Fish Fresh From the Sea

Photo: iStockphoto.com
Join a community supported fishery to help local fishers and protect our oceans.

Otto Strobel has been fishing for salmon off British Columbia’s north coast for 40 years. He doesn’t consider himself a trendsetter. Yet, with encouragement and logistical support from his family, the retired high school teacher has launched the region’s first Community Supported Fishery (CSF), an idea sure to win fans among Canadians who are concerned about dwindling fish stocks and ethical eating.

Strobel was inspired by Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), a direct-to-consumer agricultural model that has blossomed in recent years. A recent federal report estimated that there are roughly 200 CSAs putting local farm-fresh fare onto Canadians’ dinner plates.

Subscribers to Strobel’s fishery pay an annual fee of $250 prior to the fishing season, which helps offset early season costs such as fueling his boat, the Eldorado. In return, they receive 35 pounds of “the best quality whole, fresh and/or frozen salmon that is available that season direct from the fisher,” according to the website.

While Strobel’s fishery may be the first of its kind in Canada, independent-minded fisherfolk in the coastal areas of the U.S. have launched a number of different CSF models. In Maine, for example, the 12 members of the Midcoast Fishermen’s Cooperative have used the guaranteed income from their CSF to develop and purchase more sustainable fishing gear—a progressive move to help preserve the very fish stocks that keep them in business.

If all of this is any indication, the CSF movement will be part of the remedy for our very sick seas.

Community Supported Fisheries in Canada: