Robert Verge

Robert Verge

Managing Director of the Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation — Newfoundland

Posts by Robert Verge 50 results

Looking Beneath the Surface

In the fishery, we are always concerned about what is going on underneath the surface of the ocean. Looking at the surface can provide helpful information but what is below the surface is what really matters. Beneath that surface is the part of the ocean ecosystem the fishery depends on. The different fish resources we harvest, the food for those fish and predators who compete with us to catch them are all down there somewhere. So is the fishing gear we use to catch them and even the ...

Quality – Again

In recent columns, I suggested that our industry is facing a very serious crisis, due to decreasing landings of our main commercial species (with the notable exception of lobster) and a shrinking workforce. That means we need to do more with less. If we can’t catch more fish, we need to obtain more value per fish. If we have fewer people, we need the people we do have to produce more output per person. I have also suggested how that might be done. In this column, I will talk about ...

Happy New Year

This issue of The Navigator marks the beginning of another new year. It’s a good time to reflect on the past, assess where are and think about the future. Like most people involved in the fishery in Atlantic Canada, I am a member of the baby boom generation. That means I can reflect back over several decades of involvement in this industry and even a few earlier decades, when I was growing up and hearing about things going on around me. It has been quite a ride. I can remember the ...

Why Do We Process Fish?

A couple of months ago, I asked the question, “how should we define success in the fishery in Atlantic Canada?” I went on to suggest we need to reconsider what it takes to be successful, because what we have been doing hasn’t been working. Last month, I continued with that overall theme by asking the related question, “why do we fish?” This month, I will go to the next step in the value chain and ask, “why do we process fish?” When your day job is catching fish, it is ...

Why Do We Fish?

In last month’s column, I asked the question, how should we define success in the fishery in Atlantic Canada?” I went on to suggest we need to reconsider what it takes to be successful, because what we have been doing hasn’t been working. This month, I will continue with that overall theme, by asking the related question, “why do we fish?” Maybe the answer seems obvious — we fish to catch fish, the more the better. But that is neither the right answer nor a good one. Fishing ...

How Should We Define Success?

How should we define success in the fishery in Atlantic Canada? It is an important question, because how we define success determines what we do to achieve it. Essentially, there are four dimensions to having a successful industry. First, we sell practically all our output in markets outside Canada, where we must compete with similar products supplied by others. Our competitiveness in those markets determines how successful we are likely to be. Unfortunately, competitiveness is not ...

Challenges and Opportunities

In previous recent columns, I suggested Canada’s capture fishing industry is facing a very serious crisis, due to decreasing landings and a shrinking workforce and we need to be thinking about how to deal with it. The industry in Newfoundland and Labrador is also likely to see a big increase in the cost of electricity, due to the behind-schedule and over-budget Muskrat Falls hydro-electric power development. Faced with this situation, there are four directions we need to pursue, ...

Turning Less Into More

Last month, my column was on the theme Making Do With Less. I suggested Canada’s capture fishing industry is facing a very serious crisis, due to decreasing landings and a shrinking workforce and that we need to be thinking about how to deal with it. In doing so, I suggested that we need to obtain more value from our resources and more output per person from the people who continue to work in the industry. In other words, we need to get more from less. That is what this column is about. ...

Making Do With Less

Canada’s capture fishing industry is facing a very serious crisis, due to decreasing landings and a shrinking workforce. Some aspects of that crisis are already apparent, but others will become increasingly obvious as time passes. We need to be thinking about how to deal with it. In 1990, fish landings in Canada totaled 1,598,281 metric tonnes. In 2016, they were 831,980 tonnes, just 52.1 per cent of the 1990 total. Fisheries on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts suffered drastic ...

The Future, Fast and Slow

In 2011, an award-winning and best-selling book was Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman. Dr. Kahneman had won a Nobel Prize in economics for work he discussed in the book. Although it is interesting and worth reading, this column is not really about Dr. Kahneman’s work. Instead, it’s about the future of the fishery in Atlantic Canada. In some ways, the future is arriving faster than we can deal with it. In others, it is arriving very slowly, maybe slower than we would hope or ...