How Canadian Fishing Companies are Supporting Their Communities


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Photo © Kali Nine LLC | Canadian Fishing Companies

Fishermen, fisherwomen, and processors provide food for tables worldwide, but more importantly, they also support the communities and families they care about. For many, fishing is a way of life that extends beyond the waters and into the hearts of their communities and homes. Ocean stewardship and sustainable fishing are what make the Canadian fishing industry a valuable long-term livelihood, generation after generation.

Alberto Wareham, President and CEO of Icewater Seafoods in Arnold’s Cove, Newfoundland and Labrador, is the seventh generation of his family to own the cod business in the area. His son, Ryan Wareham, is the eighth. Long-term planning—including sustainability—is at the core of their business, to ensure generations well into the future can continue to support themselves and their community with responsible seafood from Canada’s pristine Atlantic Ocean.

“As a long-time family-owned business, we’re invested in making our company as sustainable as possible for the long term,” Wareham said. “We follow the science to make sure we’re protecting the resource for generations to come.”

Alberto’s late father, Bruce Wareham, was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award for contributing to the survival of his hometown and the positive reputation of Newfoundland and Labrador seafood around the world. Icewater Seafood invests heavily in its future—including $14 million to improve its processing plant and wages that are well above industry average—and is rewarded with employee loyalty. Icewater has 16 employees who have been with the company for over 40 years.

On Canada’s Eastern Arctic coast, Qikiqtaaluk Corporation (QC) is doing much the same. They’re an Inuit birthright organization using Indigenous fishing and sustainability knowledge to create value from their waters and reinvest in their communities.

Based in Iqaluit, Nunavut, QC is one of the largest contributors to economic growth for the communities it represents. They’ve facilitated the development of a $62 million hospital and built a new $80 million hotel and conference center that can seat 600 in Nunavut’s capital to increase accessible travel for the region.

fishing companies
© Courtesy of Fisheries Council of Canada

Beyond that, QC reinvests in developing a more modern, sustainable, and accessible fishing industry in Nunavut that provides more jobs and resources for Inuit. In 2020 they built a new research vessel to improve fisheries science in the Qikiqtani Region of the Nunavut settlement area and are investing in a large, multi-species factory freezer vessel to maximize the benefits of its fishery to Nunavummiut. Even further, there is a deep-sea port under construction in Iqaluit and another port planned for Qikiqtarjuaq to help service Nunavut’s offshore fishery so that Northern products can be landed in Nunavut and transshipped to markets rather than offloading in either Greenland or Newfoundland and Labrador.

“QC prides itself on building up our region,” said Harry Flaherty, President and CEO of QC. “By caring for the resource in our ocean, we can create a future for Nunavut that is brighter than we have today.”

These stories are not unique. Fishing is one of Canada’s oldest livelihoods and has been a cornerstone of rural, coastal, and Indigenous communities for over 200 years. Many Canadian seafood companies are family or community-oriented and are committed to fishing for the future.

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The Fisheries Council of Canada is a non-profit trade association that has been representing, for over 100 years, companies engaged in the harvesting, processing, importing and marketing of wild-capture fish and seafood.


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