Community Seafood Pilot Program
Our Community Seafood Pilot Program started in April 2020 with an initial grant from the Fink Family Foundation.
This program was created due to issues within the wholesale seafood distribution chain created by the COVID-19 global health crisis. With many restaurants only open for take-out options, there has been a precipitous decrease in the wholesale demand for seafood.
The Community Seafood Program's goal is to link fishermen's harvests to community food support organizations creating an outlet for surplus local seafood while filling the community’s need for food.
Through the spring and summer of 2020 we received additional grants from the Permanent Endowment for Martha's Vineyard and Catch Together, enabling the donation of more than 2,000 pounds of sea scallops and 40,000 pounds of black sea bass, and 2, 500 pounds of scup to six local food security organizations: the Island Food Pantry, the Good Shepherd Parish, the First Congregational Church of West Tisbury, Island Grown Initiative, the Emergency Food Program and the MV Charter School.
We're working to create a seafood stew with the black sea bass and scup to be to donated locally, through the same organizations. Stay tuned!
Our Lobster Program helps lobstermen increase their trap allocation. Every commercial lobster trap must have a current tag attached to be legally fished. Usually trap tags are sold in large quantities (300+) and are expensive, making them cost prohibitive for independent fishermen who are otherwise ready to expand their business. Through creative and individualized financing this program aims to help lobstermen obtain lobster tags in smaller bundles. So far we have helped nine local fishermen increase their trap allocation and plan to continue to offer this opportunity to more fishermen as needed.
Sea Scallop Program
In May 2017, through donations and creative financing, we purchased $1 million dollars’ worth of sea scallop quota, allowing up to 17,000 more pounds of this sustainably-managed shellfish to reach Vineyard docks. This quota is leased at a reduced rate to island fishermen.
In June 2016, we lost one of our most beloved board members, Luke Gurney, at sea. Luke’s family and we, his peers, wanted to make some good out of this tragedy, so we purchased his conch and sea bass permit from his family and created a program called Luke’s Legacy in his honor. We plan to sell Luke's permit to a local, qualified fisherman with restrictions that make the permit forever connected to the island community.