In recent decades fishing communities have been in decline. Massachusetts’ seafood industry needs greater collaboration to define solutions for its future. The sectors are disjointed and have little insight into the realities and opportunities across areas from fishing to processing to retail. Businesses within the same sectors see each other as competitors and rarely as potential collaborators. Other stakeholders in the seafood system, including fishery businesses, scientists, and government could benefit from increased communication and information-sharing.
While the industry is largely disjointed, some entities are paving the way for increased collaboration toward strengthening the local fishing economy. Some wholesale dealers, like Red’s Best, are working to enhance the sale of locally caught fish to institutions through collaborative efforts with The Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance and Health Care Without Harm. These two organizations are also working together to shape effective consumer education and messaging for local seafood served in hospitals. Going forward, conversations need to engage more stakeholders, and traditionally competitive businesses and disparate groups will need to strategize together on building markets, streamlining distribution, and leveraging other opportunities for Massachusetts’ seafood.