West Coast anglers are supporting local organizations working towards restoring local salmon habitats and populations. (Photo - Jeremy Koreski)

West Coast anglers are supporting local organizations working towards restoring local salmon habitats and populations. (Photo - Jeremy Koreski)

Seafood feast in Tofino supports salmon restoration efforts

West Coast ready to dig in at this weekend’s Boat to Tailgate event

A philanthropic feast is coming to the West Coast this weekend.

Tofino’s fourth annual Boat to Tailgate party will be held on May 5. The event is a fundraiser for local salmon habitat restoration and enhancement efforts and organizers hope to raise at least $12,000 this year.

The annual fundraiser will run from 6-9 p.m. at the Trilogy Dock and the family-friendly atmosphere includes live music and face painting. The event’s proceeds will be split between the Central Westcoast Forest Society, Tofino Salmon Enhancement Society and Wild Salmon Fund.

“It is great. It gathers 350 people and the best chefs in Tofino from Shelter and Wolf in the Fog come out to cook freshly caught seafood on the dock,” said CWFS’ executive director Jessica Hutchinson.

“The guides spend two weeks catching sustainable seafood and then everything is chefed up right there. This year we are so excited to have Zoe’s Bakery providing a delicious desert to top it all off.”

She added Tofino Brewing Company, Merridale Cider, and Stilhhead Distillery also contribute to the event as does Ukee Rent-it, Far West and Pacific Sands. Local fishing guide Blake Klopfenstein said the event was started by “a group of concerned conservation minded anglers and charter operators,” who teamed up to help out organizations that are working on restoring the area’s salmon populations.

“From the beginning we had a fundraising mindset and it’s become really quite popular and really community focused. You see a lot of locals show up to this event and we raise some money for salmon conservation initiatives. It’s a great way for us to give back,” he said. “You get an excellent fresh seafood meal and with that fun, you feel like you’re contributing and giving back because all the proceeds go to these organizations that really need it.”

Mandala Smulders of the Central Westcoast Forest Society said the event not only raises funds for the society, but also provides a venue to share information and raise awareness.

“This event is a good opportunity to bring the community together and bring awareness to what’s being done in order to help salmon populations,” she said. “It provides an opportunity for people to get together and have conversations and talk about what needs to be done.”