The Fort Bragg Advocate has a story on Mendo coast fishermen trying to squeeze some money in a market where they sell fish on the dock to distributors for about a dollar a pound then the same fish shows up in the grocery store for over 10 times that amount. The groundfish fleet is trying to maintain some solidarity to rectify the situation.
Prices have been flat for 10 years despite rising costs in everything else, said Tommy Ancona, owner of Tommy’s Marine in Fort Bragg and president of the Fisherman’s Marketing Association.
The association represents many of the 157 boats that fish the West Coast. Ancona said 140 boats are now tied up and not fishing, some of which are not association members but are willing to forego fishing to remedy the rates.
There are only a half dozen companies that buy groundfish, including Fort Bragg based Caito Fisheries. Ancona said more than half the market is controlled by Pacific Choice Seafood of Eureka, which maintains buying stations all over the West Coast, including Fort Bragg. He said there are seven boats in Noyo Harbor now tied up, as part of the price effort that started March 1.
Unlike salmon or bass, groundfish (cod, sole, snapper, etc.) are caught all year with some breaks between two-month seasons. I’m one of those weirdos who actually prefers the taste of ling cod to salmon, but apparently it’s not that much of a better deal for the consumer anyway.
I seem to remember a similar huge middleman take issue with milk a few years back. Can anybody explain the economics involved?
Ling cod photo from Hood, Sport, & Dive.