In late 2019, a novel coronavirus causing a severe respiratory disease - COVID-19 - emerged in a Chinese seafood market. Four months later, the virus had triggered a global pandemic. By mid-March 2020 most countries were in some form of lockdown designed to reduce face-to-face interactions. These public health measures severely impacted B.C. fisheries: Traditional global and domestic markets greatly decreased, local demand increased, and fisheries - designated "essential services" by governments - needed to develop new safety protocols to protect harvesters and coastal communities.
To address these challenges, about 150 active fishermen met via video link in late March 2020 and created the B.C. COVID-19 Active Fishermen's Committee (CVAFC) - a 25-person committee made up of active fishermen and association representatives from most fisheries in the province - to coordinate responses to the on-going pandemic. This includes developing health and safety protocols to keep coastal communities and fishermen safe during this crisis; identify financial measures needed to keep fishermen and their enterprises viable through this crisis; and working together with others in the sector through a task force to ensure government responses meet harvester needs.
Jim McIsaac leads this collaboration. Please contact him for more information.