Towards the economic viability of local seafood programs: Key features for the financial performance of community supported fisheries

Community supported fishery (CSF) programs are emerging as appealing alternatives to large-scale industrial fisheries for some seafood consumers and commercial fishers. While CSFs provide many social, economic, and environmental benefits to their local communities, the associated financial costs can make it difficult for such programs to remain solvent. The goal of this research was to identify specific features that influence the financial performance of CSF programs. Using data collected online and from surveys of past and current North American CSFs, this research identified a combination of three key features associated with positive profit margins: engaging in social media, offering a retail option, and having a fisher as a founding member. The potential reasons behind the influence of these features on financial performance is explored, and recommendations for how they can be incorporated into CSF programs are presented. It is hoped that through integrating these features, prospective and currently operating CSFs could potentially improve their long-term financial performance, enabling them to focus on their non-financial goals and increase their overall economic viability.