The Atlantic provinces


These were offshore boats that mainly focus on catching fish in a considerable distance off the coast. In Canada, the foreign trawler fleets fished vigorously and this led to the decline of groundfish in the 1970's in the waters of the Atlantic. In 1977, a zone was established to help protect these Canadian waters, and investment was made into the Canadian trawler fleet.

There are various types of trawlers, such as factory-freezer trawlers. These were used in the 1950's by various European nations, and the freezing system allowed the crews to stay at sea for extended periods of time. It is thought that this contributed to the decline of the cod fisheries. In recent history otter-trawlers have replaced the diesel powered schooners. Trawlers were replacing the earlier boats of the early nineteenth century of the Newfoundlanders. There are stern trawlers and side-trawlers, named for the method and location of catching fish. The side-trawlers were used in Newfoundland in the 1930's and the stern trawlers in the 1960's.

Since trawlers rely on dragging nets along the bottom of the ocean, they have significant environmental impact and may catch fish that they do not want or do not have a quota for.

Seal Hunt

The seal hunt has been a part of Canada's heritage since well before Confederation. For the early seal hunts, they were a part of survival at the most basic level. Seal hunts continued for many hundreds of years, and the government became involved in the 1960's by developing annual quotas. The government has become increasingly more involved with development of management plans and attempts to make the industry more humane. There has been an increasing amount of protests in recent history against the entire seal hunt, especially of young seals.

The seal hunters were able to hunt for seal in the winter months, and fish for cod in the winter months, allowing them a year-round income. With these new regulations and quotas, the life of the seal hunter in Newfoundland is difficult, and at best sealers could make $8000. According to a website put together by the CBC on seal hunting, the average price of a seal pelt has dropped from $105 in 2005 to $15 in 2009.

Inshore Cod Fishery

Cod fisheries have played an important role in the history of Newfoundland. The families living in the small fishing villages known as outports relied on the inshore cod fisheries for their survival. These cod fisheries date back to as early as the 1500's. The small outports relied on seasonal processing plants and local catches for their survival. The industry has suffered many declines in production, as early back as the 1800's and again with an increase in the foreign and Canadian trawler fleets, the both the inshore and offshore cod fisheries declined and this led to a moratorium on the cod fisheries in the late 1990's.

The inshore fisheries also allowed the fishers to be home more often and remain more as part of their community. After fishing all day the men would arrive home and the family would help dry the cod, making this business a family affair.

Equalization Grants

These are also known as general-purpose transfers and these types of payments were introduced back in the late 1950's. These grants were money given by the federal government to the provinces to help equalize the health, welfare and education of all Canadians. In the 1980's these payments amounted to above 80% of the provincial revenue in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and the payments exceeded the revenue of the province in Prince Edward Island.


An outport is a small, isolated fishing village found in Newfoundland. They were mainly located on the eastern coast of Newfoundland, allowing for easy access to the resource of fish. The outports were based on a small fishing business within the family, with each family having access to everything it needs right at the water's edge. Roads and access to medical and education facilities were limited in these outports. Often times the only access to these communities was by boat.

Poverty was high in these locations, as the cod supply declined and there was simply not enough fish to supply the families with enough income. The outports began disappearing in the 1950's as the government instituted a resettlement program for the people of these communities to go to growth centres. Many of the outport communities disappeared as the families left in the 1950's and 1960's. The problems with the cod fishery in the 1990's also led to more outport communities disappearing.

What changes occurred in Newfoundland's traditional fishing industry as a result of modernization and the actions of foreign trawler fleets? Particularly emphasize how people coped with the changes.

The fishing industry in Newfoundland has gone through numerous changes through the course of the province's history. For many centuries, fishing has been an integral part of Newfoundland's heritage, providing food and employment for the people of this province. Before the age of industrialization, families lived in small outports scattering the eastern coast of Newfoundland, and fishing was their primary way of life.

In the early part of the twentieth century, modernization was beginning in the fishing industry. The small boats used by the local populace were being replaced by steam trawlers and Cape Island boats driven by motors. In the 1930's the government introduced a ban on the expansion of the trawler fleet. In the 50's and 60's, these foreign trawlers were able to stay at sea for extended periods of time and store great amounts of fish due to the freezing process that had been developed. Some of the fisherman could not afford these new trawlers, and became employees on these larger boats. The cod fishery declined during the 60's and 70's due to these actions of the foreign trawler fleets.

The government introduced in 1977 a 200-mile zone to help control the fishing industry and decrease the number of vessels fishing in this area. An investment was made by the government to increase the amount of Canadian trawlers, essentially replacing the foreign trawler fleets that were depleting the resource during the previous twenty years.

Life was difficult for the local people during this time, and the government initiated a resettlement program to move the people from these outport communities into a more centralized location or what they called "growth centres". Workers on the new trawler fleets already spent extended periods away from their homes and their families where the inshore fishers were able to spend more time with their families. This movement toward the growth centres took individuals away from their traditional homelands and their traditional way of life. This was difficult for the people of Newfoundland, as they had spent many generations building up their families and communities in these outports. These outports established themselves as a community connected only by the ocean and with the growth of industry and road construction, these communities were beginning to break down.

Between 1953 and 1965, over 110 outport communities disappeared, as the people were "resettled" to new, more central locations. Unfortunately, the unemployment rates in these new growth centres was as high as twenty percent, so work was difficult in the new places as well. Machines were now replacing the traditional way of life, and these effects were felt very deeply by the people who lived on these small communities. The strong sense of place and history that the outport community members felt was all disappearing.

As more and more outport communities became almost ghost towns, more and more people moved to urban centres and began to embrace the North American lifestyle. Newfoundlanders did not join Canada until 1949, and even then the margin for confederation was a close one. The traditional way of life of the Newfoundlanders and their families had now changed.

Where are the prospects for the region to develop oil, gas and hydroelectric sources of energy? What problems might they encounter in marketing this energy?

Natural resource exploitation has been a mainstay in the lives of Maritimers, from the early days of fishing in small boats, to forestry and agriculture of the twentieth century, and now to oil and gas of the twenty-first century. In today's society, energy is needed for everything, and the Maritimes uses mainly coal fired plants for its energy, with some nuclear and small hydro developments.

Hydroelectric power in the Maritimes is a challenge, as many of the larger rivers are already being used, and there is not an unlimited supply of hydro power in this small part of Canada. The Bay of Fundy and it's incredibly strong tides have some potential and Nova Scotia is currently looking at exploring more tidal based energy, and three projects recently won support from the Clean Energy fund, with tidal based being one of them. Labrador has some very large hydroelectric potential on the Upper Churchill River. The circumstances behind this project are quite complex, but the power produced here had to go through Quebec, and the Quebec government established a rate for 65 years in a contract signed in the late 60's. The market price for electricity has increased, and the Newfoundland government has only recently been able to get some of the revenue. So, although Labrador may have some potential, in order for the resources there to be profited from they need to move through Quebec or travel by sea, making their exploitation expensive.

There are also some propects for Atlantic Canada to develop other sources of energy, some of these being oil in the Hibernia oil field and the Labrador Margin. Nova Scotia has Sable Island and its natural gas development as well as the Terra Nova and White Rose oil fields located east of St. John's. Recently as well, Canaport LNG has been developing a natural gas re-gassification and processing facility in Saint John, New Brunswick.

One problem with marketing this energy and the money actually coming into the province was with the Atlantic Accord, which allowed the federal government to retain the title to some of this offshore oil and gas off the coast of Newfoundland. In 2005, this Atlantic Accord was rewritten and Newfoundland was able to get the revenue from its oil and gas, allowing them to expand and keep the money in the province.

Other issues with marketing this energy are that usually large sources of power production are located near large sources of power use, and this is not the case in the Atlantic Provinces. This hinterland area does not have a large manufacturing base, and the power would need to be exported to be put to its fullest potential. The costs of exporting this power either to the heartland of Canada or to the United States would be substantial. Resources exploitation also depends on the economy and the prices one can get for these resources; the lower the price of oil would have significant impact on the use of oil from the offshore oil fields. The reverse is also evident, in that the higher price on the market for oil, the more supply the field will try and produce.

New Brunswick responded to changing business practices by encouraging the development of several new enterprises. What were some of these enterprises and why should they succeed in this particular part of Canada?

During the 1990's, one development is fairly well known in New Brunswick, and that is the development of the call-centre industry. From 1992-1996, over 4000 jobs were created in the call-centre industry in major New Brunswick cities such as Fredericton, Saint John and Moncton.

Different things allowed this to be successful in the province of New Brunswick. A declining primary resource sector put many people out of work, and there was a large workforce to draw on for these call centres. The fact that many people in New Brunswick spoke both French and English and were willing to work in a non-unionized position for relatively low wages also contributed to the success. Also, the cost of setting up such an industry in a smaller community would likely be much less expensive then leasing rental space in the heartland of Canada.

A small town in New Brunswick opened up a small flour mill at Speerville, a worker-owned co-operative mill and started to provide organic products around the Maritimes. According to their website, one of the founding principles of the mill was to "provide a market for grain and other products produced by Maritime farmers." This mill worked hard on keeping everything local, so that people could consume products close to where they are produced and/or grown.

Another small industry began with some of the locals catching blue-fin tuna and selling them to the lucrative market in Japan. Each fish would be sold for several thousand dollars. This is a unique industry that was able to succeed due to the demand in an expensive market.

Frank McKenna wanted to make New Brunswick a major world player in the new global economy of the 1990's. He lowered corporate tax rates and made cuts to social programs in order to entice more businesses to move to New Brunswick. Some of these industries succeeded due to the low costs in New Brunswick and the opportunity for other companies from outside New Brunswick to invest there. Critics of McKenna wonder if these call-centre jobs were the answer, as they provide little opportunity for growth and expansion.


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