Peter DeGreef is an avid fisherman, father of two, and now co-founder of SeafoodX, a fair marketplace of fishing licenses and quotas for British Columbia.
Peter was born in the fishing industry. His dad, who was a herring, troll salmon, and halibut fisher, used to take him fishing when he was just 8 years old. Two years later, Peter was already spending most summers salmon trolling.
It all started three years ago as a conversation between Peter and James, also co-founder of SeafoodX, when DeGreef’s enterprise was trying to lease quota to expand its fishing operation. Like most fishermen, Peter wanted to utilize the vessel he had, and be more profitable. He could only do this by getting involved in the lease market, which was hard to break into. At that specific point in time, fishermen were already being spoken for. People were already fishing quotas, and the 'offering money' process and 'matching prices' was a time-consuming burden. Additionally, hidden market information, lack of contacts, and contact processes drove prices up, only allowing big companies to lease quota.
James, as a tech entrepreneur, and Peter, as a fisherman and economist, discussed how a live marketplace could help independent fishermen trade quotas and licenses easier, saving the industry time and money.
''After much planning, James’ tech network was able to put our thought process into action.''
Peter described the launching process as challenging, due to his lack of tech understanding. What he had in his head and what was possible for the programmers made SeafoodX’s creation challenging. Being able to portray the fishing industry with licenses, areas, and more regulations on a website also made the creation process difficult.
Even though creating SeafoodX was not as easy as Peter thought, the result has been more than satisfactory. With over 140 users at the time of this publication, multiple successful transactions, and a growing community, his vision is becoming a reality. SeafoodX represents more than just a marketplace to Peter. SeafoodX represents fishermen independence.
''Young people should think of it as an NHL team. Coaches are like a company. They want to use veterans to depend on. There could be a rookie ready to shine who won’t get a chance because the old guard is still in place. SeafoodX is giving access to fish to all those people who did not have it before, and to those who did too.''
The future looks good for the industry, since the world is finally realizing how great wild fisheries are, opening more positions to be filled up with young new fishermen, to which he advised getting involved with tuna or salmon troll. ''I also hear that the dive fisheries are an expanding market,'' he said.
The website just launched, but Peter has high hopes for what it could become. The benefit of having a platform where people can rent and trade quotas in real time after catch count, and to acquire the quotas needed to cover any insufficiency and to rid of any excess, is something every fisherman in the world needs.
Overall, the community’s reaction to SeafoodX has been more than positive, with people being satisfied and optimistic about the website running properly. Fishermen on the site are waiting for the marketplace to receive a few more quotas and licenses, as well as many more users. As of now, salmon quota, red banded rockfish, and big skate are available. If you want to make a bid for any of these species, please click here.
Peter also discussed how the marketplace works, and why everyone in BC should get involved:
''There is zero risk involved. People put out what there would be in any other transaction. As long as you do the proper process, it’s like any other transaction you do outside the website. Also, there is no risk to people listing since they do not have to take a price they don't feel is worth it.''
SeafoodX works as a platform for owners to list their quota. Quota is listed with an asking price, and an optional 'lease now' price function. Fishermen then place bids, and the quota owner is notified afterwards. Additionally, quota owners set the timeline to whatever they fill is suitable, and people get what they want. This is great for any fisherman, as they can bid whatever they think is a fair price and they do not need to bid up or down. If they need it then they will actively pursue it.
Finally, Peter discussed SeafoodX’s future and how the community can contribute to help the website grow by sharing their experience through writing about topics they feel strongly about. He would like to see the marketplace expand to different markets, and improve to be a good tool for companies, First Nations, and fishermen. ''Working out the bugs, building our profile, and increasing the number of transactions is what is next for us,'' he said.
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SeafoodX just created a new Facebook group for fishermen to buy/sell/trade fishing items. Join the group by clicking here.