then cut, package, and freeze the fish which is then donated to the Good Shephard Food Bank, Cooking for Community, local schools, and other community organizations. Through these efforts, MCFA and our community is able to support fishermen, the working waterfront, the blue economy, and supply fresh, healthy seafood to those in need.
Read the great article BDN wrote up on the project! LINK
"To know that the fish I'm catching are being distributed locally to Maine families in need is amazing. Not only do I get the satisfaction of knowing my fish is going to a good cause, but this program has helped me continue to fish and support my family in these tough times."