The UCSB Marine Science Institute is collaborating with several organizations to create a community-supported fishery in Santa Barbara by 2012.
The institute will work alongside Commercial Fishermen Santa Barbara, the California Sea Grant Extension Program and the Santa Barbara Sustainable Seafood Program to sell local fishermen’s bounty and educate the public about the benefits of sustainable ocean fare. Associated Students Coastal Fund granted the fishery $12,400 in April to run the educational program for two quarters.
According to Kim Selkoe, Volunteer Director of the Santa Barbara Sustainable Seafood Program and a research scientist at the Marine Science Institute, the program’s goal is to inform the community about local fisheries.
“We realize people in Santa Barbara don’t value sea food caught here,” Selkoe said. “They don’t know when the different fish are in season. The important thing to do is to engage people to care and follow the management of our local resources.”
Selkoe said she hopes to create a Fisherman Village Center near the harbor to store, process and sell fish. Selkoe said the center would increase revenue for fishermen and lower prices for customers.
“There will be community displays where people can watch fisherman do their job, talk to them, take cooking classes and learn the history of fishing,” Selkoe said. “The CSF is the beginning and it will lead to lasting sustainability with the Fisherman Village Center. First we need to demonstrate that the community will be engaged — we need to make the community care.”
Although 95 percent of fish consumed in Santa Barbara is imported, the program will only offer sustainable sea food from local waters.
Fourth-year environmental studies major Donovan Maccarone said the program will emphasize the importance of sustainable produce.
“The educational aspect is important,” Maccarone said. “Students will learn what they are eating, how it is being caught, what kind of fish it is and when the fish is in season, because CSF will teach them about fish. Later when they go buy fish, they will ask if the fish is local; it is important to know where the food is from.”
First-year English major and A.S. Environmental Affairs Board member Leoda Valenzuela said the CSF will encourage more environmentally-friendly practices.
“The fishermen will care more about the ocean and where they are getting their fish from instead of just having to fill orders that they later have to export,” Valenzuela said.