There are low and falling fish prices and high fishing costs and debts. Discussion around these on-going issues was also up for debate at the workshop.
“In Gander at the supermarkets cod is selling for about $7 a pound, the only price that is low is what we are getting for it,” said one fisherman.
Many fishermen agree the market needs innovation, something the Fogo Island Co-operative - which had two members present at the workshop - would know about.
However, it was agreed that there is no coordination between what the markets want and harvesting regulations allow for.
Ideas began flowing when Dr. Vodden mentioned the possibility of special management areas around Change Islands and possibly Fogo Island. They discussed the potential of hook and line areas that would be managed by both islands and community shared fisheries opportunities. The only fear was that the process could get complicated with other fishermen fishing from other communities in Notre Dame Bay.
“You’re restricted enough now where you can go,” said one fisherman.
Fishermen discussed the further possibly of possibly not restricting who could fish the special management areas, but to place a restriction on the actual gear used in the area.
For it to work, there would have to be flexibility on dates of season opening and closing, with the possibility of using a cod trap, approximately 80 feet by 80 feet, then marketing that fish as a product from Change Island and Fogo Island.
This community cod trap would produce a higher quality fish then gill nets.
“I don’t see why it can’t be tried,” said Mayor Brinson. “I think it would be possible to do it because we would love the opportunity to preserve tradition. Why not try to preserve a traditional fishery? What is more traditional then a cod trap?”
“And if the processor didn’t want it today, they could have it tomorrow,” said one fishermen.
Another added, “And if there were still too many there, once you have reached your quota, you’d only let them go.”
Paul Torraville of the Fogo Island Co-operative also commented the community traps would be a great opportunity for tourism.
“They could go out to the nets and pick their fish they want to have for supper. Tourists would love that opportunity,” he said.