FTT due 11:59 pm October 13

After learning the heartbreaking story of northern cod of Newfoundland, it is time to reflect on what you think are the two single most important lessons from this disaster. In approximately 250-300 words, tell us what you think those two lessons are, and why they are so important. Push yourself to go beyond the obvious, such as “we need to learn to not catch so many fish.” While that is true, that is not terribly helpful. Which lessons can be applied to help us avoid this type of collapse again in the future?

As per usual, respond to at least two (2) posts by your peers by Wednesday at 11:59 pm by clicking the ‘reply’ button to a student’s post

Expect to see an essay question on northern cod on Thursday’s exam.


59 thoughts on “FTT due 11:59 pm October 13”

  1. After learning about the heartbreaking story of the northern cod of Newfoundland, some important lessons were learned from this. One being that people were taking more Cod than what they should have, instead of just taking Enough. Another is that John Crosby had to shut down 500 years of Cod Fishing to save the species, which ended up in a mass layoff of 40,000 fishermen and women. These are so important, because they affected the culture of Newfoundland drastically. I think there needs to be more responsibility in order to keep this from happening again. I think personally, that John Crosby should have enforced the shutdown years before he did. It could have saved more of the population of Cod, and possibly saved the livelihoods of people that were at stake. While at the same time, people were taking more than what they needed to survive. If they had taken only what they needed, maybe this shutdown wouldn’t have happened. To prevent something like this from happening again someone needs to be watching the species closely. While northern Cod is slowly making a comeback, if there is even a slight decline we need to bring fishing to a halt and evaluate the situation. We need biologists in the field paying attention, but we also need the government officials monitoring it as well. We need to know the fish, and understand them fully to bring them back up to their full potential. If we open the Cod fishery again, and if their is a slight decline we need to regulate how much of the population we can take Safely. The northern Cod belong to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, so they should be the first to harvest. If there is room for foreigners to step in and fish it also, then they need permits and need to obey the limits accordingly to the laws set in place. 

    1. To Shelby – I like your reminder that this loss of fish was also a huge loss of culture. It should have been prevented for the sake of the fishermen and the culture of Newfoundland. I agree that stocks should be watched closely so that this kind of tragedy doesn’t happen again, as there was inadequate stock assessment and management.

    2. Can you imagine? The livelihood of 40 thousand families in jeopardy because of one industry being shut down. That’s scary. Seeing what has happened in our country, since March, has been eye opening when it comes to being more responsible. Managing and evaluating the fishing industry is crucial. It’s not just the livelihood of the fishermen that are at stake anymore, it’s the food source, as well. Fish is a staple throughout the world, and even more so in poverty stricken countries.

    3. hey Rachel! i really liked how you said “While northern Cod is slowly making a comeback, if there is even a slight decline we need to bring fishing to a halt and evaluate the situation”. i 100% agree with you, i hope that it never starts to decline again, but you never know.

    4. It was nice that you added the cultural shock to it. I also enjoyed that fact that you said that foreigners would need to obtain special permits to fish the stock if cod were to regain their full strength

    5. I agree with what you said about the fishery being closed down earlier. I think that definitely would have helped to preserve to species and the fishery as a whole. I also think heavier scrutiny of the species is a requirement if we want to harvest it ever again. We have to keep a better eye on it and make sure what needs to be done is done to preserve the cod.

  2. The first thing outside of “they caught too much” that comes to mind with the collapse of Cod in Newfoundland is the bycatch. This is mostly because it is very relevant to today. I am aware that it was not the most detrimental issue at hand, but it was definitely a large issue and one that still wreaks havoc even in Alaska. During the crash, trawlers were picking up large amounts of cod, but also enormous amounts of Capelin as well, which is the main food source for Cod. When we look at the grand scheme of things, they diminished the stock and also their main food source- which led to a point of absolutely no return. I know today from sitting in on fishery seminars that we are really trying to make some accurate models for bycatch limits so we can prevent the waste of other fish, marine mammals, etc., especially those who are endangered. Bycatch alone can absolutely destroy a fishery/ecosystem in my opinion. Secondly, I really always go back to fisheries management and trust with the community. It is a fishery biologist’s job to make the best decisions for the fish and also the economy. Though, you can’t always have both. Newfoundland’s biologists messed up big time. They failed to account for all of the variability in fish stocks related to environmental changes and made a decision to trust the skewed data. This lost the trust and rightfully so. It goes to show that when you are in charge of management, not many will question your decisions and if you fail- the blood is on your hands. In Alaska I have frequented tons of online fishing pages that constantly accuse ADF&G of lying about fish counts at the weirs. “The 1,000 you counted as Coho last night were probably actually Sockeye! Where are the fish?” I am not sure when Alaskan’s lost trust, but I believe it could use some work. It’s hard to find a medium between a fisherman and a biologist in my eyes, but I think that is where science has failed the communities. When the community does not understand the science, they cannot support it. I think if there was more communication between the people and fish management, especially to use more understandable ’cause and effect’ models/data, we could have a little more trust.

    1. I think that you’ve nailed the concept that the fishers and the managers need to have better communication. Everyone involved is dependent on sustainable fisheries, and yet in this instance they did not work together to present an accurate picture of what was happening with the northern cod. Trust is a major problem that needs to be fixed by the managers presenting reliable data and communicating well with the fishermen so that the rules are reasonable and enforced.

    2. I agree that bycatch is a really important takeaway from this story and I think it is one that is very easy to overlook and forget about. The cod were not the only species being impacted by the fishing, but they experienced the greatest decline because of impact on other species (i.e. capelin). It is very important to consider all factors in an ecosystem that are being affected, not just the obvious one.

    3. Nice mention of the Capelin! Double destruction in a way. Not only were trawlers further depleting the resource, but they were depleting the resource’s main food source, as well. Imagine how that must have affected the entire ecosystem. In a way, it kind of bothers me that people didn’t understand the devastation this would cause for future generations. Did they not care, or were they just too oblivious to realize it? Unfortunately, I think it might have been, and still is, a combination of both.

    4. That was an informative read from the outside looking it. I enjoyed that you able to reference what the community and management was like for them, giving it a different perspective on the matter. I also liked how you referenced the seminar and trying to understand actual counts better and defending your decisions.

  3. One lesson that’s really important to take away from the northern Atlantic cod mishap is that we shouldn’t allow fisheries management to have such a huge disconnect with biological space. Managers of an ecosystem should know exactly where that ecosystem is and how far it extends. A huge problem with the northern Atlantic cod was that the management only made the foreign fishing limit 200 miles out, which didn’t cover the environment of the stocks. This allowed foreign fisheries to continue fishing off the stocks from the other end, even after the moratorium. This caused both the original decline of cod and their slow recovery, as they are still being fished. We should learn from this that management needs to be responsible for understanding where the fish are living and moving, especially if geographical fishing limits are going to be imposed. We need to make our decisions based off all the biological facts, not just the ones that suit us.

    Another lesson that we need to learn from this sad situation is that sometimes the catch is not an appropriate indicator of the stock abundance. It cannot be our automatic assumption that if our catch is going up, the stock must be increasing. This is a dangerous thought that partially led to the collapse of the Atlantic cod. Instead, we need to understand that fisheries are dynamic. When our technology improves, a factor in the fishery has changed, and other things will change as well. When cod fishermen used sonar, their catch increased, but they were catching so much cod with better technology that the stocks were decreasing. Their assumption that the stock must be increasing led to bad regulations and the collapse of cod. In the future, we need to be conducting more studies to accurately count the stocks and we need to be prepared to institute harsher regulations earlier on in order to preserve the fishery.

    1. I agree on both points, and I think the second one is definitely a really important thing to think about and factor into fisheries. Technology has improved at a rapid rate, faster than animals are capable of evolving. We need to understand that while our technology is getting better and allowing us to catch more, it’s not as if the fish are keeping the same pace as us. You really have to use the technology to see where the fish are and what the health of the population is like, not just use it to increase catch.

    2. ( huge problem with the northern Atlantic cod was that the management only made the foreign fishing limit 200 miles out, which didn’t cover the environment of the stocks. )
      I love the fact that you brought this up, because this was also a very important factor relating to poor management.

    3. Excellent point… fish movement. At that time, I don’t know if fisheries management understood the importance of migration patterns, or really even had enough data on it. If only they could have also foreseen the advancements in fishing equipment and vessels. Being able to fish further distances from shore didn’t help the situation. I hope we learn from the past and don’t repeat the same mistakes.

    4. Bringing up the fishing happening in the foreign waters makes a great point with not allowing the current stock to even fully recover. The regulations seemed to do little to nothing and had minimal impacts. I also think they counts and monitoring at the docks should have been more thorough. I agree with obtaining a more accurate count of the stocks could have possibly helped with tightening up the regulations.

    5. Rachel, I agree that we really need to be careful on our data collection and projection. I think MSY data models are very dangerous to fisheries and could cause another huge mistake down the road. Environments and populations vary from year to year and we must use a model that accounts for that variation to have an accurate take on stock and catch rates.

  4. The story of the northern cod in Newfoundland has a lot of very important lessons that we need to remember in order to prevent a similar situation from happening in the future. One of the most important lessons is communication and understanding between fishers and management. After the moratorium, the management, specifically John Crosby, tried to blame the low stock numbers on the fishermen. However, it is not the fishermen who determine the amount of fish that are allowed to be caught. After the moratorium was put in place, thousands of people lost their jobs and were reliant on the government for financial support, who were unable to provide job opportunities for those that were now unemployed. Overall, there was a big disconnect between the management and government officials and the actual fishershmen. So, in the future, we must be better about ensuring productive communication between management and the fishers on reliable stock numbers and the fishing in general.
    On that note, another very important lesson is that we have to know how many fish are actually there and how our fishing is impacting the population. The behavioral patterns of the northern cod, namely their tendency to aggregate, led the people to believe that there were more cod than there actually were, and that meant the government was telling people they could catch more fish than should have actually be caught. It is essential to know the real numbers of the population that you are hunting, otherwise the numbers just keep going down until they are almost impossible to recover, as very nearly happened in Newfoundland.

    1. (Overall, there was a big disconnect between the management and government officials and the actual fishermen. )

      I agree with you that there was definitely a major disconnection between management, and the government officials at the time. Because I feel like more fish and livelihoods could have been saved if there was just more communication.

    2. For my post, I put that trust between fishermen and management was important and I believe that goes on with communication as well. If their leadership was honest with them in the first place, all of this could have been prevented. How fish impacts the population is also important to understand. Great post!

    3. Your last paragraph explained the reason people caught too many fish, very well. Not really knowing how abundant a population is can lead to disaster. I think fisheries management is doing a much better job of restricting the quantities that can be caught, and the only way that is possible is through collecting fairly accurate population estimates. Of course, many factors need to be taken into consideration, including bycatch and illegal catches.

    4. Samantha, your post really reminded me of Art McEvoy ‘s stance on sustainability. I also believe that there is a huge connect with environment, economy, and management. They all are related in a close way and have a cause and effect chain that can be seen in history. If we can pay attention to the environment, we can create appropriate management, thus which will help sustain the economy.

  5. I believe the two most important lessons learned from the destruction of the Northern cod of Newfoundland are both attributed to improper fisheries management. As the fishing industry began to boom in the 1800s and fishing technology continued to improve throughout the 1900s, the fisheries management programs did not evolve at the same rate of speed. Understanding fish populations and how they need to be regulated went without careful scrutiny. However, at that time, there was not enough sufficient data to support the idea of a potential collapse in any fish stock. The rapid population growth and wealth obtained from fishing, brought on massive catch quantities. Unfortunately, management relied too much on Catch Per Unit Effort (CPUE) as a true measure of abundance, and that eventually led to a decline in the population of Northern cod. In addition, many believed that cod stock populations were inexhaustible, and not understanding their lifespan or reproductive cycle also led to their demise. Many people attribute the collapse of the Northern cod population to the Tragedy of the Commons, an essay written by Garrett Hardin in 1968. In Hardin’s essay, he uses the term “tragedy of the commons” to explain the exploitation of a shared (common) resource and how demand overwhelms the supply, causing the resource to no longer be available. This concept includes a growing human population, change in climate, and continued pollution of the oceans/seas. I believe, with proper fisheries management and an understanding of “the commons”, future collapses can be avoided. If we restrict the areas fished and limit what is removed while analyzing stock populations, we have a better chance of maintaining fish stocks.

    1. Hi Zosha!

      I agree with what you were saying about management relying on CPUE instead of actual population numbers. It gave the illusion that the cod stock was doing better than they thought. Great post!

    2. I love that you specifically talked about Catch Per Unit Effort (CPUE) and how at first the fisherman were gaining in wealth and grew the fleet at first due to catching a high volume of fish. As Peter stresses catch does NOT reflect abundance! There was the naive notion that the fish stock was inexhaustible ultimately leading to the collapse of Northern cod. I found the passage you shared by Hardin insightful, “demand overwhelms the supply”. I like that you pointed out that this concept is not just limited to the fish but other human issues.

    3. Hi Zosha,

      I also agree that the main cause of the collapse of the fishery was due to poor management. The Canadian government did a very poor job and that caused over forty thousand fishermen to lose their jobs.

    4. hey Zosha! i liked how you talked about the CPUE. it was a really nice touch of data to add to your post and it made it a lot more persuasive, and showed how certain types of data can be interpreted in different ways than normal!

    5. Hello Zosha, I can see the tragedy of the commons with cod. If people take boatloads of fish from the same area year after year using sonar, and not properly accounting for population. I can see why this comparison was used. In class when we learned about CPUE I didn’t understand why that was used. This now makes me wonder if CPUE is used anymore for fisheries with sonar?

  6. The issues that I found most important were what happened with management boundaries and the lack of understanding scientists had about the cod populations.

    The management boundaries arbitrarily divided the region without regard for cod spawning grounds and did not reflect the makeup of individual populations. By not being able to distinguish between populations and accurately determine which stocks were healthy, management were left with mixed results that could provide no answers. When managing a species, it is necessary to know where spawning areas are and which groups rely on those specific areas. This knowledge can provide accurate information on the welfare of specific groups and allow for management strategies to be tailor to fit each group as needed.

    The lack of understanding that scientists had about the cod population led them to rely on the catch per unit effort (CPUE) as a determination of the health of the stock. This method of determining health was severely damaging to the cod populations because of their nature to form large aggregations as numbers become smaller. For a species to be properly managed it must be fully understood in terms of its biology and habits. When this information is not completely understood, management strategies are destined to have complications due to a lack of understanding.

    I find these issues crucial because when the science of a situation is not clearly understood there are bound to be issues. While the political element did lead to certain scientific investigations being buried the majority of the investigations were based on poor boundary distinctions and little biological understanding. If the science had overwhelmingly shown the accurate situation of each population and explained the nature of the congregations then management would have had little choice to follow the facts or look like complete fools. The benefit of accurate science is that, when management is not listening, it can be sent straight to the public, so that they can decide.

    1. Great post! I also believe that a lack of knowledge and understanding of the species led to the crash. CPUE is not a good way to determine the abundance of a fish stock and its extremely unfortunate that sometimes stuff like this happens today.

    2. I agree. I think biologists and scientists had the data they needed to understand how quickly a stock can collapse… at least not for the Northern cod stock. Too many instances occurred all at once. The rapid growth rate of the human population, improvements in fishing vessels and technology, climate change, pollution due to development, and overfishing all played a part in the exploitation of the Northern cod. I don’t think biologists took all of those attributes into account, and they certainly didn’t have data that spread over an extended period of time. In a sense, it was the perfect storm.

    3. I like how you brought up the CPUE! I really agree that since the scientists didn’t really know what was happening the methods they used to determine the population was an ineffective way to monitor the fishery and because of this they’re information was woefully inaccurate. The point you brought up that the accurate science can be made accessible to the public in the case that the management isn’t listening is an aspect I didn’t consider when I was thinking of the benefits of the research. That’s a good idea!

  7. Over the last few weeks in class, it is obvious that a lot is to be said about the northern cod fishery shutdown in 1992. From over 40,000 fishermen losing their jobs, homes, and entire lives to a small fish town in Newfoundland going from booming and thriving on cod to shutting down the city. There are many important and relevant lessons to be learned from this tragedy, but the two most important lessons that I take away from our history are that we need to understand our environment better, and the second lesson being we have to be able to trust that our leaders are doing the right thing.

    Not only were fishermen overharvesting and destroying the northern cod’s habitat with new technology and bad fishing habits, but little did they know that the environment was changing rapidly before their eyes. Water temperatures changing causing the cod to adapt to a new environment or move somewhere else. Fishing while the cod were trying to adapt made things worse over time. I think it’s important to not only know about the species you are harvesting but to truly know what that species needs to thrive and have the ability to recognize when things aren’t right.

    The second lesson is one that I believe we still struggle with today: trusting our leaders. Back in 1992, it was obvious that stock numbers were not accurate for the northern cod. Our leaders failed us because of selfishness and lack of knowledge about what overharvesting can actually do to a species. The fishermen who were angry at John Crosby might have been a little more understanding if years before the shutdown, Crosby, and the rest of their leadership, were more honest about what was actually happening to the cod fishery.

    1. Hi Andrea!

      You brought up a great point about the water temperature changing and how fishing while the cod were adapting to that was not good and made things worse. I wasn’t thinking about that when I wrote my answer to this FTT. Great post!

    2. Andrea,

      I like your second point a lot. I agree that had John Crosby kept the TAC levels to recommended levels, instead of exceeding them, perhaps this whole thing could have been avoided. At the very least, like you said, the fisherman may have been a little more understanding if there were years of tapered decline instead of an overnight shutdown.

  8. I believe that the biggest lesson learned from the collapse of the Atlantic cod fishery is the lack of overlap between fisheries managers and the people who actually work in the fisheries. It seems clear to me that because the people of Newfoundland who worked in the Cod fishery and the people who managed the fishery did not interact very much and consequently there was and still is a level of distrust on both sides. This impaired the ability of managers to accurately manage the cod fishery and likely caused some fishermen to break laws that were implemented to protect fisheries. This level of distrust also contributed to the anger that was felt by Newfoundland’s fishermen after the close of the cod fishery. Their anger can likely also be attributed to another lesson that was learned from the collapse of the Newfoundland cod fishery.

    I think another big lesson that could be learned from the collapse of the North Atlantic Cod fishery is related to the ineffective relief efforts that were undertaken by the Canadian government. The lesson to be learned here is that when an industry that supplies almost the entirety of an area’s economic activity and provides its cultural identity is suddenly lost that robust relief efforts must be implemented to prevent rapid cultural and economic collapse. Overnight the economy of most of Newfoundland was gone. Thousands of people lost jobs, boats, and entire generations of cultural heritage. This lesson specifically seems important in Alaska due to how Alaska Native cultures are intertwined with salmon and the recent decline of some salmon populations.

  9. The heart wrenching story of the northern cod of Newfoundland dates back to the 1800’s, a time before we had done significant research on the impacts of human temperament within a marine ecosystem. Fishing particularly had never been as large scale but there was rising demand to accommodate a growing population. This was a radically changing time for developing nations. There were zero regulations put in place, fisherman from 1505-1805 the catch style was multiple techniques and open year round. When the mini ice age hit Newfoundland the cod stocks drastically declined, although I view natural weather events as the problem in this story. I have mixed feelings putting the blame on the fisherman because at the time they didn’t understand the concept of “overfishing” that fishing could become a finite resource no longer sustainable if not managed, cherished and protected, yet they were the ones doing the damage. The attention goes to the carelessness and ignorance illustrated why had they not made attempts to understand the cod species? If they had they would have realized the importance of spawning grounds and not fishing during the time of spawning. Catch does not reflect the stock! The other thing I can’t help but think is technology being a blessing and a curse. Through modern advancements better research was supported on learning about the fish species and their patterns. On the other hand fishermans were able to target schools with the development of sonar. Cod being a schooling species this damaged their recovery process. This was a horrible disaster, I pray some good has come from it, a better understanding for management. As well as the ability for Canadian and Newfoundlanders to forgive and trust fishery scientists once again.

    1. Madelyn,

      I like how you described the positive and negative effects of advanced technology. I think we often forget the trade offs that advancements in technology can leave us. The development of sonar being one of them. While it proved extremely valuable during WWII it was a tool used to decimate the cod population, a blessing and a curse, like you said.

  10. The Cod fishery closing in 1992 was a heartbreaking event. Over 40,000 fishermen lost their jobs and it was a sad time in New Foundland. The two biggest lessons that we can learn from this catastrophic event is to make sure you maintain a healthy relationship between the fisheries managers and the fishermen themselves and, that in order to keep fishing a specific species, we need to regulate the amount of fish being able to be caught much more strictly. There was a heavy disconnect in the overall communication between the fishermen and the fisheries managers when the fishery closed down in 1992. The Canadian government actually ran the fisheries making the caught cod become government property. So the way that the Canadian government ran the fisheries was a contributing factor in the downfall of the fishery itself. Probably the largest reason for the collapse however was the amount of cod that they continued to fish for while the species was in decline. They started to increase the amount of fish caught even though the cod populations were in decline. When the fishery collapsed in 1992, the spawning populations of cod had been decreased by 75 percent and 99 percent of the “Northern Atlantic” cod had been wiped out. Most of these problems seem to have stemmed from the lack of proper management from the Canadian government. So if the Canadian government would have done a better job at regulating and maintaining the cod populations, the Newfoundland fisheries collapse of 1992 may have never even happened.

  11. When you build a economy on cod and then it runs out your left with a complete disaster. The families of fisherman are all devestated and when a towns along the sea and the only income is mainly fishing then an entire town full of people and families could be turned into a ghost town over night. There are a lot of lessons in what had happened in new foundland. One being that you obviously cant take all the fish but instead need to find a balance of harvesting and producing cod. Another is that greed and money go together very well and you need to look at the bigger picture than just looking at whats best for you. Also, with the fisheries that closed due to mis-communication between fishermen and the fisheries managers there needs to be better communication and partnerships with the fisherman. They are a huge peice of the puzzle that makes a fishery work well. Without proper comminication between both parties there will continuously be problems and un succesful fisheries.

  12. After learning about the disaster of the Northern cod of Newfoundland I think one of the most important lessons I learned is that catch numbers do not determine stock numbers. I kind of already knew this from other classes but learning about it in more detail, the cod in Newfoundland, really set it in stone for me. Seeing the graphs and numbers that back this idea was really upsetting and somewhat hard to believe that the fishermen at the time weren’t seeing that connection. I can’t remember if the scientists who were working during that time knew about it or were informing the fishermen about the numbers. It should have been well known across the board either way. Maybe if they had known, fishing could’ve been reduced and more cod could have been saved and left to help make the future generations.
    Another lesson I learned was that technology isn’t always the best addition to fisheries. I think the best way to describe it, that comes to my mind is that it’s a blessing and a curse. It’s a great way to target a school and get a good catch but it is also a very easy and quick way to decimate a large fish population. I think it would’ve been better to use more recreationally and not in commercial fishing. At least in most recreational fishing, there are catch limits that can prevent overfishing and mass catch in one area. I think if there were more rules along with the privilege of having the technology to assist with fishing it could have helped. Maybe even slow down the high catch numbers and giving the cod a chance.

  13. The lessons from the collapse of Northern Cod are numerous however, the two that I want to focus on for this post are government involvement and the interpretation/dismissal of data.

    I am for some involvement of government control of resources, but I feel that the Canadian government involvement was too great. When the Law of the Sea was passed in 1976 that kicked out all foreign vessels, the Canadian government decided to ramp up its own fishing fleet to harvest more of this resource that was now open solely to them. Thus giving incentives to citizens if they would become fisherman, which I feel put more of a strain on an already depleted population. And when the fishery collapsed in 1992 the government added insult to injury. Blaming the very people it pushed into the industry, claiming it was not the government who took the fish from the ocean, but the fisherman themselves. The social and economic fallout that resulted is heartbreaking.

    The second important lesson I want to focus on is how the data was misinterpreted. This tragedy showed us the inadequacies of our data collection/reading for instance, it was thought that CPUE (catch per unit effort) was a true testament to cod abundance. The data was misleading. Another aspect that needs to be addressed is just the pure brush off of numbers that did not fit the Canadian governments vision for the cod fishery. Fisheries management decisions are made at the government level in Canada, far removed from the fishing communities. In 1990 the TAC (target allowable catch) was posed at 3 different levels by scientist, the Minister of Fisheries and Ocean set the TAC 20,000 tons higher than the highest level recommended by scientist. In my opinion, what is the point of consulting with experts if you are just going to ignore them?

  14. I think the greatest lessons to be learned from the catastrophic situation of the Newfoundland cod fishing disaster in the 1990’s are the terrible miscommunication between fishers and fishery management and the lack of foresight to the impacts of their actions on not only the economy of Newfoundland but the devastating effects to the surrounding culture.

    The first issue is the miscommunication between the fisheries and the fishers themselves. I work in a grocery store where this happens all the time, the big wigs don’t know what the front liners do and enact ineffective policies because they don’t have the experience and the front liners fail to see the bigger picture. If the two, fishers and management, kept in contact and checked in with one another responsibly or if they had a fisher representative within management, I think the brunt of this disaster could’ve been avoided.

    While neither party communicated properly to the other, both failed to see the impact of what they were doing on both of their jobs, lives, and culture. Recognizing how much overfishing could affect both of them was vital in the situation but greed and overzealousness blinded them and the consequences struck hard at the heart of the community, removing tens of thousands of jobs, the lifeblood of the community and the tremendous cultural value of fishing to natives of Newfoundland.

    This could’ve been avoided by setting aside greed and pride to work together for what’s best for the people of Newfoundland, not to mention the culturally and individually valuable species of cod.

    1. Hi Molly,
      I like that you mention a lack of foresight. I think that having a perspective that takes into account the greater consequences that could appear in the future is important for management. Thinking of the future leads to better management in the present.

      I disagree on the points of greed and overzealousness.
      For the fishermen that were put out of work when the moratorium was put in place, catching cod was about putting food on the table and getting enough money to ends meet. They were told by the management that such numbers were allowed so they fished those numbers; now management was wrong but many of the fishermen didn’t know this. When population estimations came back with mixed results management had to consider needs of the industry and aimed high, this is where foresight should have come in and showed the dangers of not being cautious. Neither of these is an example of greed. With regards to overzealousness, the definition of overzealous is a person is demonstrating too much enthusiasm for something. How were the fishermen, trying to get by, or the managers, trying to support the industry, overzealous? None of their actions meet this definition.

      It is easy to attribute negative qualities, like greed, to people, groups, humanity (our current president) but more often than not these simply aren’t true. The situations don’t meet the definitions and in most cases the only thing that can be said about people is that they are often misguided and sometimes misinformed/disinformed. An interesting example of misusing definitions is Antifa; this is an organization that claims to be anti-fascist but uses violence to intimidate and kills people who disagree with them.

  15. The lesson I think would be something to learn about what happened to the cod population in Newfoundland would be that of the peoples greed and management of the fish stock itself.

    As stocks of cod were harder to catch, the technology to catch fish would become more advanced. With the newer technology fishermen would be able to sail out and catch an obscene amount of fish. With powerful trawlers, radar technology, electronic navigation, and sonar the fishermen celebrate on their haul even though it was more than allowed. As years progressed and newer and advanced technology would become abundant, the fishermen would continue to wreak havoc on cod, never letting the fish stock itself to recover from the season before. Making it one of the major factors on why John Crosby would place an moratorium on a 500 year old trade.

    The management of the fish stock was not the greatest neither. Even though there were fishermen that were overharvesting cod, there were some abiding by the rules that were set in place. With the lack of judgement from the Canadian government limits were set in place. Those limits were determined by the amount of fish caught from commercial fisheries. Though foreigners fishing off the coast of the Canadian shore was ban the amount of fish caught did not decrease. The trust that the people of Newfoundland gave to their government at the time was exponential and in a blink of an eye that trust would disappear just like the over fished Atlantic cod.

    The lesson to be had from what transpired the Atlantic cod is that one should not over fish a stock just to satisfy their greed for either money or abundance. Showing the economical impact of what can happen to greedy people. The government themselves should never calculated the size of the population by the amount caught by fishermen. Just by learning from that lesson that you should never guesstimate by catch but rather gather resources to comply and accurate assessment on the stock itself.

  16. The iconic Atlantic Cod’s management from the future perspective is hard to watch. The abundance of Cod when the fisheries first began gave an optimistic and endless food source. The upwelling of nutrients rich waters allowed the food web to supply the cod with a food source for their population to thrive. The local fisheries using primitive catch techniques and were able to fish to their heart’s content. The demand for Cod became a driving force for innovative ways of increasing the catch of these fish. When Cod traps came to light and catch became more abundant, and the economy boomed further. The economy drove the fishery to catch more for the good of all humans. The foreign vessels of the world became capable of reaching the endless supply of Cod and became an economic driver in other countries. The larger boats became another part of the technology that enabled the cod to be caught at greater quantities.
    Cod, being Cod, returned to their spawning grounds and fought to keep up their abundance with the reality of being found. The sonar’s invention had recently been discovered and used to track the cod and found their spawning grounds. Surely, the scientists and government were monitoring the cod populations so they could continue fishing. The fishery managers were monitoring the Cod populations with the CPUE (Catch Per Unit Effort). Using the CPUE should show the abundance of fish and help the legal system develop quotas. When fishers came to the government saying the fish are in trouble, they were told to catch more. When the scientists told the government that the fish were in trouble, they were told to check their numbers. When the fish were gone, the government said they weren’t the ones catching all the fish.
    The failures of the people caused the Cod’s population to collapse. Economic prosperity gave the cod value to humans. The government not listening to the scientists and the people lead to the cod being caught at greater quantities than they should have. Technology allowed foreign fisheries, larger catches, and sonar to allow the CPUE to be used against science.

    1. Hi Branddon,
      I have heard lots of words thrown around with the fisherman’s association in the collapse. To name a few, greedy, misinterpted, optimistic as you said and I chose the word ignorant. I think you also hint at ignorant or naive, by saying “endless food source”. It is near impossible to know which apply but it has been fascinating hearing everyone’s interpretations. I don’t think any party involved necessarily entered with bad intentions the health of the stock was in everyone’s best interest.

  17. The focus on exploring alternative governing options was a valuable lesson learned. The approach and management of a single species rather than looking at multiple species created unnecessary boundaries and left little room to adapt to environmental changes. Lack of policy adjustments and vague analysis built a stage with limits on pre-harvest on post-harvest management. Developing a better understanding and building your knowledge of human to nature relationships and how each have such an integral role with the other. The viewpoints and concentration of the fishery seemed to have had all the attention at the end product and not as a whole. The lack of transparency with the state and public emphasized the importance of having your interactions with a larger audience.
    The control measures were revised after the stock collapse in the 90s. Despite the many efforts of Legislative and policy changes, assessment of stock show display minimal growth. Management from the top down seem to prove that is has been insufficient. The fish chain provides a foundation to understand the systems dynamics. Understanding and the collection of data of each complex stage was important. Identifying the different avenues through stakeholders helped create new windows of opportunity. Acknowledging the information given and involving the ones with experience. Taking notice on the marine ecosystem and implementing management policy was also identified. Even when knowing the fishery is in jeopardy, recreational opportunity was still granted in early 2000s allowing hundreds of tons to be caught. It seems to be a continuous failing to bridge science and policy, provide the funds required to resource, and have more public engagement and community involvement. The communication and strategic planning between the stakeholders and the decision makers need to continue to adapt to the changing environment factors that challenge the restructuring of the fishery.

  18. although there are many things that can be said about the newfoundland cod catastrophe, i think two of the most important things that needed to be paid attention to, but werent, were the fact that more needed to be done sooner to protect the species, and the government needed to involve the public more in their decision making. firstly, i think many more things could have been done in order to help the cod species, but if we were to notice the fact that their population was starting to die out sooner, and we acted on it sooner, i think that whole situation would have a different result. Additionally, i think one of the biggest issues that was glossed over, was the poor communication between the government and the people. there are so many fisherman whos lives depended on the cod, so it would only make sense for them to be irritated when the government began to limit what and how they would catch. and although, yes the government told them why they were doing it, i feel that if there were more public statements and more of the community was involved in the discussions related to the cod, i think the public would’ve been able to understand the what’s and whys for why they cant really catch cod anymore.

  19. One of the most important lessons about the Northern Cod situation, in my opinion, is the need to listen to the fishermen. When you have people on the ground who know what’s abnormal and they notice I feel like it’s important to pay attention to that kind of thing. Having people on the ground who understand what the fishery is supposed to look like is crucial to the preservation of one. Whether that was missing in the Northern Cod collapse or if those people tried to report the difference and it was overlooked, I think it could have opened our eyes to it in time to prevent such a devastating collapse.
    The other lesson I think is important is paying attention to the conservative numbers. The number of fish allowed to be harvested was almost 100,000 more than it was supposed to be in order to be sustainable. It’s very possible that if the proper amount had been harvested then once again, the impact could have been mitigated, or even prevented. It was yet another factor in the grand scheme of things that not enough people paid attention to and so the fishery suffered. I think this is another instance where, if they had listened then the collapse would not have been as bad as it was.

    Ultimately, I believe that the main issues that led to the collapse of the Northern Cod fishery was a mix of miscommunication and willful ignorance. With the fishermen who saw the differences and the few scientists who did the research and found the actual numbers. They knew but ultimately it didn’t change anything. Also, the scientists that were mistaken of the numbers gave a much smaller number than was actually fished and everyone went along with it, they ignored the signs because they held the mistaken belief that it was an inexhaustible resource. Those missteps led to the collapse of the fishery.

    1. The communication between the stakeholders was horrific. Almost as if they were passive listening to each other. Working with everyone involved with the fishery may have prevented some of the results. I think the scientists or any researcher should have their work peer reviewed. Always beneficial to have more eyes on the matter.

    2. Hi Rheannon,
      I agree with the concept of willful ignorance especially on part of the managers. They didn’t want the system to be in decline so they decided that it wasn’t and disregarded any information that said otherwise. For management to be done correctly people must be able to admit when a system is not working to avoid major collapses. Once a problem has been acknowledged then it can be fixed or at least mitigated.

  20. Newfoundland Cod

    An estimated 40,000 people lost their jobs when the Atlantic Cod Fishery crashed, causing the unemployment to rise dramatically; because Newfoundland’s economy was based of fishing for cod many of the families moved and the economic structure had to be rebuilt.
    In the 1950’s new radar technology was introduced to fisher’s, allowing them to fish deeper, longer and where cod was plentiful. Harvests were much larger with the new technology and by 1970’s the cod population had declined dramatically.

    I personally believe that we cannot allow economy’s to be built solely on one source of species, that variety is important so that we do not wipe out the abundant species.

    While living in Denali National Park and Preserves I was taught not to wipe out a species, to have respect for the land and animals. I watched my grandfather and father “properly manage” the Toklat wolves, the pack was managed by years of experience and when the count got too low my family members backed down for a season or two. Given my grandfather was the matriarch of our family and a well known elder with Alaskan Trapper Association and ADF&G, his knowledge was sought after and he taught a lot of people how to hunt, trap and fish with respect.

    Proper management where voices are heard and taken into consideration is very important when properly collaborating within fisheries. Respect for one another, respect for the land from which harvest is being done and respect for the animals is the greatest lesson here. Listening to the elders that have a long-tie to the land is also very important, they will tell you to only take what you “need” and leave the rest to continue on the circle of life.

  21. I think one of the important lessons we learned from the Newfoundland cod collapse is the important of working together, if the fishermen and the government worked together then maybe a compromise could have been reached that benefited both sides. I know it’s cheesy to say working together is important, and it is, but it’s also an important lesson that a lot of people still struggle with. The government could have had a few fishermen come in to discuss what they should do about the cod, since it takes both sides to fix the issue. A compromise also would have saved thousands of jobs and without harming the cod population. Another thing we learned from the cod collapse is the fact that fishermen and natives are not uneducated. The government officials thought the native people of Newfoundland were uneducated, so they didn’t listen to the warnings that they gave the government about the cod, and so they acted way to late, which not only destroyed Newfoundland’s economy but it also hurt the natives way of life and identity. The fishermen also could have been helpful in saving the cod, they could have had ideas that would help out with the issue but instead the government wouldn’t listen. The Northern cod collapse should not happen again.

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