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In the small town of Portsmouth, N.H., a fishing community is desperately trying to make ends meet in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
The national pandemic could not have come at a worse time for these fishermen — the very beginning of the season.
“The fishing industry right now is really struggling. So a lot of guys are just not fishing and have gone on unemployment,” Andrea Tomlinson, general manager of New Hampshire Community Seafood, told Fox News. “Almost every fisherman I know has applied for the EIDL loan (Economic Injury Disaster Loan) or the paycheck protection program loan.”
Since buyers haven’t been entering local fish markets, some fishermen turned to social media, with a twist on the trendy farm-to-table movement — “boat-to-table.”
The process is simple. Locals place their order on the fishing boat’s Facebook page, and then they get told a pickup date and time. After that, customers wait at the dock with containers and bags filled with ice ready to pick up their catch.
Tomlinson says it’s not just a great idea to support the local community, but it also creates a direct market for local seafood.
“The beauty of local seafood is that it passes through very few hands before it goes to the consumer. So, in this case, with the lobster, it’s going through one set of hands.” She added. “So, it’s really hard to find food that is only going through one set of gloved hands.”
People who want to reel in a good catch don’t have to worry about safety. Tomlinson said their pickup procedure is compliant with CDC guidelines.
“I’m very proud to say it looked like it could have been a hospital unit. I mean, the sternman, his wife, her girlfriend, everyone had on masks, gloves,” Tomlinson explained. “People were told to bring their own container, their own bag or their own cooler when they’re picking up the lobster. People were socially distancing six feet apart.”
Aside from this being the freshest fish you can find, Tomlinson says there’s one other good reason to support your local fishermen.
“I think this is really going to open people’s eyes to the fact that, if we don’t start buying locally, these guys are going to go out of business.”