Powered by Memorial University, Newfoundland, Canada

Related Content
by Dr. Charles Mather

Research Interests


Fisheries Allocation Policies and Regional Development: Successes from the Newfoundland and Labrador Shrimp Fishery

Lead Researcher and Department
Paul Foley, Environmental Policy Institute, Grenfell Campus, Memorial University, Charles Mather, Department of Geography, Memorial University and Barbara Neis, Department of Sociology, Memorial University

Collaborators and Students
David Decker, Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union and Mark Allain, Canadian Fisheries Research Network

Funding Resources
The Applied Research Fund 2011-2012 – The Leslie Harris Centre of Regional Policy and Development
Canadian Fisheries Research Network (CFRN)

The sustainability of coastal regions in Newfoundland and Labrador has long been tied to changes in fisheries policies. The report presents a detailed comparative study of the relationship between fisheries resource allocation policies in the northern shrimp fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador and regional development in key regions with substantial dependence on shrimp. The shrimp fisheries are of vital importance to Newfoundland and Labrador. They are complex, with multiple sectors, and have undergone considerable change in terms of resource management (i.e. quota allocations) and in terms of final markets in recent decades. Despite their importance, they are relatively understudied in academic and policy work.

The project explores how three different types of northern shrimp allocations influenced regional development in the areas of southeast Labrador, the Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland and Fogo Island. Drawing on secondary sources and 54 in-depth interviews, we found that shrimp allocation policy guided by the principles of adjacency and regional economic development goals resulted in the establishment of two innovative community-based organizations in southeast Labrador and the Northern Peninsula, and strengthened a third organization on Fogo Island. These organizations used relatively small shrimp allocations to help sustain local inshore and near-shore owner-operator fisheries within these regions, created or sustained employment for processing workers during a period of dramatic social-ecological restructuring triggered by the collapse of regional groundfish stocks in the early 1990s, helped sustain the tax base for regional communities and contributed to broader regional economic diversification and development outcomes.

These three case studies demonstrate that fisheries policies that clearly allocate resource shares to community-based organizations – with a mandate to use these resources and the profits/royalties they generate for regional economic development – can support viable fisheries and other industries that play a crucial role in the development of socially sustainable and resilient fisheries communities even in remote regions that are located far from larger populations and confront significant transportation and other challenges. The successes that we documented in the report are based on business models that emphasize a holistic approach to regional economic development. Royalties are used to diversify coastal regions for long-term economic and social sustainability. While profitability remains a central goal, the business models of these community-based organisations stress the need for long-term economic and social sustainability, rather than short term profit. In this way, the three cases in the study provide strong evidence for the role that community-based organisations can play in developing successful business models in remote coastal communities.

Outcomes of allocation policies in these cases measure up well against the objectives of social sustainability contained in various fisheries management frameworks in Canada and around the world. The results of this study suggest that community-based fishery allocations and shares should play a stronger role in fisheries policies in the future here and elsewhere.

2011 – 2013

Fisheries Policy, Northern Shrimp Fishery, regional development, social sustainability

Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
L'Anse au Clair
Big Brook
Goose Cove East
Gander - New-Wes-Valley
St. Anthony - Port au Choix
Zone 3 - Central Labrador
Zone 4 - Aurora
Zone 5 - Labrador Straits
Zone 6 - Nordic
Zone 14 - Kittiwake

Industry Sectors
Fishing, hunting and trapping (Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting)
Local, municipal and regional public administration (Public administration)

Thematic Categories
Shellfish Fisheries (Fisheries)
Hunting & Fishing (Forestry)
Fishery Policy (Intergovernmental Affairs)
Regional Development

Environmental Policy Institute (GC)
Sociology, Faculty of Arts (STJ)
Geography, Faculty of Arts (STJ)