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Fishing for Change

Fishing is truly a lifeblood of BC’s coastal communities. From cultural significance to jobs and incomes, commercial fisheries are crucial to the health and well-being of towns up and down the coast.

But in recent years commercial fishing has become a very competitive, high-stakes industry – and small-scale enterprises are being edged out. Faced with turbulent market conditions, shifting management regimes, and industry consolidation trends, how can communities make the most of their limited means?

Seeing a need for more direct community support, we created the Fisheries Diversification Model. The model is an interactive, web-based planning tool designed to help communities looking to participate effectively in BC’s commercial fisheries. We have used the model in planning processes throughout BC, to assist with make-it-or-break-it economic decisions such as licence and quota purchases – all within the context of market trends, vessel and equipment availability, and fish stock scenarios.


The Fisheries Diversification Model was Andrea Robertson’s first project when she joined us in 2012 as a Fisheries Data Analyst. Although she has branched out since then, the model remains one of her favourites: “In many ways, fisheries – like the ocean itself – are this great unknown. How healthy are fish stocks? And what about the people that rely on them? I’m really proud that I can use data analysis to help improve our understanding of ecology and economics.”

"Fishing certainly isn't new. But bringing this scale of open technology and interactive data tools to the industry is something we haven’t seen before."


Join us!

This Earth Day, we are bringing together our partners, friends, and allies at the beautiful Vancouver Maritime Museum to celebrate our 20-year legacy and learn about our ongoing work.

We invite you - a member of our Ecotrust Canada family - to join us for an evening of cocktails, connections, and stories of success.

Please visit for more information, or click the link below to purchase tickets!


For 20 years, Ecotrust Canada has been at the forefront of community development. By developing and deploying information tools, we can empower communities large and small to strengthen their places in the world – wherever those places may be. Our Fisheries Diversification Model is a perfect example of this approach, making complex fisheries data accessible and applicable to communities’ needs, and allowing them to plan ahead for a better future.

We believe that communities are critical sites for action and stewardship. Supporting and enabling them will result in real economic and social change. With your help, we will continue to bring innovative tools and information to the people to need them most.


With thanks,