How it Works

The Dock to Dish movement is made up of an interconnected network of Restaurant Supported Fishery programs across North and Central America and a keystone partnership with the Google Corporation. Through this network we are pioneering sustainable long-term alternatives to the industrialized global seafood marketplace, and leading coastal communities in the adaptation to climate change. 

Dock to Dish works through the introduction of a new membership-based, supply-driven economic model that is structurally reflective of a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.  After years of honing the original CSA model, and adapting it to be suitable for wild fisheries in numerous regions, the Dock to Dish model is now being celebrated broadly as the new face of sustainable seafood

Participants who join a Dock to Dish cooperative pay for their membership in advance for a pre-determined length of time (or season) and immediately begin a direct relationship with an alliance of small-scale fishers from their nearest homeport. In doing so, members agree to surrender their historical 'right' to demand popular target species from the long dangerous arms of the global seafood commodities market, which is a practice that has placed unprecedented strains on many species of wild finfish and oceanic ecosystems around the world over past decades. By joining a Dock to Dish cooperative, our members instead receive steady and carefully-managed share distributions of wild seafood that were harvested exclusively by their local community-based fishermen, all of whom operate under the strictest governmental regulations. By allowing science-based regulations, the local oceanic ecosystems and experienced small-scale fishermen decide what will be landed and distributed within the cooperative, an orderly and sustainable system quickly begins to flourish and balance is soon restored to the local marketplace.

We believe this is the most sustainable method of sourcing and distribution for wild seafood available in the world today, and a growing audience of industry leaders agrees.

TOP ROW: The traditional chain-of-custody for wild seafood in the U.S.     BOTTOM ROW: The Dock to Dish membership model.

[Graphic credit: K.Lowitt from Nelson, et al.]

The Evolution of Dock to Dish

Our process originally began with a thorough, hands-on examination of traditional seafood markets and supply chains across the globe, then narrowed to very specifically focus on areas within a 250 mile radius of our headquarter port in Montauk, New York. What we discovered in our research was a broken system for wild seafood sourcing and distribution that was so outdated, corrupt, opaque and dangerous that we were inspired to create an entirely new supply-driven, membership-based model.

The new model was based on prioritizing genuine source transparency and the restoration of relationships between wild seafood harvesters and sustainabilty-minded consumers. The model soon came to be called a Restaurant Supported Fishery and it experienced a robust and rapid proliferation in the New York area. Working closely with trusted mentors, we soon learned that the Restaurant Supported Fishery model could be replicated and repeated in fishing villages and harbor towns around the world.

The simple goal of Dock to Dish was to fundamentally change the seafood marketplace in our headquarter port by demonstrating to our cooperatives of small-scale fishers the economic and ecological value of traceable, sustainable, supply-driven seafood. We soon began to operate under the framework of interconnected community capacity-building programs, which collectively worked to strengthen both the short and long-term viability of artisinal fishing economies in multiple North American ports.

Today, the Dock to Dish model and philosophy has been refined into a simple format that is poised to expand into both Central and South America over the course of upcoming seasons. Please join us on Facebook and Twitter for updates and progress on this expansion.

For a colorful depiction of how the Dock to Dish movement began, please click here to watch a short video featuring some of our co-founders in Montauk, New York.