Jon Crofts, owner of Codfathers Seafood Market. Sydney Morton/Capital News

Codfather’s owner fights for fishermen

Jon Crofts is working with B.C. Fishermen to keep fish fair and local

Codfather’s Seafood Market owner, Jonathan Crofts is working hard to change the way the federal government sells fishing licenses and quotas.

Crofts is working alongside fishermen and charities, and is speaking with Members of Parliament to make a real change to preserve the future generation of fishermen.

“To sum it up we want good clean and fair (fish),” said Crofts.

Crofts explained that currently most commercial fishing licenses are owned by large fish distributors or second or third generation fishermen. Right now it is costly for most fishermen to sell their fish to fishmongers such as Crofts and end up selling their fish to larger companies that is often exported from Canada.

“It needs to be sustainable, nutritious and tasty, nothing harmful, no antibiotics and clean for the environment. We need clean fish as well and it needs to be fair,” said Crofts.

Fraser MacDonald, a first-generation commercial fisherman for the last 14 years who works out of False Creel Fishermen’s Wharf and Port Hardy, B.C. addressed the Fisheries Committeee Feb. 5 alongside other fishers to speak to them about the regulation of West Coast Fisheries.

READ MORE: Fisheries Department announces chinook fishing restrictions in B.C.

READ MORE: Duck rescue: Kelowna men save ducklings from storm drain

The group of fishers (not including Crofts on Feb. 5) approached the committee to study the regulation of West Coast fisheries to review the regulatory structure for Individual Fishing Quotas (ITQ) and the individual transferable quota structure. As they believe specifically the way they are transferred has created a commodity out of the licensing itself to investors and corporate interests.

“We have more opportunity to gain more value out of our fish. The way that a lot of bigger seafood buyers are set up is that it is a volume market-based system so that they can make a margin on buying and selling it. If we could challenge the types of processing and selling it to fisheries we are going to be putting the focus on adding value and maintaining value in fish. We will be able to keep local, reduce our carbon footprint and increase the value all the way down the stream from the fishmongers to the good and healthy fish,” said MacDonald.

READ MORE: Kelowna welcomes back BC Interior Sportsman Show

READ MORE: B.C. herring fishery ends for another season, controversy over catch continues

The fishermen are not asking for an immediate change to the way the ITQs are handed out but rather a long timeline where changes could be scheduled and implemented over the next 10 to 12 years.

In the meeting, Joy Thorkelson, president of United Fishermen and Allied Workers Union reported that fishermen’s earnings are trending down while the The Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union’s (FFAW) incomes are increasing. She cited that the difference is the added costs B.C. fishermen bear, 80 per cent of the landed value in ITQ fisheries is taken out of their pockets. Money that remains in the pockets of East Coast fishermen.

“I have worked for the union for 40 years and I’ve seen many changes in my career. I’m old. In fact, the majority of people in the B.C. fishing industry are old. The industry was very good to participants and we were able to make a great living, so that’s why we all stayed. Now it’s too late to leave with economic dignity,” said Thorkelson in the Feb. 5 meeting.

Both MacDonald and Crofts said that fishing commercially has become a career path of retirees who can afford it and is having trouble attracting a younger generation due to the costs.

“Its becoming increasingly difficult,” said Crofts.

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@sydneyrmorton
sydney.morton@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

EDITORIAL: Revisiting alcohol consumption

A proposal to allow alcohol consumption in some public spaces in Penticton deserves consideration

Be prepared for high water, says RDOS

Higher than average water detected around the Ashnola Rover and Similkameen River

Poll: Should Penticton allow drinks on the beach?

Legally drinking in some Penticton parks and beaches could become a reality as early as June 5

Playgrounds to reopen across the Okanagan on June 1

After nearly two months closure, playgrounds are set to reopen

100 miles in 24 hours: a B.C. man’s mission to support the less fortunate

Merritt’s Darius Sam felt he needed to help his community after an encounter with a struggling woman

Only four new COVID-19 cases, 228 active across B.C.

Health officials watching as activities ramp up

COVID cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a BC mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Mother duck and babies rescued from Highway 97 in Lake Country

The mother and nine ducklings were taken to Duck Lake

Chef brings farm-to-table approach to new Shuswap restaurant

Darren Bezanson opening Bistro 1460 at Hilltop Inn

Trudeau acknowledges racial unrest in U.S.; ‘We also have work to do in Canada’

‘Anti-black racism, racism, is real; it’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada,’ Trudeau says

Bear fails to interrupt golfers in Vernon

‘It definitely was hard to putt with a bear that close, but we got it done’

State of Local Emergency declared for Boundary as communities brace for river flooding

Warm weather and heavy rain could cause sections of Kettle River system to swell beyond 2018 levels

Large cruise ships barred from Canadian waters until end of October: Garneau

Last year 140 cruise ships brought more than two million visitors to Canadian ports

Okanagan toddler airlifted to hospital after suffering serious burns

Vernon’s Advanced Life Support paramedic crew was called to the scene in Enderby Thursday afternoon

Most Read