TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — With demand from eating places nonetheless down as a result of pandemic, north Florida fishermen have discovered a option to maintain their small companies alive whereas serving to feed a whole bunch of neighbors in want. Their catch of recent, native fish is heading to close by meals banks.
The Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders’ Alliance and Fish for America USA introduced a collaborative effort to supply recent, native seafood to meals banks in north Florida because the organizations work to fulfill the continued, file want as a result of lingering financial hardship created by COVID-19.
This week, they’re delivering the primary of what’s going to be 13,000 kilos of fresh, red snapper to Second Harvest of the Massive Bend, which continues to report a serious improve in want as a result of financial hardship created by the pandemic.
The work in north Florida is a part of an effort throughout the nation to ensure recent, native seafood is on the market to the tens of millions of American households presently in want – whereas additionally supporting small, unbiased fishermen.
A non-profit known as Catch Together is elevating funds to help these fishermen and fishing communities as they take care of their very own hardships associated to COVID-19.
Up to now, Catch Collectively has donated greater than $5 million to buy fish which is then delivered to the meals banks.
“With demand for seafood nonetheless means down, we’re all dealing with one other actually troublesome yr forward,” mentioned Jim Zurbrick, the president of Fish for America USA. “However this program won’t solely help fishermen in Steinhatchee, it additionally permits them to assist feed our neighbors with wholesome, native, sustainably caught seafood in a time of disaster.”
“Within the final yr, so many individuals who’ve by no means wanted help earlier than reached out for assist,” mentioned Monique Van Pelt, CEO of Second Harvest Meals Financial institution of the Massive Bend. “That’s why efforts like this are so necessary. It is going to take all of us to ensure everybody in north Florida has entry to recent, wholesome meals now and after the pandemic ends.”
Because the COVID-19 disaster started, Catch Together has offered greater than 2 million meals.
“Initially of the pandemic, our most important aim was to assist these small-scale fishing operations that are so necessary to so many communities keep in enterprise,” mentioned Paul Parker, the founding father of Catch Collectively. “However we rapidly noticed the rising want for wholesome, nutritious meals and knew we and our industrial fishing companions have been geared up to assist.”
Together with the present effort in Tallahassee, Catch Collectively is supporting a number of different efforts alongside the gulf together with in Tampa/St. Pete, Galveston, Texas, and in a number of communities throughout Louisiana and Mississippi.