How our CSF Works
You can buy a share as little as $100, and as large as large as you like in $100 increments. The share then becomes your credit and you can pick-up items whose dollar value is subtracted from your credit each time you order. If you’re not sure what size of a share you’ll need, try out our share calculator.
On top of the share cost, you will also be charged an annual membership fee:
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
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 their appetites are, what types of seafood you will eat, and how often you will eat them.
You can fill out the share size calculator below to help give you a rough idea of how much seafood your family will likely eat in a year if you purchase all your seafood from us. Round the number to the nearest $100 to get the share size you should probably purchase.
We encourage you, wherever possible, to right-size your share at the beginning of the year as your share size is how we predict how much fish to catch in the fishing season and affords our fishermen the upfront money they need. However, we know getting that number right can be tough, especially in your first year! Keep in mind that you can also start with a small share and, when available, you can increase you 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.
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;
- black cod fillets;
- spot prawns;
- side-stripe prawns;
- pink shrimp;
- dungeness crab;
- king crab;
- pacific oysters
We add new products to our offering whenever we are able to welcome a new, values-aligned fisherman aboard our CSF!
Our CSF is “buy-down style”. If you purchase a $300 share, you can take whatever you like from our inventory to a $300 total. Each item is assigned a competitive price based on that year’s fishing, processing, and transport costs.
What you can get for $300 varies based on what you like to order. If you choose higher priced products such as halibut and spot prawns, your $300 will get you a lot less seafood than if you choose lower priced items like whole pink salmon or lingcod.
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.
For example, in 2013 pink salmon returns were record breaking high and sockeye returns were extremely low. We limited the amount of sockeye members could purchase to a third of their share, while we also encouraged people to try pink salmon by offering whole fish for a deep discount. We had quite a few members who had previously taken only sockeye come forward to express how much they enjoyed pink salmon and wished they hadn’t been missing out on these delicious fish for all these years!
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.
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 community
- 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
- Establish a transparent chain-of-custody from boat to fork
- Increase access to premium, local, sustainably harvested seafood.
- Consumers learn about local fisheries practices and concerns directly from the fishermen and fishermen gain knowledge about what their consumers value.
Fishermen are faced with an inherent degree of risk in their profession. 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. CSF members agree to 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The CSF creates a unique relationship between consumers and fishing families. When you purchase your share up front, you are telling your fishermen how much fish you’d like them 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!
When you purchase your share up front, you are telling your fishermen how much fish you’d like them to catch for you this year. Once the fishing season begins, that money is spent and your fish has been caught and put in our 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 partner community charity organizations so that low-income families, refugees, and at-risk and aboriginal youth can enjoy your unused CSF share.