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Navigator Magazine | Commentary
Commentary 99 results

Are Hurricanes Really Getting Worse?

As the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season (June 1–November 30) has kicked off for another year, there is a lot of fear that these types of storms are getting more frequent and more severe. Many folks believe that warming oceans will mean more energy for these storms to absorb, which will translate to stronger and more destructive hurricanes when they make landfall. While this might make sense in theory, climate science is much more complicated in practice. Bill Pekny, author of A Tale of ...

SEA-NL: A “Distinct” Voice for Owner-Operators

Photos courtesy of SEA-NL   Oddly enough, the idea of a new association to serve as the “distinct” voice of the province’s more than 3,000 licensed, independent owner-operator inshore fish harvesters originated with the FFAW. In 1993, a federal Task Force on Incomes and Adjustment in the Atlantic Fishery held a focus-group discussion with the union’s inshore council. This is part of what it had to say: “Government should be dealing with owner-operators — not the ...

Despite Punching Above its Weight, Canada’s Fish and Seafood Sector has an Opportunity for Growth in Canada’s Blue Economy Strategy

Over the last six months, the fishing industry has been seized by the announcement and supporting consultation on the development of Canada’s Blue Economy Strategy. Roundtables have been held, papers have been produced, and the seafood sector enthusiastically participated, providing the Federal Minister with its perspective on how to best maximize the value of our wild-capture seafood sector while supporting resilient, viable and flourishing coastal communities. Unfortunately, what is ...

The Seafood Industry and the Bullwhip Effect

Seafood trading is hard when a couple of bad decisions on pricing or timing can wreck a business. As a result, we are trained to focus on short-term problems. Most of our time is spent managing supply, shipping and customer needs within a six-to-12-week time frame. This can obscure long-term issues that will transform our business. The last year is a great illustration of this and we are not out of the woods yet. When the pandemic first hit the U.S. in March of 2020, seafood prices ...

There is no “Magic Machine” Leading to Sustainable Fisheries Management

“Everything we do is science-based.” That’s the standard response of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) to doubts or criticisms about how it manages our fisheries. Well, my B.Sc. degree doesn’t make me a scientist, but I do have enough scientific background to know when science is being applied and when it is not. And a lot of what DFO does in fishery management falls into that latter category. The department’s website, news releases and interviews constantly ...

Input from Third-Party Organizations Could Aid in Facilitating Industry Change

A number of weeks ago I responded to an article I read published in the Globe and Mail about the Northern cod population and the future of the fishing industry. The article laid out the complex web of challenges created by the convergence of industry and economic development needs, political pressures, conservation requirements and the available scientific information. In showing that web, the article highlighted the questions within which the industry remains ensnared: Does anyone ...

The Capelin Conundrum

Capelin are almost as controversial, in fishery circles, as they are essential in Newfoundland and Labrador’s marine food chain. The call in March by WWF-Canada, Oceana and the NunatuKavut Council for a ban on the capelin fishery and the vigorous responses from the FFAW and the Association of Seafood Processors, highlight the need for a solution that everyone involved would be able to live with. On the one hand, WWF and Oceana recommend we stop fishing the capelin stocks, whose numbers ...

The Flawed Plan to Rebuild Canada’s Iconic Northern Cod

Editor’s Note: This commentary was originally published by Policy Options on March 22, 2021.   Canada is on the cusp of an inauspicious anniversary. Next year will mark 30 years since Newfoundland’s 500-year-old Northern cod fishery was shut down. The fishery was closed on July 2, 1992 because of a massive decline in the cod population, as much as 95 per cent, between the early 1960s and the early 1990s. The socioeconomic consequences were staggering: 30,000 to 40,000 jobs ...

Why is the Seafood Industry Vulnerable to Seaspiracy Lies and Falsehoods?

The Netflix documentary Seaspiracy was released the last week of March 2021 and was in the top 10 most viewed Netflix movies that week in several countries. It has generated a wave of social media and critical reaction from fisheries scientists and has been the focus of several industry panel discussions. Much of the criticism is based on the fact that the documentary repeats a huge number of lies and simplifications that obscure the relationship between fishing and ocean ecosystems, ...

Final Fisheries Regulation Amendments: Three Key Issues Addressed

The long-awaited amendments to federal fisheries regulations codifying key aspects of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) PIIFCAF policies, including prohibitions on “controlling agreements,” are finally final. Anticipated since the June 2019 Fisheries Act refresh, the final amendments to the regulations come with some surprises, often differing significantly from the proposed draft amendments the DFO initially released in July 2019. The amended regulations prohibit the transfer ...