It’s difficult to describe just how much we appreciate the fishermen who bring us fish each week. It’s not just that they’re up all night doing back-breaking labor in one of the most dangerous work environments in the country. It’s that they go out of their way to bring us fish in exchange for very little return.
But wait! Don’t we guarantee premium prices to the boats? Yes, we do. But there’s more to the story than price per pound - and that’s volume.
As a new company working to build a following and sales volume, we can’t yet buy a whole lot of fish. What we do buy, we pay a premium for. Still, let’s say we offer $2/lb for 500 pounds (=$1,000), and a fisherman can get $0.50/lb for 6,000lb (=$3,000). Math. Done. Of course, once we are buying 6,000 pounds, that value increases to $12,000! In the meantime, though, we can only take a small portion of a fisherman’s catch, which represents a pittance in their bottom line.
Another challenge is getting fish that are not highly valued in more traditional markets, but that our customers clamor for, like mackerel, redfish, and pollock. Because the overall volume demand is low, and hence the price, fishermen often don't target these species. For example, last year, just 50% of the redfish quota and 9% of the pollock quota were harvested. Us showing up to buy a few hundred pounds is not going to suddenly make it worth a fisherman’s while to target these species. At least not in the short term.
Which is why our fishermen partners are our heroes. After being up all night doing back-breaking work, they go out of their way to bring us gorgeous, immaculate fish…extra effort and time that contributes little to their bottom line…at least for now. These heroes are also visionaries, dedicating time and effort to the long-term goal of building a high-value future for this industry. Thank you!