Want to learn how to buy Oregon seafood directly from the boat? Oregon Sea Grant, a division of Oregon State University Extension, invites you to Shop at the Dock on a tour with fishery experts that will show you the ropes. One of the best ways to learn about purchasing fish directly from fisher families, the tours are free, but space is limited so you’ll need to make a reservation on their website for a Garibaldi (or Newport on the Central Coast) tour.
On the North Coast, the informative, 90-minute tours originate at the bustling Port of Garibaldi. You’ll see fishmongers in action at The Spot or FishPeople seafood markets, and get an up-close-and-personal look at fishing vessels docked at the port. OSU Sea Grant’s Amanda Gladics or another knowledgeable guide will discuss the types of fisheries in the state, how to choose sustainable and high-quality fish, and what’s in season.
Another great part of the tour is learning how various boats are equipped to catch different kinds of seafood, and how particular commercial fishing gear works to sustainably catch fish off Oregon’s coastline. From gillnetting to longlines, you’ll learn how to identify even from a distance what they’re fishing by the way a boat is equipped. Since you’ll be walking directly on the docks, be sure to bring warm, waterproof clothing and sturdy shoes.
If you plan on buying fresh fish to take it home after the tour, be sure to bring along cash, coolers, and ice. If you’d like to have it vac-packed and frozen, plan to stay overnight in the area and pick it up the next day. And don’t forget to visit stops on the North Coast Food Trail to show your support for even more restaurants and small food businesses.
If you can’t make it to a tour or just want to prepare ahead of time for your trip, check out OSU Extension’s handy online guide with tips and video interviews with commercial fishermen and local foods experts.