BC Young Fishermen's Network Annual Gathering 2023

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BC Young Fishermen's Network Annual Gathering 2023

Build connections across fisheries, develop your business, policy, and leadership skills, or simply find out where to start in the industry.

By BC Young Fishermen's Network

When and where

Date and time

Wed, Mar 22, 2023 6:00 PM - Fri, Mar 24, 2023 1:00 PM PDT


Maritime Heritage Centre 621 Island Highway Campbell River, BC V9W 5C1 Canada

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About this event

  • 1 day 19 hours
  • Mobile eTicket

It’s finally time to gather once again for two days of networking, learning, and celebration! The BC Young Fishermen's Network Annual Gathering is a chance to build connections across fisheries, develop your business, policy, and leadership skills, or simply find out where to start in the industry. The event is hosted by fishermen, for fishermen.

The BCYFN Annual Gathering is targeted to support young commercial fishermen, and perspective new entrants, but industry members of all ages are welcome to attend!


Learn: Two days of presentations and conversations. Past topics include business planning, marketing, marine safety, gear and boat maintenance, fisheries management, science and policy, and the future of fishing. 2023 agenda details coming soon.

Network: Meet your next deckhand, or fishing mentor. Connect with young harvesters and industry members from across the province.

Celebrate: It’s not all business, the gathering is a celebration fishing on the West Coast. There will be seafood feasting, cold drinks flowing, good company, and swapping of sea tales.



March 22nd, 2023 - The Match Eatery

6:00pm-8:00pm – Shore Leave Networking Night

Join us to kick off the Gathering with a casual night of catching up with old friends and networking with new ones at the Match Eatery! You’ll enjoy a selection of appetizers and a drink on us. Cash bar and full menu available. Stick around to test your tune knowledge for Music Bingo at 7:00pm.

March 23rd, 2023 – Maritime History Centre - Rotary Hall

9:30am – Kickoff Speech

Mark Urwin - This New Zealander turned BC prawner is a 5th generation harvester and fishmonger, and is actively involved in The BC Seafood alliance, local harbour authority board and contributes to several other organizations.

When he’s not knee deep in prawns, elbows deep in running 46 South Fish Co., or throwing hands advocating for the industry, he’s sharing knowledge with the next generation to help equip them to successfully navigate both the calms and the squalls that come with a future in fisheries.

10:15am – Fisheries Update Session

This session brings together harvesters and industry experts to provide info on the various BC fisheries to young harvesters, people newly exploring their opportunities in the industry, and for those already involved to find out what's new in other fisheries outside of their focus. Currently in the line up:

  • Prawns - Mike Atkins, Pacific Prawn Fishermen's Assoc.
  • Halibut - Chris Sporer – Pacific Halibut Management Assoc
  • Crab - Megan Eadie – Area A Crab ED
  • Scallops - Melissa and Joel Collier – West Coast Wild Scallops
  • Geoduck - Grant Dovey - Underwater Harvesters Association

11:15am – A Buoyant Future: Collaborating to Reach Our Common Goals, Panel

Fisheries in BC are facing some dicey waters, but by approaching our collective challenges from a creative, solutions-oriented mindset we can bring a positive and hopeful perspective to the vision of our industry's future. Join Sonia Strobel, CEO and founder of Skipper Otto CSA in a panel discussion on the power of our greater network and how we can support each other to rise together.

*additional panelists to be announced

12:15pm – Lunch – Museum and Historic Boat tours available (Maritime Heritage Centre)

Did you know a fishing seiner once adorned the back of the Canadian 5-dollar bill? Climb aboard the real thing on a power tour of the original B.C.P. 45. Museum guides will be offering guided walk throughs of the vessel throughout lunch from 12:15pm-1:00pm.

1:00pm – BC Fisheries Management 101 with DFO

Get the facts from DFO fisheries management experts Ge Li and Maureen Finn in this comprehensive session packed with need-to-know tips to make your season successful and safe.

1:00pm-5:00pm (Lower Workshop Hall) – Gear Up!

Get your hands on nets, traps, and all manner of gear with tips and tricks from the seasoned pros. Presented by Tim Hobbs of Redden Net Co, Campbell River. Dive into the rope and knot niche, with splicing and rope making machine demos and a chance to try your hand at some advanced knotwork with local knotmaster Reudi Pletscher.

2:00pm – Fish Safe Myth Busters

Safety at sea is the #1 priority: True or False? Bust through myths and get the facts with Fish Safe BC experts Harolf Wulff and Ralph Roberts with this lively and engaging session.

2:45pm – Coffee & Snacks - don’t worry, there are more snacks!

3:00pm - Out of Sight, but Not Out of Mind: Helping Fishers Reclaim Lost Gear in BC and Beyond

Join Caitie Frenkel and Megan Eadie as they present their research on solutions to lost gear management. Followed by a panel discussion with Ashley Tapp and Jeremy Browne, founders of The Ocean Legacy Foundation on current strategies and efforts in the works to reclaim lost gear locally and globally.

4:00pm – Money Talks - Financing your Fishing Business with BMO

Get down to brass tacks with Katie Carter of BMO, a fisheries financing specialist with a wealth of knowledge on how to build, grow, and sustain your fishing business.

5:00pm – Day Wrap Up

5:10pm – Light Reception - Museum and Historic Boat tours available

Contemplate the day over BC beers, wines, cider, and handcrafted mocktails made with ingredients from local Comox Valley farms by Wild Coast Cocktails. Drinks on us. Take in a quick guided tour of the historical B.C.P. 45 and network with new friends until before settling in for the Gathering Feast at 6pm.

6:00pm-8:00pm – Gathering Feast

Brought to you by the fun loving, darkly humorous, creative style of Amber Assu, Executive Chef of The Good Wife Gourmet. Here are just a few of the locally sourced delights you can expect to partake in

scones made with Crimson Queen cranberries grown by Neil Hamilton in bogs off of the Inland Island Highway just down the hill from Cranberry Lane;

a variety of micro greens from Earth Child Micro Greens custom grown in Campbell River to pair with several of your course selections;

a variety of cheeses from Little Qualicum Cheeseworks in Parksville;

wood smoked bacon from Smith & Lee Local Butcher; and

Sockeye salmon caught in Area 13 by local Indigenous hereditary chief Brian Assu, processed into filets and lox at St. Jean’s Cannery.

March 24th, 2023 – Maritime History Centre - Rotary Hall

8:00am – Big Breakfast

Refuel for the day with a sweet and savoury breakfast fit to prepare you for a day at sea!

8:00am - Registration

8:50am – Welcome Back + Housekeeping

9:00am – Marine Protected Area Updates from the Marine Planning Team

The development of Marine Protected Areas will impact the future of how we fish. Learn more about MPAs from local Marine Planning Team members Mike Atkins, Grant Dovey, Brian Mose and Bruce Turris.

9:30am - Developing BC’s First Coastal Marine Strategy

Managing the ocean is complex. Overlapping jurisdictions govern marine activities, conservation initiatives and ocean-based industries. A Coastal Marine Strategy will look at the full picture of ocean ecosystem health and community well-being. Hear about the opportunities for this strategy from Stephen Hextall, Policy Analyst with Government of BC, Ministry of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship.

10:00am - Native Fishing Association: Business Growth and Opportunities

The Native Fishing Association fosters and supports the success of First Nation men and women in the commercial fishing industry dealing with everything from loans and grants to licenses and quota. Brilliant business experts Natasha Marshal Gallic and Chelsea Lesner from the Native Fishing Association will give us the ins and outs of navigating business opportunities.

10:00am (Thulin Room) - Mutual Marine - Insuring your Fishing Business

Run by Fishermen for Fishermen, Pacific Coast Fishermen's Mutual Marine Insurance Company has provided quality, affordable marine insurance to British Columbia commercial fishermen since 1945. Keith Chauvel - Managing Surveyor and Treasurer has worked with Mutual Marine for 36 years while also fishing the Coast of BC.

11:00am – Coffee & Snacks

11:15am – Empowering Indigenous women in BC’s Fishing Industry

Time to celebrate the incredible Indigenous women of the West Coast commercial fishing industry and examine ways to create space and opportunities for Indigenous women to continue taking on powerful roles in fishing. On this panel we’ll hear from Natasha Marshal Gallic of the Native Fishing Association, and harvesters Linda Thomas, Ashley John, and Mercedes Marshall.

11:15am (Thulin Room) – Open Networking/Discussion Space

Make sure you get the contact info from the friend you met over music bingo, mull over your new knowledge, give a last hug and handshake.

12:15pm – Grab & Go Lunch

12:45pm – Parting Words

If we don’t see you on the water or on the dock, we’ll see you at BC Young Fishermen's Gathering 2024…

Thanks to our 2023 sponsors:

BC Ministry of Agriculture, Bank of Montreal, and our event partner Tha Native Fishing Association


Check out our website for info on past young fishermen's gatherings, and find us on social media:



Photos by Chelsey Ellis from BCYFN Gathering 2020

About the organizer

The B.C. Young Fishermen's Network (BCYFN) is a supportive space for the next generation of B.C.’s fishing fleet. We foster learning and networking among young fish harvesters by creating connections to the people and resources they need to succeed. We believe that supporting young fish harvesters means supporting the health and well-being of our coastal communities.

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