The health, economies, and culture of coastal BC communities depend on commercial fishing. But fishermen today are facing a lot of pressure: licenses are getting more expensive, access is continually restricted, and it’s getting harder to make a decent living from fishing.
Ecotrust Canada has been working on tools and solutions to support owner-operators in the commercial fishery for over twenty years.
Our latest project, designing a community-based revolving loan fund
gives local fishermen access to low-cost loans for in-season start-up costs. The fund would allow participants to sell their fish wherever they want – releasing them from the constraints of predatory loan practices.
A community-led approach to lending can be more successful than faceless banks and investors.
Through a detailed community design process, we enlist community staff, fishermen, and community members in designing the loan fund for success.
This year, we piloted the fund with the Lax Kw’alaams First Nation. In 2016, we’re hoping to expand the programs to more coastal communities in BC, bringing greater stability to our small-scale fisheries.