A Short History of Steveston Harbour’s Public Fish Sales Float
The sale of fish and other seafood products directly to the public from the fishing vessels in Steveston Harbour originated unofficially from “C” float on 3rd Avenue Pier at the Gulf site in the 1970s. However, this float was not designed to accommodate access by the general public, resulting in concern over public safety as well as product quality due to a lack of any kind of regulations.
As a response to this, The Department of Fisheries and Oceans formed a committee comprised of health officials and fishers to create operational guidelines governing product quality, regulating authorities, qualifications for use of the facility and conditions governing fish sales. The current fish sales float directive can be found here.
While these regulations were being developed, negotiations were underway to redevelop Steveston Harbour. A specially designed public fish sales float was installed by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in 1989 at the same time as the Steveston Waterfront Properties and Steveston Landing were constructed. The new float was built to meet all public safety concerns and to accommodate the general public. This initiative complemented the development of Steveston Landing and helped draw people to the waterfront.
The Fish Sales Float Today
Today, the sales float is regulated to the best of our ability to ensure that the public gets product of the highest possible quality. Vendors may only sell species which they are licensed to harvest by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and they must hold and display a valid Provincial Fish Vendor License obtained through the Provincial Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. They must also display a white board (provided by Steveston Harbour Authority) that lists what species they are selling, on which vessel the product was caught, where it was caught, when it was caught, and whether it is fresh or frozen. If a vendor does not display the above information, they are in contravention of their privilege to sell at the public sales float, and we strongly advise you to buy from another vendor and call our main office at 604-272-5539 during business hours or our on-duty operations staff at 778-228-9259 after business hours or on weekends. Finally, all vendors must read, agree to, and abide by all terms of our public fish sales float directive # 1, which outlines all of the rules and guidelines pertaining to the float, a copy of which can be found here.
Steveston Harbour Authority strives to provide as much information on buying seafood as possible, as the sales float is a “buyer beware” environment. If you are unsure of what to look for when buying seafood, click here for some tips. We encourage you to visit our public sales float when you have the opportunity – nowhere else can you obtain truly fresh seafood, meet the fishers and their families and see the vessels and gear responsible for harvesting such fine products.