How can we help prevent global overfishing?
Cville CSF is a community-supported fishery in Charlottesville, Virginia, which we designed and developed in collaboration with Doug Dickerson in 2011. Initially conceived as a class project in Timothy Beatley's Sustainable Communities course at the University of Virginia, Cville CSF has now been in operation for two years, and was a Finalist in Social Entrepreneurship at the University of Virginia 2011 Entrepreneurship Cup.
Based on the community-supported agriculture (CSA) model, community-supported fisheries (CSFs) facilitate the pre-payment by customers for a share of the fish harvest of select local fishermen. CSF members pick up pre-ordered quantities of fish directly from fishermen, providing consumers with fresh, local fish and providing local fisheries with a guaranteed market. In the process, Cville CSF helps establish a connection between consumers and fishermen, supports small-scale farming, and limits travel distance from farm to plate.
Providing fish for Cville CSF is the Virginia Natural Fish Company (VNFC), an organization sponsored and assembled by the Virginia Aqua-Farmers Network (VAN). The Virginia Aqua-Farmers Network is a cooperative of small-scale aquaculture farms in southern Virginia, the majority of which were previously used in tobacco farming.
The network is devoted to providing sustainably harvested, natural seafood grown in freshwater ponds without the use of chemicals or hormones and without detriment to the surrounding environment. VAN currently grows rainbow trout, catfish, and prawns/shrimp.