By Julia Robins, Student Writer
You could be the key to bringing a Community Supported Fishery (CSF) to Williamsburg.
On October 16, an intimate group of local watermen, aquaculturists, and interested citizens gathered at the Williamsburg Community Building to hear the next step in bringing a CSF to Williamsburg: Finding a CSF project leader.
To help launch a CSF, Virginia Sea Grant is inviting anyone interested to submit a Statement of Interest by January 10, 2013. (You can find the Instructions and form here: http://bit.ly/vasg-csf-lead )
VASG is ready to offer research, tools, and resources, including two student interns who could provide business and operational support and small financial support, somewhere in the order of $5,000.
“We really want this to get off the ground,” says VASG Assistant Director for Research, Susan Park. “We’re looking for an enthusiastic person to give this a shot.”
Featured at the workshop was Deborah Callaway, coordinator of Walking Fish CSF in North Carolina for the past three years. Callaway offered advice and encouragement to those interested in leading a CSF. Walking Fish, comprised of a fish processor, thirteen fishermen, and a five member board of directors, supplies fresh, local seafood to between 350 and 400 members each season, although their listserv consists of over 1,500 email addresses.
Calloway cited educating and keeping members engaged as her biggest challenge and offered her solutions, including utilizing social media.
Virginia Sea Grant (VASG) has done quite a bit of research in conjunction with students, faculty, and staff from the College of William & Mary (W&M) and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS). The research shows that as many as 554 households in Williamsburg would join a CSF in its inaugural year. In fact, about 350 individuals who participated in the research submitted contact information and asked to be notified if a CSF gets started.
If you look at the data, a Williamsburg CSF seems like it could be a viable business. However it can’t get started without someone willing to lead. As VASG director, Troy Hartley, told the attendees of the CSF Workshop, “We fund research and get it out to those who could use it. We’re not in the business of owning businesses.”