For the past two years I've been a member of a Vancouver seafood co-op called Skipper Otto's Community Supported Fishery. It's the best food subscription I know of.
I often explain it like going in on a whole cow with friends, except that in this case you're "going in" on a share of the catch from a fleet of local fishermen.
Having been a member for the last two years I can give you a look at what being a member is like (IT IS THE BEST). Each week members have the chance to place an order and show up at one of their neighbourhood distribution stations, then take their Ocean Wise certified, fresh, sustainable seafood home with them. Every piece is tracked and labelled, so they always know who caught the fish, and where it was caught. See the photos on the labels below? Those are the actual fishermen who caught the products in the packages.
For me personally, I love the level of trust that comes with Skipper Otto's. Knowing that the people providing me with my fish care about it as much (or more) than I do, and are working to make sure they're providing it sustainably? That's important to me.
For the most part, commercial fishing in B.C. is ruled by large corporations. Over the years they’ve managed to buy up most of the licenses and quotas, conglomerating into huge operations that benefit shareholders. However there are still a number of smaller, family run fishing boats [LINK] who manage to stay in business independently, and members of Skipper Otto’s help these folks stay afloat by pre-purchasing a share of their catch.
Below is a video showing exactly how the program works. They're just about to wrap up their 2018 membership campaign on May 31, and if you're interested you can find out more HERE.
As a member, each week you’ll get an email telling you what’s just come in off the boats, and you’ll get stories from and about the fishermen. You can put in an order through a checkout system online (or not) then go to one of the many pickup stations to grab it. The one I go to is adjacent Granville Island at Fisherman’s Wharf.
When you arrive to pick up, there might be other items that catch your eye (HELLO SPOT PRAWNS!). You’re free to add on to your order once you get there. They take the total dollar amount off of the money you put in.
Salmon are a favourite in my family, and I’ve added halibut to our order more than once. They have fresh, frozen, smoked, canned… however you like your seafood. Oh, and note that every single piece of fish that you get can be tracked directly back to the fisherman who caught it.
Again, sign up for the coming season ends this Thursday. For more info and to sign up go HERE. Use the coupon code VIASKIPPER2018 and you'll receive 25% off your annual membership fee!