What's new at Fogo Island, Newfoundland? The co-operative formed 40 years ago to forestall resettlement and enable fishers to adapt (rather than succumb) to a changing fishery survives - but times are tough.
The central problem remains, for both islanders and government: how to turn the fishery from an activity on which many villagers can subsist, into an industry from which some can make a decent living. The co-op's answer over the years has been to invest in new boats, plants, gear, and processes so fishers can get an ever-changing selection of fish species to international markets. In so doing, it has served as a critical partner and intermediary for federal and provincial program dollars. But rising costs, a rising dollar, and unpredictable prices make it increasingly difficult for the co-op to turn a profit and keep people employed. Fogo's young people are trickling away.
When it captured the dramatic mobilization of the islanders. Nowadays it may take action at a regional level to marshal the quotas, know-how, assets, and markets necessary to keep the fishery a livelihood on Fogo Island.