More and more, fishing communities are seeing the impact of funding on fisheries policies and markets. As a result, many fishermen and fishing community organizations want to know who’s funding a project or gathering. Many fishermen and organizations decide whether they should partner with organizations and movements or attend conferences and gatherings based on the source of funding.
To date, Localcatch.org has not developed criteria for fundraising and sponsorships (partly because it has not received funding up until this point), but we are sensitive to the concerns of the fishermen who are at the core of our network. Therefore, we are making it a priority to create guidelines that help us make such decisions moving forward.
We are also committed to being transparent about our funding sources. National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Fisheries Innovation Fund has committed the bulk of the funding to date for the Local Seafood Summit 2016 through grants to Third Sector New England, the fiscal sponsor for LocalCatch.org, and Concerned Citizens of Montauk. Other sponsors of the summit include, North Carolina Sea Grant and Virginia Sea Grant, Morro Bay Community Quota Fund, and the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance (you can see a list of NAMA’s funders here). In addition to funding the Summit, NAMA and the Safina Center provided funds to update the LocalCatch.org website.
We are grateful for the support of these sponsors and the space they have given the steering committees of LocalCatch.org and the summit to independently develop the purpose, spirit, agenda, and outcomes associated with the summit. We are confident – and will remain vigilant – that current relationships with funders will not undermine our ability to have full control over the agenda, outcomes, and privacy of content of the conference.
We have only now begun to develop potential criteria for further funding and sponsorships. To start, we’re looking at these draft guidelines NAMA has shared with us that are being considered by their board.
Ultimately, we want to make sure LocalCatch.org is supported and funded to provide the necessary services CSFs and other value-based seafood operations require to continue to flourish. However, we do not want to do this at the expense of our integrity as a values and mission driven organization nor at the expense of our relationships with CSFs and fishing community based organizations. Consequently, it is important to us that LocalCatch.org’s funders support our values, vision, and approach – three things we hope to continue to develop together at the summit.