Consumer support can make change

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One hot topic in recent years has been talk of buying foods locally and promoting farms in your area. In this part of the country that same philosophy can be applied to the fishery.

Part of that discussion is about sustainability. A report released Monday by the Ecology Action Centre in Halifax delves into the topic.

The question that accompanies this kind of subject is the level of public awareness and support. Like buying locally grown farm produce, will people choose products that are fished with sustainable methods even though it might cost more?

Dave Adler, co-author of the report, says there is indication consumers would be willing. His assessment isn’t surprising, given the growing conscientiousness about where our food comes from, how it is grown – or caught – and whether methods put undue strain on stocks or on the environment.

But typically the local food shopper will find scads of products processed and packaged overseas.

The Ecology Action Centre is encouraging greater support for independent fishermen – who aren’t necessarily getting a fair price for their catch and whose product is competing against what is offered by the mega corporations.

Recent news reports have described a shrimp fishery in this region: the Chedabucto Bay Trap-Caught Shrimp Group based in Guysborough County. They are using modified lobster traps, rather than nets or trawling. The method catches fewer shrimp, but is deemed environmentally friendly. It also operates on lower costs and, one might expect, with the handling of traps on smaller boats would translate into more jobs.

Sounds a little like the lamented days of yore, before the shift toward the bigger is better mentality and subsequent rape of the sea floor.

The group and their product are also getting great feedback and reviews from restaurant owners.

This is a bright note in an industry that has seen gloomy days. It suggests the possibility of turning things around – with wide consumer support.

Geographic location: Halifax, Guysborough County

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  • dave
    January 22, 2013 - 06:12

    does the TDN have a vested financial interest in this group - 2 editorial's relying on strictly their info the last week is a bit much - or is it their way of thinking or the highway??