Retrenchment and Regeneration in Rural Newfoundland


267 pages
Contains Bibliography
ISBN 0-8020-8413-3
DDC 307.72'09718




Edited by Reginald Byron
Reviewed by Melvin Baker

Melvin Baker is an archivist and historian at Memorial University of
Newfoundland, and the co-editor of Dictionary of Newfoundland and
Labrador Biography.


This collection of nine essays by social scientists examines the social
and economic changes in rural Newfoundland and Labrador resulting from
the 1992 closure of the cod fishery by the federal government. The
editor provides an excellent introduction placing the 1990s resource
development in historical perspective. In his article, Sean Cadigan
argues that the “market imperatives of the political economy of
development favoured by past governments and capitalists have depleted
resources and jeopardized rural communities.” Craig Palmer documents
technological changes in the fishery and the resultant social and
economic tensions between dragger and inshore fishers. Barbara Neis and
Rob Kean discuss the cod fish stock collapse and emphasize that greater
intellectual co-operation is needed between social and natural
scientists in building an informed ecological database on fish and

John Omohundro and Michael Roy examine the dialogue and debate between
public officials charged with maintaining the forests and the public
that uses the forest for domestic and recreational use. Matthew Clarke
shows how the federal regulatory policies governing the new fisheries of
the 1990s based on crab and shrimp have created new tensions in
communities. This tension is also evident in Bonnie McCay’s study of
the Fogo Island fisheries co-operative. Out-migration (where the youth
leave the fishery and the outports for urban employment both inside and
outside the province) is examined by Donna Lee Davis. The impact of
return migration (where the few that have returned home have contributed
to local economic development in one community area) is explored by
Peter Sinclair.

The most significant essay is an account of rural development failures
over the past 40 years. Memorial University sociologist Doug House not
only participated actively in government’s efforts of the early 1990s
in rural development, but his 2004 appointment as deputy minister for
rural development matters now gives him the opportunity to ameliorate
the administrative, financial, and technical weaknesses that the rural
development boards have experienced because of inadequate government
attention. Only time will determine the success of this effort at
integrated rural development.

This anthology will find a receptive audience as a textbook for
university undergraduate and graduate classes.


“Retrenchment and Regeneration in Rural Newfoundland,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 17, 2024,