Fishers rise above unpredictable weather

By John Wood, CEO

The unpredictable nature of the business can be a challenge to everyone involved in the wild-caught commercial fishing industry. A perfect example of this unpredictability is the weather.

Over the past year, we have seen a variety of weather factors impact our fishers.

We experienced an unprecedented flood on Lake Manitoba in the spring of 2011. This flood raised the lake level significantly and required the evacuation of thousands of people from their homes. To this day some fishers have still been unable to return to their communities. 

In Alberta, a fire that ravaged the Slave Lake community had a huge impact on fishers. The fire’s wreckage, coupled with the fact that their environment challenges the existence of commercial fishing every year, led the community of fishers in Slave Lake to rally in an attempt to move forward.

This year, our Manitoba winter brought heavy snowfall and colder than normal temperatures. A late lake freeze-up and poor ice conditions led to difficult ice fishing.

Manitoba’s winter, combined with the cooler-than-average spring, also had a significant impact on fish activity. The winter catch was reduced, and the spring fishery is expected to start significantly later than usual.

Delays and contingencies based on weather are frustrating for everyone involved – but unfortunately the weather is out of our hands.

Even when the weather takes the situation out of our control, Freshwater always looks for ways we can help minimize fishers’ business risk.

Freshwater eliminates risk to fishers in a couple of ways. We set our pricing on fish in advance so that fishers can anticipate what they will be paid. And we guarantee that we will purchase all of the fishers’ catch.

We provide a winter premium to offset the additional time and effort that fishers put in to make their living. This makes a big difference when conditions have been particularly challenging.

Although our returns are subject to market demands and currency fluctuations, we do all that we can in an attempt to stabilize our business and help keep our industry moving forward.

Even when the weather is unpredictable, fishers can count on Freshwater.