commentary 59 results

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 ...

SEA-NL: A “Distinct” Voice for Owner-Operators

Photos courtesy of SEA-NL   Oddly enough, the idea of a new association to serve as the “distinct” voice of the province’s more than 3,000 licensed, independent owner-operator inshore fish harvesters originated with the FFAW. In 1993, a federal Task Force on Incomes and Adjustment in the Atlantic Fishery held a focus-group discussion with the union’s inshore council. This is part of what it had to say: “Government should be dealing with owner-operators — not the ...

Despite Punching Above its Weight, Canada’s Fish and Seafood Sector has an Opportunity for Growth in Canada’s Blue Economy Strategy

Over the last six months, the fishing industry has been seized by the announcement and supporting consultation on the development of Canada’s Blue Economy Strategy. Roundtables have been held, papers have been produced, and the seafood sector enthusiastically participated, providing the Federal Minister with its perspective on how to best maximize the value of our wild-capture seafood sector while supporting resilient, viable and flourishing coastal communities. Unfortunately, what is ...

The Seafood Industry and the Bullwhip Effect

Seafood trading is hard when a couple of bad decisions on pricing or timing can wreck a business. As a result, we are trained to focus on short-term problems. Most of our time is spent managing supply, shipping and customer needs within a six-to-12-week time frame. This can obscure long-term issues that will transform our business. The last year is a great illustration of this and we are not out of the woods yet. When the pandemic first hit the U.S. in March of 2020, seafood prices ...

There is no “Magic Machine” Leading to Sustainable Fisheries Management

“Everything we do is science-based.” That’s the standard response of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) to doubts or criticisms about how it manages our fisheries. Well, my B.Sc. degree doesn’t make me a scientist, but I do have enough scientific background to know when science is being applied and when it is not. And a lot of what DFO does in fishery management falls into that latter category. The department’s website, news releases and interviews constantly ...

Input from Third-Party Organizations Could Aid in Facilitating Industry Change

A number of weeks ago I responded to an article I read published in the Globe and Mail about the Northern cod population and the future of the fishing industry. The article laid out the complex web of challenges created by the convergence of industry and economic development needs, political pressures, conservation requirements and the available scientific information. In showing that web, the article highlighted the questions within which the industry remains ensnared: Does anyone ...

The Capelin Conundrum

Capelin are almost as controversial, in fishery circles, as they are essential in Newfoundland and Labrador’s marine food chain. The call in March by WWF-Canada, Oceana and the NunatuKavut Council for a ban on the capelin fishery and the vigorous responses from the FFAW and the Association of Seafood Processors, highlight the need for a solution that everyone involved would be able to live with. On the one hand, WWF and Oceana recommend we stop fishing the capelin stocks, whose numbers ...

The Flawed Plan to Rebuild Canada’s Iconic Northern Cod

Editor’s Note: This commentary was originally published by Policy Options on March 22, 2021.   Canada is on the cusp of an inauspicious anniversary. Next year will mark 30 years since Newfoundland’s 500-year-old Northern cod fishery was shut down. The fishery was closed on July 2, 1992 because of a massive decline in the cod population, as much as 95 per cent, between the early 1960s and the early 1990s. The socioeconomic consequences were staggering: 30,000 to 40,000 jobs ...