BCYFG 2023 Agenda

March 22nd - The Match Eatery

Shore Leave Networking Night

The Gathering kicked off with a night of catching up with old friends and networking with new ones at the Match Eatery in Campbell River. About 45 attendees came out to connect over snacks, drinks, and stories before diving in for two days of conference programming.


March 23rd – Maritime Heritage Centre 


Welcome Address | Trish Whetstone, coordinator of the B.C. Young Fishermen’s Network 

Opening Remarks and Land Acknowledgement | Jim McIsaac, Executive Director of the T Buck Suzuki Foundation

Opening Remarks | Lesley Chapman, B.C. Ministry of Agriculture – Industry Advisor, Seafood

Introduction | Melissa Collier, Owner of West Coast Wild Scallops and Steering Committee Member


Kickoff Speech

Creative Solutions for the Future of Fishing | Mark Urwin, Harvester and co-founder 46 South Fish Co.


Fisheries Update Sessions

This session brought together harvesters and industry experts to provide info on a handful of the various BC fisheries to young harvesters, people newly exploring their opportunities in the industry, and for those already involved to find out what's new in other fisheries outside of their focus.

Introductions | Trish Whetstone, coordinator of the B.C. Young Fishermen’s Network

Sessions |

Mike Atkins, Pacific Prawn Fishermen's Association 

Chris Sporer – Pacific Halibut Management Association 

Megan Eadie – Area A Crab 

Melissa and Joel Collier – West Coast Wild Scallops

Grant Dovey - Underwater Harvesters Association


A Buoyant Future: Collaborating to Reach Our Common Goals

Fisheries in BC are facing some dicey waters, but by approaching our collective challenges from a creative, solutions-oriented mindset we can bring a positive and hopeful perspective to the vision of our industry's future. In this panel discussion we’ll hear about the power of our greater network and how we can support each other to rise together.

Moderator |  Sonia Strobel, CEO and Co-Founder of Skipper Otto

Panelists | 

James Lawson, President of UFAWU-UNIFOR

Melissa Collier, Owner and Harvester of West Coast Wild Scallops 

Dawn Webb, Organizer for UFAWU-UNIFOR 

Jim McIsaac, The Canadian Independent Fish Harvesters Federation. 


Lunch & Historic Boat Tours 

Attendees were invited to climb aboard the fishing seiner that once adorned the back of the Canadian 5-dollar bill. Museum guides offered interpretive walk-throughs of the original B.C.P. 45, restored to her former glory, throughout lunch.


BC Fisheries Management 101

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada joined us for a comprehensive session packed with information on their management framework and processes, as well as an overview of their lost fishing gear management strategies. 

Presenters |

Ge Li, Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Maureen Finn, Fisheries and Oceans Canada


Gear Up! 

Workshop Leaders |

Tim Hobbs, Redden Net Co Ltd.

Participants got their hands on traps, navigation tools, safety staples, and all manner of gear with tips and tricks from seasoned pros.

Reudi Pletscher, Knot Master 

Participants had the opportunity to dive into the rope and knot niche with splicing, intricate knotwork, and rope making machine demos.


Fish Safe MythBusters

Safety at sea is the #1 priority: True or False? The experts from Fish Safe BC delivered a lively session of busting through marine safety myths and facilitated questions, discussions, and, of course, audience participation with a rousing hypothermia prevention demo.

Presenters |

Harolf Wulff, Fish Safe BC

Ralph Roberts, Fish Safe BC


Out of Sight, but Not Out of Mind: Helping Fishers Reclaim Lost Gear in BC and Beyond

Caitie Frenkel and Megan Eadie presented their research on solutions to lost gear management, clean up and prevention. Their findings were followed by a panel discussion with founders of The Ocean Legacy Foundation on current strategies and efforts to reclaim lost gear locally and globally.

Presenters |

Caitie Frenkel, Sustainability Director of T Buck Suzuki

Megan Eadie, former Sustainability Director of T Buck Suzuki

Ashley Tapp, founder of The Ocean Legacy Foundation

Jeremy Browne, founder of The Ocean Legacy Foundation


Money Talks - Financing your Fishing Business with BMO *Gathering Sponsor*

Participants heard from a fisheries financing specialist with a wealth of knowledge on business planning, lending options, growth management, and financial literacy tools.

Presenter |

Katie Carter, Relationship Manager, BMO Bank of Montreal


Reception and The Fishermen’s Gathering Feast

As seafood harvesters and providers with extraordinary pride and heart in our local bounty, we wanted to honour the fishers, farmers, foragers and food artisans local to Campbell River throughout the event.

Attendees enjoyed a wind down from the day's sessions with time to connect and debrief over handcrafted beverages from Wild Coast Cocktails made with ingredients from local Comox Valley farms.

The Gathering Feast, along with all of the delicious goodies enjoyed throughout the event, were hand made by the fun loving and creative style of Amber Assu, Executive Chef of The Good Wife Gourmet. 

All of Ambers tasty creations were sourced locally from family-owned farms, local foragers, butchers, and cheesemongers, including the sockeye salmon featured at the Feast, which was caught in Area 13 by local Indigenous hereditary chief Brian Assu and processed into filets and lox at St. Jean’s Cannery.

March 24th, 2023 – Maritime History Centre

MPA Updates from the Marine Planning Team

The development of Marine Protected Areas are impacting the future of how we fish. Much has changed since the Marine Planning Team presented their work in coordinating an industry-wide response to the proposed Northern Shelf Bioregion MPA Network at the 2020 BCYFN Gathering. This presentation offered an update on the current state of MPA development and allowed for group discussion on strategies and solutions to potential impacts to the industry.

Presenters |

Mike Atkins, Marine Planning Team

Grant Dovey, Marine Planning Team

Developing BC’s First Coastal Marine Strategy

Participants had the opportunity to hear about the details of managing this complex initiative between overlapping areas governing marine activities, conservation efforts, and ocean-based industries. The Government of BC spoke on the development of their Coastal Marine Strategy that will look at the full picture of ocean ecosystem health and community well-being, took questions and heard ideas and opinions from harvesters.


Presenter | Stephen Hextall, Policy Analyst with Government of BC, Ministry of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship.


Native Fishing Association: Business Growth and Opportunities

The Native Fishing  Association fosters and supports the success of First Nations people in the commercial fishing industry. Attendees learned from NFA business experts on opportunities for strengthening the current and next generation of Indigenous fishers with everything from their micro loans program, to training opportunities, to accessing licenses and quota.

Presenters |

Fiona MacRiald, Native Fishing Association

Natasha Marshal Gallic, Native Fishing Association

Chelsea Lesner, Native Fishing Association


Insuring your Fishing Business

Harvesters heard from long-time BC fisherman and marine insurance provider Keith Chauvel of Pacific Coast Fishermen's Mutual Marine Insurance. Being a Fishermen for Fishermen company, Keith shared important information and considerations specific to the needs of harvesters to keep their businesses secure and agile.


Presenter | Keith Chauvel - Managing Surveyor and Treasurer, Mutual Marine Insurance 


Empowering Indigenous Women in BC’s Fishing Industry

This panel gave participants the opportunity to hear the powerful voices of Indigenous fisherwomen investing in themselves and their fishing businesses. Harvesters Natasha Marshal Gallic, Linda Thomas, and Mercedes Marshall shared the importance of aligning traditional knowledge, community and collaboration. They examined ways to create space and opportunities for Indigenous women to lead the next generation by example so that they can continue taking on powerful roles in the West Coast commercial fishing industry.

Moderator | Sonia Strobel, CEO and Co-Founder of Skipper Otto

Panelists | 

Natasha Marshal Gallic, NFA

Mercedes Marshal, Harvester

Linda Thomas, Harvester


Parting Words

Melissa Collier, Owner of West Coast Wild Scallops and Steering Committee Member

Trish Whetstone, Coordinator of the BC Young Fishermen’s Network