Nfld. & Labrador

New business to connect seafood harvesters with seafood lovers

One entrepreneur is looking to take advantage of the change in legislation that allows people to buy direct from harvesters on the wharf.

From the Wharf website aims to take advantage of change in legislation

From the Wharf's website allows harvesters to directly sell their catch to consumers or restaurants in the province. (Michael Ritter Photography)

A new business hopes to make it easy to buy seafood direct from local harvesters, with just the click of a mouse.

The man behind the website From The Wharf is Blaine Edwards, who came up with the idea after talking to industry stakeholders in the wake of September 2015 changes to provincial legislation, that allowed direct sales of seafood from harvesters to consumers and restaurants.

"We felt right away there might be an opportunity to create some kind of mechanism or site or organization, but we didn't really know what the site would look like, and that's when we started our research," Edwards told CBC Radio's The Broadcast.

From the Wharf is now a live site, with the ability to buy just about any type of seafood harvested in Newfoundland and Labrador, in season.

"It's pretty well just like a normal e-commerce site. You can pick what you want, pick the volume, you continue on to a checkout where you select your payment option and your shipping info. Then the reservation goes to the harvester," said Edwards.

Edwards already has 10 harvesters signed up to provide seafood, with another 10 or 12 in the midst of getting registered.

Benefits to harvesters

Now that direct sales are legal, Edwards said his website will make it easier for harvesters to identify customers, and even pre-sell some of their catch before they put nets or traps in the water.

Edwards says his website will make it easier for people to get a legal feed of fish. (CBC)

Edwards said customers on the site can select features such as different cuts, or skin-off fillets.

"The real value here is that, of course on our end on the site, we can track practically everything people want, in all kinds of orders." said Edwards.

He said data is then passed on to the harvester, who can use it to tailor catches to maximum profit.

"We give them that sales info that they otherwise never would have had."

New connections

In talking to restaurants in downtown St. John's, Edwards said he received positive feedback from businesses that wanted to avail of local fish, but didn't know where to start.

It's not like it was years ago, where everyone knew fishermen directly.- Blaine Edwards

"Trying to connect with local harvesters can be tricky, because it's not like it was years ago where everyone knew fishermen directly, or you had ones in the family," he said.

"They need contacts, they need regular supply, and they want quality harvesters that are going to give them quality product."

Edwards said his company makes harvesters accountable for their product, and he'll also help restaurants navigate the bureaucratic red tape involved in direct sales.

From the Wharf is planning a formal launch in May.

With files from The Broadcast