Fair wages make a difference!

Sonia - July 9, 2014

As he was fishing this Tuesday in the upper boundary of the Alberni Inlet in Barkley Sound, our fisherman Shaun came across several big size seiners, catching most of the daytime fish. The sight of these “neighbors” made us think of Skipper Otto’s CSF mission, to ensure that independent, small-scale, low impact fishermen receive a fair price for their catch and thus they are able to remain in an industry dominated by big business and aquaculture.

We are thrilled to call our mission successful when we see real life examples of how our Community Supported Fishery is making a difference! Last week alone, Rod Roberts, one of Skipper Otto’s salmon fishermen, called to tell us he earned just over $2,000 more by selling part of his catch through our CSF. The pay upfront model that our CSF is built on allows Skipper Otto’s to keep paying fishermen the same fair price throughout the fishing season, regardless of fluctuations and pressures from industrial retailers, looking solely at maximizing their own profits. Although in the very beginning of the season big fisheries were paying fishermen at the same level, as soon as Alaskan fish started coming in they dumped prices for BC Coast fishermen. Skipper Otto’s continues to pay independent fishermen between $1.25 and $1.50 more per pound than all other fishing companies.

The investments our members make through the fees they pay also allow Skipper Otto’s to provide fishermen with upfront financing that covers maintenance and supplies they need to keep their gillnetter boats running and their sustainable fishing practices. What is the difference, you might ask, between how small-scale fishermen practice their job and how industrial seiners do it? It’s still fishing, right? Wrong, for many reasons, the main one being how fish are treated and their quality affected. Gillnets are sized to catch a specific target species of salmon and drastically limit by-catch, while seiners haul their big nets and surround fish with a wall of netting through which no creature escapes. If any non-target species do get caught in a gillnet, the boat is equipped with highly effective revival tanks where the fish can regain their strength before being released.

And to increase the pressure even more, seiners work on a quota system, meaning they have permission to catch 20,000 lbs of sockeye whenever they want. Gillnetters on the other hand still have to fish by the opening, meaning they can fish only on a given day, between given hours and catch whatever they can catch in that time. For this reason independent gillnet fishermen go out mostly at night, when seiners stop fishing so there are more fish around to be caught.

To quote Rod and other fishermen like him, they sell their fish to Skipper Otto’s because “they like us and they don’t get ripped off”!

Sonia - July 9, 2014


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Fair wages make a difference!

Sonia - July 9, 2014

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