On the Day of the Seafarer, we praise the incredible commitment and hard work that offshore harvesters have shown these past few months. The fishery, as an important part of domestic and international food supply, was deemed to be an essential service shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic was declared in Canada.
During the most uncertain times, there are always people who rise to the occasion and demonstrate a commitment to excellence despite adversity. We’ve heard from our members that offshore harvesters have done just that.
They have embraced new screening measures before boarding. They’ve continued to safely harvest and process high quality seafood at sea with new safety procedures and increased personal protective equipment (PPE). They abide by new regulations at sea and on land. They’ve stayed home when it was in the best interest of themselves and those around them to do so.
But this comes as no surprise. Those who make a living at sea have been known for their hard work and resilience for generations. It’s part of what has shaped the character of Atlantic Canadians.
Changes, and the need to adapt to them, is a given in the fishing industry. From changes to global market demand for a species and the form customers want it in, to prices, gear technology, regulations and the fluctuating abundance of each species itself, the industry has been adapting to ensure its success for generations.
So while 2020 has been an unprecedented year, in some ways offshore harvesters have done what they’ve always done; focused on safety, embraced the need for change and worked diligently to provide for their families and communities, while also putting healthy food on plates around the world. They’ve done it in a new way, with many changes to protect each other from the risks of COVID-19, but the focus and quality of their work remains. At a time when every industry and every person is feeling increased stresses and uncertainty, we applaud their commitment to showing up and incorporating safety precautions rigorously.
While today the fishing industry celebrates and acknowledges seafarers, we’d also like to thank everyone who has continued important and essential work these past few months. From healthcare and childcare to transportation and retail. Thank you for stepping up when you were needed most.
Please continue to stay safe.