What’s New

We will be using this page on occasion to further develop the ideas in “Changing Course”, introduce new initiatives, flag relevant events or articles and add our own comments.

18. Heads Up!

“Changing Course” will be leading a session at an international 3-day conference in St. John’s this June. The 4th World Small-Scale Fisheries Congress (North American Region) will bring together participants from fishing communities, academia, government and civil society, to share experiences and lessons learned and explore how to “get it right” as we move forward at this critical time. 

Small-scale fisheries such as Newfoundland and Labrador’s inshore sector have been shown to be the most sustainable framework for harvesting the oceans, and they will be the focus of the Congress. Our session, “Getting Fish Harvesting Policy Right,” will present and discuss the fundamentals of our alternative approach to fisheries management, based on regulating fishing effort (controlling inputs) rather than setting quotas (controlling outputs.)

As shown throughout this website, the new policy framework that we advocate integrates Western science and modern data technology with the deeper knowledge systems of Indigenous peoples and with lessons learned from our rich history of traditional outport fishing. In our session at the Congress, participants will explore and challenge these ideas with each other and with us, as part of the process of forging better ways to “get harvesting policy right.”

Make sure to mark June 20-22, 2022 on your calendar.

We look forward to seeing you there!

17. Gaps and Assumptions in Fisheries Management

            The following letter by Changing Course‘s Helen Forsey was published in the February, 2022, issue of The Navigator in response to Oceana’s Fishery Audit.

16. Newfoundland Outport Fisheries and Indigenous Traditions

One of our projects through the summer and fall was working on an article for an upcoming e-book on small-scale fisheries in Canada. Here is a glimpse of what you should see when the e-book is published in the coming months.

15. Driving to Central – A Fisheries Analogy

Here is my attempt to show why it’s impossible to calculate a correct allowable catch.

14. DFO’s Magic Machine

This article was published in The Navigator‘s July 2021 issue under the title “There is No ‘Magic Machine’ Leading to Sustainable Fisheries Management.’

13. PERT Fails the Fishing Sector

We sent this response to the NL Government about the PERT Report’s dismal failure to properly address the numerous issues plaguing the fishery.

12. Will the PERT highlight our fishery?

We submitted this to the Newfoundland and Labrador Premier’s Economic Recovery Team (PERT) last December, and published it in The Independent on April 30, 2021, days before the PERT Report came out. Despite being ignored in that report, our analysis and recommendations stand.


11. The Capelin Conundrum

This article offers an alternative way of looking at the ongoing controversy over this little forage fish. It was published in the June 2021 issue of the Navigator Magazine.

10. When is a Plan not a Plan

The Navigator features this article about the DFO December 2020 Cod Rebuilding Plan in its March 2021 issue.

9. Heads up

The Ocean Frontier Institute is an international hub of scholars in ocean research, led by Memorial, Dalhousie and the University of PEI, aiming towards development of a sustainable blue economy. The February newsletter of OFI’s Module I, which focuses on “Informing Governance Responses in a Changing Ocean,” published our article “There is more than one way to…Manage a fishery!” with this introduction:

“For Barry Darby and Helen Forsey, a ‘fishery of the future’ is “where the harvest was ecologically sustainable, economic returns were optimized, high quality food was produced, harvesters were trained professionals, and coastal communities enjoyed food sovereignty and economic stability”. To them, this is only achievable if we ‘change course’, and reimagine the ways we manage fisheries in Newfoundland and Labrador. They propose a paradigm shift in our approach to fisheries governance: from attempts to control outputs through quotas, to managing mainly by controlling input, i.e. fishing effort. Effort-Based Management (EBM), according to them, would benefit not only the fishery but the ocean itself. Getting there, however, will require input from a wide range of stakeholders – academics, harvesters, fishery workers, the people of our coastal communities and the general public – to move us towards a new paradigm, one aligned with the vision of the Blue Economy and the ideal of ‘Getting It Right’.”

Download the article at https://www.ofigovernance.net/opinion-darby-forsey

8. Do Fish Carry Passports (and Does it Matter?)

This saucy piece by Helen Forsey appeared in the Independent, January 22, 2021.

7. Redfish, Bonanza or Boondoggle

This article was published in the Navigator Magazine, December, 2020 and explores the risks that poor harvest management could have on this new emerging fishery.

6. Heads Up:

Changing Course featured in Rural Delivery magazine

Effort-based fishery management is the subject of a two-part series by Barry Darby and Helen Forsey in the popular and practical Nova Scotia-based magazine, Rural Delivery. “Changing Course – A case for effort-based management of Atlantic fisheries” appeared in the October, 2020 issue, followed by “Changing Course – How do we make the shift?” in the November 2020 edition.

Barry Darby and Changing Course on CBC Radio’s The Broadcast

Many fishery issues are explored in detail on CBC Radio’s The Broadcast, with host Jane Adey. Past episodes are available for listening at https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-122-the-broadcast. Several of the programs in recent months have featured the ideas in Changing Course:

A. The FIX: a sea change in how the federal government manages the fishery

Interview with Barry Darby, March 10th, 2020. https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-122-the-broadcast/clip/15765140-questions-long-awaited-harp-seal-count-the-fix

B. Does cod need a new management approach 28 years after the moratorium?

Interview with Barry Darby, July 17, 2020. https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-122-the-broadcast/clip/15787899-does-cod-need-management-approach-28-years-moratorium

C. Fishing cod by effort instead of by quota. Is there a better way to manage the cod fishery?

Reaction from Keith Sullivan of the FFAW, the union representing fish harvesters, Aug. 12, 2020. https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-122-the-broadcast/clip/15791927-fishing-cod-effort-instead-quota-reaction-union-represents

5. Complexity and Simplicity in Fishery Management

In this post I consider the challenge a fishery manager has in producing a simple, clear harvesting plan from the complex world of fishery science. This article appeared in the St. John’s Telegram November 19, 2020.

4. Re-examining DFO Basics

Originally entitled How DFO Gets It Wrong, this article appeared in the July 2020 issue of The Navigator, with shorter versions in the St. John’s Telegram and the Halifax Chronicle Herald.

3. Indigenous Realities and Fishery Policy

My colleague Helen Forsey writes here about the key importance, in fishery policy and practice, of indigenous people and their traditional knowledge.

2. We Know Better

The current system of fishery management contains many assumptions and practices that we know – or should know – are false. This article highlights some of them.

1. The Beginning – The Lobster Model

A brief introduction into how this all started.