Commentary 76 results

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 ...

Despite Pandemic, Land-Based Aquaculture Looks Like the Chicken Revolution

While the market has reacted sharply to the changes in food distribution patterns due to the coronavirus pandemic, aquaculture investment has moved right along. We are witnessing a disconnect between investment behavior and the real economy based on the surge of liquidity provided by the federal reserve and other governments. Despite grim employment numbers, investors are awash in low interest, zero interest or negative interest money provided by central banks to try and keep the various ...

‘There Are More Guts in a Turnip Than There are in Us’

On July 13, 2020, my neighbour and l went fishing for cod in the recreational food fishery. We didn’t go fishing very early in my opinion, it was 6:30 a.m. As we cleared the last point and the open ocean came into view, it was like a television show I watched years ago where an Indigenous person named Moses would look over an empty place and call it the big empty. That’s what it looked like this morning. Imagine a fishing town like Twillingate in the heart of fishing time and only one ...

Species on the Edge of Extinction… But the Media is on the Wrong Track

The North Atlantic right whale is endangered. According to the latest International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) report, this population has even been classified as critically endangered. Unfortunately, this means that the causes of whale mortalities are beyond the whales’ ability to reproduce and survive. In the case of the right whale, almost all deaths are due to human activities. It is not easy to see this population of giants of the sea become extinct and yes, it is sad. ...

COVID-19-Related Retail Seafood Increase Likely Permanent

One of the biggest surprises of the coronavirus pandemic has been the surge of interest in retail seafood, surpassing that of red meat. It is more and more likely that the boost to retail seafood represents a permanent change in consumer behavior. This provides a real retail opportunity for both supermarkets and the seafood suppliers who deal with them. Nielsen released data on both the performance of seafood and beef over the 16 weeks ending on June 20, during which most Americans ...

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...