With the goal of protecting wild salmon in Clayoquot Sound, Tofino Resort + Marina (TRM) has established the Fish for the Future Fund in partnership with the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust (CBT).
Fish for the Future Fund is a donor-advised endowment fund managed by the CBT, and currently has over $55,000 in its coffers. One hundred per cent of the funds raised will be dedicated to various Clayoquot Sound watershed projects, as designated by the CBT.
“Me and my partners put in $20,000 to start it because we want to be aligned with everyone. We are still in the revenue generating and creating partnerships stage of it,” said Willie Mitchell, the acting general manager and co-owner of TRM.
“I see us being a conduit to all the great organizations doing awesome work in the community. We can help support those people and if their wallet per se is a little shallow, we can support them there,” he said.
Rebecca Hurwitz, executive director of the CBT, further explains the new funding initiative created by TRM.
“A donor-advised fund is a type of endowment fund within the CBT’s community foundation portfolio. Donors make an initial gift to create the fund and can add to the capital any time. Each year, they advise the CBT on how they would like the endowment income to be directed based on their interests and priorities. The CBT then makes grants in the name of their fund to the charities of their choice,” said Hurwitz.
Fish for the Future started in 2017 with TRM’s inaugural grassroots Fish for the Future catch and release tournament. Mitchell, a passionate angler born and raised on Vancouver Island, stressed the importance of not over fishing.
“I keep three salmon a year. Last year, I didn’t keep one. I release them,” he said. “We don’t have a weigh scale on our dock. We are actually fishing for sustenance, enjoyment, nature, and not ego.”
“I want to change the way the recreational sector harvests salmon from a resort all the way down to mom and pop Mitchell, take what you need. I say this to the guys on the docks all the time, you are entertainers, we are not out there monetizing our renewable resource,” he continued.
Mitchell compared our wild salmon stocks to a gold mine.
“We would not give gold away. Let’s not jeopardize [wild salmon] or take it for granted,” he said.
Fish for the Future has had donations from corporate partners like YETI, Mustang Survival, and The Lecky Foundation out of Calgary. Tofino Brew Co. is also on board as a partner with $1 from every pint of Tofino Blonde Ale sold at the Hatch going to the Fish for the Future.
“Giving back to the communities and the ocean is a strong team value at TRM,” notes Hurwitz. “We’re excited to be a part of their vision.”