New company says it can offer fishermen stable fish prices
NEW BEDFORD, Mass. -- September 4, 2012 -- A new company called Open Ocean Trading is offering commercial fishermen in Massachusetts another option for selling their catch besides the conventional seafood display auction.
Company founder Keith Flett, 31, who launched his venture at the Boston Seafood Show in the spring, said his goal is to help fishermen and buyers by bringing them together to agree on the selling price before a boat leaves the dock.
Prices at the display auction are unpredictable and fluctuate daily, Flett said. "Our way gives everyone in the industry more stability because it allows the buyers and the fishermen to plan ahead. It's essentially an auction that happens before the boat leaves."
Flett who grew up in a Long Island fishing family, said he was in his early 20s when he began buying fish wholesale in Montauk, N.Y., and selling it around the state. "I learned a lot about the supply chain," he said.
His customers always had the same questions, he said: "What are the boats fishing for and what's my price going to be next week?" This gave rise to the idea of what he calls "forward marketing" seafood.
At the auction, fishermen learn the price after they unload their catch. With many fishermen now having to buy fish quota to go out fishing under the catch-share system, they must hope that the price they get for their fish is greater than what they paid for quota.
Having a fixed price would enable them to better manage their business, according to Flett, who said he has already negotiated agreements with fish houses in the principal landing ports to handle the fish. He declined to name the company in New Bedford.
Read the full story at the New Bedford Standard Times.