Buying seafood via Facebook groups
Updated: Apr 7
First, and perhaps most importantly, we would like to thank everyone who is seeking out local seafood to both fill their bellies and support Maine fishermen.
Second, to introduce ourselves to those of you who may not know us well, MCFA works with fishermen to restore the fisheries in the Gulf of Maine and sustain Maine's fishing communities for future generations. We work with fishermen on issues around policy, advocacy, business, gear, technology, community, and working waterfront. We are not involved in seafood business, sell seafood nor market seafood; we support Maine's working waterfront, educate people about seafood and Maine's fisheries, and support Maine's fishermen; our efforts here are to continue to support them, facilitate connection, and to educate and advocate during this crisis.
Lastly, we would like to ask for a few minutes of your time to just clear up a few things that are being asked and requested in the Facebook groups, The Maine Seafood Connection and Maine Fish Direct - help Maine’s fishermen while feeding your family!
Commenting and Posting
The pages are set up for just a few things: selling seafood, buying seafood, and sharing helpful information. Unless you are asking a question or commenting about something specific, please do not post. This will perhaps help with some of the confusion and need to dig through comments to find information.
If you have any questions about Maine's fisheries, how you can do more to support, the working waterfront, or even how to cook or fillet fish, feel free to email MCFA. We'll respond and can even share the information in the group in one helpful post.
Even in the best of times, there are questions about the cost of seafood. Whether it’s lobster, scallops, hake, or cod, prices can be the reason for buying or not buying local seafood. Please remember that when you are buying fish you are also paying for the fisherman’s time, crew, boat, health insurance, maintenance, storage, and gear. You are also paying for a fisherman to go out on the ocean, in a boat, sometimes in bad weather; to haul gear, set nets, drop hooks; you’re paying for them to spend time away from their family to bring food to shore for us all to benefit from and enjoy. Fishermen deserve fair prices and proper remuneration.
We ask that you do not dicker, haggle, or question a price that a fisherman is asking. Please do not say the prices that are being requested are “tourist” prices. Please do not suggest people are trying to undercut one another. We are all doing our best, trying to help, and doing what we can to figure out how to make it through this unprecedented and trying time.
If you live out-of-state, please seek lobsters and seafood from places that are already set up for shipping. Shipping seafood, especially lobsters, can be unbelievably expensive but these online businesses have accounts that make it less so and easier to manage. Businesses that are set up to ship are doing their best to fill orders and find ways to get seafood to you, so please support them, too. The purpose behind these groups is to help fishermen get by, not set up brand new businesses, and shipping products entails a lot more than just putting it in a box with your address on it.
National Fisherman has created a page, Buy Local Fish, with lots of businesses that are serving both coasts and Alaska. Please look there and find an option that is right for you and your location.
MCFA also has some info on a blog post HERE.
We are doing our best. Yes, this is complicated and not streamlined and a bit messy. We realize that finding the information and product you are looking for may not be as easy as it can be, but right now, that’s just how it is. As the days go by it may become more apparent how to post information and connect consumers to fishermen and fishermen to consumers but for right now, it is what it is. We will update, refine, and adapt over time and hopefully, it will get a bit easier. If it gets too complicated, rather than posting your confusion, please email us. I will help you find what you are looking for or answer your question.
Posting seafood for sale
Fishermen, try to make it as easy as you can for people to understand what you are selling, for how much, and how they can get it. It's also extremely important to abide by the current recommendations for preventing the spread of COVID-19. Also, make sure you are selling and distributing your seafood product legally. (Stay tuned for a post with suggestions for communicating about your product, making sure you are selling legally, and tips for selling safely.)
Posting format recommendation:
What are you selling?
How much do you have available?
For how much?
Where are you located?
When will it be available?
Do you deliver, or where can people meet you?
Well, I'm not sure anyone knows the answer to that question just yet but at MCFA we do know one thing, we want you to keep supporting fishermen and buying local seafood. These Facebook groups are temporary; they are a mechanism that is allowing fishermen to adapt and continue to fish and sell some of the products they are landing, but they are not sustainable. Most fishermen want to go fishing, they don't want to be seafood dealers. So, even when the skies clear and we are able to go back to our regular schedules, please keep buying seafood. Please keep asking questions about fish and lobster and scallops. Please keep supporting Maine fishermen, coastal communities, and working waterfronts.
Did we forget anything? Just let us know.
Together, we persevere.