You could say Mark Urwin was destined to be in the fishing business. A fifth-generation fisher from New Zealand, his family began fishing all the way back in the 1800s. Now living in Gibsons and the president of 46º South Fish Co. Ltd, he has built a successful business in B.C. harvesting local prawns and importing New Zealand’s seafood to restaurants all over the country.
“Having a couple of young kids, I wanted to get into something that also gave them an opportunity to get into fishing.”Mark Urwin
Urwin moved to Vancouver nearly a decade ago. He was still recreational fishing off the B.C. coast, but found he was missing the commercial fishing he used to do back home.
Prawning appealed to him on many levels. “There aren’t many local fishing or fisheries left in B.C., and prawning is one of the ones you can still do from downtown Vancouver or Gibsons, and you don’t have to travel 300 miles away to access your fishing grounds,” he told West Coast Now at the annual BC Young Fishermen’s Network conference in Campbell River.
Urwin was eventually inspired to set up his company, 46º South Fish Co. Ltd, in Gibsons on the Sunshine Coast, and he hasn’t looked back. He says he wants to leave something for his children, the next generation of fishers: “Having a couple of young kids, I wanted to get into something that also gave them an opportunity to get into fishing, like the opportunities I had back in New Zealand.”
“They’re not moaning about the past. They’re looking at the opportunities going forward … I think that gives me a lot of hope.”Mark Urwin
He looks to fellow young fishers figuring out their unique career paths for support and motivation. “When I sit around a fire with them, chatting, drinking a beer on the Coast, you know, a couple of years ago, I’m like, this is really inspirational,” he remarked.
“Young fishermen can succeed in this fishery. They just have to be a bit more creative than their forefathers.”Mark Urwin
Despite a constant stream of negative news about B.C. fisheries, Urwin is feeling optimistic about the future–and he said many of his peers are too.
“They’re not moaning about the past. They’re looking at the opportunities going forward … I think that gives me a lot of hope…that young fishermen can succeed in this fishery. They just have to be a bit more creative than their forefathers,” he said.