Let’s keep it short and to the point. We need hope during these times. We need community. And we need a pandemic of positive change. Changing how we feed ourselves is a good place to focus because the COVID-19 pandemic has surfaced the long standing cracks in a flawed food system. For over 25 years, we have made it our mission to advocate for changes that can build a better world by supporting community-based fishermen and visualizing a different sea food system. To do that, we must demand the changes that can get us there. To do that, we must demand change. We have to act.  

As we embark on the fourth month of COVID-19, what we initially thought was going to be a short-term hurdle is revealing itself to be a long-term pandemic that we are going to have to endure for some time to come. While we hope the spread of the disease is beginning to curtail, recent reports are preparing us for a future that isn’t - and shouldn’t be - business as usual .  When it comes to our sea food system, we must make every effort necessary to ensure that fishing communities are supported and people can be fed not only throughout this pandemic, but into the future. The seeds for such a foundation were planted when we helped pilot the first Community Supported Fishery in late 2007, and it has sprouted many other innovations since. Even in the midst of this pandemic, alongside the Local Catch and Slow Fish network we are making more inroads than ever to reshape and shift our food system into one that is both community led and community supported. Alongside these allies, we continue to provide opportunities to advocate for the needs of fishing communities, bring folks together, and build community leadership amidst this ongoing crisis. But still, fishing communities are struggling and we can only do so much. 

Congress needs to act. We’re asking you to call Congress’ attention to the overwhelming damage the pandemic has precipitated across fishing communities. If Congress does not act soon, many fishing communities and values-based seafood businesses will not survive the months to come. Community-based fishermen are standing shoulder to shoulder with family farmers demanding Congress take action. Please join them today. 

We also need to hear your stories. Looking ahead and in light of these uncertain times, NAMA will be developing a series of interviews from fishing communities who have been paving a new way for food production and distribution. For over a decade we have been building a movement to relocalize and re-regionalize the seafood system and have been supporting the work being done by community-led fisheries, but efforts such as these have often been overlooked or even ridiculed by those who are entrenched in the status quo. Today, we are seeing that community-led fisheries have been imperative all along, and that NAMA’s long-standing support of these strategies and necessary changes to our food systems have proven its merit. NAMA continues to highlight leaders within the fishing community and support the storytelling efforts from within our movement. Over the past month, organizations and campaigns in this movement, such as the Local Catch Network and Slow Fish , have been sharing stories of the efforts made by our fishing community members in this time of crisis. For our part, NAMA hopes to collect and share stories from fishing leaders that illuminate that the systems we’ve long been trying to put into place and the changes we’re making to adapt to our current circumstances may actually lay the groundwork for a brighter future for our seafood system -- one that supports the environment, nurtures fishing communities, and expands access to local and regional seafood. 
Support Local Fishers, Ranchers, Farmers, and Food Workers: Take Action! 
  • We need to continue to put pressure on Congress to support and protect our fishing communities. Demand that fish harvesters and workers be covered in the next stimulus package. To help assist you in these efforts, we have a letter available for you to use. Don’t forget to tag your elected officials on social media to further the cause. 

  • To ensure the voices of community-based fish harvesters and seafood businesses are heard, NAMA, alongside the many folks who make up the Local Catch Network, have put together a sign-on letter of recommendations to send to Congress for future stimulus fund allocations. We hope you will consider adding your name to the letter before we send it to Congress on May 4th. Please sign and help spread the word by Friday, May 1st (COB).

Community Support & Resources 
  • The Slow Fish network has provided a safe space for fishing community members, advocates, and allies to convene around COVID-19 resiliency. This unique, Crew Together Webinar series infuses art, laughter, and song while folks share the very real experiences and challenges they have encountered amidst this global crisis. The most recent webinar featured musicians, chefs, allies, and fish harvesters from the east and west coast. Tune into the next webinar, scheduled for June 5th at 1pm ET. Join the Facebook group to stay updated and to further engage with the Slow Fish community.