Tag Archives: FFAW-Unifor

‘It’s not possible to be independent and arm’s-length when you’re practically married and living under the same roof.’

FISH-NL writes Premier with ‘serious concerns’ over relationship between FFAW and provincial corporation that runs fish harvester registration,,, “The head of the Professional Fish Harvesters Certification Board has said the board ‘operates independently and on an arm’s-length basis from the FFAW’ when that is clearly not the case,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “Not only is the certification board located in the same Richard Cashin Building in St. John’s as the FFAW-Unifor, but the two organizations have owned the property together since 2009,”,,, >click to read< 13:00

Following seal predation report, FFAW calls for government action

FFAW-Unifor accuses the Department of Fisheries and Oceans of remaining “complacent while evidence mounts that an overpopulation of seals is having a serious impact on important fish species.” A study conducted by DFO shows that a lack of cod recovery in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence may be caused by predation by grey seals, and could account for up to 50 per cent of natural cod mortality. This is limiting the cod stock’s recovery, DFO said. An assessment predicts a 32 per cent drop in cod numbers over the next four years. >click to read<  10:03

FISH-NL supports calls for independent offshore environmental authority; FFAW-Unifor must come clean with oil industry funding

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) supports calls for an independent authority to oversee the environment in the province’s offshore oil and gas industry. “There is growing evidence that the industry regulator, the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board, is unable to protect the environment,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “Between seismic blasting and offshore spills, it’s full-speed ahead for the petroleum industry — the commercial fishery and marine environment be damned.” >click to read< 11:22

Single union can’t represent all sides of fishery

Is it a coincidence that the FFAW-Unifor gave out free codfish on the St. John’s waterfront Monday morning (Aug. 12) at the same time that FISH-NL held a news conference to announce a second membership drive? Any trouble swallowing the idea that the foolish fish giveaway forced Fisheries Minister Gerry Byrne’s hand into opening the door a crack to outside buyers, where six months before he had slammed the door at the suggestion?  >click to read< 08:34

FISH-NL membership drive. Inshore harvesters offered second chance to break free of FFAW-Unifor

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is launching today its second membership drive for inshore harvesters to finally break free of the FFAW/Unifor.,,, “FISH-NL’s first battle is to free harvesters from the FFAW stranglehold, and after almost three long years we’re almost there,” Cleary added. “The second fight will be to end mismanagement of our fisheries, and secure harvesters and the rural communities where they live with a prosperous future as the primary beneficiary of adjacent stocks.” The membership drive starts today, and will conclude on Nov. 8th when FISH-NL will submit the membership cards as part of an application for certification to the province’s Labour Relations Board. >click to read< 11:46

Harvesters Call for Better Consultation as Grieg Aquaculture Plans Expansion to Additional Sites

Fish harvesters are concerned about plans by Grieg Aquaculture to establish three additional sites east of Marasheen Island in Placentia Bay. The FFAW-Unifor is calling on the provincial government not to move forward with any project approval until they have pursued a proper consultation process with harvesters as the project may put their livelihoods at risk.  Placentia Bay is a high-traffic area with the highest concentration of small fishing vessels during peak fishing times. Union president Keith Sullivan says previous consultations on the overall project have been insufficient, and information on site locations has been inconsistent. >click to read<12:30

Letter to the Editor – FFAW fighting for itself, not the fishery

The FFAW-Unifor demonstration March 20 through downtown St. John’s was described to me as a “march of deception.” I disagreed — no one’ s been deceived. The facts have been laid out for all to see over the two and a half years that FISH-NL has battled the FFAW. Instead, I would call the protest a “march of madness.” FFAW supporters demonstrated to “fight for the future of our fisheries” when it’s the union itself that has been threatening their survival. The FFAW-Unifor is in a conflict of interest in representing inshore harvesters/plant workers/offshore trawler men/aquaculture workers/oil tanker workers/cold storage workers/Long Harbour workers, etc. >click to read< by Ryan Cleary 11:31

FFAW’S March of Madness

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) describes the FFAW-Unifor’s demonstration Wednesday through downtown St. John’s as a “march of madness.” “FFAW supporters demonstrated to ‘fight for the future of our fisheries’ when it’s the union itself that has been threatening their survival,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. Here are 20 reasons how: 1) The FFAW-Unifor is in a conflict of interest in representing inshore harvesters/plant workers/offshore trawlermen/aquaculture workers/oil tanker workers/cold storage workers/Long Harbour workers, etc. >click to read<12:32

photo, the telegram

Fish harvesters, plants workers hold demonstration in St. John’s – ‘Put the crab back on the table,’ fishermen chant at rally

Fish, Food and Allied Workers’—Unifor members held a demonstration today at the Delta Hotel in St. John’s followed by a march through part of the downtown. Fish harvesters, plant workers and citizens attended united, the union says, in their concern for the future of the province’s fisheries. A news release stated that around the province, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) shuts out fish harvesters from science processes and continues to make fisheries management decisions without any meaningful consultation with inshore harvesters. >click to read<13:14

‘Put the crab back on the table,’ frustrated fishermen chant at rally – >click to read<

Wednesday demonstration – FFAW has done worse damage to fisheries than harp seals or seismic blasting: FISH-NL

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) says the FFAW-Unifor has done worse damage to the province’s commercial fisheries than harp seals or seismic blasting. “Fishermen are nothing but a cash cow to the FFAW,” says Peter Leonard, Vice-President of FISH-NL and an inshore harvester from Southern Harbour. “The FFAW is working hand-in-hand with oil companies, the federal and provincial governments, and the aquaculture industry, and we’re being played for fools,” he added.,,, The FFAW-Unifor has scheduled a demonstration for noon Wednesday at the Delta Hotel in downtown St. John’s to “fight for the future of our fisheries.” >click to read<15:25

FISH-NL repeats call for FFAW-Unifor to disclose money paid by oil industry; potential union conflict ‘taints’ seismic research

“The question of conflict of interest taints everything the FFAW touches — including DFO’s recent research into the impact of seismic blasting on snow crab — for as long as the union refuses to open its books,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. A 2018 DFO paper — Effects of 2D seismic on the snow crab fishery — concluded seismic activity does not have a “significant” impact on commercially caught snow crab. The paper used data the FFAW-Unifor helped collect, a contribution acknowledged in the report. At the same time, the FFAW has refused to reveal details of its financial arrangements with the offshore oil and gas industry to address questions of conflict of interest in also representing inshore fish harvesters.>click to read<14:11

FISH-NL takes stand against precautionary approach management system for snow crab; ‘inshore harvesters don’t want it’

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) has taken a stand against the implementation of the so-called ‘precautionary approach’ management system in the commercial snow crab fishery. “The message is loud and clear from all coasts — inshore harvesters don’t want it,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “Fishermen say the management system that’s in place now works well enough, and follows the normal cyclical nature of the stock.” The precautionary approach would have three levels or zones of classification — critical, healthy and cautious, with talks are ongoing between DFO and the FFAW-Unifor on setting the reference points dividing each category. FISH-NL is against the introduction of the precautionary approach altogether. >click to read<17:20

FFAW-Unifor tightens grip on NL fishery; former executive takes helm of fish processing licensing board

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is shocked that a one-time executive member of the FFAW-Unifor has been quietly appointed to chair the provincial board with a key role in licensing fish plants and buyers. At the same time, a former executive-assistant to Fisheries and Land Resources Minister Gerry Byrne has also been given a seat on the board. Both appointments — which have yet to be publicly announced — raise questions of conflict of interest, and severely diminish any hope inshore harvesters have of getting the best possible price for their fish. >click to read<10:37

FISH-NL: C-NLOPB ‘waking up’ to concerns over impact of offshore seismic activity

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is frustrated the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board isn’t prepared to suspend offshore seismic work, but encouraged the offshore oil and gas regulator is waking up to concerns. “Ottawa takes a precautionary approach to fisheries management — which means being cautious when science is uncertain — but there’s nothing precautionary about allowing seismic to continue until the potential risks are understood. ,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “The hypocrisy doesn’t escape inshore harvesters.”  >click to read<20:06

FISH-NL questions whether complaints against Royal Greenland smokescreen to cover the fact local processors underpaying fishermen

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) questions whether the Dwight Ball government supports inshore harvesters being paid top dollar for their fish. “Local processors and buyers have been screaming bloody murder because Royal Greenland is paying harvesters more for their product — forcing them to increase their prices,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “That tells us the minimum negotiated price is too low, and reinforces our stand that the province should open the door to outside buyers.” “It’s time for the provincial government and the FFAW-Unifor to say which side they’re on — with inshore harvesters and free enterprise, or against them.” >click to read< 14:54

FISH-NL calls for resurrection of arm’s-length body to bridge massive divide between science and inshore harvesters

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is calling on Ottawa to resurrect the Fisheries Resource Conservation Council (FRCC) to bridge the enormous divide between fishermen and scientists over the state of fish stocks — northern cod in particular. “DFO scientists and inshore harvesters are once again complete strangers, just like in the early 1990s when the commercial fisheries failed,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. >click to read<13:38

Fishermen push back on new approach to determine health of snow crab stocks

Fishermen are pushing back this week at a Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) plan to bring in a precautionary approach principle to help determine the overall health of snow crab stocks around Newfoundland and Labrador. The approach is used to assess the health of other fishery stocks. The proposal has three levels or zones of classification — critical, cautious and healthy. >click to read<17:15

FFAW-Unifor stoops to new low; committee members forced to sign ‘pledge of allegiance’

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) charges the FFAW-Unifor with stooping to a new low in forcing inshore harvesters to sign a pledge of allegiance to serve on area committees, potentially blocking thousands of dues-payers from taking part. “So much for democracy — the labour situation in the Newfoundland and Labrador fishery is as bad as any communist regime ever was,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. >click to read<14:12

Nova Scotia looks to keep redfish quota as other provinces want in

A Nova Scotia seafood company is urging the federal government to wait several years before starting a large-scale commercial harvest for redfish in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Also known as ocean perch, the species has made a remarkable comeback after a 25-year moratorium. “This biomass is huge. It’s probably the largest in history,” said Jan Voutier of Louisbourg Seafoods Ltd., a Nova Scotia redfish harvester and processor. It’s believed 3.5 million tonnes of redfish are in the gulf today, setting the stage for a looming interprovincial conflict in Atlantic Canada over who gets a piece of the action.”All of a sudden, everyone wants to rush in and get the pot of gold, as it were,” said Keith Colwell, Nova Scotia’s fisheries minister. >click to read<12:20

FISH-NL accuses FFAW of fake outrage and hypocrisy over new snow crab management strategy

The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) held meetings earlier this week in St. John’s, Clarenville, and Gander to consult inshore harvesters on a proposed new management strategy for snow crab. The so-called Precautionary Approach includes stock status zones such as critical, cautious and healthy, as well as reference points and harvesters control rules. A huge contingent of FFAW-Unifor executive members slammed DFO at the public meetings for blindsiding inshore harvesters, accusing the department of bringing them into the discussion at a “late stage.” >click to read<

N.L. crab fishers taken aback by DFO’s latest details on crab data

Alfred Fitzpatrick says it seems the opinions of fish harvesters aren’t carrying much weight with the science branch of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) as of late. “We always thought we had a pretty good relationship with DFO Science – when it come to crab anyways, cod is another story,” said the Garnish-based fishermen, who represents harvesters from the Burin Peninsula in crab fishing areas 10 and 11 on the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW-Unifor) union’s inshore council. “It seems like now it’s changing. It’s not a good working relationship, not as good anyway, I’ll say.” >click to read<16:10

FISH-NL accuses FFAW of conflict of interest in accepting funds from offshore oil companies/industry regulator

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) questions the ability of the FFAW-Unifor to hold the offshore oil industry to account for its impact on the fishery when the industry has been funding the union for years. “The conflict of interest is blatant between the FFAW and oil companies — and the conflict even extends to the C-NLOPB, the industry regulator,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. >click to read<17:41

The labour lie: FISH-NL reacts to Labour Board decision dismissing its application for certification

After 500-plus years of fishing history, the Newfoundland and Labrador government — through its Labour Relations Board — has finally defined an inshore fisherman. The definition doesn’t involve trips to sea nor fish landed. From the Board’s perspective, that’s irrelevant. The definition also doesn’t factor in whether a person lives in Newfoundland or Labrador, has a full-time job outside the fishery, or has ever stepped aboard a boat. To be considered a fisherman/woman in the eyes of the Board, the only criteria is that a person must have paid dues to the union — the FFAW-Unifor. >click to read<10:41

UPDATED: Labour relations board dismisses FISH-NL certification application

The Labour Relations Board on Friday dismissed FISH-NL’s certification application. Federation of Independent Seafood Harvesters (FISH-NL) president Ryan Cleary said he’s “absolutely shocked” by the decision. In a news release, FFAW-Unifor wrote they are “pleased” with the decision by the board, which “confirmed FFAW-Unifor’s longstanding assertion that there are nearly 10,000 inshore fish harvesters in our province, which clearly shows that FISH-NL did not have adequate support to warrant a vote.” Both FISH-NL and FFAW-Unifor appear to agree on one point – that the process over the past couple of years has resulted in unrest within the inshore fishery. >click to read<08:08

More Waiting – Labour board to decide number of full-time inshore fish harvesters

After 500 years of fishing history you’d probably think it would be easy enough in Newfoundland and Labrador to determine who is and who is not a true, full-time fisherman. Yet, with so many people over the years dipping into the fishery for full-time, part-time or one-time earnings — and with often blurred lines as to who makes up part of a fishing crew — it’s not that straightforward. And that became apparent during a hearing held by the province’s Labour Relations Board Monday in St. John’s regarding an application by FISH-NL for certification to represent the province’s commercial inshore fishermen — fishermen who are currently represented by FFAW-Unifor. >click to read<08:31

FISH-NL asks federal Auditor General to investigate sentinel cod fisheries

“Money from the sale of cod caught in the sentinel or test fisheries goes in the pockets of the FFAW-Unifor even though the program is supposedly fully financed directly by Fisheries and Oceans,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. In a letter Thursday to Auditor General Michael Ferguson, Cleary said there doesn’t appear to be any formal audit or reporting process in place to calculate the amount of money raised by the sale of cod caught through the sentinel program, or to determine how the money is spent. Further, even though money from the sale of cod is used to subsidize the sentinel fisheries, the program falls outside Section 10 of the federal Fisheries Act, which seems to be a clear violation of the legislation. >click to read<12:45

Harvey Jarvis – Ignore cod sentinel data at our peril

Twenty-three years ago, I helped lead a team that designed and implemented the cod sentinel inshore survey on Northern Cod (Southern Avalon, North East Coast and Labrador). The status of Northern Cod has been much in the news lately and the decision, by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), to cut the commercial quota has been met with some stiff opposition from the FFAW-Unifor. This prompted me to do a little investigating to see what cod sentinel is telling us about Northern Cod. Based on a review of cod sentinel information, by opposing the 2018 quota reduction by DFO, I can only conclude that the FFAW-Unifor and the Groundfish Industry Development Council (GIDC) appear to be ignoring the last five years of sentinel data. According to information that I have been able to piece together, cod sentinel results are as follows: >click to read<09:03

FISH-NL Calls For Resignation of Dominic LeBlanc, Federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is calling for Dominic LeBlanc’s resignation in light of his failure to address the current fisheries crisis. “Twenty six years after the northern cod moratorium, and the federal minister of Fisheries and Oceans still isn’t prepared to lead and do what needs to be done,” said Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “It’s time for LeBlanc to get out of the way, or for the Prime Minster to replace him.” ,,, LeBlanc has made a number of decisions as minister that have hurt this province, >click to read<11:56

FFAW-Unifor bans thousands of members from running for executive positions in communist-like move: FISH-NL

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) accuses the FFAW-Unifor executive of manipulating the union Constitution to project their own jobs, and punish the inshore harvesters who took a stand against them. “The upwards of 3,000 harvesters who support FISH-NL have been banned from running for executive FFAW positions — including president, and vice-president,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “So much for democracy — the labour situation in the Newfoundland and Labrador fishery is as bad as any communist regime ever was, and yet another reason why the Labour Relations Board must proceed with a vote.” >click to read<13:53

FISH-NL calls on FFAW-Unifor to appeal 2018 crab price; questions why union isn’t fighting for inshore harvesters

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is calling on the FFAW-Unifor to appeal the price of snow crab set in early April by the Standing Fish Price Setting Panel. “Why isn’t the FFAW-Unifor fighting for inshore crab harvesters?” questions Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “The $4.55 a pound price set for snow crab in this province is well below the $5 a pound offered in the Maritimes, and the $8 a pound wholesale price that Japanese buyers were reportedly lining up to pay earlier this month.”>click to read<12:33