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Navigator Magazine | John Sackton

John Sackton

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Editor and Publisher — SeafoodNews.com

Posts by John Sackton 54 results

The Seafood Industry and the Bullwhip Effect

Seafood trading is hard when a couple of bad decisions on pricing or timing can wreck a business. As a result, we are trained to focus on short-term problems. Most of our time is spent managing supply, shipping and customer needs within a six-to-12-week time frame. This can obscure long-term issues that will transform our business. The last year is a great illustration of this and we are not out of the woods yet. When the pandemic first hit the U.S. in March of 2020, seafood prices ...

Why is the Seafood Industry Vulnerable to Seaspiracy Lies and Falsehoods?

The Netflix documentary Seaspiracy was released the last week of March 2021 and was in the top 10 most viewed Netflix movies that week in several countries. It has generated a wave of social media and critical reaction from fisheries scientists and has been the focus of several industry panel discussions. Much of the criticism is based on the fact that the documentary repeats a huge number of lies and simplifications that obscure the relationship between fishing and ocean ecosystems, ...

The U.S. Seafood Market Firing on All Cylinders Could Raise Global Market Share

All of us have been amazed at the strength exhibited by frozen food and in particular frozen seafood during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than the collapse of foodservice leading to less consumption, American consumers used money they saved by not eating out to increase their share of higher end retail seafood purchases. This was dramatically evident in the retail demand for crab and lobster and it has been reflected in pricing. But another interesting thing is happening in the ...

Seafood, Consumers, Climate Change, the MSC and Government in 2021

CFOOD, the website established by University of Washington scientists to explain the science of sustainable seafood, recently published an excellent summary of the problems facing the Maine lobster fishery due to right whale interactions. There are six lobster fisheries interacting with right whales certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) in the U.S. and Canada, but only the Maine fishery was suspended by the MSC. The Maine fishery lost its MSC certification due to a lawsuit ...

2020: A Glass Half-Full View

In 2020, we learned many new things that will help propel our industry forward and we also learned that some of the overall trends in our industry continued unabated, pandemic disruption or not. Seafood has always had a unique role among the centre of the plate proteins in the North American diet. It is the healthiest protein. It has the lowest carbon footprint and the least environmental impact. It has the greatest variety of taste, texture and mouthfeel. The downside has been that ...

Don’t Fear Expansion of Indigenous Fishing Rights

The Canadian lobster industry is in turmoil over Indigenous fishing rights. In 1999, the Canadian supreme court ruled that Mik’maq and other First Nations had harvest rights that had to be recognized by the Canadian government. For decades, this was never implemented. For that reason, the Sipekne’katik First Nation began a test case, issuing 11 licenses themselves, limited to 50 traps each and began to fish lobster in Southwestern Nova Scotia during the closed season. This led to the ...

Alaska Snow Crab Quota up 11 Million Pounds, But Won’t Change Dynamic of Oversold Market

The Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game (ADF&G) recently announced the 2020/2021 crab quotas. Mostly, the results confirmed industry expectations, although snow crab increases were lower than hoped. For red king crab, the precarious nature of the stock has led to a cut of 1.15-million pounds, which is 30 per cent below the 3.8-million-pound quota set in 2019. The stock has been on a long-term decline and earlier management strategies would have completely closed the fishery. However, ...

Despite Uncertainties, Signs Point to a Good Holiday and Lent Season for Seafood

After seven months of struggling to keep businesses going during the pandemic, it seems we are in a bit of a lull. No end is in sight, but things are not getting dramatically better either. The bounce back we experienced both in terms of sales demand and restaurant demand in June and July appears to be fading. In mid-September, we were simply facing a huge number of uncertainties. They included the election in seven weeks, a potential stall in job creation and employment this fall with ...

Despite Pandemic, Land-Based Aquaculture Looks Like the Chicken Revolution

While the market has reacted sharply to the changes in food distribution patterns due to the coronavirus pandemic, aquaculture investment has moved right along. We are witnessing a disconnect between investment behavior and the real economy based on the surge of liquidity provided by the federal reserve and other governments. Despite grim employment numbers, investors are awash in low interest, zero interest or negative interest money provided by central banks to try and keep the various ...

COVID-19-Related Retail Seafood Increase Likely Permanent

One of the biggest surprises of the coronavirus pandemic has been the surge of interest in retail seafood, surpassing that of red meat. It is more and more likely that the boost to retail seafood represents a permanent change in consumer behavior. This provides a real retail opportunity for both supermarkets and the seafood suppliers who deal with them. Nielsen released data on both the performance of seafood and beef over the 16 weeks ending on June 20, during which most Americans ...