Join us

Vancity’s investment in sustainable seafood, fisheries & ocean health

As a values-based financial cooperative, Vancity credit union ensures its members’ savings are invested in ways that build our members’ wealth while helping develop healthy communities.

One investment area is local and organic food, which includes sustainable seafood. Vancity invests in this sector to help develop a sustainable local food system, which in turn contributes to a healthier environment, improved individual health and a more resilient local economy.

Overall investment in local & organic food since 2010

  • Since 2010, Vancity has invested $32.4 million in local and organic food businesses and initiatives, comprising $28.8 million in loans and $3.6 million in grants.
  • The $3.6 million in grants has gone to local and organic food initiatives to strengthen organizations like the River Select Fisheries Cooperative to support the development of products on behalf of First Nation salmon fisheries.
  • Every year, a portion of Vancity enviro™ Visa's profits are distributed back to the local community through the enviroFund™ program. Since 2010, the enviroFund™ has provided $2.95 million in grants to projects supporting the development of a sustainable local food system. In 2015, Vancity will grant another $700,000.
  • In 2012,Vancity introduced a Small Growers Loan, providing up to $75,000, designed to help farm businesses and local small scale food processors get off the ground. To date, almost half a million dollars has been loaned to local food producers, small scale food processors and distributors through this program.

Funded impact businesses and initiatives

The following are examples of ocean protection and sustainable seafood related businesses and projects Vancity has funded through loans or grants. Vancity also supports broader environmental initiatives to support a more sustainable local economy, that contributes to a healthy environment and resilient local communities.

  • In 2015, Vancity provided a $50,000 grant to the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre’s Coastal Ocean Research Institute to support its work on the new Ocean Pollution Research Program and its Pollution Watch Project.
  • In March 2015, the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC received a $10,000 grant to fund environmental education programs at the Fraser Valley Trout Hatchery in Abbotsford. In total, Vancity has provided $65,000 in grants to the organization.
  • Vancity provided a $50,000 grant towards the establishment and onging development of the River Select Fisheries Cooperative, incorporated in 2014 to develop a brand, provide marketing support, and create value added products on behalf of First Nation salmon fisheries on the Lower Fraser, Harrison, Mid-Fraser, Stellako, and Okanagan Rivers represented by Harrison Salmon Producers, Upper Fraser Conservation Alliance, and the Okanagan Aquatic Enterprises. By the end of its first fishing season, River Select had provided services for nine different local artisanal fisheries for 69,049 Sockeye and 33,268 Chum, and produced 318,084 pounds of salmon products.
  • Vancity provided $500,000 in capital to Kuterra for their sustainable, land-raised salmon farm near Alert Bay. Owned by the 'Namgis First Nation, Kuterra was established in partnership with SOS Marine Conservation Foundation, funder and advisor Tides Canada and seafood distributor Albion Fisheries to produce environmentally sustainable, safe and healthy farmed salmon. These partners chose to start the Kuterra farm to show that Land Raised™ salmon is the future of sustainable salmon farming. It's the way to keep wild salmon and the waters they live in separate from farming, and the way to grow the best-quality farmed fish.
  • In 2014, Vancity provided a $20,000 grant to Chefs for Oceans in support of founder, Chef Ned Bell’s initiative to cycle across Canada in support of sustainable seafood.
  • Since 2014, Vancity has provided $40,000 in grants to the Living Oceans Society in support of their work with Skipper Ottos to help local fishers with their marketing and fish processing. These two organizations are also working on plans to develop a local fish packing plant specifically for small-scale local fishers.
  • In 2014, Vancity supported the Burrard Inlet Marine Enhancement Society's Mossom Creek Hatchery Pond Rehabilitation program in Port Moody with $20,000 in grants to replace salmon-rearing equipment to restore fish production due to a recent fire. The grants will also help with habitat and restoration work to return the pond area to a natural state and create a viewing platform and walkway for program visitors.
  • In 2013, the Gulf of Georgia Cannery received a $1,500 Vancity grant for its annual Best Catch Sustainable Seafood Festival—a one-day event bringing together local producers, advocacy and certification groups working to protect B.C.'s fishing industry and waters.
  • Since 2012, Vancity has provided $21,790 in grants to the Tsawout SNEPENEKS Cultural Society to support the Tsawout Seafood Festival. The event teaches and shares the Tsawout way of living sustainably through activities touching on food, sustainability, culture, and stewardship of our ocean resources.
  • In 2010, Vancity provided a $50,000 enviroFund grant to Ecotrust’s This Fish: Seafood Traceability Initiative to support its development. The seafood traceability system provides an unprecedented level of supply-chain transparency, allowing consumers to make more sustainable, healthy choices and facilitating relationships between local harvesters and consumers.
  • Vancity has provided a $40,000 in grant to the David Suzuki Foundation for their Healthy Salmon, Healthy Communities project, to engage and educate the public, community leaders and planners to ensure the protection of critical wild salmon habitat and associated ecosystem services in the Fraser River watershed.
  • Vancity also supported the David Suzuki Foundation with a $50,000 grant for their Sustainable Seafood: local producer to local plate project to engage local seafood suppliers (fisheries & aquaculture operators), distributors, retailers and the public to enhance both the supply of and demand for local sustainable seafood.
  • Since 2007, Vancity has supported Feasting for Change with $40,350 in grants to empower First Nations communities to revitalize, celebrate and learn about their traditional foods and food culture while encouraging food security / sovereignty and related social enterprise opportunities.
  • In 2008, The Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre’s River Works Program received a $10,000 Vancity grant to make a long-term significant difference in the ongoing sustainability of the Fraser River watershed.
  • T’Sou-ke Nation received a $4,000 grant for ‘WUI,CIST CEN,TOL’, a project that teaches youth, families and Elders how to grow and prepare culturally appropriate foods that are locally produced and harvested, while sharing traditional knowledge and skills within the community. Their traditional food includes salmon, crab, urchins, oysters, clams, limpets, and mussels.
  • WSANEC School Board received an $8,000 grant from Vancity for the Strengthening Roots: PEPAKEN HAUTW, Blossoming Place focused on building capacity and engaging teachers, students and community champions to support a participatory food system educational program. The program offers students hands-on experiences with native plants, food gardens, and native ecosystems as well as introducing WSANEC traditional food systems into the program including: reef net technology, clam garden field trips, pit cooking, smoking fish, and preparing healthy foods.
  • Since 2006, Vancity has supported Ocean Wise, a conservation program created by Vancouver Aquarium to educate and empower consumers about the issues surrounding sustainable seafood, with grants totalling $41,500.
  • Vancity has supported the Musqueam Ecosystem Conservation Society with $66,800 in grants to help restore the Musqueam Creek estuary by improving fish access at the mouth of Musqueam Creek as well as, rehabilitating instream and riparian habitat throughout the estuary. The grants have also supported the promotion of sustainability awareness in the Musqueam community.