February 27, 2019
Dear Fellow Salmon Fishermen,
When we were asked to participate in the BC Salmon Marketing Council, we weren’t overly interested. Like every other fisherman, we had no shortage of things to do and, quite frankly, we weren’t impressed with the BCSMC’s record of producing fish bags and recipe books. What we found however, was that the BCSMC had changed. A number of the top executives from the fish buying and processing sector had been recruited to help develop and drive a marketing program and they were willing to do this as unpaid volunteers. Moreover, if they accomplished their objectives, the benefits would flow almost entirely to BC’s commercial wild salmon fishermen. This has occurred as the market for BC wild salmon has grown, demand has increased, and price increases of as much as $2.00 per lb, have been realized by the fishermen.
If you talk to your fellow fishermen who are active in the affairs of the halibut, prawn, tuna and other fisheries, they’ll tell you how fortunate the salmon guys are that they have a marketing council that benefits from both industry guidance and governmental funding support. In addition to the direct marketing work, the BCSMC also provides an advocacy role for the commercial wild salmon fishery. Recently, some commercial salmon fisheries were at risk of being downgraded in their sustainability rankings. Were that to happen, this would have a devastating impact on the price of our wild salmon as markets would close and demand would drop off. The BCSMC retained a scientific consultant who was able to demonstrate that these fisheries were indeed worthy of their higher ranking which preserved access to those markets that value and pay for sustainability. While we don’t know what that translates to in terms of price per pound, we’re confident that it far exceeded the 0.5 per cent of the value of the fish that the levy represents.
We have considered pursuing a change in the governing legislation in order to make the levy mandatory. We’ve resisted on the basis that we need to accommodate the needs of those fishermen who are barely treading water. However, for those who can afford it and who benefit from the higher prices that are paid as a consequence of the marketing efforts, we’d like to get their support. This is effectively an insurance policy, so imagine what it would be like if your insurer allowed members to opt out and still receive the same benefits as those who do pay. This is not how our commercial fisheries or our commercial fishermen operate. We need each other and we have a long history of working together for the collective benefit of all members of and participants in our fishery. We hope that you will consider this.
Thanks for listening,
Dane Chauvel, Chair
Bob Fraumeni, Past Chair
On behalf of the British Columbia Salmon Marketing Council: Dane Chauvel (Chair/Troll Rep)
Bob Fraumeni (Past Chair/Troll Rep)
Chris Ashton (Seine Rep)
Darin Cheung (Gillnet Rep)
Blake Tipton (Gillnet Rep)
Henry Clifton (First Nations Rep)
William Gladstone (First Nations Rep)
Guy Johnston (UFAWU)
Dar Brinham (Large Processor Rep)
John Nishidate (Large Processor Rep)
Guy Dean (Small Processor Rep)
Steve Hughes (Small Processor Rep