The National Sea Grant Law Center

Our Work

Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture

Sea Grant is a leader in developing innovative technologies for all sectors of the seafood industry, including fishing, aquaculture, seafood processing and consumer safety. Research and extension efforts are focused on ensuring a safe and sustainable supply of seafood products for current and future generations. The National Sea Grant Law Center supports Sea Grant’s mission by providing legal research, outreach, and education on seafood issues such as fishery management, aquaculture, and seafood marketing and labeling.

Research Project: Opportunities in Federal Fisheries Management to Support Climate-Ready Fisheries

In 2021, the National Sea Grant Law Center received funding from The Nature Conservancy to conduct legal research on federal fisheries management authorities and decision-making processes to identify opportunities to increase nimbleness in support of climate-ready fisheries. Climate change is significantly impacting marine fisheries and the communities that depend on them. Fishery managers need to integrate nimbleness and adaptability into decision-making processes to create more responsive management regimes. The National Sea Grant Law Center is conducting legal research to identify tools and areas of the law that address flexibility in Fishery Management Plans and can be adapted to address climate impacts. The project includes legal research and analysis by NSGLC attorneys and law students, as well as interviews with key stakeholders in the fishing community.

Research Project: Comparative State Legal Analysis of Direct Seafood Marketing

In partnership with the Local Catch Network, the National Sea Grant Law Center is conducting research on the regulation of direct seafood sales to support community-based fisheries. Fishermen have become increasingly interested in alternative marketing strategies and distribution chains to increase profits and provide the buyer with fresh fish. Direct seafood marketing can vary greatly by state, and there is a need for legal research on statutes or regulations that address direct seafood sales venues and services. The National Sea Grant Law Center is conducting a comparative analysis across states and developing a high-level summary of statutes and regulations that address direct seafood marketing. Throughout the research project, the National Sea Grant Law Center will meet regularly with the Local Catch Network, as well as key stakeholders and an advisory committee.

Priority Issue: Community Supported Fisheries

At the request of NOAA Fisheries, the NSGLC collaborated with the Planning Committee of the National Summit on Community Supported Fisheries, held in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, May 30 – June 1, 2012, to produce a resource guide for fishermen. Starting and Maintaining Community Supported Fishery (CSF) Programs: A Resource Guide for Fishermen and Fishing Communities provides general information to assist fishermen and fishing communities with starting and/or maintaining a Community Supported Fishery (CSF).

Download Starting and Maintaining Community Supported Fishery (CSF) Programs

In 2016, the organizers of the “Local Seafood Summit: Moving Community Supported Fisheries and Values-Based Fishing Businesses Forward” approached the NSGLC to update the 2012 guide. With funding from Concerned Citizens of Montauk and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Fisheries Innovation Fund, the NSGLC broadened the scope of the guide beyond CSFs to include other alternative seafood marketing strategies. This guide complements and builds upon the Market Your Catch website, an online resource developed by California Sea Grant with participation from other Sea Grant programs, fishermen, buyers and others on the U.S. east and west coasts.

Download Connecting Local Seafood and Consumers: Direct Marketing 101

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