Read the full story at CBC News British Columbia.
“Direct-to-consumer model working so well, independent fishermen now need own cutting space
Shaun and Sonia Strobel founded Skipper Otto’s Community Supported Fishery in 2008 as a way for Otto Strobel — Shaun’s father — to keep fishing independently at a time when it was becoming increasingly more difficult for fishermen like him to make a living in B.C.
Now, another 39 boats have joined their collective and more than 1700 customers pay up front — on average $300 per year — to have the chance to order and pick-up fresh fish, shellfish and other food direct from B.C.’s waters.
“In my wildest dreams, eight years ago, I never believed that we would have this many families and this many members that we would actually be changing the local, small-scale seafood industry,” said Sonia Strobel from the False Creek Fishermen’s Wharf on Thursday as customers lined up to collect bags of spot prawns.
Despite the success, the Strobels are hoping to go even further with their business so they can have a resource that was once more common in B.C.: a fish processing plant.
“The lack of secure processing is the biggest hurdle we have to overcome,” said Shaun Strobel, who added that up to 75 per cent of what he and other fishermen in the collective catch has to be processed.
Some of that is done on the boats and in the limited space that the Strobels and others have at the False Creek Fishermen’s Wharf, but most often they must turn to fish processors who are already busy with contracts from much larger companies.
In order to make the fish processing plant a reality in False Creek, the Strobels want to up their customer base to 2000 members by the end of May, which they are confident will happen, as customers like Kim Carruthers, now in her second year with Skipper Otto’s, have helped bring others into the collective.”