Monterey Bay's fishing culture goes back as long as people have lived here. But even along the waterfront, many restaurants serve imported fish, while local fishermen export much of their catch.
That's because several critical pieces are missing from the local seafood supply chain. We're working with the Monterey Bay Fisheries Trust to preserve our community's fishing legacy, improve the economic rewards for local fishermen, and give businesses and consumers more access to the sustainable seafood from our own blue backyard.
By 2000, due to a mix of factors, the West Coast groundfish fishery—including black cod, petrale sole, rockfish and sanddabs—had collapsed. Fish landings dwindled and supporting infrastructure shut down, dealing a heavy blow to local fishing families. By 2014, groundfish had rebounded to sustainable levels, thanks to collaborations between regulators, fishermen and conservation groups. But changes—including stricter regulations, a lack of seafood processors, fewer regional buyers and competition with cheaper foreign imports—made it harder for local fishermen to make a living.
Representatives from the Aquarium, the fishing industry, the city of Monterey and other community leaders founded the nonprofit Trust to revive the local fishing economy. The Trust works to keep fishing quota available to local boats, raise the value of sustainable Monterey Bay seafood and make it more accessible to locals.
Working together, the Aquarium and our partners are pursuing a triple bottom line: strong local economies, sustainable fisheries and a healthy ocean.
Groundfish had rebounded to sustainable levels, thanks to collaborations between regulators, fishermen and conservation groups.