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New paper offers a principled governance of seafood trade policy as a just way forward for fisheries in Newfoundland and Labrador


Former TBTI and OFI Master of Arts in Geography student Jack Daly and TBTI Director Dr. Ratana Chuenpagdee published an article in Ocean & Coastal Management this month on their research into trade policy and its effect on Newfoundland and Labradors fisheries. Daly and Chuenpagdee’s article, titled "Community Responses to International Trade Policy: a Newfoundland Case Study,” presents the results from interviews and policy analysis that took place on the Great Northern Peninsula in Newfoundland and Labrador during the summer of 2018.

This research looks directly at the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement that was enacted in late 2017. CETA, classified by Daly and Chuenpagdee as a modern economic institutional arrangement, brought change to fisheries and seafood processing sector policies in the province. Through interviews with experts in the region and in government, Daly and Chuenpagdee identified which aspects of CETA are most impactful to the seafood sector and coastal communities in Newfoundland and Labrador including changes to the Province’s Minimum Processing Requirement for seafood and increased funding the seafood sector.

Their research contributes to findings by other researchers in Newfoundland and Labrador that show how free trade policy can alter domestic fishery protections for coastal communities. Further, in a time of where seafood quota allocations for both groundfish and shellfish remain low in the province, free trade agreements do little to support an industry facing increased vertical integration and conglomeration. Although 'free trade' irons out the wrinkles of local policy, Daly and Chuenpagdee argue that more context-specific trade policy can limit the negative implications from homogenized free trade (such as lessening the fallout from global shocks). They conclude their paper with a call for a principled governance of seafood trade policy as a just way forward.

This research is relevant at the provincial level where there is increased foreign ownership of seafood processing plants in the province (see The Independent), and at the federal level where the Canadian government is developing a Blue Economy Strategy that continues to view fisheries resources explicitly in terms of their economic value rather than their social or cultural importance. For further information on this research you can read Daly and Chuenpagdee’s article in Marine Policy published last year.

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