commentary 61 results

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 ...

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 ...