We started Skipper Otto’s in 2008 to help Shaun’s dad, Otto, get a fair price for his catch and to connect directly with seafood lovers.
With the support of our members, Otto enjoyed many more seasons of fishing. As demand grew through members telling their friends, Shaun returned to fishing alongside his dad and eventually introduced our sons, Oliver and Lyndon, to commercial fishing.
Today, Skipper Otto’s members across Canada support dozens of fishing families like ours. We know you’ll love getting to know your fishermen and feeding your family seafood you can feel good about!
– Sonia and Shaun Strobel, Co-founders
My name is Sonia Strobel and, along with my husband, Shaun, I founded Skipper Otto’s Community Supported Fishery to connect conscientious consumers (like you!) directly to local, independent fishing families (like us!) and to our sustainably harvested catch. I’d like to tell you a bit about our family story, what we do, and how you can become a part of our community!
Skipper Otto is Shaun’s dad. He started fishing on the BC coast in the 1960’s. At that time, there were thousands of families like theirs harvesting seafood in traditional, sustainable ways. But by the time Shaun graduated from high school, things had changed. The once robust fleet of independent fishermen had been reduced to a skeleton crew of old men. Changes to regulations meant that now a handful of massive corporations controlled the industry. And this lengthy supply chain means that seafood now changes hands dozens of times, travelling around the globe before reaching the hands of consumers. This usually means increased costs and environmental damage, lower wages paid to fishermen, and a lack of transparency for consumers.
And so that’s where we come in! We started Skipper Otto’s Community Supported Fishery to keep independent small-scale fishing alive in BC, protecting our valuable ocean resources, and ensuring customers have direct access to wild, sustainable BC seafood. We’ve cut out huge swathes of the supply chain providing you with complete transparency around what we are catching, where, and how. We educate consumers around important issues in fisheries, and are rebuilding robust local food systems and communities.
By purchasing a share in the catch before our fishing season begins, you provide fishing families with the up front money to allow us to fish another season in our traditional, artisinal, low-impact ways. And, in exchange, we provide you with premium quality seafood and complete boat-to-fork transparency.
So, what does this look like for our fishermen? Our fishermen are independent but prefer working with us because we give them a fair price. We respect our fishermen and negotiate prices transparently and in good faith. We even pushed the fishing grounds prices up for all fishermen in some situations in 2016 when other buyers were taking advantage of their monopoly power. At the same time, the vast majority of our member prices are competitive with other markets and fish shops. Our supply chain is much leaner than conventional systems and so there is plenty of room for both a fair price for fishermen and a fair price for consumers. And for our fishermen, since the cost of fishing is so high, getting a better value for their catch can make the difference between being able to replace a dead engine at the end of the season or being forced to sell the boat and give up fishing.
We would love to have you aboard Skipper Otto’s as a member! Become a new member between Jan 1-May 31. Or subscribe to our mailing list to hear monthly updates from the fishing grounds and be notified when membership sign up opens again!