Oregon Sea Grant Extension shows consumers how to buy seafood at the dock

Crab fisherman answers questions during a Shop at the Dock event
A crab fisherman answers questions during a Shop at the Dock tour in Newport. Photo by Lynn Ketchum.

Through a survey, Oregon Sea Grant Extension learned that fishermen in Newport, Ore., wanted to expand their sales at the dock. OSG Extension also learned that consumers were uncertain about how to buy seafood at a dock and that they were intimidated by the process.

So in 2014, OSG Extension began leading free, guided dockside tours – called Shop at the Dock – in Newport that connect seafood lovers with commercial fishermen. Participants learn what seafood is in season, how it’s caught, if it’s sustainable, and how to identify and buy high-quality fish and shellfish. In 2016, the tours drew more than 350 people; about 250 attended in 2015. In 2017, a slightly altered version of the event expanded to Warrenton, where attendees toured the Skipanon Brand Seafood cannery and learned where to buy locally caught fish in local markets.

More than half of the participants in 2015 and 2016 said they were visitors to Newport, highlighting Shop at the Dock as a tourism opportunity. In 2016, roughly 60 percent of participants bought fish while on the tour, spending anywhere from $20 to more than $100. Additionally, 93 percent said they planned to share with others what they learned from Shop at the Dock. Participating businesses reported approximately $10,000 in sales. U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley recognized Shop at the Dock during a town hall in Newport in 2017 when he awarded the program’s coordinator, OSG Extension specialist Kaety Jacobson, a flag that had flown over the U.S. Capitol. 

Source: Kaety Jacobson, a marine fisheries specialist with Oregon Sea Grant and OSU Extension

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