Direct Trade (D2C) Seafood: What Does This Mean for Consumers?

Unless we live in a coastal area or have access to a fresh fish market, the options for getting quality seafood are slim. The options for knowing where exactly that seafood came from are even slimmer. Fortunately, there’s a way we can enjoy our favorite seafood—and some peace of mind that comes with it. 

Introducing: direct trade seafood, also known as direct-to-consumer (D2C) seafood. In this article, we will discuss about direct trade seafood as well as its relation to fair trade products.

What Does Direct Trade (D2C) Mean?

Direct trade is a way of making a purchase that cuts out the middlemen and retailers and puts you closer to the producers. When it comes to ethical seafood, direct trade provides consumers seafood from the fishermen.

To unpack what direct trade truly means, it helps to first ask a question: what are direct trade products? In answering, we might think of direct trade in coffee or wine, two commonly consumed goods obtained directly from the source. 

In fact, using coffee as an example, we can get a better understanding of what direct trade means. A direct trade of goods and services is simply that, a direct trade. In the case of coffee, it cuts out the middleman buyers and sellers and allows roasters to establish relationships with cooperatives and producers in coffee-producing countries. 

However, is direct trade the same as fair trade?

Direct Trade Salmon: Fresh Salmon

Direct trade vs. fair trade

When it comes to coffee and some other products that can be purchased via direct trade relationships, there are some similarities with fair trade. With a closer relationship to producers, a buyer is able to ensure that ethical practices are used, workers are treated fairly, and environmental concerns are addressed—all without the need for a timely and expensive certification. 

In fact, in some cases, buyers might seek out direct trade opportunities because they’re dissatisfied with third-party certification programs. A close, direct relationship with producers often goes above Fair Trade certification because it’s able to develop an approach that’s more sensitive to the producers themselves.

As an example, certified Fair Trade coffee often requires that growers are part of a cooperative in order to sell their coffee. This obviously has the potential to hurt smaller, independent growers or family farms, which might be supported even more with direct trade relationships.

Seafood Transparency

Let’s trade cappuccinos for carp and get into how direct trade is supporting a fairer and more transparent seafood industry. What does direct trade mean when it comes to seafood?

Many aspects are similar to direct trade coffee or wine, and with direct-to-consumer seafood, you’re like the coffee roaster or buyer who’s more in control of the trade process. You can enjoy a more transparent seafood market, and be able to make more informed decisions about the best seafood to purchase. 

Not only that, but the fishermen are better supported by the process as well. Often, the opportunity to sell directly to consumers provides a better price for fishermen and gives them a chance to share their stories and highlight any sustainability efforts they’re making. 

Take a stand for sustainable seafood

Direct trade to you can provide consumers like you with a peace of mind that allows you to know not just the global region your seafood is coming from, but actually know a specific body of water, fishing vessel, or even some of the people responsible for catching the fish. 

This is something that not even the most popular third-party certifications can provide, making it one of the best ways eaters can grill, bake, and sushi roll their way to sustainable seafood transparency.

Alaskan Salmon Direct

Actually, consumers are one of the main driving forces behind programs like Alaskan salmon delivery that comes directly from the source. In recent years, more fish eaters have made sustainability a key consideration when it comes to purchasing seafood—which is why Google searches like “seafood near me direct” have become more popular. 

A 2016 study found that consumers prioritized sustainability over brand and price, with almost 72% agreeing that sustainably-sourced seafood was important in promoting ocean longevity.

When an Alaskan salmon company uses a direct trade seafood model, they’re not only providing customers with a top-quality, restaurant-grade product, but they’re also providing education and the opportunity to get involved in sustainably supporting the industry. 

In our case, we’re providing customers with the opportunity to be out on the vessels with us. We invite you to learn more about Copper River salmon, why it’s so valued, and when wild salmon runs take place. 

Through this process, you become a key source of support in keeping the sustainable seafood industry afloat. You help us disrupt traditional supply chains that involve multiple players—and multiple losers, like overfished stocks and under-supported fishermen. 

When that box of fresh, sustainably-sourced wild salmon arrives at your doorstep, it’s bringing with it a better outlook for the salmon industry as a whole. When was the last time you got that in the frozen seafood section at the grocery store?

Direct Trade Seafood and You

Ultimately, direct trade Alaskan salmon benefits you, the fishermen, and our oceans. 

Amidst increasing concerns over third-party certification bodies, direct trade purchasing remains one of the best ways to support a transparent, fair, and environmentally-sound seafood industry. Plus, ordering the ingredients for a healthy, Michelin-star-restaurant-quality meal is as simple as a few clicks of a button. What a catch!