Producer: Sean Barrett
Company: Dock to Dish
Location: Montauk, NY
Varieties: Based on availability – and that’s the point!
Local dayboat fishing is more like foraging or hunting than like land-based agriculture–it’s catch as catch can, a reflection of the ocean’s bounty on that one day. And as with sustainable foraging, sustainable fishing requires that we only take what the ecosystem can spare.
Sean Barrett saw the extreme disconnect between a demand-driven fish marketplace and the efforts of independent fishermen whose local daily catch and drive to preserve the marine environment often do not fit the neat paradigms of a limited seafood diet.
So he flipped the script and built Dock to Dish from the idea that consumers would be excited to taste the profile of that particular day’s catch–no matter what it turned out to be.
That shift allows him to provide a fair and reliable revenue stream for local small-scale fishermen to sell their catch year-round, even in a region that is heavily reliant on the summer tourism season. He started sharing the idea with restaurants who could accommodate an ever-changing set of offerings, inspired in part by the work taking place at Blue Hill and Stone Barns to let the ecology shape our diets, rather than the other way around. Blue Hill was Dock to Dish’s first restaurant partner, and through resourcED we have been able to support Sean’s network of fishermen and help get them back out on the water at a time when seafood sales have dropped by as much as 95%.
Dock to Dish embraces the fisherman as the steward of the ocean while bringing the stories and efforts of local fishermen front and center for consumers, and they offer a powerful example of what ecological eating looks like. We are delighted to celebrate our continued partnership with this important producer in this week’s resourcED Fisheries Box.