Robert Verge

Robert Verge

Managing Director of the Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation — Newfoundland

Posts by Robert Verge 47 results

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 ...

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 ...