Boat to bowl: Resilience through network rewiring of a community-supported fishery amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Andrew K. Carlson, Talia Young, Miguel A. Centeno, Simon A. Levin, Daniel I. Rubenstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Fisheries are coupled human-natural systems locally, regionally, and globally. However, human-nature interactions within and between adjacent and distant systems (metacouplings) are rarely studied in fisheries despite their prevalence and policy relevance. We filled this knowledge gap by using network models to identify how the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic has rewired couplings and reshaped resilience of Fishadelphia, a community-supported fishery program (CSF) in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, USA. As abstractions illustrating interactions among supply-chain actors, networks are helpful for characterizing flows and assessing resilience to disturbances such as those induced by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Since Fall 2018, 18 seafood (finfish and shellfish) species totaling 6273 lbs have flowed from harvesters (n = 4), to processors (n = 2), to a distributor, to retailers (n = 2), and finally to customers (n = 183). The pandemic reduced the number of seafood harvesters and processors (−50%), seafood flow quantity (−25%), species diversity in the marketplace (−67%), and species per supplier (−50%) before stopping flows in mid-March 2020, when Fishadelphia closed for 3 months. Models of network optimality indicated that the pandemic fragmented metacouplings that previously allowed multiple seafood suppliers to provide diverse products to customers. However, demand-side resilience increased through dispersed, socially distanced, efficient seafood delivery that expanded the customer base and generally increased customer satisfaction. This resilience dichotomy-wherein the post-closure network was less resilient than the pre-closure network in supply-side species diversity, but more resilient in demand-side social distancing, delivery efficiency, and customer satisfaction-has implications for rewiring networks to sustain CSFs and other local food systems amid ecological and social disturbances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number034054
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • General Environmental Science
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


  • COVID-19
  • CSF
  • Community-supported fishery programs
  • Coronavirus
  • Coupled human and natural systems
  • Metacoupling
  • SARS-CoV-2


Dive into the research topics of 'Boat to bowl: Resilience through network rewiring of a community-supported fishery amid the COVID-19 pandemic'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this