Category Archives: Canada

FISH-NL says FFAW no longer entitled to represent inshore harvesters; urges Labour Board to order immediate vote 

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) says the province’s Labour Relations Board should proceed immediately to a vote of inshore harvesters to decide which union would best represent them. While FISH-NL’s application for certification remains before the Board, other factors necessitate a vote as soon as possible: the Supreme Court of NL, Court of Appeal, recently upheld an earlier court decision that the FFAW deceived its members; and the FFAW’s failure to reveal how much money oil companies pump into the union. “The FFAW is beyond salvation,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “The FFAW no longer deserves the right to represent inshore harvesters, who have lost all faith and respect for their union. The only recourse is to allow them to vote on their future.” click here to read the press release 13:49

Can cod comeback keep a Canadian fishery afloat?

A generation after Canada declared a moratorium on northern cod fishing off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador, the species is making a comeback. But can the province’s troubled fishery survive to take advantage of cod’s resurgence? The wharf in Petty Harbour is quiet, and Todd Chafe, a 46-year-old fisherman, is slicing up cod for a nearby family restaurant in a shack near the water. “Some fellas like to point fingers: ‘Ah, this done it, foreigners done it’,” he says. Chafe is talking about the collapse of northern cod off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador 25 years ago. “We all done it, every single person that went fishing done it. Everybody fished for it so everybody had a hand in destroying it.”,,, Now there is a glimmer of hope. Northern cod stock has reached about 25% of the levels seen in the ’80s. But there is a fierce debate over what the return of cod fishing should look like in Newfoundland. click here to read the story 20:22

FFAW- Premier’s approval of OCI exemptions signs away millions in rural economic development

ST. JOHN’S, June 21, 2017 – FFAW-Unifor is shocked and deeply disappointed in the provincial government’s decision to issue further exemptions to Ocean Choice International (OCI), allowing the company to ship yellowtail, redfish, and American plaice to low wage countries for processing rather than process it locally to employ people in this province. “This decision is a slap in the face to plant workers and rural communities,” said Keith Sullivan, President of FFAW-Unifor. “Issuing these exemptions is a betrayal of the people of rural Newfoundland and Labrador, and is harmful to the overall economy of the province. Our province should be focused on maximizing employment and adding value to our natural resources as a means of building the economy; not padding the bottom-line of OCI.” click here to read the press release 14:17

FISH-NL questions whether province’s Federation of Labour still supports FFAW after union convicted of deceiving members

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is questioning whether the province’s Federation of Labour still stands “shoulder to shoulder” with the FFAW since the union has been convicted in court of deceiving its membership. “As federation president, Mary Shortall came out last November and took sides, condemning FISH-NL,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “But Friday’s unprecedented ruling by the Court of Appeal, backing up an earlier Supreme Court of NL decision, means the FFAW broke its sacred trust with its membership.” click here to read the press release 16:03

Nunavut’s Baffin Fisheries signs deal for new trawler

Baffin Fisheries, the largest shrimp harvester in Canada’s North, plans to add another vessel to its existing fleet of four. That intent was announced June 16 when the Inuit-owned Nunavut company said it had signed a letter of intent with Norway’s Havyard Ship Technology for the design and construction of a new Arctic trawler to fish cold water turbot and shrimp in the Arctic Ocean adjacent to Nunavut.  The vessel under consideration is 75 metres long and 17 m wide, with a capacity to hold up to 1,200 tonnes—nearly double the capacity of the largest vessel currently operating in Nunavut. click here to read the story 14:40

Q&A – Dion Dakins on the hunting and eating of seal in Canada

Seal: Too Cute to Eat? That’s the name of a panel that took place at the Terroir culinary summit late last month in Toronto, and a question that makes Dion Dakins chuckle. Dakins is the chief executive of Carino Processing Ltd. in Newfoundland, which processed 55,000 animals for meat, oil and hides in the past sealing season. For him, the question gets to the core of the seal debate. He believes hunting seal is sustainable, humane and a necessary fisheries ecomanagement tool. Opposing him are animal-rights groups (most of them based outside Canada) that have spun the “cute” element into a disproportionate fundraising tool.,,, You say if seals aren’t harvested, they’ll have to be culled. Can you explain? click here to read the story 09:29

Cape Sharp Tidal turbine removed from water – Fishermen, “For us, it’s a total vindication,,,”

The Cape Sharp Tidal turbine has been removed from the Minas Passage, but plans to conduct testing at another location farther down the Nova Scotia coast have been cancelled. The company had planned to move the turbine in April from near Parrsboro to St. Marys Bay to do some short-term hydrodynamic testing. But a mooring line became entangled in it, so the move was postponed. Cape Sharp spokesperson Stacey Pineau said the company now has no plans to resume the testing in St. Marys Bay. The proposed testing had drawn opposition from some fishermen, who said no environmental assessment had been carried out for that work.  Colin Sproul, of the Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association, said the removal of the turbine is “a positive development” because the company has not been able to monitor the equipment since the turbine was disconnected from the transmission cable two months ago. click here to read the story 18:52

FISH-NL calls on FFAW President Keith Sullivan to apologize to members

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is calling on Keith Sullivan, president of the FFAW-Unifor, to publicly apologize to his members after an appeal court ruled in favour of scallop harvesters who were deceived by the union. Further, FISH-NL is calling for the resignation of Dave Decker, the union’s secretary-treasurer, who was in charge of the funding, as well as the firing of Jason Spingle, the FFAW staff representative who helped orchestrate the deal. “It’s practically unheard of for a union to be convicted in court of misrepresenting its membership,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “Inshore harvesters have been saying for years that the FFAW no longer speaks for them — that the union is failing its membership — and this latest court decision proves that.” click here to read the press release 15:59

FISH-NL recommends Ottawa cancel 2017 sentinel cod program 

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) recommends that Ottawa cancel the 2017 sentinel cod program, a series of tests fisheries around the province first introduced when stocks were under moratoria. “The sentinel fisheries have become a waste of taxpayers’ money because the model was developed for the moratoria years, and the uncertainties in the data means it has little to no impact when it is used in the assessment model,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “It appears the catch data may have also been negatively impacted by the resumption of the commercial fisheries and other factors.”  click here to read the press release 10:48

Not your grandfather’s fishery

The harvesting is so different — bigger boats, bigger fishing effort, deeper-water fishing, so much further from shore on average, more ambitious in all respects. The boats themselves are equipped with everything under the sun to make the task more manageable.  The knowledge is much more substantial. We live in the Facebook Generation. Everything is visible and transparent, whether publishing a newspaper or determining the value of a lobster, there are absolutely no secrets.  And fish harvesters make it their business to know what a lobster is selling for in Thunder Bay on a Saturday night.  The world is smaller — direct flights from Halifax to Europe and Asia make transit time for premium quality fisheries a fraction of what was required previously. click here to read the op-ed by Stewart Lamont, managing director of Tangier Lobster Company 19:26

Salmon farms should be worried about more than just one species of sea lice

Migrating young sockeye salmon that are highly infected with parasitic sea lice grow more slowly, according to a new study from Simon Fraser University researchers. That matters, the experts said, because growing quickly can be the difference between life and death for vulnerable juvenile salmon. “Previous studies have shown that to survive to adulthood, young salmon need to get big fast,” said Sean Godwin, a PhD student at SFU and lead author on the study. “Those that grow more slowly — as we found, those heavily infected with sea lice — those fish are more likely to die.” Many people opposed to fish farms have raised concern over declining wild Fraser River sockeye and the potential for parasite transfer from salmon farms. click here to read the story 10:23

FISH-NL applauds appeal court decision reaffirming FFAW failed its membership

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) applauds an appeal court decision today reaffirming the FFAW failed its membership. The union had appealed a March, 2016 Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador ruling in favour of scallop fishermen who took the union to court over a compensation fund for lost fishing grounds in the Strait of Belle Isle. In the unanimous ruling handed down today, the three judges with the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador, Court of Appeal, found that the “FFAW was clearly acting outside its usual role and did not appreciate the full implications of its behaviour.” Click here to read the press release 14:54

‘They’re not relevant’: Fisheries union boss says Ryan Cleary desperate for a headline

It’s been nine months since a bare knuckles battle began over the right to represent inshore harvesters in Newfoundland and Labrador, and both sides say they want a deciding round to start soon. The upstart Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is waging a fight to bust up the powerful Fish, Food and Allied Workers union (FFAW), and there’s no end in sight to this very public feud. FISH-NL has applied to the labour relations board for a certification vote so harvesters can decide once and for all who they want to represent their interests. But that process has dragged on for months, with the board only saying that it’s an ongoing matter. “We have a situation where you’ve got 2,500 harvesters who are connected to FISH-NL who are invisible to the FFAW,” said FISH-NL president Ryan Cleary. click here to read the story 22:47

FFAW denies allegation of conflict of interest in relation to Hebron tow-out

The province’s fisheries union is scoffing at an allegation from a rival that it rewarded an influential enterprise owner by giving him a contract to escort the Hebron platform to sea. The Fish, Food and Allied Workers’ union is also defending its relationship with the oil and gas industry.,, The latest flare-up in tension between the FFAW and the Federation of Independent Seafood Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) relates to the recent tow-out from Trinity Bay of the Hebron platform. The two groups are locked in a bitter feud, with FISH-NL fighting to replace the FFAW as the official bargaining agent for inshore harvesters. click here to read the story 12:38:

FISH-NL raises concerns of conflict of interest over marine escort contract awarded to FFAW executive member 

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is calling on the FFAW-Unifor to explain an apparent conflict of interest involving an executive member of the union who won a lucrative marine escort contract with the offshore oil industry. “Fish harvesters demand and deserve an explanation,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. The Eastern Princess II, a fishing vessel owned by Nelson Bussey, who serves on the union’s executive board (Inshore, Avalon Peninsula), was apparently hired in recent weeks to escort the Hebron oil platform out to sea. Marine Escorts are regularly contracted for offshore oil and gas operations to guide marine vessels safely through open water, avoiding fishing gear. The FFAW decides which fishing boats are hired through the union’s Fishing Guide Vessel Program. It’s not known how many fishing boat owners expressed interest in the contract. click here to read the press release 13:11

Heavy ice off East Coast 2017 caused by winds, cold temperatures, and icebergs

Heavy sea ice off Newfoundland and southern Labrador has been an issue for months: it brought record-breaking numbers of polar bear visitors onshore in early March and April and since then has hampered the efforts of fisherman to get out to sea. Let’s look back in time at how the ice built up, from early January to today, using ice maps and charts I’ve downloaded from the Canadian Ice Service and news reports published over the last few months. The tour is illuminating because it shows the development of the thick ice over time and shows how strong winds from a May storm combined with an extensive iceberg field contributed to the current situation. Bottom line: I can only conclude that climate change researcher David Barber was grandstanding today when he told the media that global warming is to blame for Newfoundland’s record thick sea ice conditions this year.  I suspect that because Barber’s expensive research expedition was scuttled, he simply had to find a way to garner media attention for his project — and the media obliged. click> Read to the end and decide for yourself.  11:07

Feds announce emergency funding for ice-impacted harvesters in N.L., Quebec

The federal government has finally stepped in to provide emergency financial assistance to fish harvesters impacted by severe ice conditions in Newfoundland and Labrador.Fisheries and Ocean Minister Dominic LeBlanc announced Friday up to $5 million has been allocated for payments for eligible applicants in Newfoundland and Labrador, and Quebec, under the Ice Assistance Emergency Program. Application forms for the program will be available on the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) website as of June 23. They will also be available at DFO and Service Canada offices in the ice-affected areas.,,, In response to the announcement, the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW-Unifor) union called it unacceptable to not include fish plant workers in the income support program.,,, “Better late than never,” FISH-NL president Ryan Cleary said in a news release, adding the group has been lobbying for emergency funding since April. click here to read the story 09:53

Shelving shrimp: Inside Katsheshuk II, OCI’s $8-million bet on groundfish

For years the Katsheshuk II hauled in shrimp off the shores of Newfoundland. The ship caught, processed and froze the shrimp to be sent to customers. But shrimp stocks have shrunk, leaving Ocean Choice International with too many boats for too small a quota, so the company is spending $8 million to convert the ship. “The shellfish resources are declining but in general, some exceptions, groundfish is increasing,” says Blaine Sullivan, the chief operating officer for OCI. The Katsheshuk II is being overhauled so it can start fishing for groundfish. The industry is hoping for the eventual return of cod, but in the near future it will be other species. click here to read the story 13:57

Consultation process questioned for waters off Cape Breton designated as Marine Protected Area

An area three quarters the size of Prince Edward Island has been declared as a Marine Protected Area (MPA) just off eastern Cape Breton and the people who normally fish there aren’t too pleased about it. According to Veronika Brzeski, executive director of the Cape Breton Fish Harvesters Association, local fishermen will be losing 15 per cent of their total fishing area. But what’s even worse was the way the Department of Fisheries and Ocean went about setting it up, she says. Fisheries and Oceans Minister Dominic LeBlanc announced the establishment of the St. Ann’s Bank Marine Protected Area as part of World Oceans Day earlier this week. The designation means that most human activities such as commercial fishing will be prohibited in 75 per cent of the area. “St. Anns Bank is the third Marine Protected Area to be designated in Canadian waters in less than eight months,” said LeBlanc. click here to read the story 11:30

Nova Scotia Fishermen’s Association Relies on Mustang Survival as Part of Major Safety Investment

Mustang Survival®, the North American brand known for innovative solutions for the most demanding marine environments, is pleased to announce that the Gulf Nova Scotia Fleet Planning Board (GNSFPB) has made another round of major investments in safety equipment which includes 1,200 Mustang Survival immersion suits. As part of a $1.3 million spend, the GNSFPB is aligning with new safety requirements for commercial fishing vessels introduced by Transport Canada, which will go into effect this summer.,, Leonard LeBlanc, GNSFB’s Managing Director, in partnership with Shippagan Enterprises, spearheaded the purchase of safety equipment for use by 600 inshore fishermen in an area that extends from the New Bruswick boarder to the tip of Cape Breton in the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence. click here to read the story 08:43

Ice Assistance Emergency Program – $5M for iced-in fish harvesters, but FFAW says plant workers left out

A Liberal member of Parliament says the federal government has allocated up to $5 million to help fish harvesters who are stuck in port because of heavy ice. Gudie Hutchings, MP for Long Range Mountains, said Friday the money will come under the Ice Assistance Emergency Program for eligible applicants in Newfoundland and Labrador and in Quebec. Some fishermen have been without income for more than two months, as ice socked in the coastline. “Plant workers have been just as impacted by severe ice delays as fish harvesters. Leaving these people out of the income bridging program is unacceptable,” said FFAW president Keith Sullivan in a news release Friday evening.  click here to read the story 20:10

Canada using fishery closures to count toward promised 5% marine conservation target

Canada has moved a little closer to meeting its target to protect five per cent of the country’s oceans by the end of 2017, but some are concerned about the methods the government is using to reach that goal. To coincide with World Oceans Day, Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc announced on Thursday that St. Anns Bank, covering 4,364 square kilometres east of Cape Breton, is officially Canada’s latest marine protected area. Altogether, Canada is now protecting 1.52 per cent of its oceans — a far cry from the five per cent target it has promised to hit in the next seven months, though LeBlanc said there’s “other good news coming” that will take the country “to five per cent and a bit beyond.” click here to read the story 11:50

Fishermen in La Scie eye return to water to catch crab, after 2 boats stuck in ice return safely

Fishermen say they are not deterred by the recent mishaps involving thick sea ice that caused one vessel to sink and several others to get stuck off the coast of Newfoundland’s Baie Verte Peninsula.
“Time is getting short for crab, right? They got the season extended now until July 15, good job they have, I say,” said Justin Giles. “I’m hoping to get out in the next couple of days again if the wind would mind to go off. So hopefully we’ll be able to do it.” Thursday marked the safe return of two fishing vessels that were stuck in ice, a day after the crew of another boat had to be airlifted to safety after the vessel started to sink. Five boats left La Scie on Tuesday to fish for crab, but ran into trouble with the thick ice pack almost immediately after leaving the harbour. click here to read the story 09:16:42

Lobster prices climbing as export market grows

While consumers may not like the high cost of lobster, it is good news for lobster fishermen like Clinton Pendleton. He fishes with his father and grandfather from Deer Island, N.B., in the Bay of Fundy. Pendleton said recent cold temperatures are driving down landings because lobsters don’t feed when it’s too cold. That means they don’t crawl into the baited traps. “This year, compared to recent years, I don’t remember anytime in June when you were able to see your breath all day long,” he said. Cold weather and high demand have driven the price up and kept it there this season.  click here to read the story 21:25

Yarmouth Sea Products fined after man fractured skull on scallop fishing boat

Yarmouth Sea Products will pay a $41,500 fine and is also required to hold two seminars on workplace safety as part of a sentence issued in Yarmouth provincial court Tuesday after an incident on board one of its fishing vessels two years ago. The company was sentenced by Judge James Burrill after pleading guilty to three charges under the Nova Scotia Occupational Health and Safety Act. On June 7, 2015, Clayton Joudrey was hit in the head by a metal ring after a cable snapped aboard the Compass Rose II, a scallop fishing boat in the Bay of Fundy. Joudrey had only been working for the company for 17 days and it was his third trip on the vessel. Joudrey, then 43, suffered a fractured skull, a fractured eye socket and a broken neck. click here to read the story 18:10

Garnish fishermen facing big bill after boat sinks

Preston Grandy, a fisherman from Garnish, is facing a big repair bill after his longliner sank less then a quarter mile from the community on June 5. “I was over lobster fishing in new grounds, unfamiliar grounds, and I hit an unmarked sunker as the tide was falling,” he explained. “When the tide fell out, then she rolled over.” Grandy said the vessel sustained a hole in the stern, as well as other damage along the side of the boat and the interior. “Complete write off for electronics,” he said. On board the vessel, Grandy had a new plotter capable of creating 3D images, radar, newly installed lighting and other equipment. Tim Ball, a commercial diver who fishes with Grandy, was also on board the vessel at the time it rolled. click here to read the story 09:51

La Scie store owner explains why fishermen risk pack ice – ‘People are desperate’

“Desperate times” are driving fishermen to risk their boats and their lives by heading out into waters clogged with heavy pack ice, according to a store owner in La Scie, who is also the father of one of the crew members rescued Wednesday off Newfoundland’s Baie Verte Peninsula. “This time of year, you got your insurances and payments and things and you got to get fishing. Most people around here haven’t drawn EI [employment insurance] or anything from probably the middle of January,” said Neil Ward, who runs the La Scie Stop ‘N’ Shop. “People are finding the pinch, finding it hard going … People are desperate.” Ward’s son was on the Avalon Princess, which started taking on water Wednesday afternoon and eventually sank.,,”All the inshore boats are not fishing, their EI has run out and it doesn’t seem like anyone gives a crap about it.” click here to read the story 08:18

FISH-NL questions whether FFAW ‘bought and paid for’ by offshore oil industry 

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is calling on the FFAW to reveal details of its financial arrangements with the offshore oil industry to address questions of conflict of interest. “It’s time for the FFAW to reveal how much money the union is collecting from the oil industry,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “Oil and fish don’t mix, but you’d never say that from the union’s cozy relationship with the offshore.” The media has described the amount of seismic activity set to take place off Newfoundland and Labrador this year as “super-sized.” Seismic activity uses high energy, low frequency sound waves that can penetrate thousands of metres below the sea floor, and while the impact on fish stocks and the marine environment is debatable, the FFAW hasn’t whispered a word of concern. click here to read the press release Read the related article – Super-sized seismic activity planned for Newfoundland’s offshore this year click here 13:57

Crew airlifted from stuck fishing vessel Avalon Princess, taking on water near La Scie

Crew on a fishing vessel stuck in sea ice off Newfoundland’s Baie Verte Peninsula have been airlifted off a ship that is taking on water, CBC News has learned. Thick sea ice is keeping coast guard officials from reaching that ship — as well as three others. Jamie Matthews owns one of the stuck boats, and said he heard a mayday call that said one of the boats, the Avalon Princess, was taking on water and the crew had to be airlifted to safety by a Cormorant helicopter Wednesday afternoon.,, Matthews said it may seem foolish to venture out amidst that kind of ice, but after two months of not earning any money, he said he and his four crew were willing to take the risk.  click here to read the story 13:35

The Elson decision – Ruling that prevents corporate takeover of inshore fishery faces appeal

The Newfoundland and Labrador seafood industry is behind an appeal of a recent Federal Court of Canada decision that upheld Ottawa’s right to prevent the corporate takeover of inshore fisheries in Atlantic Canada and Quebec. The June 5 appeal was filed at the 30-day deadline. No court date has yet been set to hear the appeal. Last month, Justice Cecily Strickland ruled the federal fisheries minister was entitled to strip fishing licences from Labrador fisherman Kirby Elson. Elson was a placeholder on a snow crab licence controlled by two related Newfoundland processing companies. The Elson decision was hailed as a victory by some inshore fisheries organizations and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. They argue controlling agreements are used by companies to get around longstanding policies that local fishermen control inshore licenses and the profits that come from them. click here to read the story 11:46