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02/02/2011

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Scott Parker

I think it's a good idea with a noble principle behind it. I sincerely hope that it works...

piemel

Kirkman,

Planetorganics and Betty's Organics provide organic fruit & veggie boxes. Delivered every week at a set date/time/place. Local, sustainable and organic.... that jazz

These days you will see the same model applied to selling fish and meat. Not sure if its successful.

Perhaps you can look in expanding your audience beyond the odd restaurant that gives a shit and also add end customers. The nice thing about customers is that they usually are no a 'for profit' and hence if they are filthy rich can afford to pay for a weekly or monthly box of locally caught fish.

Heck, piggy back on that and keep sending invitations to your fish tours with every box you sell to restaurants and/or end customers. And vice versa, when you do tours allow people to order a box of local caught fish.

Look at Betty's Organics how they organize schedules, deliveries and all that. Costs will be very high because you will need to deliver in a box with ice gel packs in case the customer is not home during the dropoff.

There is a lot of local food that can be done with this model as long as your target audience is the filthy rich peeps here in SF and Marin. I pick mushrooms and I know I could sell some subscriptions to people with local mushrooms during the wetseason.

It already works with fruit and veggies, even with the abundance of local farmer markets (people are lazy and want it delivered).

For fish subscriptions you obviously have the disadvantage of logitics but who know... it might work. There must be reefers or local cold storage at HMB for example that are being used by fishermen. See if you can share in that and setup shop locally at the harbor. That way logistics (storage and packing boxes) can be managed. Transportation to end customers is more difficult but again, freeze packs and a good truck should be enough in the beginning.

Let me know how this goes... I always wondered about a venture like this but never took the time to develop a business plan

Kirk

Piemel and Scott thanks for the support gents. Piemel, this is some awesome stuff, send me your regular e-mail will you... mine is on the top of the blog mainpage...

--Kirk

Thomas Beutel

If you do start something, let me know, I'd be happy to eat at restaurants you sell to. I like Piemel's idea too. Another twist on that idea would be to have subscriptions to restaurant meals. Also, make sure to build your biz with that other "S" word... social. Facebook, Groupon, Twitter, SMS text, maybe even an app.

Scott Parker

Hmm. Actually if you can set something up so that the freeze-packs are on deposit and have to be exchanged (kind of like the way milk used to be delivered with the old bottles picked up with the new milk delivered?) it could cut the cost on the freeze packs... the main issue is going to be cost though... not really efficient to drive 45 minutes to deliver 2 lbs of fish o' the day...

Lots to consider in which markets to target, how to structure business, or even whether it's possible to break even... and this doesn't even take trying to stay green into consideration.

The first thing is to find out what it would take to be able to buy directly from the boats. I imagine they have some kind of contract with their distributors so can they sell to other parties without being in breach?

ross

When I visited my Auntie in Scotland, the fishmonger (and that's what they call him) would come to her village two mornings a week. He had a schedule and he kept to it. People knew which days were fish days and they planned for it. His fish was fresh... and local. And he didn't need to give it away.

What about the Farmers Markets? There was a truck that would sometimes hit the Oakland market some years back. With farmers markets you have less need for consistency - you will be forgiven for having herring (or not) some days and halibut others.

Tie either one of those in with a social aspect to push out your fish sheet as selections change. Tell a story about the fish, where did they come from, how did they end up in the net? How to serve them... look to the Trader Jooe's flyer... let regulars reserve their catch on-line.

Ryan

I have learned more about local fishing and fisheries on this blog than any other resource available to me. I regularly ask questions now about fish and find myself a more educated consumer, buying locally-harvested fish before any. I also feel more confident in my decisions beyond the Monterey Bay Aquarium dummy-list.

I agree with the comments above and the article and believe there's a huge void in the industry that will change the game once someone does it successfully. If you can exude the confidence on your customers that you do on people like me, and package it into a brand, you may have something solid.

First step is to reveal the realities of the local, sustainable fisheries. Then offer yourself as one of the few that can unmistakeably deliver what's right -- not what's on an anecdotal list. You'll find people who will pay for it as long as they know that the other philosophies are fundamentally misguided.

Patrick Pickerell

You will love working for yourself. The risk is worth it. Mr. Belov would be first on my list to interview if I was putting together such a business plan.

Martin

Great post, Kirk. Would love to discuss further with you

Alan

Well, no one could say you lack balls in tackling issues no one wants to hear about.

Still Kirk, I say people tend to see what they want to see, hear what they want to hear. I recently got kicked off a board, merely for asking questions of a "highly respected, knowledgeable, member of the Board of Directors of UPSAC, highly experienced fisheman in several enviroments inluding pier, surf, rock, boat, and diving". Really drove home the fact that integrity and sincerity mean very little in this world of ours - but like you, I believe in fighting the good fight and doing what we can. Best of luck dude, I can tell you its not going to be easy out there.

Scott Parker

Alan,

You got kicked off for that little discussion? Reading it, I honestly didn't understand why it was locked... Everyone seemed pretty civil in the thread...

mikechin

Hi Kirk,

Fish, food, art

http://theperennialplate.com/the-perennial-plate/2010/7/5/episode-16-lake-superior-fish.html

Mike

BKM supreme don


So I have a few questions/observations.

How come the SFmag article didnt cover Dungeness crab, one of the biggest fisheries in our area?

The "S" proponents sat how they love the sardines, anchovies and smelt but not a word on Herring? I believe the boats get $600per tonne (or 30c/Lb). A 5gal bucket of them only yields a few cups of roe. The rest is processed into animal fodder or fertilizer. In my books thats a crime!

I also wonder how often these "S" people have observed the market squid industrial fleet? This calamari they tout as the right thing to do. Most of these boats are seine nets.The effort can only be described as massive, highly effective and industrial. The squid are the foundation of the food web on the central coast. White Seabass are one of the only successful rebound stories of the large fish on the coast and thy are synonymous with squid. Their food source is being depleted and they are ending up as unretainable by catch. Once again not all squid operations are equal. There are also boats that use crowders and dip nets. These have far less seabass by catch and they are allowed to keep and sell it. The squid from these dip nets comes in as a better product than that from the seine nets where tonnes are scooped out at a time.

BKM supreme don

Does anyone know of a way to find out which boats have been cited for what?
Id really like to know if say a certain boat was cited for keeping illegal by catch.
I guess, to me this would be a way of feeling good about supporting those boats that actually follow the rules, and to distinguish between minor problems and straight poaching.

Kirk Lombard

Sharky. Been meaning to get back to you. The only way you're going to get that info re: WSB violations is if you hear it from a warden, see the warden writing the ticket, or by hear-say. I don't think that stuff is part of the public record... or is it? Any lawyers out there? Educated citizens?

The thing they always say about "r-selected species" like squid and forage fish, is that predation, even massive predation is not a problem. A squid's life cycle is what? 16 months or something? So I guess that's one of the reasons our local market squid is thought of as a sustainable fishery. Yes there is a little bycatch, but a lot of the sardine bycatch, for instance, they can sell, so it isn't wasted. As re: white seabass take, as I understand it the dip netters are allowed a certain number, it's the round haul guys who are prohibitted... someone please correct me if i am wrong on this! Yes there is some poaching that goes on... how the hell you're going to find out whose fish came friom who's boat, is a mystery to me. Certainly very few if any bait dealers will know. Maybe at high end restaurants... certainly not at the local fish market on International ave--unless the boat was somebody's brother's. Anyway, it's late... call me.... I can get you some names.

Sicco

This is a rather late comment by me, I hope Kirk or someone will respond.

I was wondering, what is wrong with the MSC? If I go to a supermarket I don't know anything about the (canned) fish they sell (where it comes from/how it was caught). The only thing I know is that if it has a MSC label than it will be sustainably caught fish. The other non-MSC products could be either kind of sustainable or just plain non-sustainable. Giving the fact that I go to large supermarkets (yes I am an average time-lacking consumer in that sense, but I think large supermarkets are here to stay so the problem needs to be solved at their playing field), I guess that they need large quantities of fish and most likely the non-MSC fish were thus caught by large scale, non-sustainable fishing methods.

You mention there are things wrong with the MSC, but you don't really tell us why. Could you be more specific?

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