Productivity and Incomes
Atlantic Canada’s capture fishing industry has had a serious productivity problem for a long time.
I wrote a column about that fact a little over a year ago. This month, I will discuss the significance of the problem in determining incomes of people in the industry and the challenges it will present for the industry of the future.
First, I should remind readers that productivity is measured as a ratio:
It is a measure of how much of something we get out compared to what we put ...
Incentives, Risks and Safety
Safety is a big concern in the fishery, as this issue of The Navigator illustrates.
Fishing is widely reputed to be the most dangerous occupation in the world. There are certainly long histories and many stories of tragic losses of vessels and crews. And the danger is probably a big part of the reason reality TV shows like The Deadliest Catch and Coldwater Cowboys attract substantial audiences.
So why are people willing to fish for a living, despite the dangers?
Essentially, people ...
Our industry has many problems: a resource regime shift driven by global warming, a diminishing supply of labour, changing and increasingly expensive technologies and weak competitiveness, to name some of the more significant ones.
However, the truth is the fishing industry in Atlantic Canada has had serious problems of one kind or another pretty much from its very beginning.
The industry’s problems have been studied time and again for decades by different people and reports of the ...
Adapting to Change
The capture fishery in Atlantic Canada is currently in the early stages of radical change, mostly caused by forces outside our control.
Those forces include resources, markets, competition, currency exchange rates, labour force demographics, technology, and energy costs. In addition, non-governmental environmental groups (NGOs) continue to increase demands related to sustainability of fish catches and traceability of products, to ensure sustainability requirements are not circumvented.
Competitiveness — Part III
Last month, I discussed how to measure the competitiveness of our industry.
I concluded by suggesting four key measures:
Where and when can we sell our products?
How do the prices we receive compare with the prices received by competitors?
How do incomes compare to those of competitors?
How does our return on investment compare with that earned by competitors?
This month, I will discuss how our industry performs against these measures.
Before I get to the heart of the ...
Competitiveness: Part II
About two years ago, I wrote a column on competitiveness.
This month, I will tackle that subject again but from a different perspective. The topic seems particularly appropriate as we consider what to do with our rebounding northern cod resource, because there is intense competition in markets for cod and similar mild-tasting white-fleshed fish species and we will have to compete for a share of those markets against others already supplying them.
Competitiveness is not a well-understood ...
Quality and Price
Quality is a topic I have discussed many times in this column.
Specifically, I have talked about consumers’ expectations of quality, the fact that we don’t meet those expectations consistently and the additional fact that many harvesters don’t do what is needed to provide good quality raw materials to plants.
Last month, I suggested that, in failing to provide good quality raw materials, harvesters were simply responding to the price signals sent by processors, most of whom are ...
Incentives and Barriers to Change in the Fishery
A recurring theme in this column is the need for change in Atlantic Canada’s capture fishery.
That is because the need for change is something we deal with continually at the Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation (CCFI). We are involved in either initiating change or facilitating change initiated by others, to solve problems or take advantage of opportunities.
Almost everybody in the industry understands change is desperately needed. Practically everybody is dissatisfied with the way ...
Cod and Some Lessons from History
Several of my recent columns have focused on the increasing cod resource and how we can build a successful fishery based on it in the future.
This month, I will discuss the idea that, if we want to build a better future, we need to understand our past.
If you go the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization’s (NAFO) website, you can find a lot of historical data at http://www.nafo.int/data/frames/data.html. Currently, you can find reported catches for the period from 1960 to 2013, a ...
Cod — Building the Future
In recent columns, I have been discussing what the increasing abundance of cod is likely to mean for our capture fishery.
Last month, I asked the question, “Are we rebuilding the past or building the future?” I ended by suggesting we have to build an industry based on cod that has a reasonable chance of being successful —competitive in international markets, economically viable, capable of attracting people and investment, providing good incomes to participants, and ensuring the ...