The costly trip from boat to table
The price progression for fish, from the fisherman's boat in Menemsha to fish markets in other parts of New England - for instance, New Bedford and Boston, is difficult to track. The price a fisherman in Menemsha receives for his catch varies according to species, and it can also change from one day to the next.
According to Louis Larsen, the owner of the Net Result, who with help from his cousin Karsten Larsen, buys and transports fish from Menemsha off-Island, the price for striped bass this summer sank as low as $1.50 per pound and rose as high as $3.50 per pound. But the range of prices tuna fishermen receive has been wider. For tuna, the price to the fisherman depends on grade and size and ranges between $3 and $8 per pound.
The price a fish buyer pays a fisherman also includes a cut for himself and a cut to cover the costs of transporting the fish. Different fish buyers calculate this differently. Mr. Larsen says he does it by adding 50 cents per pound for himself. He said he believes in showing the fishermen exactly how he calculates how much he pays them.
When local buyers transport fish off-Island, they sell it either to fish markets or fish wholesale fish buyers. There, the fish is cut into fillets and then sold.
Ed Nassa of Seafood International is one of the wholesale buyers that Mr. Larsen sells to in New Bedford. Mr. Nassa said that his profit depends largely on the yield.
"The yield a fish brings depends on the species as well as the person doing the filleting," explained Mr. Nassa. "The yield is usually between 40 percent and 50 percent though, but it is a skill."
The process of getting the fish from the ocean to a person's plate is expensive. Larsen's Fish Market in Menemsha sells striped bass for $13.99 per pound, almost four times the price Menemsha fishermen received when striped bass commanded its higher price this summer.