Fishermen, seafood-lovers mutually benefit from NH Seafood Co-op
EXETER — If you like fresh seafood and want to help struggling New Hampshire fishermen survive, New Hampshire Community Seafood is worth considering.
Currently signing up customers for its eight-week summer session, it’s a cooperative of fishermen and consumers working to protect what’s left of the local fishing fleet.
“We have three boats out of New Hampshire," said David Goethel, a Hampton fisherman. "When we started with this we had 24. We had more than 100 boats back in 2000."
Goethel said that many of his fellow small-time fishermen aren’t fishing this summer because the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is now requiring fishermen to pay for the government’s at-sea monitoring program. Goethel says that costs him approximately $700 per day, and he claims he’s losing money on some of his fishing trips.
Fortunately for him, New Hampshire Community Seafood helps out by paying a 25-cent per pound incentive to buy some of his fish.
The co-op’s driver delivers the fish to 17 pick-up sites around the state where customers (shareholders) pick up their weekly allotments.
“It’s fresh," said Mary Rowe of Stratham. "We used to have fish every other week, but now we have it every week."
On Thursday, Rowe was picking up Monkish at the co-op’s site in Exeter. Cut and bagged, the fish had just come off Goethel’s boat that morning. She has the option of getting a half-pound, one, or two pounds of that morning’s catch.
“The people who sign up are invested," Goethel said. "They see what we are going through."
Ninety-eight percent of the fish that is captured from New Hampshire waters is shipped away.