Smartfish: Catching Gold in the Fish Market
The Japanese fisherman caught a goliath grouper and began to cry. That was when Hoyt Peckham knew things had to change. Peckham had been in the fishing industry for decades, fishing and advising fishing communities in Maine, the Caribbean, Mexico, Polynesia, and Southeast Asia. He had organized exchanges among Japanese, Hawaiian, and Mexican fishermen to share practices by hosting each other in their home waters.
The Japanese fisherman cried in part because he would never be able to catch a fish like that at home. Old, slow-growing groupers the size of a person are long gone in Japan. But even more, he said, he cried for how poorly the fish was handled. In Japan, even the smallest fish is handled and packaged with care on the boat to preserve quality.
In Mexico, even a prize like the goliath grouper was not killed properly, bled, iced, or even kept out of the sun. It had deteriorated considerably by the time it got to port. Destined to have a fishy taste, it would be sold at a low price.
The fisherman’s tears moved Peckham to found SmartFish, a for-profit company that rescues value in the fish market by helping fishermen deliver better-quality fish to the docks and sell those fish in premium markets. By helping fishermen get more for each fish, SmartFish aims to reduce overfishing while improving local livelihoods.
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Chaihuin are able to create their first great sale of seafood with innovative project.
A huge milestone was reached by the Chaihuin fishing community as they were able to deliver 11,000 units of muscles to an important seafood distributor. This is all thanks to collaborative work between TNC, Shellcatch and the fishing community.
Hualaihue fishery choose Shellcatch for their traceability and verification of origin system.
Shellcatch allows to log location and image data so that the end consumer can know where their fish was caught. Miguel Gonzalez President of the Hualaihue fishing organization feels this was a necessary step to show their sustainable fishing practices and to differentiate their product.
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