Bob Verge characterizes the future of the cod fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador as full of opportunity, uncertainty, and challenges.
“We are currently seeing the effects of climate change in terms of decreasing abundance of shrimp and crab, along with increasing abundance of cod and other groundfish,” said Mr. Verge, Managing Director of the Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation (CCFI), a non-profit organization that supports scientific research and technology to the provincial fishing industry. “The rebuilding groundfish resources present a very significant new opportunity but also many challenges and pitfalls in trying to take advantage of that opportunity.”
CCFI wants to navigate a path to a successful industry with its conference “Cod – Building the Fishery of the Future” taking place November 28-29 in Gander, NL.
The event is expected to attract over 200 delegates from the provincial fish harvesting and processing sectors, government, scientific and technical community.
Presentations will focus on the current status of the resource and its expected growth trajectory, the global trade in groundfish, cod markets, what others are doing with similar resources elsewhere, demographics of the local labour force, and profiles of the harvesting and processing sectors.
Series of Three
The November conference is intended to be the first of a series of three conferences to provide information and foster discussion among a diverse group of stakeholders around issues involved in building a new cod industry, with the objective of arriving at a plan that is competitive internationally, economically viable, and sustainable and provides a sound economic base for regions dependent on it.
“In this first gathering, we want to establish baseline information about the local and global groundfish industry, and cod in particular, so that we have a clear understanding of the status of the existing industry,” explains Mr. Verge. “That information will then set the scene for discussions among industry stakeholders of key issues and options for developing the future fishery, to arrive at a plan that will guide the industry to the transition from where we are to where we need to be.”
CCFI expects that those who attend will be instrumental in influencing others in their home communities, fleet sectors, and processing plants as to how the new cod fishery ought to develop and how attract young participants.
CCFI hopes the conference series will play a pivotal role in setting the direction for the future of Newfoundland and Labrador’s cod fishery and building a consensus around that direction.
“The economic stakes are high because of the value generated from the resource and the impacts on the provincial economy can vary over a very large range,” stresses Mr. Verge. “We want to start making good choices now and shift the mindset from rebuilding the industry of the past to preparing for the industry of the future.”
Further details about the conference and how to register are available at www.ccfi.ca