Fishermen may be subject to exploitation and slavery1. They incur huge upfront costs and have no agency over the price they’ll be paid, which often happens months after the catch is delivered. And their gear methods can be environmentally destructive.
2. Buyer / Processor
Buyers and processors may be involved in exploitation, child labour, lax international health regulations, and pollution. They routinely inject seafood with water2 or preservatives to increase its dollar value. Processors often have total control over the price paid to fishermen as they own the licenses and quotas that they lease to fishermen, paying fishermen a tiny fraction of the price you pay at the store or restaurant.
3. Importer / Exporter
80% of the seafood you can get in Canada is imported from foreign fisheries while 90% of Canadian seafood is exported3,4. Even much of the Canadian seafood sold in Canada is processed in China and shipped back. Think of the environmental foot print of all that shipping!
4. Auction / Wholesaler
Auction houses and wholesalers take another big margin, driving down the price available to fishermen and driving up the price paid by consumers. They sometimes store fish for many years in their freezers, bringing it out for sale when they can get the highest price.
5. Freight / Handler
Seafood can sit in loading docks, warehouses, and in trucks, ships, and planes for weeks.
6. Retailer / Restaurant
Retailers and restaurants often display very old or previously frozen fish on ice to make it seem appealing, but by the time it gets to your community, how fresh is it?
- How Canadian consumers are eating seafood caught by modern-day slaves. Star Metro Vancouver. Melanie Green, November 7, 2018.
- Processors injecting seafood with water. Boston Seafood Expo. Video by Sonia Strobel, March 2018.
- Seafood Fraud and Mislabelling Across Canada. Oceana Canada, August 2018.
- Study of fish products in Metro Vancouver using DNA barcoding methods reveals fraudulent labeling. Yaxi Hu, Shr Yun Huang, Robert Hanner, Julia Levin, and Xiaonan Lua, March 9, 2018.
Skipper Otto connects local BC fishing families directly with seafood lovers across Canada. Our model ensures that fishermen get paid a fair wage, our seafood is caught sustainably, and our members get the highest quality seafood possible. Not a member yet? Sign up by May 31st to get the best seafood you’ll ever taste!