About Fogo Island Fish Inc.

Who We Are

We are an island off an island off the northeast coast of Newfoundland, Canada. Fogo Islanders have lived and fished for over 300 years and the cod has sustained us throughout our history.
We are ten distinct cultural communities combine to make a single economic community:  Town of Fogo Island.
Our fishers, both men and women are all from Fogo Island and fish the local waters.

Our Products

Our Hand.Line.Cod program uses the traditional method of hand lining for wild cod, with one line and one hook, hauled up by hand resulting in zero by-catch.
Caught in day-boats, our fish is bled and washed at sea, then kept on ice for the short trip back to the wharf.
Our fish is flash frozen, at the peak of freshness.

Our products are available direct from Fogo Island Fish or our partner 100KM Foods Inc. in the GTA, Kitchener/Waterloo and Niagara Regions.

Social Enterprise

We are a social business of the Shorefast Foundation, dedicated to reinventing the fish business to serve community.
We start by paying our fishers double the market rates for their fish.  We had 33 fishers on our Hand.Line.Cod program in 2015 and that increased to 50 fishers in 2016.
All of our products are processed by our community-owned Fogo Island Co-operative Society, preserving important local jobs.

Our Community

Fogo Island is an outport community: a small, remote coastal settlement unique to the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Fogo Islanders are people of the sea who have made their living by fishing the frigid and often unforgiving waters of the North Atlantic. A non-capital-accumulating society until the latter decades of the 20th century, Fogo Islanders sustained themselves for generations by fishing as families and relying on an unrelenting sense of resourcefulness fed by a profound love of place. This history of relative isolation and self-sufficiency has shaped the Fogo Island of today.

Migratory European fishermen began fishing Fogo Island’s plentiful waters around the early sixteenth century. A 1529 map of Newfoundland identifies the Island as Y de Fogo, later anglicized to Fogo Island. Originally not permitted to settle, Europeans went back and forth to Fogo Island to fish during warmer months until official, permanent settlement began in the eighteenth century.

During the mid-twentieth century, factory-scale overfishing caused the cod stocks to plummet and brought the species to the brink of ecological extinction. Almost overnight, and entirely sustainable way of life was destroyed and a moratorium on cod fishing was declared in 1992.

In recent years, careful stewardship of the fishery has allowed the cod stocks to strengthen; slowly and alongside careful quotas, Fogo Islanders have been able to return to the fishery that is inextricably linked with our family life, culture, and our economy.

Fogo Island Fish only catches in the fall, when the fish is at its physiological peak. Unlike industrial fishing, we use the hand-line fishing method that sustained past generations and catch fish one-by-one with zero by-catch and minimal environmental impact. We catch within 5 miles of the coast of Fogo Island, in view of home just like our ancestors, allowing processing within hours. We preserve local jobs by working with the community-owned Fogo Island Co-operative Society, Ltd., which was established in the 1960s and helped spare Fogo Island from forced resettlement.

Though Fogo Island is a settler community, it’s important to know that its territory is part of the ancestral homelands of the Beothuk and the island of Newfoundland is the ancestral homeland of the Mi’kmaq and Beothuk. The Inuit of Nunatsiavut and NunatuKavut and the Innu of Nitassinan, and their ancestors, are the original people of Labrador. Accepted scholarship has generally found that the Beothuk most likely never had permanent settlements on Fogo Island; they probably visited Fogo Island as a summer camp, a conclusion that has been drawn from archaeological evidence and local-oral histories. More details and resources regarding the indigenous history of Fogo Island and the surrounding area can be found by clicking here.