Randell Pope was born and grew up in Grand Bank, Newfoundland, at a time when salt fish was still being cured on the beaches. He started Planters & Merchants in 2012, but his research goes back more than twenty years. Fortune Bay had a population of 316 people in 1763, with 267 considered permanent settlers. That number slowly increased to 918 people in twenty settlements by 1794. Author Pope has put together a wealth of information about Fortune Bay in his book, everything from its early planters and merchants and its long association with St. Pierre to smuggling with the French and Americans, the inshore, bait and bank fishery, rum-running, and right up to today.