The Fishermen

Video: Wild BC Salmon Fishermen

Wild salmon have lived in British Columbian waters for thousands of years and today, not only is salmon an integral part of British Columbia’s wild and natural environment, it also plays an important historical and traditional role in the lives of all British Columbians, helping shape who we are.

Wild salmon has played an especially important cultural and economic role in west coast communities throughout British Columbia for as long as humans have lived there. For generations, men and women have fished for wild salmon as well as worked as processors and retailers. While BC’s First Nations have been fishing salmon since the earliest settlement, it is not uncommon for today’s fishermen to be third or fourth generation wild BC salmon fishermen. And, others continue to obtain formal education and training to enter the industry. Collectively, everyone works together to protect this valuable resource for generations to come.

Presently, the wild BC salmon industry employs about 6,600 people comprised of approx. 4,000 fishermen and crew, provides about 2,600 positions in the salmon processing sector in BC, and creates still additional jobs in related and necessary fields such as cold storage, shipping, etc.

Most salmon fishermen and others directly related to fishing live in the following areas of British Columbia: Vancouver and its surrounding areas in the Lower Mainland; Prince Rupert and surrounding areas in Northern BC; Nanaimo, Comox, Port Hardy and surrounding areas on Vancouver Island; and, throughout Haida Gwaii/Queen Charlotte Islands.

Everyone who commercially harvests wild salmon is required to obtain a license from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) for each licensing year which runs April 1st to March 31st. In 2014, DFO issued 2,166 licenses according to the following breakdown of fishermen.

Seiners: 276 licenses
Trollers: 440 licenses
Gilnetters: 1,400 licenses