We have just released another website. This one is for Local I'a, Hawaii’s first and only CSF, located on the island of Oahu serving customers with fresh, local, and sustainably sourced seafood through a membership based business. Local I’a was established by Conservation International (CI) through a grant called the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Fisheries innovation Fund. CI Hawaii received $100,000 to start a CSF whose goal is to support sustainable fishing livelihoods by increasing the value of local fisheries, improving consumer access to fresh, local, responsibly caught seafood from sustainable fisheries (Local I’a, 2017).
Local I’a is not run by fishermen, they are an intermediary program that brings the product from partnering fishermen, who abide by “Pono” fishing standards, directly to consumers. Local I’a’s fishing standards incorporate indigenous Hawaiian fishing practices and globally recognized standards from the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch and Marine Stewardship Council program (Local I’a, 2017).
Local I’a is committed to providing consumers with access to complete knowledge of their product. With every product, consumers will be able to know where their fish is coming from, how many days it’s been out of the water, and who caught it; this is called “bait to plate” traceability. Each catch that arrives at the dock is tagged with a special code that indicates where, when, and whom it was caught by. Every fish has a tale, which is certainly true for every fish distributed by Local I’a. This supply chain makes it possible for consumers to know their fishermen and the story of their seafood. Fishermen who are typically behind the scenes become the face of the products. Fishermen who are apart of Local I’a are paid a fair price that allows them to have a livable wage. It’s a win-win situation.
Through education and increased transparency of the seafood supply chain, Local I’a will work to improve public awareness of ocean and fisheries conservation by changing consumption behavior away from non-sustainable, imported seafood toward local, sustainably caught seafood. Even through Hawaii is surrounded by ocean, more than 60% of seafood sold in Hawaii is imported (Honolulu Magazine, 2014). With the technical expertise and startup funding from CI, infrastructure for business will be established. Profits from the business will be directed toward ocean stewardship and sustainable fishery initiatives (Conservation.org, 2014).