Why Local Fisheries Matter – With or Without a Global Pandemic

By Jessica Hathaway.

The topic of food security has been on the mind of forward thinkers for years now, who primarily have focused on access to food as affected by natural disasters. As Covid-19 closes ports, markets and distributors, and social distancing practices threaten the supply chain for goods and services, many of us are discovering how valuable local products are.
Some of my Maine-based social media groups have been filled with posts from the staff of locally owned stores, detailing the products they have for sale, and from local farmers hoping to find new distribution points for their goods and to remind local buyers that not everything is sold out, despite the popularity of Empty Shelf Shots.
Iā€™m feeling lucky to live in a state with small-scale farmers and fishermen. The products being delivered locally are made, grown and caught right here. On Friday, as my office was closing for the foreseeable future, I hauled home 20 pounds of Maine blueberries and 10 pounds of Gulf of Maine scallops for the freezer.
This pandemic is a reminder that a global marketplace can satisfy our worldly desires, but it cannot sustain us through deeply troubled times when our access is limited. Diversification of markets would ideally include expanding local distribution points, as well as global ones. And if we as consumers want access to our local products in times of trouble, then we have to keep buying them even when the world opens up to us again.