Column 210 results

Free Fish

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 ...

Under the Surface: Ocean Noise and its Effect on Marine Life

Dr. Jack Lawson was about 10 years old when he watched Jacques Cousteau television documentaries and decided he wanted to work with marine mammals. “Ever since I was a kid, I used to watch Jacques Cousteau on TV. He would often show something on some diving adventure, and I developed an interest in whales from that.” While Lawson was finishing his undergraduate degree in Alberta, the head of the department, who knew Jack was going to Arizona to undertake a Ph.D. studying scorpions, ...

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 ...

2019 Crab and Lobster Overview

For the past 10 years, I have made an annual trip to New Brunswick following the Boston Seafood Show to discuss the market outlook for snow crab and lobster with harvesters and processors in a series of meetings around the province, sponsored by the Dept. of Fisheries and Aquaculture. Here are a few thoughts on those species.   Snow Crab I heard from several people at the Boston Seafood show that sentiment on crab changed on the last day of the show. At least two Japanese orders ...

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 ...

It Must Have Been Really Quick – Part II

After refitting his longliner in the winter of 1994/95, Skipper Bob Stacey from St. Lawrence had a brand-new boat ready for the 1995 fishing season on the south coast of Newfoundland. The Jessie Marie was even five feet longer than before the refit. One of the main reasons for the upgrade was to make the vessel suitable for scallop fishing. Bob and his two-man crew fished the Jessie Marie for several months after the refit and for the most part, things went fairly well, but during a ...

Online Enrolment Growing for MI Fishing Masters Training Across Canada

An increasing demand for fishing harvesting training in Canada is being driven by younger participants and the availability of online learning says the head of the Marine Institute’s Community Based Education Delivery (CBED) department. “Fish harvesting training is definitely vital to an evolving industry and we are seeing more and younger students overall in online and traditional delivery programs in Newfoundland and Labrador and across Canada,” explained Craig Parsons. “There ...

Canadian Sealing: A Labyrinth of Lies

Bang — one dead seal out of a population of about 7,500,000. For over 50 years, Canadian marine mammal scientists have studied the harp seal herd off the east coast of Canada, so we have a very good understanding of them. From this science, the Government of Canada sets annual quotas that sealers can kill and yet sustain the health of the herd. During this period, we have more than tripled the size of the herd. The seals we hunt are fully weened and independent of their dames. H...

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 ...