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A Journal Entry of a Fisherman’s Widow

The hardest part for me is that my mind believes he’s still at sea. He left that morning, everything was completely normal. We planned our vacation for when he got in and said our goodbyes multiple times as usual. Now, he’s never coming home and many months have now passed since we unknowingly said our last goodbye. As long as his boat is away at sea, I seem to be able to cope and as soon as I know she’s on her way in, my heart rips apart. He’s supposed to be on her, heading home ...

Canada-EU Summit: Opportunity Missed, But Not Lost

On November 23 and 24, leaders from the European Union and Canada met for the Canada-EU Summit in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. Meetings such as these provide high-level government representatives with an opportunity to discuss issues that matter to their respective governments behind closed doors and far removed from everyday citizens. This Summit, however, was different. Instead of being monitored only by political gadflies and lobbyists, people in remote communities across ...

Taking a Page from the American Playbook

An often-unspoken cornerstone of Canadian culture is our tendency to distance ourselves on the world stage from our American neighbours when it comes to culture, lifestyle and a litany of other minute details. What even less of us are likely to talk about, however, is just how much we can learn from our southern brethren. For example, Americans have a penchant for resisting governments that overstep their boundaries, a characteristic that we seem to be sorely lacking. In an effort to ...

Come Home Safe for the Holidays

Above: Jessica Roy Photo   The holiday season and all of its festivities and traditions will soon be upon us. The countdown is on to when your home will be strewn with tinsel and lights, your tree will be overrun with gifts and there might even be a stocking hung with your name on it. Most importantly, your loved ones will be home waiting for you. If you work at sea, staying safe guarantees you can be home for the holidays this year. It’s a tale as old as time for those in ...

Monterey Bay Discredits Itself With Red Listing of Lobster

One of the key points about Non-Governmental Organizations’ (NGOs) ratings of fisheries is their variability. Different organizations have different levels of independent governance, transparency and public accountability. The recent red (avoid) listing of American and Canadian lobster by Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch is an example of how rating organizations can reflect their own organizational biases. Seafood Watch is not among the nine seafood rating organizations benchmar...

The Greying of the Fleet

Rodney Dangerfield once said “It’s great to have grey hair. Ask anyone who’s bald.” And one does not have to visit too many commercial fishing wharves and harbours across Atlantic Canada to see plenty of examples of that grey hair peeking out from under ball caps. According to the federal government, for the first time in Canada’s history, there are now more individuals over the age of 65 than there are children under the age of 15. In Atlantic Canada, more than one in three ...

Why Has the Shellfish Market Fallen So Hard?

U.S. shellfish, including snow crab, lobster tail, king crab and crabmeat, have all experienced some of their most rapid, and in some cases steepest, market declines in the past eight months. But shrimp, by far the largest volume shellfish item, has not seen a significant price decline. Urner Barry’s (UB) value-added shrimp index has barely moved, even while the volume of U.S. shrimp imports continue to set records. What factors made shellfish so vulnerable to a rapid correction, but ...

The Challenges of Making Ends Meet

The late English comedian Les Dawson once said, “The way prices are rising, the good old days are last week.” It appears Atlantic Canadians’ fixation of talking about weather fluctuations has been overshadowed of late by tales of price fluctuations — fluctuations unfortunately headed in the wrong direction. The price of practically everything has gone up and the fishing industry is no exception. Just ask any lobster fishermen in the region. During the summer of 2020, fishermen ...

What Lessons Can Today’s Seafood Marketers Learn From the 2009 Recession?

The last time the seafood industry faced a genuine crisis was during the economic recession that started in 2008–09. During that time, retailers prospered and foodservice contracted. However, retail prospered by giving customers the opportunity to trade down to less expensive products. Looking at major seafood items, almost every single commodity lost substantial value between 2008 and 2010–2012, as U.S. consumers changed their buying habits. This is the situation we are heading ...

Is the Snow Crab Market a Bellwether or a Blip?

In the U.S., snow crab outperformed every other seafood product during the pandemic. Yet today, the snow crab market is crashing at the fastest pace since the spring of 1995. That year, between May 1995 and May 1996, the price fell 46 per cent. This year, Urner Barry quotations from last summer until this May are down 33 per cent and the bottom has not been set. This is already the largest percentage decline in price since 1995. Since February, the market has been going down around 50 ...