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2021 Was Fantastic for Seafood as Disruption Played to Our Strengths

The seafood industry is coming off a fantastic year, despite the turmoil and disruption of the pandemic. First, some numbers. When I went to analyze what happened with the U.S. seafood supply in 2021, I was blown away by our success. Using the data through October as a proxy for the year, we imported 4.2 billion pounds, six per cent over the volume of 2020 and 11 per cent over the volume of 2019. The value of these imports was up a staggering 24 per cent from their values in 2020. De...

Focus on Blue Economy Needed in 2022 for COVID-19 Recovery

We’ve come to the end of another year filled with uncertainty, with no sign of predictability on the horizon. No one is really sure what the new year will bring. Stability has been hard for Canadians to come by and it’s something that decision makers and leaders in both government and industry need to prioritize immediately to incite recovery. In 2022, decision makers are going to have to start implementing serious COVID-19 recovery measures as the pandemic continues to stretch on. ...

Whale Worries are Top of Mind

The lobster season is now well underway in Southwest Nova Scotia and from all accounts, everything looks positive, especially the all-important price per pound. However, if you head south, crossing the border into the Gulf of Maine, there is much more worry, anxiety and uncertainty and it’s all related to whales, North Atlantic right whales to be specific. According to the Portland Press Herald, on December 3, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a request to lift fishing restrictions in the ...

Elderly Fishermen Treated Like Class B Citizens

Not many people can withstand the grueling conditions of lobster fishing. Even less can imagine continuing to lobster fish well into the age of 80. However, this is the reality for a group of aging fishermen across the Maritimes, many of whom have deteriorating health and continue to work against the risks. Their wish is to sell or transfer their licence and retire. A 50-year-old Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) policy prevents them from doing so. These fishermen are the holders of ...

Destabilized Supply Chain Here to Stay

The seafood industry has one of the most complex supply chains of all food commodities. Despite the disruption caused by the global pandemic, much of our industry has thrived due to the simultaneous surge in demand for our products. The higher demand has provided the money to cover the costs of extreme disruption, whether that is freight rates and driver shortages, temporary plant closures, or lack of plant workers. This demand surge has buffered us from the risks in our higher-cost ...

Class B Lobster Licence Holders Face Injustices and Unfair Treatment

Not many people can withstand the grueling conditions of lobster fishing. Even less can imagine continuing to lobster fish well into the age of 80. However, this is the reality for a group of aging fishermen across the Maritimes, many of whom have deteriorating health and continue to work against the risks. Their wish is to sell or transfer their licence and retire. However, a 50-year-old Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) policy prevents them from doing so. These fishermen are the holders ...

Fisheries Policy Facing a Period of Political Purgatory

The dust has now settled and after five weeks of verbal barbs and $600 million later, the electorate has spoken and honestly, not much has changed. After a hard fought and noticeably nasty federal election, the political landscape looks pretty much the same as it did in August. However, ousted Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan might not agree with the previous statement. The now former Member of Parliament for South Shore-St. Margaret’s was soundly defeated by Conservative Rick ...

The European Green Crab: Eradication Might Not be the Answer

Last summer, a story in the Navigator outlined the ongoing efforts to control the spread of the invasive and destructive European green crab in this region. According to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), green crabs were first found in Canadian waters in 1951 in southwest New Brunswick and have since expanded to many other locations in Atlantic Canada. They entered Nova Scotia waters in 1953/1954 and reached just south of Halifax in 1966. By 1982–1983, green crabs were present ...

Adjacency Should be the Most Important Criterion for Access to Fish Stocks

Above: Mark Blundon Photo   Much has been written recently regarding fisheries around Newfoundland and Labrador and most of it has merit for a sustainable industry in the future. Suffice to say, there is no use bemoaning the many mistakes made by past management practices. The following information came from experience working with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and industry, along with the many opportunities to speak with fishers and fishing captains on small ...

Are Hurricanes Really Getting Worse?

As the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season (June 1–November 30) has kicked off for another year, there is a lot of fear that these types of storms are getting more frequent and more severe. Many folks believe that warming oceans will mean more energy for these storms to absorb, which will translate to stronger and more destructive hurricanes when they make landfall. While this might make sense in theory, climate science is much more complicated in practice. Bill Pekny, author of A Tale of ...