The Economics

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To help you better forecast the financial details of your CSF we have put together a financial forecasting tool that you can download (see bottom of the page). If you want to use this in an excel format please drop us a note to info (at) namanet (dot) org.

Size Matters

  • Share size: The share sizes are up to you. Usually, there are two options: one size for a family and one size for an individual or couple.  The catch you’re providing may determine the sizes offered.  For example, shrimp or mussels can be weighed and bagged to any size but the weight of the share of whole fin fish must described as “approximate” in the information you provide to potential shareholders.

Prices and Payments

  • Cost: Consider what a consumer pays for the same product at the market and the boat price. A price somewhere in the middle may be the best deal for both of you. Regardless of the price you settle on, remember that your shareholders are making an investment in you and the local economy.  Set a price that reflects your cost of operations.  Participants in CSF’s want to support local fishermen and if they can get a good deal too, that’s even better.
  • When is payment due?  Modeled after Community Supported Agriculture, where the funds are used to prepare fields for sowing and even calculating how many seeds to buy, some CSFs require full payment for all deliveries before the first delivery.  However, not every shareholder in a CSF has a season’s worth of funds available up front.  You may increase your membership if you allow payments in halves or thirds. If you choose this model, be sure to clearly state when payments are due. You could offer a slightly lower price for participants who pay in full up front. Some boats offer a few shares at a lower cost for people who would otherwise not be able to afford a CSF. Remember, a CSF is about you, the fish and the community.  The structure is designed to benefit both you and the shareholders.
  • How many shareholders?  It’s good business to determine how many shareholders you need to make your CSF a success before you start.  Consider who will be unloading, weighing and bagging the full and half-share portions.  Will you be working with a dealer?  How do you plan to deliver the shares?  The potential costs of distribution to your shareholders may include leasing or renting a refrigerated truck and hiring a driver.  In addition, bookkeeping is critical and time-consuming, so plan to pay the responsible party.  Estimating these costs will help you determine how many shareholders you need.
  • Refund policy: In the event that your signup hasn’t gone as well as expected and a CSF doesn’t seem feasible, you need a refund policy for those who signed up. That being said, some CSF’s report increasing their number of shareholders after deliveries began.