Commentary 152 results

Are Harp Seals the Villains in Atlantic Fisheries?

How much fish are harp seals consuming and how much does that interfere with commercial fisheries? There has been an ongoing debate on the role of harp seals in the Northwest Atlantic fisheries ecosystem. There is suspicion that harp seal predation negatively impacts commercial fish stocks, but do we have any proof of this? Harp seals rely heavily on capelin, cod and other groundfish species, many of which suffered a collapse in the 1990s and have since remained below pre-collapse levels. ...

The Lobsters Will Be Fine, But What About Us?

Above: Lonnie Snow photo   The good news is that lobsters are set to easily withstand the rigours of climate change in the coming decades. However, the bad news is that we aren’t. The Centre for Marine Applied Research (CMAR) recently released a report that leads with some heartening news. According to the research group, climate change over the coming three decades poses a “low to moderate risk” for lobsters off the coast of Nova Scotia. Given that the predicted ...

Disappearing Redfish and DFO Math

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) announcement in late January with respect to redfish puts a glaring spotlight on the numbers problem in its science and management divisions. Its new research purports to show that the biomass of redfish in Area 1, despite there having been essentially no fishery, has declined since 2019 from 4.3 million tonnes to 2.8 million tonnes after growing exponentially for a decade. This follows news in December 2023, that the estimated number of seals ...

Redfish Re-opening – Getting It Wrong

The recent announcement of the re-opening of the redfish fishery in the Gulf of St. Lawrence is of crucial importance on multiple levels — economic, ecological and political. In order to take advantage of this opportunity that nature is offering, we need to get it right. Unfortunately, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and many informed commentators are getting it wrong. Since the early evidence of a redfish population explosion five years ago, harvesters have been looking forward ...

Sharing the Redfish Pie

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) recently announced the reopening of the long-dormant redfish fishery after some 30 years. Until the season begins in earnest, DFO has yet another “pie” cooling on its metaphorical windowsill. And, as always, representatives of different groups are lining up to argue that their slice isn’t quite as big as they would like it to be. Everyone wants a bigger slice of the pie than they’ve gotten, whether it’s cod, crab, mackerel, turbot or ...

FCWC Showcased the Innovative Spirit of Canada’s Marine Industries

Apple co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs once said, “Innovation is an opportunity to see change as an opportunity — not a threat.” Canada’s marine industries are embracing the opportunities that come with technological innovations, as can be seen in events like Fish Canada Workboat Canada (FCWC) in Moncton, New Brunswick. As Canada’s largest marine trade show, FCWC provides the industry’s best and brightest innovators the opportunity to showcase the future of the fishing ...

A Journal Entry of a Fisherman’s Widow

The hardest part for me is that my mind believes he’s still at sea. He left that morning, everything was completely normal. We planned our vacation for when he got in and said our goodbyes multiple times as usual. Now, he’s never coming home and many months have now passed since we unknowingly said our last goodbye. As long as his boat is away at sea, I seem to be able to cope and as soon as I know she’s on her way in, my heart rips apart. He’s supposed to be on her, heading home ...

Investigation into Loss of Life at Sea Reveals a Lack of Oversight

TSB Calls for Urgent Action in Canadian Fishing Industry On August 26, 2021, a crew member of the fishing vessel Suvak lost his life after going overboard while setting gillnets in Davis Strait, Nunavut. The vessel was wrapping up a two-week fishing trip with two crew members hauling and setting nets to complete the fishing operations before returning to port. In the early hours of the morning, while setting the nets, the arm of one of the crew members became entangled in a buoy line, and he ...

Canada-EU Summit: Opportunity Missed, But Not Lost

On November 23 and 24, leaders from the European Union and Canada met for the Canada-EU Summit in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. Meetings such as these provide high-level government representatives with an opportunity to discuss issues that matter to their respective governments behind closed doors and far removed from everyday citizens. This Summit, however, was different. Instead of being monitored only by political gadflies and lobbyists, people in remote communities across ...

We’re Not There Yet: Price-Setting Review Report Understandably Lacking

As a long-term observer and analyst of the fishery, my initial comment on the Price-Setting Review report was “underwhelming.” But that’s not surprising. The task the Strategic Review Team undertook was well-nigh impossible to start with. The Minister asked the Team “to assist with the development of a formula-based framework for fish price-setting and other potential mechanisms.” The Team concluded that the current process (including final offer selection and the Fish Price-S...