Off the Hook. Turning the Tide for Coastal Fisheries Solutions

Canada | Nova Scotia | Digby County

‘Off the Hook’ Community Supported Fishery (CSF) connects a cooperative of small-scale groundfish fishermen, who use bottom hook and line methods in the Bay of Fundy to supply subscribing customers in and around Halifax.

The five founding fishermen members of Off the Hook Cooperative Limited (formed in June, 2010, in Digby County, Nova Scotia) work from different harbors in the area but share a passion for fishing ground fish with a bottom hook and line. Most of them also catch lobster part of the year – one of the few remaining commercially viable fisheries in Atlantic Canada. However, as government policies, seafood markets and ecological conditions continue to shift, forward-thinking fishers are looking to keep their livelihoods diverse and resilient.

Off the Hook’s fishing members are united by their recognition of the need to do something different to protect small-scale fishing livelihoods and their communities into the future.

Subscribers pay at the beginning of the summer season for weekly shares of the coop’s catch of fresh whole haddock and hake.

Like other direct marketing enterprises, CSFs can provide several benefits to small-scale fishers, including more family income, more market choices, and increased ownership and livelihood control. Since there are no ‘middlemen’ involved, fishermen can ensure a fair price for their catch. Because subscribers sign on to share risks, CSFs can also help keep protect fishermen’s safety by allowing them to decide when it is safe to leave the wharf.

Meanwhile, Off the Hook’s subscribers enjoy increased access to the freshest local, traceable, high quality fish along with renewed connections with local fishing communities and the ocean that sustains us all. Off the Hook’s fish shares will never be old, frozen, or badly handled, and will always be caught by fishers who believe in sustainable fishing practices and are working for the future of their communities.

For more information or to become a Fish « co-producer », click here

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