FishWise and Positively Groundfish Form New Partnership

Created on Tuesday, 30 October 2018

FishWise is pleased to announce a new partnership with Positively Groundfish – a unique multi-sector association based in Brookings, OR. Positively Groundfish works to join fishermen, processors, non-profits, certifiers, and academia behind a shared goal of revitalizing the market and consumer appreciation for West Coast groundfish. Positively Groundfish only promotes MSC-certified West Coast groundfish species, with a specific focus on the most underutilized species.

Incorporated in April 2017, the non-profit trade association’s mission is to tell the positive story of sustainable West Coast Groundfish to cultivate consumer appreciation and to support the long-term economic success of West Coast local fishing industry and communities. The group wants to make America fall in love with West Coast groundfish and appreciate the great variety and unique tastes, textures and qualities of the many wonderful species, such as rockfish, sole, lingcod, black cod or sand dabs.

The West Coast Groundfish fishery is a year-round fishery that has successfully recovered from being overfished. When the fishery faced possible collapse around the year 2000, the community came together, and made a total commitment to sustainability. Over time the fleet was rationalized and the amount of catch was capped. Fishermen changed where and when they fished to avoid sensitive habitats and spawning grounds. They modified their gears to fish more selectively and to reduce by-catch levels. Now there is 100% observer coverage and total accountability for the catch.

In June 2014 thirteen of the most important West Coast Groundfish species became MSC certified. Many species within the complex have favorable Green “Best Choice” or Yellow “Good Alternative” ratings from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch.

But this all-American success story isn’t complete yet. While West Coast groundfish populations have bounced back, the market for these fish hasn’t. Today, approximately 75% of available quota is not harvested. In effect, the fishery went from being overfished to ‘underutilized’.

Positively Groundfish is focused on regionally-specific marketing activities that drives awareness and market differentiation for West Coast groundfish to increase market volumes and market prices. They work with chefs, retailers, and brands to educate, persuade, and inspire the American public to buy more of these underutilized species. They want to connect American consumers to the source of their food and strengthen their sense of place and connection to local communities.

The association’s ultimate measuring stick is the degree to which they have improved the economics of the West Coast groundfish fishery and the livelihoods of our local fishing communities. They believe that greater consumer demand will make the fishery more profitable, help create more jobs, attract more investment and create a positive upward spiral of economic development for our communities. They work to demonstrate that ecological sustainability and economic well-being are not trade-offs but can go hand in hand.

For retailers interested in West Coast Groundfish products, direct sales of affiliated with Positively Groundfish can be purchased through Bornstein Seafood, Pacific Seafood, Hallmark Fisheries/CalShell, or many other distributors with regional connections.

To find out more about the fishery or to become a member of Positively Groundfish, please contact Jana Hennig through the Positively Groundfish website today.