GARIBALDI, Ore. – When the popular Shop at the Dock program in Garibaldi was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Amanda Gladics of Oregon Sea Grant Extension wanted an alternative way of bringing fishermen and the public together. She decided video was the closest thing to face-to-face events.
Shop at the Dock, a program of Oregon Sea Grant and Oregon State University Extension Service, started in Newport in 2014 and became an immediate hit with both locals and tourists. Participants were given behind-the-scenes guided tours of commercial fishing docks to learn about how seafood is caught and how to buy it directly from fishermen selling off their boats. In 2018, it expanded to Tillamook County and Garibaldi, where a tour of a local seafood processor was added.
Gladics didn’t have much video experience when she started the process of interviewing commercial fishermen and owners of Garibaldi seafood shops, but she dove in and so far she’s produced seven videos (including one in two parts) with more to come.
In the beginning, her idea was to keep the videos to less than five minutes, but when they turned out so well, the interviews got longer and Gladics decided to break them into two parts. One is about how the pandemic has affected business and how the fishermen and owners are dealing with it and the other covers what they’re catching now and a recipe.
“When I realized I couldn’t do Shop at the Dock at the beginning of April like planned, I starting thinking about what we could do to fulfill some of the learning objectives we have for in-person tours and make it more broadly available,” Gladics said. “I wanted to keep the momentum going.”
Interviews include Jeremy Zeller of FishPeople's Market; Kelly Barnett, a commercial fisherman and the owner of The Spot at the Port of Garibaldi; and Brian Trotter, a commercial fisherman from the Port of Garibaldi who fishes for nearshore rockfish and ling cod.
The latest is with Julia Wentzel from Food Roots FarmTable Storefront, a nonprofit that sells boxes with seafood and other ingredients to keep the community connected to the region’s farmers, ranchers, fishermen and other food producers. The next installment will feature Amanda Cavitt, general manager of the Garibaldi Bistro.
“Seafood is one of those products people don’t cook that much at home,” Gladics said. “It seemed like home cooking ideas were something the audience could use. It’s also something we talk about at Shop at the Dock in-person tours – what they can do with local seafood once they buy it.”
One of things Gladics learned was how some fishermen have been able to continue working safely in the close quarters of a fishing vessel. They’ve have been going only with limited crew members, being careful about sanitizing and avoiding high-touch surfaces while in port.
“The response has been shockingly positive,” she said. “I didn’t plan to do a series of videos. I just made one for an event that had to be canceled. That first video had a reach of nearly 2,000 in the first couple of days. I realized, ‘Oh, this is a thing.’ The Sea Grant Extension Facebook posts reached over 8,000 unique views between mid-April and mid-May. It seems like it has really struck a chord with people.”