Goodbye middleman. Skipper Otto provides reliable and trustworthy seafood to Canadians

ABOVE: Nunavut fisherman, Simon Qamanirq, is seen fishing from a frozen lake. (Photos: Curtis Jones Photography)

Skipper Otto is supporting Canadian fishing families through a revolutionary buying experience. Unlike other seafood companies, they can tell consumers not only where their fish comes from, but who caught it and when it was caught.

Skipper Otto was founded in 2008 by Sonia and Shaun Strobel who decided to tackle head-on the lack of transparency in the global seafood system. By this, they mean that it is extremely difficult to know exactly what people are supporting when they buy fish from a market or company with a murky history — let alone trust that they are buying the species that the label claims it to be. This can be known as ‘seafood fraud’ and this is an issue that impacts 40 per cent of seafood in Canada today.

CEO Sonia Strobel says, “40 per cent of seafood is not what it says on the label. Seafood changes hands so many times and most of what we get in Canada is imported. What is worse is that most seafood comes from fisheries who are guilty of human and environmental exploitation.”

Skipper Otto Community Supported Fishery has been questioning the status quo in the conventional seafood industry, while at the same time offering a solution to some of its biggest problems. Their model is inspired by community-supported agriculture, in which members pay farmers upfront for a share of the harvest. They’ve helped dozens of fishing families earn living wages, and thousands of seafood-loving members enjoy the best that the Pacific Ocean has to offer.

“Skipper Otto has created a just and equitable system for the seafood industry,” says Sonia.

Knowing your fisherman, knowing the gear and farm methods they employed to bring you their catch, and even where and when they caught it, are all details consumers have the right to know when deciding if they want seafood to be part of their diet. In cases where these details are absent, consumers should question whether or not they should purchase the fish. Skipper Otto stands for total transparency behind the seafood that the fishing families catch for their members.

The BC-based company may not be well known in eastern Canada but it is now offering the Ontario market the opportunity to have deliveries of high-quality, sustainable seafood from local Canadian fishermen. Skipper Otto’s unique membership-based program now includes Ontario, with a pickup location in Ottawa.

For years, Skipper Otto has been thinking of creative ways to support remote northern communities and, recently, partnered with  Iqaluit-based social enterprise Project Nunavut to do just that. Project Nunavut develops and delivers projects that improve the viability of the traditional economy in Nunavut. Through Lake to Plate, Project Nunavut  and Inuit fishermen from three Nunavut communities – Naujaat, Taloyoak, and Igloolik – work together to sell wild-caught Arctic char to food businesses in southern Canada. Lake to Plate’s mission is to enable participating fishermen to get fair prices for their fish and, thereby, make a sustainable income for themselves, their families, and their communities fishing.

Thanks to the partnership with Skipper Otto, Inuit fishermen from Nunavut are now able to offer their Arctic char, hand caught from frozen lakes in the depths of Arctic winter, to seafood lovers across Canada.

Lake to Plate fishermen are thrilled with their connection with Skipper Otto. Last week alone, Skipper Otto had 800 lbs of frozen Arctic char coming in from fisherman Darryl Siusangnark of Naujaat and 1000 lbs coming in from Simon Qamanirq of Igloolik.

It is important for Canadians to support domestic and local fisheries. Skipper Otto makes this easy by connecting customers directly with Canadian fisherfolk who can tell you exactly where their seafood comes from.