What is a CSF?

Based on the community-supported agriculture (CSA) model, a community supported fishery (CSF) is a program that links fishermen to a local market. In a CSF, customers pre-pay for a “season” of fresh, local, low-impact seafood, and in turn they receive a weekly or bi-weekly share of fish or shellfish. CSFs – whether in Down East, Maine or Down East, North Carolina – seek to reconnect coastal communities to their food system, encourage sustainable fishing practices, and strengthen relationships between fishermen and communities.


Though each CSF is designed to fit its local context, several core elements tie them together. CSFs:

  • Establish a transparent chain-of-custody from boat to fork;
  • Increase access to premium, locally caught seafood;
  • Ensure fishers receive a fair price for their catch that reflects the value of their work;
  • Engage fishers and community members in more robust, viable, local food systems;
  • Provide a framework through which fishers and customers alike can creatively steward our marine resources.