The joy of fishing is in community- Q&A with Tanner Haase

Over the next few weeks, we will be running a Q&A series featuring deckhands working on the B.C. coast. Many fish harvesters start their careers this way, working on several boats and in multiple fisheries over the year– this series aims to celebrate their hard work and give a taste of the fishing life.  

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One of the best jobs I can imagine- Q&A with Jessica Taylor


Over the next few weeks, we will be running a Q&A series featuring deckhands working on the B.C. coast. Many fish harvesters start their careers this way, working on several boats and in multiple fisheries over the year– this series aims to celebrate their hard work and give a taste of the fishing life.  

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During COVID-19, fish harvesters are essential, contributing far more than food

In early April, Melissa Collier got an unexpected call. A group of Nanaimo residents wanted to place a large order for swimming scallops, a wild mollusc she and her husband Joel harvest in the Salish Sea. Stuck in lockdown, the group wanted to support local food producers and knew of the Colliers’ scallop business. They reached out. 

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In Alert Bay, COVID-19 leads to new methods for sustaining fishing culture and salmon

Most summers, the docks in Alert Bay are bustling. Fishermen banter with friends and family. Boats steam towards fishing grounds on the North Coast and in nearby creeks and bights. Salmon, halibut, herring – the coastal wealth they’re harvesting will (hopefully) fill freezers and bank accounts and sustain fishing skills and cultural knowledge that have nourished the community for generations.

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Fishing lessons to endure the pandemic- 'Uncertainty is a beautiful, beautiful thing'

If isolation has a cure, it’s baiting fishhooks for hours and bobbing on the open sea. The work is physical, repetitive, and for second-generation Victoria-based fish harvester Tiare Boyes, quite similar to waiting out a pandemic.

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'In fishing, we're used to drastic changes'

Two weeks ago, Jordan Belveal watched as shelter-in-place orders shuttered the US west coast and decided it was time to put a long-time dream into action - selling his catch in B.C. Usually, the Nanaimo-based rockfish, halibut, and lingcod fisherman sells to high-end American restaurants. This market has dried up amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and, looking for ways to support his Vancouver Island neighbours, he decided to try and sell his catch locally. A single Facebook post later and hundreds of people had contacted him to purchase part of his catch.

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Freezers, delivery vans, and other hurtles to selling local fish in BC

Fraser MacDonald needs a big freezer. The Vancouver-based tuna and prawn fisherman is trying to sell more of his catch in B.C., but first he needs somewhere to keep his catch until it sells. He could rent space in an industrial-scale freezer facility, but this option doesn’t offer the 24/7 access he needs to supply the B.C. market he wants to serve. Buying his own cold storage unit – an investment of at least $18 000 – is a key step to growing his locally-focused fishing business.

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The new dock sale - Facebook and Instagram

In 2018, B.C. fishermen harvested wild salmon, swimming scallops, and dozens of species in between. In all, they landed close to 196 300 tonnes of wild seafood, worth about $48 million to the province’s fishermen – yet in BC, it’s difficult to buy fish harvested outside our front door. Most of our fish is exported to the US, China, and close to 80 other countries, while the majority of the fish consumed by BC residents comes from overseas. Why?

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Gillnets and green smoothies

Setting gillnets at dawn with a green smoothie in hand, is standard fishing-season practice for Scotia Siider, a 24-year-old, fifth-generation fisherman based in Sointula. Light comes early to the B.C. coast during the summer and the salmon gillnet fishery – open for only a few days each week on a good year – makes up a big part of her livelihood.

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Seining salmon - ‘it’s kinda like magic'

Helen-Anne Beans was three years old when she started fishing. It was inevitable – her family has been involved in the commercial fishery for generations, and each summer they’d head out from their home in Alert Bay to fish the B.C. coast. 

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