Growing up in a coastal town, I have a deep love for the ocean. I have been wanting to design a service that aided in ocean health (and human health) for a while and took up this opportunity at CCA. I have designed a community supported fishing platform as an intervention for fishing traceability and helping consumers make more informed choices when it comes to purchasing seafood.
Over 1 billion people worldwide depend on fish for their protein source.
The ocean provides more than half of our oxygen. Healthy fish populations keep the ocean healthy. So if we like breathing, we'd better start saving fish.
Overfishing is a significant problem. Many people think the solution to overfishing is to persuade more consumers to buy sustainably caught fish.
That's a start.
But buyers can't drive real change when responsibly caught fish is blended in the marketplace with irresponsibly or illegally caught fish.
No? That is probably because it has been remarketed as Chilean Sea Bass to sound more appetizing. This has resulted in overfishing of the species.
The supply chain is busted, delivering mislabeled fish to your plate about a third of the time.
The processing chain is complicated. Most of the fish that is caught in the US is first frozen here and sent to China to process and then it returns stateside in the plastic frozen ready to cook bags that you’re used to seeing.
The story of our food is missing in a complex supply chain ecosystem like this.
Consumers used to get detailed and crucial information from fishermen who understand the ocean really well. This connection has been broken by the arrival of supermarkets
“The fishermen in Venezuela would give us crucial information about where and when the fish was caught and how to cook it. The guy at Costco doesn’t know shit.”
Italian born global citizen
Currently lives in San Francisco
“I would like a place to go and buy fresh fish from. I don’t know where to source them and if I can trust the source.”
Currently lives in San Francisco
“I’ve spent a lot of time learning currents and fish behaviour. I have experience fishing for over 20 years.”
Owner & Captain of Pioneer Seafood
How might we reconnect consumers with the source of the seafood and it’s story by opening uncomplicated pathways.
Proposed Community Supported Fishing Platform
1. Incentivise local fishermen to supply locally.
2. Supply fresh fish locally that can easily be traced
3. Supply fish that is in season to preserve the ecosystem
Platform User Conceptual Model
I designed the conceptual model of the consumer-facing application to understand what touchpoints I would need to cover to create a holistic experience.
Tales from the Sea provides fresh fish that is in season. Let nature decide what we should eat and not the markets. This keeps the fish population healthy and sustainable. The application also provides detailed description of the produce, where it was caught and by whom. In partnership with ecological organisations like the Monterey Bay Aquarium, we have also included their certifications and ratings. One place for all your fresh fish information.
Connecting the fisherman to the consumer
The consumer can see who caught their fresh seafood and what methods they used. The fishermen are also able to provide up to date videos on how to deal with the produce. This maintains a constant relationship with the consumer. We also provide a trip history to show how many fishing trips the fisherman has made and what they have caught on these trips.
To maintain quality of produce and handling an immediate consumer feedback loop is necessary. The system requires this crucial input to become more efficient and fix blindspots and occasional logistical errors that might inconvenience the customers. Proper error handling will ensure longer relationships.
Learnings & Next Steps
Narrowing my focus
This project initially started with research about oceans and ocean health. I had to find a point of convergence between my interests and the human need. This point was food. I had trouble seeing the ecological impact, but deeper research quelled that doubt.
With a wider focus area it was impossible to get an audience to care about the problem I was seeing. Tightening my narrative really helped shape the product as well as create an empathetic story for people to care about.
Next up, User Testing
I need to see if this product really clicks with both the fisherman community as well as consumers. I would love to test the concept with users to see the cracks in the platform.