commentary 39 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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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, ...