2017 has been a fantastic season for all of us at Skipper Otto’s. Your membership dollars had a huge impact on us and all our fishing families and I wanted to share some of the highlights of the season with you!
When we launched Skipper Otto’s in 2008 for the 2009 fishing season, we had 40 members which was fantastic. And every year, just through word of mouth, we grew rapidly hitting over 2, 400 members this year! Wow! Thank you for helping spread the word and continue our growth!
10 New Fishing Families
Hitting 2,400 members allowed us to welcome 10 new fishing families aboard this year! And each of our 34 fishermen was paid a prompt, fair, living wage, enabling us to continue fishing in the traditional, low-impact methods of our parents and grandparents. Meanwhile, our member prices remained competitive with prices for the same product in fish markets proving that, by cutting out the lengthy supply chain, there is room for everyone to get a fair price.
We know that getting your fish from us take a little extra work on all our parts, and occasionally, you may have been seen lower prices on seafood elsewhere, but we hope you agree it’s definitely worth knowing you are supporting local BC fishing families, knowing exactly who caught your fish, where, when, and how, and knowing that your shopping dollars are doing right by people and the environment!
Steve gets a fair price for his smaller coho
Paying fishermen a living wage is sometimes a bit more complicated than it initially sounds. Salmon trollers are routinely paid well for their larger fish, but paid very poorly for fish under a certain weight. Steve Martinelli was happy with the price his usual buyer was paying for his large coho, but the price they were willing to pay for the smaller fish was heartbreaking. He works just as hard to catch the smaller fish on the same hooks and lines, with the same expenses as the bigger ones. At the same time, smaller whole fish are ideal for many of our members who love to serve a whole, beautiful silvery-blue-skinned coho salmon at a dinner party. We were happy to pay Steve a fair price for the smaller coho, allowing him to make a living wage on his whole catch, and our members are happy to have this beautiful fish. Win-win!
CSF dollars buy much-needed equipment
You may have read earlier in the year about how your membership dollars helped get Doug Kostering, a life-long ‘Namgis First Nation fisherman, back on his feet fishing this year. The incredibly high costs associated with halibut fishing have made it tough for Doug to return to fishing following a serious car accident, but this is exactly the sort of situation Skipper Otto’s CSF is designed to help with. We used your early season membership dollars to buy a required monitoring camera and to install in on Doug’s boat. As a result, Doug was able to get back out fishing. With his fishing income, we expect Doug will be able to purchase the camera off us soon, giving him fishing independence for many years to come! We’re so proud of the impact your CSF dollars are having on Doug’s life and on the lives of all our fishing families!
New Software and Growing the Movement!
Access to technology is one of the major roadblocks preventing CSFs from flourishing around the world. Just like when we started Skipper Otto’s, we looked around and realized that we were uniquely positioned to do what no one else would, so it was up to us to step up to the plate and get some software developed that would fill this gap. We have been developing “The Dock” to manage sign-ups, orders, packing, and distribution of seafood in a way that up-ends the conventional seafood supply chain. And this year, we met with success! We have been rolling out The Dock over the past few weeks and, although we’re still ironing out some bugs, we’re already miles ahead of our old system and will soon be ready to make it available to other CSFs around the world. Our “Dock” will create equitable access for fishing families around the world to their local markets and we’re excited for not only how much better this will make your Skipper Otto’s experience, but also for the food systems change this will enable around the world!
Member BBQ’s and workshops!
We hosted two fabulous, very well attended member BBQ’s at the False Creek Fishermen’s Wharf this year: a spot prawn BBQ in May and a salmon BBQ in July. For just $10, members had dinner and a beer or other drink while mingling in the sunshine at the water’s edge, enjoying music and great company, while curious seagulls, herons, and seals looked on.
In addition, we partnered with the wonderful artists at EartHand Gleaners for a series of salmon leather workshops. Members and non-members gathered at the locker to process leather and also to try their hands at weaving stinging nettle into fibres to be woven into traditional fishing nets.
Thank you to everyone who was able to join us in person for these wonderful events, and we’re excited to schedule more community events in 2018!
But at the centre of this incredible groundswell of food-systems change is your family and mine. Our relationship — where you know your fishing families and support them with a fair price in exchange for that premium, totally transparent product — is revolutionary. Thank you for sharing our vision and using your consumer buying power to affect the change you want to see in the world!
We’re looking forward to our 10-year anniversary next year, and we hope you’ll join us now for another season of fabulous seafood, stories, and social change. Check out our Share Size Calculator to help you decide what size share you’ll need to keep your family eating seafood all year. Thank you for supporting our fishing families!