Fishing Policies and Island Community Development

Thomas, Emily and Vodden, Kelly and Chuenpagdee, Ratana and Woodrow, Maureen (2014) Fishing Policies and Island Community Development. Project Report. The Harris Centre.

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Fisheries have a long history of being the economic backbone of the coastal and island communities that dot the coastline of Newfoundland and Labrador. The policies and management structure that guide resource use in the province have had, and will continue to have, an impact on those communities. The Fishing Policies and Island Community Development project set out to examine these impacts in two areas (Anchor Point and Fogo and Change Islands) and also to explore how these communities have responded to and even influenced these policies, management structures and impacts. Brief comparisons are also made to findings from a related research project in three island fishing communities in Maine. The study drew from bodies of literature in Archipelagic Island Studies and Comanagement. The research involved secondary data and document review as well as 28 interviews conducted with government and community representatives in 2012. A series of knowledge mobilization activities have also been undertaken, including a project web page, presentations and feedback on initial results obtained at a fall 2012 symposium dedicated to fisheries and community research on the west coast of Newfoundland, and a forum scheduled for Fogo Island and Change Islands in May 2014. The collapse of the groundfishery in the 1990’s, coupled with the rise of snow crab and shrimp fisheries, has influenced how communities respond to changes in the fishery. Policies of importance to communities have included those related to licensing, quotas and other methods of controlling and limiting catch, rationalization, processing and marketing and recreational/food fisheries. The two regions focused upon in this study, Fogo Island/Change Islands and Anchor Point and area, have been active players in influencing how fisheries policies and management decisions and other measures impact their communities. Fogo Island and Change Islands share the presence of the Fogo Island Co-operative, Ltd., for example. The Fogo Island Co-operative operates facilities on Fogo Island and has also operated the community-owned fish plant on Change Islands. The Co-operative is joined by the more recent development of Shorefast Foundation, which plays a role in promoting stewardship, experimentation with alternative gear types, and development of new high value markets for island seafood products, particularly cod. Anchor Point shrimp harvesters, in addition to the rest of the 4R fleet, have participated in a voluntary late start to their fishery, delaying the opening of their season to May 1st from April 1st. Entering new fisheries, vessel upgrades and travelling for employment in other sectors have been additional strategies employed. Community quotas were also suggested in both regions. We found that these communities, while threatened by changes in the fishery and Newfoundland economy more broadly, have innovative ways of responding to changes in two key ways: 1) working within the existing management structure (as the 4R harvesters did) to influence local applications of fisheries policy, and 2) creating news way to buy, sell, and market their catch (as the Fogo Island Co-operative and Shorefast Foundation have done). Local governments and community organizations have also lobbied for policy change but the impacts of these efforts are less evident in a system that remains largely driven by centralized decision-makers.

Item Type: Report (Project Report)
Item ID: 8118
Keywords: Fisheries policy, Island community development, Resilience, Sustainability
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Geography
Grenfell Campus > School of Science and the Environment > Environmental Policy Institute
Divisions > The Harris Centre
Date: March 2014
Date Type: Publication
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