Commentary 83 results

Glimmer at End of the Pandemic Tunnel

It is no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the global seafood industry to its core. Traditionally, Atlantic lobster has been one of the key commodities driving the seafood engine locally and around the world. So, what will the 2021 lobster season have in store for harvesters, buyers and processors? A mere 12–14 months ago, not even the world’s biggest pessimist would have predicted the pandemic-driven fear and turmoil that gripped the entire globe. But it happened and the ...

Tracking Whales With Sound

This Could Be a Promising Innovation, Provided it is Used Properly   The presence of North Atlantic right whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence comes with major challenges: understanding where these whales are found, how many there are and what they do. Several techniques exist to obtain answers to these questions, including observation from vessel and aerial surveys, tagging and even drones. Another major category of solutions lies in acoustic devices, whether they are underwater ...

2020: A Glass Half-Full View

In 2020, we learned many new things that will help propel our industry forward and we also learned that some of the overall trends in our industry continued unabated, pandemic disruption or not. Seafood has always had a unique role among the centre of the plate proteins in the North American diet. It is the healthiest protein. It has the lowest carbon footprint and the least environmental impact. It has the greatest variety of taste, texture and mouthfeel. The downside has been that ...

Safety on the Water Must Take Precedent

Above photo by Lonnie Snow    The year 2020 is nearly in the rearview mirror. Feel free to take a moment and let out a collective sigh of relief here. Who knows what 2021 has in store for us, but could it possibly be any more strange, troubling or unprecedented than the last 12 months? This past year will go down in history as one of the most turbulent for the fishery in Southwest Nova Scotia. Not only was the industry rocked by the global impacts of the COVID-19 ...

Don’t Fear Expansion of Indigenous Fishing Rights

The Canadian lobster industry is in turmoil over Indigenous fishing rights. In 1999, the Canadian supreme court ruled that Mik’maq and other First Nations had harvest rights that had to be recognized by the Canadian government. For decades, this was never implemented. For that reason, the Sipekne’katik First Nation began a test case, issuing 11 licenses themselves, limited to 50 traps each and began to fish lobster in Southwestern Nova Scotia during the closed season. This led to the ...

Opportunity is Knocking

Above photo by Mark Blundon As it is with every profession, the fishing industry is not devoid of myths, fallacies and distortions. One of the most common falsehoods, especially in Atlantic Canada, is the widespread view that the commercial fishery is in decline and offers few long-term employment opportunities. In fact, as you all know, nothing could be further from the truth. In Nova Scotia, notably in the Southwest region, the value of seafood catches, particularly lobster, has ...

Gulf Redfish: Bonanza or Boondoggle?

By Barry Darby The history of Newfoundland and Labrador is replete with stories of our people’s ability to deal with hardship. Stories of disasters and bravery form the basis of how resilient we know ourselves to be. What is less celebrated is the catalogue of historical events where we have failed to transform our great advantages, opportunities and natural wealth into sustainable economic and societal growth. In fact, we have often been quite adept at “snatching defeat from the ...

Alaska Snow Crab Quota up 11 Million Pounds, But Won’t Change Dynamic of Oversold Market

The Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game (ADF&G) recently announced the 2020/2021 crab quotas. Mostly, the results confirmed industry expectations, although snow crab increases were lower than hoped. For red king crab, the precarious nature of the stock has led to a cut of 1.15-million pounds, which is 30 per cent below the 3.8-million-pound quota set in 2019. The stock has been on a long-term decline and earlier management strategies would have completely closed the fishery. However, ...

Despite Uncertainties, Signs Point to a Good Holiday and Lent Season for Seafood

After seven months of struggling to keep businesses going during the pandemic, it seems we are in a bit of a lull. No end is in sight, but things are not getting dramatically better either. The bounce back we experienced both in terms of sales demand and restaurant demand in June and July appears to be fading. In mid-September, we were simply facing a huge number of uncertainties. They included the election in seven weeks, a potential stall in job creation and employment this fall with ...

A Levelling of Our Competitive Advantage?

Above photo: Lonnie Snow photo September 21, 2017 was an important date for the fishing industry in this region. Three years ago, the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) came into effect. This meant that after years of negotiations, trade barriers were reduced for virtually every seafood sector and Canadian companies would have access to the EU’s $22-trillion market of 500 million potential new customers, access to government contracts and ...