It's hard to keep that New Year's resolution to eat sustainable seafood with so many tasty endangered species on restaurant menus. But the Environmental Defense Fund's (EDF) California Fisheries Fund (CFF) could be the push that fisheries need to embrace eco-friendly practices.
The CFF, officially launched at Google's Mountain View headquarters last night, is a $5 million, revolving loan program to restructure California fishing communities in a sustainable manner. CFF's first loans will go to Morro Bay companies. Morro Bay Fish Company plans to use the CFF's cash to deliver and market sustainable fish from local fisherman. The company will receive a $25,000 line of credit as well as a $100,000 loan to remodel its freezer, buy a delivery truck, and build a hoist on its dock.
Central Coast Seafood, one of Google's seafood suppliers, will also get $150,000 from the CFF to invest in black cod inventories. Black cod is one of the most sustainable fish, with an impressive fishing quota of 3 million pounds in Morro Bay due to its flourishing health and abundance.
In the past, banks have frequently denied loans to California fishermen since the fishing industry has been so unprofitable. The creation of the CFF is an important step in proving that investments in sustainable fisheries are worthwhile. And with companies like Bon Appetit Management Company, Wal-Mart, and McDonald's scrambling to stock eco-friendly fish, chances are that the the CFF won't be the only sustainable fishing loan program for long.