Lapa Rios Embarks On “Dock To Dish” Sustainable Seafood

Lapa Rios Ecolodge is one of two Cayuga Collection lodges that is now serving fresh fish and seafood to its guests weekly, thanks to the newly introduced “Dock to Dish” programme in Costa Rica.

Dock to Dish works in the same way as farm-to-table for farmers by connecting restaurants to fishermen so that they can buy fresh and sustainable fish and seafood without middlemen. The restaurants buy the fishermen’s catch of the day directly at the DOCK to serve as the evening’s DISH. This creates a relationship between the local artisanal fishermen and the chefs at the lodges.


The lodges are now offering weekly “Dock to Dish” nights, with a special menu using the catch that fishermen bring once a week. They invite the fishermen to the hotel that evening so guests can meet them and learn about what it means to be fishing the Pacific Ocean of Costa Rica.


A team of professional filmmakers hired by Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City with documented the lodges’ first Dock to Dish events. The footage will be used to create a feature documentary on sustainable fishing with stories from the US, Canada, Chile, Brazil, the Philippines and Costa Rica.


Although the lodges are unable to offer daily “Dock to Dish” menus, they endeavour never serve fish or seafood that is endangered and try to buy only sustainably caught fish. This is sometimes hard to do, so they teamed up with a local NGO called Mar Viva and continue to work on creating a certification program.  The NGO has now published a list of fish and seafood and sustainability indicators associated with it.

The Cayuga Collection will be expanding this programme to all its coastal properties.


Sean Barrett, the founder of the Dock to Dish Program in the United States helped to introduce the programme in Costa Rica.


How Dock to Dish works Dock to Dish works through the introduction of a new membership-based, supply-driven economic model that is structurally reflective of a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Participants who join a Dock to Dish cooperative pay for their membership in advance for a pre-determined length of time (or season) and immediately begin a direct relationship with an alliance of small-scale fishers from their nearest homeport. In doing so, members agree to surrender their historical ‘right’ to demand popular target species from the long dangerous arms of the global seafood commodities market, which is a practice that has placed unprecedented strains on many species of wild finfish and oceanic ecosystems around the world over past decades. In a Dock to Dish cooperative, members instead receive steady and carefully-managed share distributions of wild seafood that was harvested exclusively by their local community-based fishermen, all of whom operate under the strictest governmental regulations anywhere on the planet. By allowing the oceanic ecosystem and small-scale fishermen to decide what will be landed and distributed in the cooperative, an orderly system quickly begins to flourish and balance is soon restored to the local marketplace.

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