Skipper Otto's Community Supported Fishery

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1505 1st Ave W, Vancouver, BC V6J 1E8

Meet the owner

Most Vancouverites are familiar with Community Supported Agriculture, or CSAs, but may not realize that Vancouver is home to Skipper Otto's Community Supported Fishery, Canada's first CSF. Skipper Otto's quietly launched in 2009, and has been growing steadily ever since. Sonia Strobel, its managing director, married into a fishing family.

“Shaun, my husband, comes from a fishing family, but he wasn't able to stay in the fishing industry because it wasn't possible to make a living at it. We were familiar with CSAs so we had the idea that maybe we could do the same thing in fishing. Our original goal was to make it possible for his dad, Otto, to stay in fishing.”

In their first summer, they had 40 members, the fishery supported two fishermen and they offered fresh salmon in season. By 2014 they'd grown through word of mouth to 1,200 members, supported about 15 fisherman and offered fresh, frozen, whole and processed products including salmon, tuna, halibut, spots prawns, side striped shrimp and Dungeness crab.

“That first year we just did it,” says Sonia. “We told people to come to the docks at a certain time and we had bins of fresh fish and they just took it, but we didn't really know what we were doing and we had to think it through.” Now they offer a flexible buy-down system and people can pick up their seafood year-round at the False Creek Fisherman’s Wharf near Granville Island and at certain Farmers' Markets as well. They also deliver to Alberta and Saskatchewan.

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