Part social history, part eco-memoir in book

Safarik will read from the book, co-written with his father Norman, this Thursday at 6:30 p.m

Author Allan Safarik will visit the Courtenay Library to discuss and read from Bluebacks and Silver Brights: A Lifetime in the B.C. Fisheries from Bounty to Plunder.

Safarik will read from the book, co-written with his father Norman, this Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

Part business story, part social history and part eco‐memoir, the book is a collection of adventures on the Pacific coast and tells the story of a man who spent a lifetime working in the fishing industry. Norman, 93, was born in Vancouver and worked in the fish business for over 65 years, running Vancouver Shellfish & Fish Company.

Containing stories about the hardworking fishermen who risked their lives to catch fish as well as about the many colourful characters in the industry, Bluebacks and Silver Brights documents a way of life lost forever.

Safarik’s retrospective also turns an eye towards the present day; in his opening chapter “After the catch” he describes a natural resource teetering on the edge of extinction.

The authors passionately highlight a number of other current issues including how the devastation of Pacific herring has led to the destruction of the food chain, and how the current practice of farming fish on B.C.’s coast is “akin to growing wheat in flowerpots in Saskatchewan.”

Bluebacks and Silver Brights is a riveting memoir set during the

pinnacle of West Coast fishing, and it is a book as likely to stir up nostalgia from the Gulf of Georgia to Prince Rupert as it is to provoke broader public debate.

an insightful and entertaining read that hides its true value — a real grasp and appreciation of the importance of fish to the early development of Vancouver — in the details of some ridiculously diverting fish stories.” Martin Dunphy, The Straight.

For more information, drop by the library at 300 Sixth St., call 250-334-3369, ext. 2 or visit This is a free program and all are welcome.

— Courtenay Library


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