Sustaining Rural Communities – Part II
Last month, I talked about the imminent threat to the fishing industry in Atlantic Canada due to young people leaving rural communities.
I suggested that rural communities are being depopulated because the old ways of doing things don’t provide young people with the opportunities, incomes or lifestyles they want.
Keeping the young people — or attracting them to return — means we need to create new opportunities that can provide better incomes and more appealing lifestyles. This ...
Sustaining Rural Communities
People engaged in fishing and fish processing mostly live in rural communities.
In recent years, those communities have seen young people leave in large numbers, causing the populations of rural areas to shrink. As their populations decrease and are made up mostly of older people, the communities themselves are facing a sustainability challenge.
That is a problem for our industry. Young people in rural communities represent the industry’s future. If the sustainability of rural communi...
In August, fish harvesters were giving away newly landed cod in downtown St. John’s.
They gave the fish away free to attract attention as a form of protest, because no fish plants were willing to buy their catches.
It wasn’t that the catches were huge. The plants were fully occupied in processing capelin and didn’t have capacity to process cod at the same time. The harvesters demanded that the provincial government allow buyers from outside the province to come in and buy their ...
Complexity Versus Simplicity
For as long as I can remember — which now goes back nearly four decades — market research has consistently found that consumers do not feel confident about their abilities to buy fish or prepare it at home.
That is a serious problem for our industry, because it means people consume less fish than they would otherwise. But it is also a problem that provides opportunities.
Compared to other protein foods — beef, pork, poultry, sheep — fish are complicated. Consumers typically ...
Our People Problem — Part II
Last month, I wrote a rather lengthy column about the “people problem” we have here in Atlantic Canada.
In this month’s column, I thought I would bring a sharper focus to the issues I discussed.
As I pointed out in last month’s column, the problem is not just that we have a diminishing workforce, even though that is a serious issue. In many ways, the diminishing workforce is merely a symptom of much deeper problems that need to be addressed. If we only try to treat the symptom, we ...
Our People Problem
In last month’s Navigator, the Editor’s Notebook section provided an extensive discussion of plant worker shortages, referring to them as “a complex and stubborn dilemma.”
The discussion was largely based on research done by Food Processing Skills Canada. In this column, I will take that discussion in a different direction.
Plant worker shortages are certainly a well-known problem in Atlantic Canada. The shortages are widespread throughout the industry, but particularly acute in ...
Fisheries Resource Management
Apart from my day job at the Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation, I teach a course in the Master of Marine Studies (Fisheries Resource Management) program at Memorial University’s Marine Institute, entitled, Overview of World Fisheries.
Before I go any further, I should confess that I am not a fisheries scientist and have never managed fish resources. However, I have been in the industry a long time, I have had a broad range of experience in the industry and I have literally traveled ...
Risks and Risk Management
Fishing vessels are places of work.
But they present safety hazards unlike those of most other places of work. They are on water, rather than land and can be a considerable distance from land or other potential sources of shelter or assistance, should they be needed.
Vessels react to atmospheric and ocean conditions, moving in different directions as they pitch, roll and yaw. Space on a vessel is expensive, limited and usually well-utilized, often requiring people to live and work in ...
In the fishery, we have a trust problem.
It’s a problem with deep historical roots and there are many levels of trust issues, so it is not an easy one to overcome. But we need to find some solutions.
For as long as I can remember, market research has continually shown that most consumers are hesitant about buying fish products, because they don’t understand the characteristics of different species or trust their own abilities to assess quality and turn the fish into an enjoyable meal. ...
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 ...