Dock to Dish® was founded in Montauk, New York in 2012 as one of the original community-supported fisheries in the United States. Spearheaded by a group of local commercial fishermen, food activists, and chefs, we set forth with a simple goal: provide fresh, local and sustainable fish to nearby restaurants and community members.
Our innovative membership-based “CSA for fish” concept—in which individuals and families became members of the fishery and purchased “shares” of local seafood in advance—was designed to reconnect the local community with local fishermen. By building a bridge to restore the relationship between seafood producers and consumers, we could also upend an outdated seafood supply chain that results in less pay for fishermen, a larger carbon footprint, and intentionally mislabeled fish.
With our model, we laid the groundwork for a sustainable future for the industry by better compensating fishermen, showcasing under-appreciated fish species, and offering verifiable traceability along with an unprecedented level of freshness, quality control, and food safety.
Originally, our program had four contributing fishermen and was available only to residents of Montauk and the nearby towns of Amagansett and Sag Harbor. Fresh seafood shares were provided to members during the summer through traditional local CSA operations at Quail Hill Farm and Amber Waves Farm. By the end of the inaugural season, we expanded to local restaurants such as Nick & Toni’s in East Hampton and Bell & Anchor in Sag Harbor. We then broke new ground at Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, New York, where, together with Chef Dan Barber, we launched the first formal restaurant-supported fishery program in the world.
From the original crew of four contributing fishermen, the cooperative swelled to a constellation of nearly three dozen, all of whom steadily supplied Dock to Dish members with fresh, sustainable seafood all year long. Over the following years, our Montauk program increased in scale to include dozens of restaurants, as well as culinary institutions like Eataly and the sprawling headquarters of the Google Corporation in New York City.
These first Dock to Dish programs were widely hailed for being game-changing, viable alternative market systems for the safe, efficient, and sustainable distribution of local, low-carbon, and community-sourced fresh seafood to increasing sectors of the population.