What are the benefits of a CSF?
Skipper Otto Community Supported Fishery (CSF) is a triple bottom-line business which means the benefits are in many different areas:
CSF programs began as a method to help marine ecosystems recover from the effects of overfishing while supporting fishing communities
Fishers are able to alter their target species based on what is abundant, not what is in high demand by the larger supply chain.
Exploited species are given a break
Provides a framework through which fishers and consumers can creatively steward marine resources
Because we cut out the middleman we can afford to pay fishers a higher price per lb so they don’t need to resort to higher-impact, less sustainable fishing practices to stay in business
Ensures independent, small-scale, low-impact fishing families receive a fair price for their catch and are able to remain in an industry dominated by big business and aquaculture
Ensures that members pay a fair, stable price for their seafood and understand exactly where their dollars are going
Engages fishers and community members in a more robust local food system
Establishes a transparent chain-of-custody from boat to fork
Increases access to premium, local, sustainably harvested seafood.
Educates consumers about local fisheries practices and concerns directly from the fishers while fishers gain knowledge about what their consumers value.
What will I get?
Our products include:
Sashimi grade salmon fillets (sockeye, chinook, coho, chum, and pink);
A variety of smoked, candied, and canned salmon products;
Sashimi grade albacore tuna loins;
Pink and spiny scallops;
A variety of dried and frozen kelp products
Live mussels (Only at Fishermen’s Wharf in Vancouver);
Live Dungeness crab (Only at Fishermen’s Wharf in Vancouver);
Live Pacific oysters (Only at Fishermen’s Wharf in Vancouver)
We add new products to our offering whenever we are able to welcome new, values-aligned fishing families aboard.
Skipper Otto is not a monthly seafood box program. Rather, you can choose what you like when you like from what we are catching. For example, if you purchase a $500 share, you can order whatever you like from our inventory to a total of $500 at as many or as few pick-ups as you like. Each item is assigned a fair price based on that year’s fishing, processing, and transport costs. What you can get for $500 varies based on what you like to order. If you choose higher priced products such as halibut and spot prawns, your $500 will get you a lot less seafood than if you choose lower priced items like pink salmon or hake. Use our share size calculator to help you decide what size share to buy!
The majority of our flash-frozen fillets come in 1 lb packages (2 serving sizes). We do carry smaller portions sizes on a few items including coho salmon, lingcod, tuna loins and spot prawn tails and we do offer whole, dressed, frozen salmon for large parts of the year as well.
The nature of any CSA or CSF is that you are supporting fishers for whatever is the best, most sustainable fish they can catch on any given year. We do share a lot of information about what is in season and what are the most sustainable choices.
What size share should I buy?
Deciding what size share suits you mostly depends on how many people are in your household, how often you expect to eat seafood and how late in the calendar year you are signing up.
Fill out our quick share size calculator to find out the minimum share size your family will need over a full calendar year. The amount on the calculator is a good place to start since it is a minimum amount that is based on some of our less expensive items. We know that estimating this amount is a challenge in your first year, so feel free to start at whatever amount you are comfortable with and then top up your account balance as the year goes on.
Generally as members return year after year, it gets easier to select the right share size at the start of the season. Choosing a more accurate starting share in future years is very helpful for us to plan with our fishing families but don’t stress too much about it in your first year with us!
Access the share size calculator
What does it cost?
Our share calculator will help you decide what size share you will need for the year. Membership shares start at $100 for new members and $200 for returning members and are available in $100 increments above those minimums. Your pre-purchased share becomes your credit and each time you collect seafood, the dollar value is subtracted from your total.
New members pay no membership fees for their first year – so the only cost is your prepaid share credit.
Returning members pay an annual membership fee which helps us offset the costs of running the program. We have been able to lower membership fees as we grow! The current annual fees for returning members depends on when they renew:
INSIDER EARLY BIRD
Sign-up & pay:
Sep 26 – Nov. 30
Sign-up & pay:
Dec. 1 – Feb. 29
Sign-up & pay:
Mar. 1 – May 31
Do you have a referral policy?
Yes! If you’re a current member and you refer a new member to Skipper Otto, you each get a $20 credit added to your accounts when they join using your unique referral code.
To get your code, login to the ‘Dock’ and go to the drop down account menu at the top right of the screen. Choose ‘Share a Share’ and click on ‘Refer a Friend’. You will find your unique referral code to give to friends and family. The new member will need to enter this code when they fill out the sign-up form.
The fishing season
When does the season start?
The bulk of the fishing season gets going in May and lasts until roughly October, but you can collect frozen, smoked, and canned products from your share throughout the year. Because the vast majority of our seafood is flash-frozen, members can enjoy its catch-day freshness all year round!
If you’re curious to learn when certain species are fished, check out our Seasonality Guide blog post!
Signing up and ordering
How does ordering work?
Members receive regular email newsletters letting them know what is available and when it can be picked up. These newsletters contain a link to our online store where members can choose what they would like this time, and when and where they would like to pick it up. Once they submit their order, it is packed, labelled and delivered to the pick-up location. Unlike a subscription box program, you only place an order when you want something.
Members picking up at the False Creek Fishermen’s Wharf in Vancouver can also come as walk-ups for frozen, smoked, or canned products without ordering in advance.
Members picking up seafood from every other location must order in advance. In Metro Vancouver orders are due by midnight on Monday for orders that will be ready to pick up later that week. Outside of Metro Vancouver, pick-ups start about a week to ten days after the order deadline. To view the specific timing in your area, download a the current year’s calendar of order cutoff dates and pick-up dates from our Pick-up Locations page.
Where and when can I pick up my fish?
Our pick-up locations are values-aligned stores who volunteer to distribute our members’ orders across Metro Vancouver and Canada. We’ll keep you updated on when you can pick up at your nearby pick-up location. All you have to do is go to your chosen location during the pick-up window to get your order. In most cases, you can come anytime over the course of several days during that store’s regular hours.
Different locations across Canada have different pick-up frequencies. Check out all our pick-up calendars on this page (just select your region from the dropdown menu).
Does my share expire?
We ask you to use up your share by Dec 31. This is because we used your membership dollars to catch seafood in that year and we can’t carry over a large inventory year to year. If you have credit leftover in your account at the end of the season, and you join again for the next season, small balances (up to around $50) will roll over to the next year. If you have not signed up in the next season, we will hold all remaining balances in your account until the end of the sign up window. After that time, we will donate any unspent shares to charity from members who have not returned.
Can I get a refund on part or all of my share?
When you purchase your share up front, you are telling us how much fish you’d like us to catch for you this year. Once the fishing season begins, that money is spent and your fish has been caught and put into cold storage. Therefore, we are unable to provide refunds. If you have a major life change such as moving cities to where we don’t offer pick-ups or are no longer eating seafood, you are welcome to donate your share to family or friends. We are also happy to donate your share to one of our many local, community-based charity organizations so that low-income families, refugees, and at-risk and aboriginal youth can enjoy your unused share.
Why do I have to pre-pay?
Can’t I just pay the exact amount when I pick-up?
Our Community Supported Fishery creates a unique relationship between home cooks and fishing families. When you purchase your share up front, you are telling us how much fish you’d like us to catch for you this year. We are not a traditional retailer and so we don’t catch and store a lot of extra inventory. Instead, we use your upfront dollars to plan for the fishing season and cover up front costs. This simple act of pre-payment is what makes us able to offer fishing families a hugely beneficial difference by creating certainty and plans they can actually count on. We’re so grateful for members who are willing to plan ahead with us in this way.
Can I top up my share if I run out?
Yes! We know it can be difficult to know how much seafood you’ll eat in a year, especially if this is your first season at Skipper Otto! And we also understand that not everyone can commit to their full share amount up front. This is why we allow members to increase their share size by $100 increments if they run out of credit before the end of the year.
Having said that, we’re asking those who can right-size their shares to do so as soon as they join: we use member money to pay fishers on a timely basis and to work with our fishing families to plan how much seafood we will need. Our model just wouldn’t work if everyone simply added credit each month, but we like being able to offer flexibility to those who need it. And, while we have never done this, we do reserve the right to shut off the purchasing of additional credit once the fishing season is underway if anything unprecedented happened on the coast to interrupt our ability to source more seafood.
We are happy for you to use the flexibility to top up your share later if you need it, but hope that, whenever possible, you will anticipate how much seafood you would like this year and purchase it ahead of time.
Between September-December of each year, we add the ability to top-up in exact amounts and allow members to pay any overages as they go. This is so that members have the option of spending down their share to as close to $0 as possible.
What are your product prices?
Product prices are based on the fair-trade price we pay our fishers which depend on that year’s costs. Even though we pay our fishing families better than others on the coast, our members pay prices that are usually comparable to what they would pay at a local fish market because our supply chain is so short! Our members have access to our current product prices when they login to the online store but anyone can get a sense of our pricing by viewing last season’s price ranges on our Products page.