Far-flung char: Baffin Island fishery offers free shipping to host of southern cities
Pangnirtung Fisheries Ltd. offers new deal to anywhere Canadian North flies
Fishing season for one Baffin Island business started Wednesday, and the success of a recent remodelling is setting the stage for a profitable year.
Pangnirtung Fisheries Ltd. is shipping products for free with Canadian North, opening up potential markets in Edmonton, Winnipeg, Montreal, Ottawa and Whitehorse.
The deal began in the beginning of January, said Keaton Guy, production manager for Pangnirtung Fisheries. It’s part of a larger plan to modernize the business and expand its customer base throughout Canada.
The website and free shipping “has increased sales like you wouldn’t believe,” said Guy. “For the first time in the last 10 years we sold out of Arctic char.”
Guy said before the website and the revamped business strategy, customers had to call in to Pangnirtung to place orders and pay for shipping.
The business receives country food rates through Canadian North, which offers a discount from standard freight costs. Now, Guy said Pangnirtung Fisheries decided eating the cost of shipping was worth selling more of their stock and developing new markets.
Guy said there’s a lot of excitement with the fishing season starting.
The fishery will open an hour earlier and close an hour later, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Guy said the scales will be in operation almost right away.
Pangnirtung Fisheries has more than 80 contract fishermen and women who travel out to a secret location on the ice, set up their equipment, cut a hole in the ice and leave their lines with 600 hooks in for about 12 hours. Then, they haul up their catch with a machine or by hand, and drop it off at the processing plant to be weighed.
“The most popular is the char fillets,” he said.
The season ends when the ice breaks apart or Pangnirtung Fisheries hits their quota of 800,000 pounds of fish, which, Guy said, they can reach in about three months.