Montauk’s fishermen have launched a historic and innovative new initiative to deliver fresh, New York State-certified seafood straight from their boats to local residents’ doorsteps. The effort, called Dock to Dish 3.0, comes just in time, as restaurant closures and stay-at-home orders have hurt traditional distribution channels and put perishable catches in danger.
Dock to Dish 3.0 is now operating locally as a pilot program for Montauk area residents, offering no-contact subscriptions via an e-commerce platform, with deliveries eventually expanding in June to reach more than 1,000 customers around Long Island and the NY Metropolitan Area each week. More than 500 people have already joined a waiting lists for memberships.
Designed to replace recently crippled and collapsed supply lines, and bring safety and balance to unpredictable market conditions that have arisen during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, this new system creates a distribution channel between Montauk’s commercial fishing fleet and NY consumers. The Long Island Commercial Fishing Association and United Parcel Service (UPS) have stepped up as partners to facilitate the subscription program, which will allow more than two dozen Long Island fishermen to ship New York State-certified fish fillets and sea scallops to members.
The monthly subscription model includes a 4-week minimum commitment for members, who pay in advance to receive a set amount of seafood, shipped directly from the fleet each week. This program is new New York’s online community, but it is also marks a return to the roots of Dock to Dish, which debuted in 2012, in partnership with the Concerned Citizens of Montauk Association (CCOM), as a community-supported fishery with pick-up locations in Amagansett and Sag Harbor. That reach will expand significantly in June.
“The goal is to guarantee consumer safety, guarantee continued consumer access to fresh and sustainable seafood, and support fishermen who now face possible uncertainty with some of the traditional outlets and markets for their highly perishable products,” the Dock to Dish 3.0 announcement says, describing the service as “the largest direct-to-consumer home delivery system for New York-certified seafood in the state’s history,” and a “major departure from the traditional seafood marketplace.”
All fish and seafood is handled with the most advanced safety procedures at the Dock to Dish harborside landing facility at the Montauk Fish Dock. According to their announcement, the new facility, which was rebuilt after a fire leveled the original building, surpasses the most advanced food safety compliance codes and is fully Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP)-certified and FDA-authorized for large scale seafood distribution.
“The new Dock to Dish direct access system is bringing the next 25 years’ worth of change to the Montauk fleet in a matter of months,” Captain Bruce Beckwith of Montauk’s Alison & Lisa fishing vessel says of the program. “My family has fished these waters for generations and I can say that this new home delivery service, involving UPS trucks distributing fresh fish straight from the harbor, is something that will change the very nature of how seafood is distributed for generations to come.”
Learn more about Dock to Dish 3.0 at docktodish.com.