2Bits: A fishy story
Where does the fish you buy actually come from?
Sea To Table, the darling of U.S. sustainable fish suppliers may have some fishy practices.
Keeping food supply chains transparent is challenging, and sourcing fish is no exception. The fish on your plate may have its own fish story.
Sustainably raised and conscientiously caught fish command top dollar.
Annual U.S. seafood market sales is $17 billion. Ninety percent of these sales comes from imported fish, and, 1 in 5 of those fish is illegally caught. With fish and seafood supply chains fraught with fraud and literally “murky water,” the company Sea To Table quickly grew into a shining star.
Is Sea To Table growing too quickly to maintain sustainable fish sources?
Sea To Table predicts by 2020 its annual sales will grow from $13 million to $70 million. Currently they work with 60 partners along U.S. coastlines to offer its’ stated “local” solution from dock to doorstep for its customers.
A recent Associated Press investigation states the company is connected to fishing industry practices it claims to be fighting including labor abuses, poaching, and killing sharks, whales, and dolphins. Sea To Table has also been linked to migrant workers in foreign waters, suggesting the fish they provide is not from domestic sources as claimed.
Rave reviews given by well-respected organizations.
Sea To Table has been recommended by high profile publications, including The New York Times, National Geographic, and Bon Appetit. It’s partnered with sustainability focused organizations, including the Marine Stewardship Council. Fish coming from Sea To Table suppliers is available in numerous national chain seafood restaurants. Their fish is also found in well-known eateries including the Empire State Building and the Chicago O-Hare airport and can be purchased directly by consumers on their company web site and Amazon.
Meal kit companies, Home Chef and Sun Basket, also offer fish entrees using Sea To Table partner supplies. Fifty college campuses, including Yale, Ohio State, and the University of Massachusetts have signed on as Sea To Table customers.
Integrity is not a part of Sea To Table supply partners’ business practices.
Fisherman working for Sea To Table partners report earning as little as $1.50 per day for a 22 hour shift without proper food and water. Fisherman have been asked to catch fish listed as “illegal to catch.” Farmed fish has been sold as wild caught because of seasonality constraints. Sea To Table faces major social justice and trust building issues as it continues to expand.
Who can you trust to buy fish from now?
2BuyAg has connected with a fisherman from Salem, Missouri, who is the real deal. Sean Guffey, a special-education and math teacher, has been fishing for sockeye salmon in Bristol Bay, Alaska, for 30 years. We were introduced to Sean through a local Slow Food channel, and it is our pleasure to help Sean sell a portion of his summer catch to 2BuyAg food buyers. We have talked to Sean, listened to his story, and talked with current customers to learn more about the salmon he is offering for sale.
We’re taking orders from 2BuyAg buyers through the end of July. Please think about making an order soon.
Building trust in food supply chains starts with a conversation. We need more conversations directly between food buyers and farmers or fisherman that produce, raise or catch the food they sell and buyers want or need. Join the 2BuyAg marketplace today and start a conversation with a farmer or food buyer.