From the ocean to your plate: A new app is all about delivering you the freshest catch

Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 4:58 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Kaneohe fisherman Noah Williams is happy summer is here because the fish are biting.

When he takes out his boat, the Hiroshi Maru, he’s likely to hook ono, marlin or mahi mahi.

“Right now in the summer, everybody is going for the ahi, yellow fin tuna,” he said.

Williams, and lots of others like him, are now using a new tool that nets them more money for their fish. A mobile app called ReelFresh connects them directly to consumers.

“You can’t beat the freshness, the quality. You’re able to get a good price,” Williams said.

Fishing friends and University of Hawaii graduates Lauren Pierce and Spencer VanDerKamp designed the ReelFresh app.

“We’ve been tossing around the idea for years, just thinking of how we can help out fishermen, how we can help locals get fresher fish,” VanDerKamp said.

Anglers who sign up set their own prices. When they haul in their fish, customers who have the app and who live their zip code are notified and place their orders.

They pay less because there’s no middle man.

“It’s pretty awesome,” VanDerKamp said. “Consumers are saving on average 50 to 60%, compared to what they would see in other places.”

He estimates sellers earn up to 30% more by dealing directly with customers.

The UH’s Liftoff Advisers program awarded VanDerKamp and Pierce a $10,000 grant to get their app off the ground.

“We hope ReelFresh continues to grow and to serve members of the community, and give them fresher fish for affordable prices,” Pierce said.

More than 100 sellers now use ReelFresh, which collects a small commission on each sale. VanDerKamp hopes to slowly broaden the app’s base, including to markets outside of Hawaii.

Williams said it’s quickly helping him grow his list of satisfied customers.

“I want everybody to get fresh fish at a good cost,” he said. “We also need to make our money. That’s the bottom line.”

ReelFresh launched in May. The app’s available for Android and Apple devices.

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