Commentary 70 results

Strength of Frozen Lobster Means We Survive the Summer

Two things have combined to help both the snow crab and lobster fisheries avoid the worst-case scenarios that were feared back in April. First, government stimulus programs and employment benefits have protected consumer spending to a large extent. And what people are not spending going out, they are spending on the seafood they crave when they see it priced aggressively at retail. So, we have the strongest snow crab market seen in years and we have a good recovery of interest in frozen ...

Fishermen and Right Whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence

Above: Some of the ropeless technology being tested during seas trials. Ropeless Traps Starting this Year   In the coming weeks, the 400 or so remaining North Atlantic right whales (NARW) will gradually arrive in our waters, under the watchful eye of several organizations, ENGOs, scientists and governments. The reason for all this interest is the risk of entanglement that may be posed by the fixed fishing gear used to catch crab and lobster. Protecting right whales from the ...

The Changing Face of Seafood Distribution

Like so many other businesses, the core business of major U.S. seafood distributors has been upended by the COVID-19 pandemic. We all know how restaurants, hotels and casinos and amusement parks shut down. And food service seafood sales have fallen anywhere from 30 to 98 per cent, depending on the type of venue and offering. I have been wrestling with what this might mean for our industry. The only certainty I have is that we won’t go back to the way things were before. The restaur...

Work Together or Hang Separately, it is That Simple

Above: Lonnie Snow photo   Two qualities that give the seafood industry its unique character are being made up of a multitude of diverse companies of all sizes and having an immense diversity of species and products. In the U.S. meat industry, four companies control 84 per cent of beef production, 65 per cent of pork production, 53 per cent of poultry and one dairy co-op and one processor control 30 per cent and 40 per cent respectively of the national milk supply. Our compan...

Processors Now Key to Lobster and Crab Survival in Canada

Above: Kathy Johnson photo This month, economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic will become more visible and the success or failure of economic decisions will have a big impact on our lives, as much as the success or failure of pandemic containment actions. The big money fisheries in Atlantic Canada are lobster and snow crab and how these fisheries navigate the next few months will be critical to the survival of many shore communities and small businesses. We need to prepare ...

Industry Must Prepare as COVID-19 Changing Supply Chain Behaviour

With the spread of the coronavirus to new countries, I now believe the seafood industry is going to face its worst crisis since the economic collapse of 2008. That was difficult and frightening enough. From October to December of 2008, fresh whole salmon prices dropped 20 per cent. From August 2008 to January 2009, shrimp prices in the Urner Barry farmed shrimp index fell 16 per cent. Cod loins, which were at record prices in November of 2008, fell 34 per cent over the next 11 months, in ...

Fisheries Science Failures on Full Display in 3Ps Cod Projections

Cod still remains “fish” in Newfoundland and Labrador, but the optimism of growing cod stocks in the past few years has been tempered. Newfoundland once had one of the world’s great cod stocks on the Grand Banks and in the 2J-3K NAFO area off the northeast coast of Newfoundland and off Labrador. According to George Rose of Memorial University, one of the world’s foremost scientists on Atlantic cod, the collapse of the stock in the early 1990s was precipitated when most of the ...

As the Decade Ends, What Battles Will the Industry Face Over the Next 10 Years

Above: David Greening photo New Year’s Day 2020 offered a good chance to think about how the next 10 years may be different for the seafood industry. If you think back to where we were in 2010, it is quite different than where we are today. Ten years ago, certification was still controversial. The MSC was about to decertify Alaska salmon. Retailers were facing a multiplicity of certifications and ratings and the shrimp industry with BAP and the tuna industry with International ...

Putting the ‘Fisher’ Back Into Fisheries Science

Scientists Reaching Out in Two Key Atlantic Fisheries: Units 1 and 2 Redfish and Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence Cod   One of the key challenges facing fisheries management is that of establishing effective communication between fishermen, scientists and decision-makers. It is no secret that scientists aren’t always successful in communicating their results. Indeed, the frustrations of stakeholders are often hard to hide. For fisheries management, however, poor communication can be ...

Can We Stop IUU Fishing by Thinking Outside the Box?

Above: Participants at the recent International Coldwater Prawn Forum held in St. John's, N.L. Campaigns against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing by both the industry and environmentalists continually run up against a problem: government enforcement. Enforcement is not as much of an issue for rich countries with well-developed fisheries management systems and strong enforcement histories. In these cases, when IUU fishing happens, it can be successfully exposed, ...