US$100,000 Grant from National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Catalyzes Conservation International’s Sustainable Fishery Start-up
The Hawaiʻi program of Conservation International, the leading global organization that focuses on the links between development and the environment to benefit human well-being, received a $100,000 grant to start a Community Supported Fishery (CSF) business, Local Iʻa. The grant was among a dozen issued by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's Fisheries Innovation Fund
Local I‘a will be the first community supported fishery business in Hawai‘i, providing fresh, local, and sustainably sourced seafood through a membership based business. As a social impact enterprise, its mission is to increase access to, and consumption of, locally sourced seafood while improving profitability for producers, and sustainability in our local fisheries.
“Local I‘a will provide local and sustainable seafood to the O‘ahu community and we want this business to put seafood at the forefront of our local food economy,” said Jack Kittinger, Director of Conservation International’s Hawai‘i program. “This member-supported model bridges sustainable fishermen directly to the consumer, broadening access to fresh, local, and sustainably sourced seafood.”
Local Iʻa will work to improve public awareness of ocean and fisheries issues by changing consumption behavior away from non-sustainable, imported seafood and toward the prioritized consumption of local, sustainably caught seafood. According to Jason Chow, the Operations Manager for Local I‘a, “This will be done through education and increased transparency in the seafood supply chain to build awareness of the importance and value of our local fisheries to Hawai‘i’s communities and economy. Currently, more than 60% of all commercial seafood sold in Hawai‘i today is imported.”
Monica Jain, Founder of Fish 2.0, commented, "It’s exciting to see a CSF emerging in Hawai‘i. As it grows, it will open the door for local fishermen to improve their incomes, for Hawai‘i families to enjoy the freshest possible seafood, and for local investors to contribute to an impactful social enterprise.” “We’re thrilled to continue assisting our sister CSF as they embark on the challenging, exciting, and delicious journey towards a healthier, more connected coastal community of LOCAL seafood lovers,” said Alan Lovewell, co-founder of Local Catch, a CSF founded in 2012 to support fishermen throughout the Monterey Bay, and Central Coast of California.
The business managers, together with partners in fisheries and marine science, will also develop a set of sustainability guidelines that will guide the sourcing of seafood. The business will also seek to create more awareness of sustainability issues in seafood, including through weekly outreach, which will include biographies on local fishers, recipes from local chefs, species seasonality, and environmental information on ocean health.
As the incubator for this business, Conservation International Hawai‘i will provide the technical expertise and start-up funding and infrastructure for the successful establishment of the business. Profits from the business will be directed toward ocean stewardship and sustainable fishery initiatives.
Local Iʻa will have its initial roll-out this fall with a limited set of members, and by the end of the year, Local Iʻa plans on going public, opening up membership across Oʻahu. To learn more and get updates follow Local Iʻa on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/local.ia.csf
Jason Chow, Operations Manager, Local Iʻa: A Community Supported Fishery
Jack Kittinger, Director, Conservation International Hawai‘i
Kevin Connor, Media Manager Conservation International
About Conservation International (CI) —
Building upon a strong foundation of science, partnership and field demonstration, CI empowers societies to responsibly and sustainably care for nature, our global biodiversity for the well-being of people. Founded in 1987, CI is headquartered in the Washington, D.C. area and employs more than 800 staff in 30 countries on six continents, and has nearly 1,000 partners around the world. For more information, please visit our website at: www.conservation.org/
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