Coastal tourism management group aims to keep the ‘local’ in Oregon’s local seafood

The majority of seafood consumed on the Oregon coast isn’t from the Oregon coast.. Find out more here.

As thousands of visitors flock to the Oregon Coast every year, most of them are looking for the fresh high-quality seafood that is distinctly Oregonian.

But a study commissioned recently by the Oregon Coast Visitors Association – the destination management organization serving the entire Oregon Coast from Astoria to Brookings – found shockingly that about 90 percent of the seafood consumed on the coast is imported from other domestic and international sources.

In response, OCVA has launched the Ocean Cluster Initiative – United States Department of Agriculture-funded program entitled “Capturing Value by Keeping Local Seafood Local” – to help combat that trend. The initiative aims to help the Oregon Coast’s communities capture more economic and environmental value from the local seafood catch.

“Planes are flying out with Oregon seafood as other planes fly in with the seafood we are selling,” OCVA Executive Director Marcus Hinz said. “Plane by plane, we are increasing the planet’s carbon footprint and shortchanging our communities and visitors. On the Oregon Coast, seafood is an integral part of coastal culture, generational livelihoods, heritage industries and economic development. We can derive more economic value from that product by doing more with it right here where it’s caught.”

Food production makes up a quarter of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, and each year seafood continues to be sourced further from where it is consumed. By shortening supply chains and connecting local producers, harvesters, retailers and consumers, the Oregon Coast can boast a more climate-friendly food industry. Sourcing Oregon’s seafood within the state saves on transportation costs and time, as well as reduce carbon emissions by 76 percent.

While Oregon’s top-quality products tend to be exported, the state imported about $105 million in seafood in 2021. This causes significant economic leakages, harming most smaller entities involved, including local fishers, processors, distributors and consumers.

For more information about the program, those interested can go online to https://www.oregonseafare.com.

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