New $470 million COVID relief fund for fishing industry is much needed support for local businesses

Aidan Doherty/ May 15th, 2020

“Fish harvesters work hard to provide Canadians with nutritious food to put on their tables, and are a vital part of our food supply from coast to coast to coast. This investment will help ease the burden on the people and businesses at the heart of our fishing and seafood industry. We are here to support them.” – The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

Fisherman’s Market, a popular seafood choice among locals in Caulfeild mall recently celebrated its fifth anniversary.
(Aidan Doherty / BCIT News)

Prime minister Justin Trudeau announced yesterday that his administration is budgeting up to $469.4 million dollars to support its commercial fishing industry during the pandemic.

The package will include a $267.6 million fish harvester benefit which will cover 75% of losses for fish harvesters who expect their income to drop 25% this season.

This investment builds on the $62.5 million Canadian Seafood Stabilization Fund announced last month to help Canada’s fish and seafood processing sector.

Katie Budd, owner and operator of Fisherman’s Market has been a commercial fisherman for 25 years.

Katie is doing her part to make sure customers are supplied with fresh quality seafood during the COVID 19 pandemic. Budd is a pioneer in the western fish industry. She is doing her part to spread out work throughout the industry so that fishermen are fairly compensated for their work.

Katie explained that the beginning of the halibut season coincided with widespread restaurant closures due to the pandemic, and fishermen that returned to port with their catch was not being offered fair pay for their product.

Katie, a veteran fishmonger, has been a commercial fisherman for twenty-five years. Fish are in her blood.

However, Budd had to reinvent her business with the loss of restaurant distribution. In order to ensure public safety, she cuts, processes, and packages all of her fish before her doors open to the public.

Katie comments on the refreshing honesty between her and customers that she wants to see continued in the future.

“The one thing that I think will be beneficial is more and more people will want to speak to the people who are handling their product,” – Katie Budd

Budd received high praise and appreciation from her customers. She was one of the first businesses to close once she realized the risk.

“I like to support Katie because she is local. I trust that she’s preparing the fish in a safe way. Also, It’s really isolating right now and it’s nice to connect with her from a distance so I feel like I’m getting good fish, I’m supporting a local business. And it’s good to have that personal connection in these really crazy times. – Michelle Gibson

Budd highlighted the importance of communication when handling meat. Due to the recent events in China exposing the nature of dangerous wet markets, people on the West are warier when it comes to their meat. It’s important to her that customers know exactly what they are purchasing. These relationships are the ones that will allow her business to continue surviving through the pandemic.