Fogo Island is the largest of the offshore islands of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. It lies off the northeast coast of Newfoundland, northwest of Musgrave Harbour across Hamilton Sound, just east of the Change Islands. The island is about 25 kilometres long and 14 kilometres wide. The total area is 237.71 km², which is equivalent to 4 and a half Manhattans. There are eleven communities on the Island--ten outports and one central community. For over 400 years the people of the Island made their living from an inshore cod fishery, contributing to a unique cultural heritage. In the 1960s Fogo Islanders were asked to consider resettling to the mainland. The process of community consultation was documented by National Film Board director Colin Low in a series of films known as the Fogo Process. The people made the decision to stay and formed a Cooperative for the Island's fishery. Following the collapse of the cod fishery from overfishing by industrial trawlers, the government imposed a moratorium in 1992 with devastating effects on coastal communities throughout Newfoundland. The Fogo Island Cooperative diversified with crab, lobster, shrimp, squid and sea cucumber. The cod have been returning, and with strict quotas in place, will hopefully be sustainable for generations to come.
The Island is home to the Shorefast Foundation, founded by Zita Cobb, an 8th generation Fogo Islander, with two of her brothers. Shorefast's mission is to build cultural and economic resilience on the Island and they have established several social enterprises including the Fogo Island Inn, and philanthropic programs including Fogo Island Arts. Learn more about Shorefast here.
Our intention with Fogo Clay Studio is to create a modest yet meaningful community and cultural asset for Fogo Islanders and visitors to the Island.