Food Sustainability Expert Sees Hope in Seafood Economy

Prof. Phil Loring

North America’s seafood economy has taken a big hit from the COVID-19 pandemic, with fresh fish markets closed along with the seafood restaurants that are the source of so many sales.

But a University of Guelph expert sees signs that fishers are adapting by moving to a new (or new again) business model.

Prof. Philip Loring, the Arrell Chair in Food, Policy and Society, says many fishers have shifted to selling directly to consumers. These so-called “community-supported fisheries” take over the entire supply chain — catching and cleaning fish and delivering directly to consumers.

“The business model they have has proven to be very resilient in a way that large-scale fishing operations are not,” Loring said. “They’re an excellent example of why diversity and short supply chains can be so important to sustainable food systems.”

He discussed this shift in a commentary he recently co-wrote for Conversation Canada.

Loring is an ecological anthropologist with U of G’s Department of Geography, Environment and Geomatics. He researches food security and sovereignty, community sustainability, and environmental change, particularly in coastal communities.

He is available for interviews.


Prof. Philip Loring