A Sustainable Seafood Story: A History of Being “Better.”
No matter what shore you stand on, the scent of creosote and salt in the breeze will always feel like home—at least, it will if you’re a fisherman. We’ve walked along the waves up and down BC’s coast, departed from countless docks, and returned to different shores for decades. The sea is part of who we are every day, but the Better Seafood story began in Haida Gwaii more than 40 years ago.
Back then, we were fishers, and today, well, our hearts are just as salty, but we’ve transformed into sustainable seafood retailers/wholesalers. We jumped ship (so to speak) and now have a permanent location in Victoria, BC—though we still get out on the boat!
Fueled by a passion for fishing, our story began in Haida Gwaii, though it was known as the Queen Charlotte Islands back then. Being on a boat in those days felt like no one else in the world existed, and the waters were full of life. We caught halibut, salmon, and crab, and there was never any worry about how much was in the sea.
But as the years passed, things changed, and it was through first-hand experience that our commitment to sustainability came about. We experienced the sea when it was teeming with life, and we also experienced what the result of overfishing did to the waters and ecosystems we love. So, rather than stand by, we looked for a better way, a way to make a positive impact– no matter how small–to help preserve marine ecosystems and support sustainable fishing practices.
Cowichan Bay and Beyond
In 2010, our operations changed. We traded life at sea for life in the scenic town of Cowichan Bay, opening a retail location offering customers direct access to sustainable seafood. The demand was more than we had prepared for, and by 2013, we set our sights on the Victoria Public Market and brought Better Seafood to the heart of Victoria.
The Retail and Eatery Branch
We wanted to share sustainable seafood with as many people as possible and get the word out about supporting sustainable fishing practices. This meant more than selling seafood directly. It meant getting sustainable seafood on people’s plates, which is why we opened Oak Bay Seafood, a retail and eatery branch. Wrapping sustainability up in an experience, customers can visit Oak Bay Seafood for a tasty (and fishy) meal or take seafood home. It’s here we educate people about the exceptional flavours of the sea and why supporting sustainable seafood is so important.
Wholesale Supply for Restaurants and Groceries
Sustainability is a human issue, and as our reputation grew, so did more and more demand for sustainable seafood! So, we did what we’ve always done and found a better way to get sustainable seafood on people’s radar—and plates. Expanding our operations to include a wholesale branch, we got Better Seafood into restaurants around Victoria and at grocery stores for people to enjoy at home. Our facility in central Victoria is where the magic happens, and the hub from where we deliver the freshest catch to local restaurants and grocery stores.
There’s Nothing Fishy Going On
Lately, we’ve been thinking about ways to keep the momentum going, which is why we started down the path of making Better Seafood stand out. We want sustainability to stay top of mind, and what’s better than a fresh new look? Website, logo, packaging, you name it, we’re looking to be a big fish in the sustainability promotion pond.
Now You’re Up-to-Date, For Now…
Looking back over the years, our love for the ocean has always stayed the same. It’s just looked different over the decades, but everything we do begins and ends with sustainability as our North Star. Whatever comes next, you know it will be to spread more awareness about sustainable fishing practices and get wild seafood on plates, in grocery bags, and top of mind for as many people as possible.