The past few weeks I travelled through New Hampshire and Maine, meeting farmers and fishermen dedicated to their livelihoods and their communities. It was an inspiration.
Padi Anderson has been involved with the fishing industry of New Hampshire for over forty years. She and her husband, Mike, own and operate the F/V Rimrack out of Rye Harbor. They catch groundfish, tuna, squid and shrimp. Padi is initiating new local markets for the fish off their boat and is reconnecting her community with fish as food.
“The first place to begin is that disconnect between fish being food. Consumers have lost it, the public has lost that connection, the government has lost that connection, the fishermen have lost that connection. Originally, fishermen would go fishing because it is a way of life. It is cultural. It is an experience. The regulatory changes have been a big challenge because we are not able to just take fish off a boat and sell it. It is illegal. But we could easily 20 years ago. We gave fish away to our neighbors, to friends to tourists or we would sell it and there was that connection and interaction with education, knowledge, conversation. It was a joy. It was a gift. It was that sharing with people who valued and appreciated what we did and the fishermen loved that connection and now due to regulatory compliance that has become a real challenge. The other part here in New Hampshire, and I suspect in some areas too, is the infrastructure is not supportive of connecting our fish locally. Again, I think a lot of our policy makers are missing that piece that fish is food. They may feel their responsibilities or their tasks are regulatory. It is important to keep in mind how it affects local communities. Socially, economically and ecologically.”