Robert Verge

Robert Verge

Managing Director of the Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation — Newfoundland

Posts by Robert Verge 43 results

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 ...

Risky Business

The May issue of The Navigator each year is about marine safety. Consistent with that theme, this column is about the risks associated with catching fish. And there is no doubt fishing is a risky business. Wikipedia provides a couple of interesting definitions of risk. One is “the potential for gaining or losing something of value.” And the other is “the intentional interaction with uncertainty.” Both seem to be relevant for thinking about risk in the fishery. Although there ...

Creating Value from Fish

Except for lobster, catches of other important commercial fish species have been decreasing in recent years. And even though cod and other groundfish have been increasing in abundance around Newfoundland and Labrador, it seems like it will be a long time before catches come anywhere close to being able to replace the revenues and incomes lost from decreasing catches of shrimp and crab. That means we will need to maximize value from the catches we are able to take. So, what is involved in ...

Risk – Winners and Losers

Risk has two parts — one that offers potential for gain, another than could lead to loss. Either outcome is possible, presenting a dilemma. If we don’t take a risk, we lose the opportunity for gain. If we do, we must accept the potential for loss. A lottery ticket is a good example. The potential for a big win is the seductive part, enticing us to take the chance. As the saying goes, you can’t win it, if you’re not in it. But when you buy the ticket, you also accept that you ...

Filling the Gaps

  On November 28 and 29, 2017, the Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation (CCFI) hosted a very successful conference on the theme Cod — Building the Fishery of the Future in Gander. The presentations from that conference and the audio recordings of the different sessions are available on our website at http://www.ccfi.ca/codconference/presentations.asp. In last month’s column, I talked about what we heard at the conference. As an overall conclusion, I suggested that the ...

Changing Supply

Last month in this column, I talked about changing markets and provided some examples of how the U.S. market for fish products had changed over a 20-year period. This month, I will focus on how the supply of fish has changed in recent decades. Markets have two sides — demand and supply. Markets are primarily about the demand side — purchasing and consumption — because that is the reason there is a supply. Without buyers, there would be no suppliers. As I have said before in this ...

Changing Markets

We catch fish because we can sell them and earn an income. We don’t intentionally catch fish for which there are no markets. We can earn a better income, if we have a better understanding of what markets want and are willing to pay for and if we then organize ourselves to provide it. It’s also important to understand that markets change over time, sometimes because of changes in what customers want — or can be enticed to buy — and sometimes because of changes in what can be ...

Quantity Versus Value

For the most part, we live in a world where many resources are in short supply relative to human needs and wants. Since 1950, the world’s population has increased three-fold, from 2.5 billion to 7.6 billion this year, creating new demand for just about everything. To keep up with that growing demand, we have been extracting increasing quantities of the world’s resources — and producing a lot of waste products along the way. That is one of the major drivers of the climate change that ...