Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen's Alliance (Chatham, MA)


  • Name:Melissa Sanderson

Organization Address

  • Organization Name:Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen's Alliance
  • Address:1566 Main St
    Chatham, MA 02633
    United States

Organization Phone

  • Main phone:5089452432

Organization Web

User Email


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  • Mission:
  • The Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance believes that a healthy marine environment, and therefore, the success of Cape Cod’s fishing businesses depend on a better way of managing our fisheries. Using fishermen’s knowledge we build lasting solutions to improve our community, as well as serving as a model for fishing communities around the country. Fishermen effect change through public policy, applied science, economic development, and community partnerships and outreach.

  • Overview:
  • The Fishermen's Alliance is the leading voice for commercial fishermen on Cape Cod, working with more than 120 independent fishing businesses and 300 local fishing families. Our campaign team works on improving fisheries regulations for a diverse range of fisheries, including: groundfish, herring, monk, skate, scallop, dogfish, and conch. We regularly bring fishermen together to discuss regulations and possible solutions. We have successfully advocated for changes in regulations that ended wasteful trips limits and implemented conservation-oriented quotas for groundfish (cod, haddock, and flounders), as well as for improved data collection and restrictions on the industrial herring fleet.

    As a trusted partner with the larger commercial fishing community, the Fishermen's Alliance and its staff maintain an open door policy for fishermen to discuss ideas, concerns and opportunities regarding organizational priorities, threats, and opportunities for innovation. The result is countless hours of evidence-based and anecdotal information that guides and supports the formation, evolution, and long-term effectiveness of new fisheries management ideas and programs. The Fishermen's Alliance is dedicated to maintaining and expanding its relationships with other non-profits, government agencies, fish buyers and processors.

    We educate both fishermen and the community. Staff organize experts to come in to train the fishing fleet. Most recently we held workshops on whale disentanglement, communications, and dogfish and conch fisheries science. Our community outreach presentations directly educate over 5,000 people per year on the importance of healthy oceans and local fishing. Our communications activities result in more than 30 annual local, regional, and national print and radio news articles. Over the last two years, we coordinated quarterly with fishermen and processors to provide more than 7,000 pounds of under-utilized seafood, including dogfish, to local food pantry clients.

    We also have economic development objectives that are achieved through the Cape Cod Fisheries Trust program. We own a diversity of fishing permits, which are held in trust for the community to preserve long term fishing access for future generations. In 2014, we leased out 215,000 pounds of groundfish quota, 150,000 pounds of scallop quota, and 25,000 bushels of sea clam quota at a discount to 93 local fishermen, saving them $600,000 in leasing fees. All that quota translates into $2,750,000 worth of seafood landings to the local economy. Staff partners with the local Community Development Partnership to help Trust lessees improve their businesses, including securing access to loans, refining business plans, and helping them negotiate purchase agreements with end users, like Whole Foods. We have seen several businesses stabilize and grow in just a few short years. Our ideas about how communities may hold, own, and lease out quota to local fishermen provide a national model to protect small, traditional fishing businesses; we just led a two day workshop to educate over 60 fishing community leaders and investors from around the country on this unique leasing model.

  • History:
  • The Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen's Alliance was launched in 1991 as the Cape Cod Commercial Hook Fishermen's Association by a group of local commercial fishermen who saw the need for better fisheries management and wanted their experiences to inform it. We're an organization rooted in first-hand knowledge of ocean life and committed to sustaining the Cape's small-scale fishing businesses. Our work is aimed at protecting fish and fishing for future generations and is guided by the energy, innovation and expertise of local fishermen. Innovations from the Fishermen's Alliance have served as transferable national models as well as directly improving fishing on Cape Cod while conserving our ocean ecosystem.

  • Year established:1996
  • Endowment:Unknown


  • Executive / Trustee board size:15
  • Advisory board size:0
  • Staff size:12


  • Organization type:Grantseeker
  • Country of registration:United States
  • Tax Determination Letter:Received Determination Letter
  • IRS Section:501(c)(3)
  • IRS Subsection:509(a)(2)
  • Tax ID: