What does it cost?
Our share calculator will help you decide what size share you will need for the year. Membership shares start at $200 and are available in any size in $100 increments. Your pre-purchased share becomes your credit and each time you collect seafood, the dollar value is subtracted from the total.
On top of the share cost, you will also pay an annual membership fee which helps us offset the costs of getting your seafood to you. As we grow, we’re able to reduce membership fees every year! Given the situation surrounding COVID-19, we’ve decided to extend Early Bird membership fee pricing until the end of sign-up season, making the membership fee $29 until May 31st. We hope this helps lower any barriers to joining right now!
INSIDER EARLY BIRD
Sign-up & pay:
Oct. 15 – Nov. 30
Sign-up & pay:
Dec. 1 – Feb. 28/29
Sign-up & pay:
Mar. 1 – May 31
What size share should I buy?
Deciding what size share suits your needs can be tricky! It depends on a variety of factors including how many people are in your household, how big your appetites are, what types of seafood you will eat, and how often you will eat them.
Fill out our quick share size calculator to find out how much seafood your family will eat in a 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 encourage you to right-size your share at the beginning of the year because your share size is how we predict how much fish to catch in the fishing season. It also affords our fishing families the upfront money we need to go fishing. However, we know getting that number right can be tough, especially in your first year! Keep in mind that share sizes over $400 can be paid in instalments if you sign up before mid-February. You can also start with a smaller share and, when available, increase your share if you realize you don’t have enough credit.
Generally as members return year after year, it gets easier to select the right share size at the start of the season.
What will I get?
Our products include:
- whole salmon (sockeye, chinook, coho, chum, and pink);
- sashimi grade salmon fillets (sockeye, chinook, coho, chum, and pink);
- a variety of smoked, candied, and canned salmon products;
- sashimi grade tuna loins;
- halibut fillets;
- lingcod fillets;
- spot prawns;
- humpback shrimp
- rockfish fillets
- pacific hake fillets
- dungeness crab;
- pacific oysters
- pink and spiny scallops
We add new products to our offering whenever we are able to welcome new, values-aligned fishing families aboard.
Skipper Otto’s CSF is not a monthly seafood box. 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 whole pink salmon or lingcod. Use our share size calculator to help you decide what size share to buy!
The nature of any CSA or CSF is that you are supporting the fishermen for whatever is the best, most sustainable fish they can catch on any given year. We do a lot of education about what is in season and what are the most sustainable choices.
In addition to your share of seafood, members also receive other bonuses such as demos and workshops, access to a free equipment library (pressure canner, smoker, vacuum sealer), and “Meet your Fishermen” BBQ’s and other events.
What are the benefits of a CSF?
Skipper Otto’s 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
- Fishermen 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 fishermen and consumers can creatively steward marine resources
- Because we cut out the middleman we can afford to pay fishermen 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 fishermen 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 fishermen 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 fishermen and fishermen gain knowledge about what their consumers value.
What are the risks?
Fishing is a risky enterprise! Nature is unpredictable, and there is always the chance that it will be a poor season for some species, or that quotas, licenses, and fuel costs will shift. Our members agree to come along side us and take on a small part of that risk. If it is a poor season for a certain species, members may have to take their share in other items. If quota prices for a certain species increase, member prices for that product may increase. To buffer this risk, we have a diverse product range of species for our members to enjoy.
The fishing season
When does the season start?
The fresh seafood season starts in May and lasts until roughly October, but you can collect frozen, smoked, and canned products from your share throughout the year.
Signing-up and ordering process
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.
Members picking up at the False Creek Fishermen’s Wharf can also come as walk-ups for frozen, smoked, or canned products without ordering in advance. Picking up will just take a little longer as we will look up your account, weigh your items, and record your order while you wait.
Members picking up fresh fish or items from any other location must order in advance and will immediately receive an automated email confirmation to let them know their order was received and is on its way.
Where and when can I pick-up my fish?
Once you become a member, we’ll remind you when you can pick up at a location near you. Unlike a subscription box program, you only place an order when you want something. Our pick-up locations are values-aligned stores who volunteer to distribute our members’ orders across Metro Vancouver and Canada.
Place Your Order
Login to the members-only store and order what you like. We’ll ship your order to the store before your pick-up dates.
Get your Seafood
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.
Extra Options at Vancouver’s False Creek Fishermen’s Wharf
- Live & fresh seafood options.
- Pick-up without pre-ordering, selecting from what’s in-stock.
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 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. Any uncollected shares are donated to charity.
What are your product prices?
Product prices are based on the fair-trade price we pay our fishermen which depend on that year’s costs. Even though our fishermen are paid better than other fishermen on the coast, our members pay prices that are usually comparable to what they would pay at a local fish market for an equivalent product because our supply chain is so short! CSF members have access to all our current product prices when they login to the online store.
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’s! 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 fishermen up front and to work with our fishermen to plan for how much fish 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 keep in mind that, due to the way the fishing season is unfolding, we may need to shut off the purchasing of additional credit once the fishing season is underway.
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.
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 consumers 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. We’re so grateful for members who are willing to plan ahead with us in this way!
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 of any kind. If you have a major life change such as moving cities to where we don’t offer CSF 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 CSF share.
Is Skipper Otto still open during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Yes! Skipper Otto is still fully operational at this time. In fact, supporting our fishing families is now more important than ever. Sonia and Shaun created Skipper Otto to provide some stability to fishing communities, and during these uncertain times, our members’ upfront dollars are doing just that: providing our fishing families with the peace of mind knowing that they will be paid fairly for their catch this upcoming fishing season.
Are all Skipper Otto pick-up locations open during the pandemic?
Due to different provincial regulations, some of our pick-up locations may be closed or may close at some point during the pandemic. If a pick-up location is closed, you will be notified before the ordering window is open, and other arrangements will be made. So far closures have been very few and far between and have not affected our member’s ability to get our delicious seafood!
What is Skipper Otto doing to prevent the spread of COVID-19?
Our supply chain is always safe and clean, and we want to assure you we’ve put additional measures in place to ensure the health and safety of the whole Skipper Otto team and its membership, including:
- Extra and frequent sanitizing of all work surfaces, tablets, handles, light switches, etc.
- New gloves for all packing team members at each shift
- Social distancing practices during pick-ups at False Creek Fishermen’s Wharf
- Extra, flexible sick-day allotments to encourage anyone who is at risk to stay home with full pay
Is COVID-19 affecting product availability?
Fishing is always a bit uncertain and is especially so this year. There are many factors that may affect exactly when each species is available, including weather, fishing openings, abundance, access to fish processing (cutting and freezing), and this year especially, fishing schedules might vary due to the current shape of the export market! For example, the spot prawn season, which usually begins in May, was delayed until the start of June. We have created this handy seasonality guide below which shows when our fishing families plan on harvesting each species of seafood, which can help provide a rough idea of the shape of our 2020 season.
If you have any other questions about how COVID-19 is affecting Skipper Otto, our members, and our fishing families, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at [email protected]!