April 6, 2017 11:17 pm

Young entrepreneurs create dock-to-table app to cut out middlemen in seafood industry

Photo of a fishing boat moored to a wooden jetty in Ucluelet harbour on a cloudy day.

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A pair of young Vancouverites are looking to revolutionize the way B.C. seafood gets from dock to dish.

Joseph Lee and his business partner Robert Kirstiuk are the brains behind Coastline Market, a Vancouver-based startup keen on shaking up the industry by cutting out the middlemen: seafood brokers, wholesalers and processors, among others.

“I think what we realized is there was an extraordinary number of middlemen that existed between source and sale,” Lee said.

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“If you have just-in-time technology that can allow it to go direct from the boat to the restaurant, you can bypass a good number of those intermediaries,” added Kirstiuk.

That “just-in-time” technology is an app. Fishermen call in their catch, that info is uploaded to the platform and by the time their boat docks, their catch has been bought by one of over 40 restaurants in Vancouver.

“There’s no middlemen,” says Ryan Gauthier, Glowbal Restaurant Group’s corporate chef and former fish harvester. He says the platform could be a game changer.

“The fish that we get, we know who we get it from, we know where it comes from and then, on top of that, because there is no middlemen, the cost is a lot more advantageous for any company,” Gauthier says.

The pair says it wasn’t easy getting harvesters on board at first. Traditional methods continue to dominate the industry. However, Lee believes that’s changing.

“We have a waitlist of fishermen on-boarded on our platform,” he says, adding they’re expanding to Seattle, then across North America.

Both founders are just 22-years-old.

“We’ve worked hard to create something that’s louder than our age,” Kirstiuk said.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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