Commentary 90 results

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 ...

Coalition Asks Federal Liberals and Conservatives for Action on Fishery

On January 13, 2021 the Coalition of Atlantic Canadian and Quebec Fishing Organizations made a special presentation directly to the Atlantic Canada Federal Liberal Caucus. Two weeks later, on February 2, 2021, the Coalition virtually met with the Conservative Atlantic Caucus and Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole. The purpose of the presentation was to help educate Liberal MPs on the seriousness of the situation on the fishery and to share solutions for a path forward for a sustainable ...

Are Lobsters Tougher Than We Thought?

As everyone is well aware, the lobster industry, both here and south of the border, is a business worth in the billions of dollars each year. And once an industry attains such a lofty value, its stakeholders are always on the lookout for not only other possible positive opportunities, but factors that could lead to the detriment of such an important economic driver and resource. One such factor for the lobster industry that seems to hold the duality of causing both excitement and anxiety ...

The U.S. Seafood Market Firing on All Cylinders Could Raise Global Market Share

All of us have been amazed at the strength exhibited by frozen food and in particular frozen seafood during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than the collapse of foodservice leading to less consumption, American consumers used money they saved by not eating out to increase their share of higher end retail seafood purchases. This was dramatically evident in the retail demand for crab and lobster and it has been reflected in pricing. But another interesting thing is happening in the ...

Good Fishing Practices Lead to Good Fishing

Overfishing continues to be one of the major problems facing many commercial fisheries around the world. Despite the efforts of many countries, many fisheries are still nothing more than a cash-grab, free-for-all, with little or no concern for sustainable management practices. The 2020 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Review of Fisheries reported that at least one quarter of global fish stocks with known status are overfished and a third of fishing activity is ...

When is a Plan Not a Plan?

For years there have been calls for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) to develop a rebuilding plan for our Northern cod stocks. Leaving aside the larger question of whether it is even possible for humans to rebuild wild stocks, we want to look at what the department finally came up with just before Christmas to supposedly satisfy those calls. The federal rebuilding plan as presented by DFO begins with four overviews — a biological synopsis, an overview of the cod fishery, ...

Seafood, Consumers, Climate Change, the MSC and Government in 2021

CFOOD, the website established by University of Washington scientists to explain the science of sustainable seafood, recently published an excellent summary of the problems facing the Maine lobster fishery due to right whale interactions. There are six lobster fisheries interacting with right whales certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) in the U.S. and Canada, but only the Maine fishery was suspended by the MSC. The Maine fishery lost its MSC certification due to a lawsuit ...

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 ...