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Supply Chain Perspectives from Trawl to Table

Nov 3, 2014
Fall 2014

Many factors go into the decisions made along the seafood supply chain, from the fisherman deciding whether to take a fishing trip, to the retailer or restaurant determining what will sell best to customers. Often, the nuanced reasons behind decisions made at different points in the chain are not obvious, even to other participants in the industry.

To educate industry members and facilitate dialogue, GMRI brings together different players in the seafood supply chain, from the trawl (you guessed it) to the table. Our Trawl to Table events include fishermen, seafood dealers, institutional buyers, retailers, and restaurant chefs, who learn about the unique needs and challenges of each step in the supply chain. Despite being tied together through the business of seafood, participants in the seafood supply chain rarely have an opportunity to come together and discuss issues that go beyond everyday transactions. These events give supply chain participants a chance to better understand the nuanced perspective and factors determining each of their actions.

The interactive, small group sessions throughout the day give participants a hands-on look at every step of the supply chain. Sessions include fishing gear demonstrations, quality handling of fresh fish, tours of the fish auction and a processing facility, and speakers from local retailers and restaurants.

Conversations range across a variety of issues, but one resounding topic is always the question of how to bring more underutilized species into the marketplace. Both fishermen and buyers discuss the similar risks they face in selling lesser-known species without knowing whether the market will support it. After the Portland event in June, one institutional buyer, Joe Klaus from Colby College Dining Services, expressed an interest in shifting to underutilized species. “Trawl to Table changed our entire outlook on seafood from this region,” Joe said, explaining how it raised his awareness of the complex issues at hand and increased his interest in maintaining a healthy industry here long-term.