It’s been a long road for Chris Flanagan. He started his career in newspapers before joining the Dark Side—his words—with aircraft manufacturer, CHC Helicopters. He then transitioned to advertising, climbing the ladder to his current position as CEO of Baffin Fisheries and says he’s happy to be working for a 100% Inuit-owned private company that’s bringing industry and prosperity to Nunavut.
In our new podcast, The Export Impact Podcast with host Joe Mimran, Flanagan describes the challenges and hard-won triumphs he’s faced navigating the choppy waters of Canada’s fishery industry.
Where to listen
Follow us on your favourite streaming platforms to never miss an episode of the Export Impact Podcast. Tune in to our podcast for new episodes every second Wednesday at 6 a.m. EDT.
This podcast series will be available in English-only. Please check out our French podcast, L’impact de l’exportation - Balado to hear more.
Like so many Canadian companies, Baffin Fisheries sprang from humble beginnings. For years, the people around Baffin Island hired a large, outside enterprise to fish their waters, charging a royalty for the privilege. This arrangement worked well, but it also meant that the people of Nunavut were only getting a fraction of the benefits from their natural resources.
In 2001, a coalition of local fishing companies set out to change that. They pooled their resources to form Baffin Fisheries, a major player that deals with both the private and public sectors on terms of equality. Even better, it brought increased revenue, employment and agency to Iqaluit and surrounding regions.
Baffin Fisheries has grown significantly in 20 years. Its newest accomplishment: An 80-metre, $72-million trawler that’s more than a traditional fishing boat—it’s a floating, sustainable factory. When the trawler rolls off the stocks in 2024, it’ll be the biggest Canadian-owned vessel in the country.
But it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. Keeping up with quotas and regulations is a constant challenge and the ongoing effects of climate change demand innovative solutions. But Flanagan believes that Canada’s reputation as a leader in sustainability is well-deserved—and he and Baffin Fisheries are prepared to do their part to protect Canadian waters.