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
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
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
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.
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.
Ge Li, Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Maureen Finn, Fisheries and Oceans Canada
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.
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.
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.
Participants heard from a fisheries financing specialist with a wealth of knowledge on business planning, lending options, growth management, and financial literacy tools.
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
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.
Mike Atkins, Marine Planning Team
Grant Dovey, Marine Planning Team
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.
Fiona MacRiald, Native Fishing Association
Natasha Marshal Gallic, Native Fishing Association
Chelsea Lesner, Native Fishing Association
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
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
Natasha Marshal Gallic, NFA
Mercedes Marshal, Harvester
Linda Thomas, Harvester
Melissa Collier, Owner of West Coast Wild Scallops and Steering Committee Member
Trish Whetstone, Coordinator of the BC Young Fishermen’s Network