Year-round harvesting sector echoes optimism and commitments to the future of the seafood industry at annual meeting in St. John’s

Yesterday, members of the Atlantic Groundfish Council gathered in St. John’s, NL to discuss challenges and priorities for the coming months and years. The Council membership is comprised of primarily family-owned businesses with quota shares in groundfish fisheries, and are united by a deep commitment to responsible and sustainable harvesting.

“Our members are uniquely positioned in the seafood industry. They are ingrained at the local level in communities where their operations are rooted, and where the offshore harvesters and plant workers they employ call home. At the same time, they’re required to meet sophisticated demands of customers around the world that vary greatly by species and by country,” explained Executive Director, Kris Vascotto. “When they come together for a focused discussion, there is incredible value in the collective perspective and understanding.”

With expertise from ocean-to-plate, the group discussed a variety of issues, including:

  • A commitment to continue investment in Fishery Improvement Projects that help identify and close gaps in science on key fish stocks
  • A need for Fisheries and Oceans Canada to move more quickly on key plans required for fisheries improvements, including rebuilding plans and harvest control rules, and how industry can continue to request and support more efficient processes
  • The evolution of global sustainability certifications and ensuring our council continues to be a leader in pursuing third-party fishery sustainability certifications
  • The council’s ongoing global redfish marketing project designed to create and grow much needed global markets as Canada’s redfish stock/supply grows exponentially
  • Contributions to the federal government’s priorities in fisheries and marine management that enables prosperous fisheries

Like many other industries, the seafood industry has had to maneuver incredible challenges over the past couple of years. From the global pandemic upending markets and supply chains to Russia’s conflict in Ukraine and recent unprecedented national and global inflation rates, there has been a constant barrage of large-scale challenges. Despite that, members commitment to and optimism about the future of the seafood industry remains firm.

“The seafood industry will continue to remain an integral part of local economies and a strong contributor to Canada’s Blue economy, as well as the global supply of healthy, sustainable, low-carbon protein,” adds Vascotto. “Despite recent challenges, our members have a long-term view and will continue to invest in sustainable harvesting, technological advancements, improvements to fisheries science and support for people and communities to help ensure the industry continues to prosper for generations to come.”

More information, including a full list of members, is available on the Council’s website.

About the Atlantic Groundfish Council

The Atlantic Groundfish Council is a non-profit industry association representing year-round groundfish harvesters in Atlantic Canada. Its members employ thousands of people, in mostly year-round jobs, in rural communities throughout Atlantic Canada. The Council contributes to research that will improve the sustainability and management of groundfish fisheries by actively supporting science, sustainability certifications and responsible management.