For a guy who grew up fishing, Alan Lovewell was frustrated by his inability to easily get fresh seafood that wasn’t mislabeled or harvested by some huge corporation using unsustainable fishing practices.
So he decided to do something about it.
Today the 34-year-old runs Real Good Fish, a company headquartered in Moss Landing that connects small-scale fishermen directly with consumers through weekly deliveries of seafood that range from fresh-caught Dungeness crab to wild salmon and sand dabs.
“The idea is that we want healthier oceans and to eat healthier food so we have to have closer ties” between consumers and suppliers, said Lovewell sitting in his sun-drenched office at the Moss Landing harbor, the raucous bark of seals serving as background music.
Four years after it began, Real Good Fish now delivers fresh seafood caught by about three dozen fishermen to about 1,100 clients in Central California. Weekly emails that include fishermen’s stories, catch information, and recipes have created a kind of mini marine community.
Lovewell also has taken that idea a step further through a program called Bay 2 Tray. Under the project, fishermen are not only brought into classrooms from Monterey to Oakland to talk about their profession, but also their catches end up on the schools’ cafeteria trays.
Last year, Lovewell was named one of 12 Champions of Change for Sustainable Seafood by the White House for his work.
“The realization I had was that, if we don’t first empower coastal communities to take control of themselves in a sustainable manner, there is no way we will have healthy, sustainable fisheries on a global level,” Lovewell says.