Right now more than 90% of the seafood coming to the U.S. marketplace is being imported from overseas, and more than 50% of it is farmed fish from foreign aquaculture sources. Of the wild-caught seafood that the U.S. imports, approximately 30% is sourced through illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing operations in countries that have little or no regulations. Less than 1% of all imports are inspected by the FDA before they enter the domestic food supply.
Seafood fraud is ubiquitous in the U.S. and is occurring at every single step of the supply chain. Inventories and sales of illegal and mislabeled seafood are at an all-time high throughout the entire domestic marketplace; with one major recent study revealing that nearly 50% of seafood subjected to DNA testing was something other than what the labels or menus claimed.
FISH ON PLANES
The enormous carbon footprint generated by the industrialized seafood distribution system in the U.S. is unsustainable and contributing to global warming and climate change—especially when fish is shipped by airplane—which is, by far, the top carbon-producing means of transport. Here in 2018, the staggering amount of “food miles” for U.S. seafood has been estimated to average well over 5,000 miles per serving. For every one pound of fish that is shipped across the country by air, more than two pounds of carbon is produced and released into the atmosphere.
These are all symptoms of an outdated and dysfunctional market system.
Dock to Dish community and restaurant supported fishery programs have created an entirely new market system for wild seafood, one that shares a very similar structure with Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) operations. In our system, instead of relying on the long, dark and mysterious supply chains that fuel the traditional seafood marketplace—our members can now connect directly with their nearest small-scale fishermen in an organized cooperative format.
Unlike the alternative demand markets that are driven by cash and credit cycles, Dock to Dish members enter into short term futures contracts with their local fishermen, and pay their membership dues in advance. Members are then entitled to a set volume of premium local seafood or “shares” that are systematically distributed over the course of a given season. The shares are supplied exclusively from the freshest and most carefully handled hauls—of the most local, and most abundant seafood—that is landing in whichever respective port or harbor has been designated for that region.
The new Dock to Dish model provides a steady cascade of important benefits to the cooperative members and the fishermen, as well as the local environment and coastal ecosystems. The programs strengthen the economy of the surrounding harbor communities and revive relationships between producers and consumers, while relieving targeted harvest pressure on the most popular species of fish and introducing a vast menu of local “underutilized species” to the members’ dinner tables.
SMALL FOOTPRINT, BIG FINGERPRINT
Dock to Dish fish never travels by air, nor leaves a 150-mile radius from the port that it was landed in. Our average “food miles” are in the 75 mile range, with as few as 10 in some distribution areas; and our operations generate the smallest carbon footprint of any other sourcing and distribution model in our class. Our “fingerprint fish” policy ensures that 100% of all seafood distributed to our members can be traced back to the hands of a licensed commercial fisherman or specific vessel.
Google NYC presents Dock to Dish
Explore the origins of the Dock to Dish model in this short video produced by Google NYC
Know Your Fisherman
We believe the most critically important benefit of the Dock to Dish system is our ability to provide pure and verifiable transparency. In our unique model, the advent of futures contracts and the absence of an industrialized supply chain enables our operators to provide our members with “fingerprint fish,” and a level of source clarity that is unprecedented in the wild seafood marketplace.
To further explore what makes the Dock to Dish model, method and capacity for traceability and transparency so ground-breaking, we encourage you to examine the Current Barriers to Large-scale Interoperability of Traceability Technology in the overall seafood sector, which we have been able to overcome by creating an entirely new membership-based market system.
Dock to Dish 2.0
In 2018, we continue to revolutionize the marketplace by pioneering the world’s first live tracking dashboard to monitor hauls of wild seafood, with precision accuracy, from individual fishermen at sea directly to end consumers on land, in near-real time calibration. This unprecedented technology bundle that we are bringing online has been dubbed Dock to Dish 2.0, and is being created in partnership with Pelagic Data Systems, Local Catch, and Fish Trax Technologies. Once completed, the bundle will be open-sourced for all independent small- and medium-scale fisheries operations around the world to replicate and use.
“We are global leaders in live tracking technologies.”
Here in the initial rollout phase, Dock to Dish 2.0 is already being celebrated for creating the first public-facing system to ever combine cutting edge vessel and vehicle tracking with geospatial monitoring technologies on an interactive digital dashboard.
The project represents a fulfillment of our vision to establish interoperability of traceability technologies in the seafood sector, and pioneer the most advanced electronic fishery database and information platform ever brought to market by an independent grassroots operation. Upon completion, Dock to Dish 2.0 will serve as a powerful tool to provide clear, verifiable source and supply information—with tamperproof digital assets—to our members in near-real time; and catalyze systemic change that will guide the U.S. seafood industry out of the dark ages.