What if you could order fresh fish with the click of a button and have it delivered to your doorstep in 24 hours? With Fulton Fish Market's online presence, now you can. The fish you would order would be so fresh in fact, that you wouldn't even be sure what was available until that same day when it's rushed from a warehouse in Brooklyn to your home refrigerator just in time for dinner.
Mike Spindler, CEO of the startup FultonFishMarket.com tells Fast Company that it's natural that for fish to be freshest, it must be selected by hand each morning from a variety of boats that fish American waters. "What that means is that the boat, dock, catch method and fishery won't be known until we actually select the fish for your order," he clarifies.
However, although it seems like a haphazard lottery, conducting the Amazon-like fish startup this way guarantees customers the best quality sea creature with the highest sustainability.
That means you can consume everything from FultonFishMarket.com in good conscious. That's because every fish that comes across the Fulton Fish Market's docks are tagged with their weight, temperature, and source data. And this all happens each day between the hours of midnight and 4 am when the fish is loaded on a plane and shipped to your doorstep.
Why Should You Know Where Your Fish Used to Swim?
Knowledge of both catch method and the particular details of the fishes' location are critical for seafood consumers who are striving to make an informed decision about how to purchase sustainable fish.
Naturally, there are national sites like Seafood Watch that assess the sustainability and impact of each species of fish by looking at catch methods, location, and environmental circumstances, but it is difficult to make an informed judgment on the matter if the fish you buy remains unlabeled.
How are you to know if you've purchased something like wild black sea bass which is in the "best" category or if you've unwittingly bought some dive-caught sea conch which you should absolutely avoid at all costs?
Although the Fulton Fish Market does provide all of the necessary information, unfortunately, they do so after you purchase, which makes it somewhat difficult for customers to make the very best sustainable choices.
The New Kid on the Block
Believe it or not, FultonFishMarket.com is not the website for the New Fulton Fish Market. The market that sits in the Bronx is a cooperative that is comprised of 24 family-run fish wholesalers who distribute locally in the New York Area. The new online version of this fish market, however, remains separate. They do, however, work in tandem.
On the website, a selection of fresh fish is selected daily from the wholesalers at the market and is then made available to restaurants and individual customers across the state. What makes the startup's approach viable, however, is the speed at which it operates.
Spindler tells Fast Company that any fish that has been ordered will reach its destination at approximately the same time as orders that are placed at the market from around New York. He particularly prides himself on being able to deliver on this promise with a stock made up almost entirely of fresh fish.
Where Does The Fish We Eat Usually Come From?
Currently, over 90 percent of fish consumed in America is imported from overseas. This includes canned and frozen fish whose sources remain obscured by an opaque global supply chain. In fact, a large portion of commercially sold fish is caught and sold illegally in an ill-conceived effort to keep prices low.
Not only is 90 percent of our fish imported, but a third of what is caught here on American shores is exported. That means American consumers are choosing to forego the freshest of fish in favor of gambling on the quality of an imported equivalent.
FultonFishMarket.com recognized this incongruency and is working to alter that consumer mindset by prioritizing fish that are caught in U.S. waters.
That way, their customers will not only have the very best quality available, but they can be sure that the fish (and therefore the environment) they are consuming are protected by state and federal agencies like the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency.