Tag Archives: FISH-NL

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

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

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

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

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

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

FISH-NL to Government of Canada – Stop stringing along harvesters impacted by severe ice conditions

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is calling on the Government of Canada to stop stringing along the province’s inshore harvesters and start making decisions regarding help for those impacted this year by severe ice conditions. “This delay by the Government of Canada is a form of mental torture,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “Harvesters are continually told a decision will come soon, a decision will come tomorrow, but tomorrow never comes. Meantime, harvesters, their families, and rural communities are suffering.” click here to read the press release 11:07

FISH-NL calls on FFAW to come clean on details of marine escort fees; show compassion to members who owe back dues 

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is calling on the FFAW to come clean and reveal the “administrative fee” the union charges fishing boat owners hired by oil companies as marine escorts. On another front, FISH-NL is calling on the FFAW to show compassion to members who owe back dues — given the slash in quotas and severe ice conditions — and allow repayment over a broader time frame. “The FFAW is feeding off its membership at every chance,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “At the same time, when the membership is vulnerable and expects the union to show some compassion, the FFAW turns its back on them.” Click here to read the press release 13:29

FISH-NL calls on Ottawa for ice compensation/gear replacement

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is calling on Ottawa to extend EI benefits for fish harvesters on Newfoundland’s northeast coast impacted by severe ice conditions. FISH-NL also says harvesters who lost crab gear should be compensated because the federal government should not have opened the fishery in their areas. “Some harvesters and their families are having an extremely hard time of it,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL, in calling for ice compensation in the form of an EI extension. “They can’t go fishing because ice conditions haven’t improved, and they ran out of EI benefits weeks ago.”,,, John Gillett, an inshore fisherman from Twillingate, wrote the following letter today to federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister Dominic LeBlanc, click here to read the press release 15:44

FISH-NL claims victory with DFO measures to help inshore harvesters 

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is pleased with recent measures announced by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to help mitigate the impact of declining quotas and strengthen enterprise viability. “This is most certainly a victory for inshore harvesters,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “DFO is to be thanked for listening to the concerns of harvesters when their own union, the FFAW, has tuned them out.” For harvesters in fishing zone 3Ps off Newfoundland’s south coast, DFO announced late last week that its combining policy will be amended to permit 3 to 1 enterprise combining for all fleets. In addition, combined enterprises in the 3Ps under 40-foot fleet will be permitted to buddy up. Click here to read the press release 12:28

FFAW calls for clarification from Premier on alleged interference in labour relations case

Yesterday, a press release by the Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland Labrador (FISH-NL) referenced a meeting held with Premier Dwight Ball and Minister Steve Crocker. FFAW-Unifor is calling on the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to clarify FISH-NL’s allegation that a discussion surrounding FISH-NL’s application to the Labour Relations Board took place during this meeting. The Labour Relations Board is an independent, quasi-judicial body which contributes to and promotes harmonious labour relations in the province. The integrity and independent nature of the Board is compromised if the alleged discussion did in fact take place. The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has no role in ongoing investigations, reviews and decisions undertaken by the Board, and any such interference would be unacceptable. Courtney Glode, Communications Officer, FFAW- UNIFOR 13:56

A Meeting With the Premier.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEThursday, May 11th, 2017 The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is pleased that the Dwight Ball administration is onside with a proposal for flexibility in this year’s harvesting rules, including buddying up to help harvesters cut down on expenses.  “Governments can’t magically produce more fish, so they must do all they can to make it easier for harvesters to get through the current crisis and keep their heads above water,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL, following an hour and a half meeting with the Premier and Fisheries Minister Steve Crocker. “The premier gets that.” The decision on flexibility is ultimately Ottawa’s, but the Ball administration agrees with the measure, whereas the FFAW does not.  Click here to read the press release 20:22

FISH-NL describes price of cod as ‘scandalous’ and another example of FFAW conflict; renews call for province to allow in outside buyers

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) says the 2017 price of cod recently negotiated by the FFAW is an insult to the province’s inshore harvesters, and renews its call for the province to allow in outside buyers. “That price is scandalous,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “It’s an insult to already injured inshore harvesters. The FFAW expects cod will save harvesters from shellfish declines, but then the union agrees to a price that will starve our fish harvesters as fast as DFO mismanagement.”The high price of cod this year is up 5 cents a pound. The 2017 price per pound paid to harvesters for Grade A cod has been set at a high of 83 cents, and low of 20 cents. In 2016, the Grade A price paid was 78 cents a pound, with 20 cents as the low mark for Grade C. read the press release here 19:45

Grand Bank protest – “Someone is going to have to listen to the fishermen.”

Fisherman Wayne Meade and a handful of other harvesters burned crab pots and gill nets Tuesday morning outside his home in Grand Bank. “We figured we’d make some smoke,” said Wayne, adding it was a sign of support for crab fishermen in Port au Choix who held a protest fishery there Monday. “All our scallop grounds was took from us. Our 10 per cent halibut bycatch fishery was took from us. So we’re left with nothing, with our hands tied behind our backs. Jesus, we’ve been always treated like dirt. Even in the world wars they put the Newfoundlanders up front to be shot and slaughtered like sheep. So it’s time for us to wake up and be counted.,,, On Tuesday, April 11, FISH-NL made a presentation to the province’s federal Liberal caucus in Ottawa, including recommendations on how to deal with the current fisheries crisis. The presentation was made by Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL, and Richard Gillett, Vice-President.   The following are FISH-NL’s recommendations for fishing zone 3Ps click here to read the details 12:41

FISH-NL’s warnings of rising unrest play out, crab harvesters hold protest fishery off Port aux Choix

Predictions by the Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) of rising unrest in the province’s fishing industry are playing out as inshore fishermen launched a protest crab fishery this morning off Port aux Choix on the Great Northern Peninsula. “Storm clouds have been brewing for months over the Newfoundland and Labrador fishery, and DFO, the police, Ottawa and the provincial government were warned long ago,” said Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “This is going to get uglier before it gets better.” As many as nine crab boats from the province took part in this morning’s protest fishery, although not all vessels set crab gear. click here to read the story 14:32

Crab fishermen set pots in off-limits zone to protest Quebec harvesting in area – click here to read the story 16:38

FISH-NL challenges federal Fisheries Minister to meet with harvesters his government is starving out

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) says the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans appears oblivious to the hardship facing inshore harvesters this year as the result of punishing quota cuts and severe industry downturn. Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL, challenges the Minister to visit some of the rural communities directly impacted, and meet with harvesters his government is starving out. “The Minister should go to places like Anchor Point and Twillingate and explain to harvesters how they’re expected to get by when so many of them have nothing left to fish,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “Harvesters are being starved out.” click here to read the press release 13:12

While the Trudeau Administration pays lip service, FISH-NL warns of rising unrest if Ottawa doesn’t soon act on fisheries crisis 

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) warns of rising unrest in the fishing industry if Ottawa doesn’t follow through on commitments to inshore fish harvesters. “So far the Trudeau administration has paid lip service to unrest in the Newfoundland and Labrador fishery,” said Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “That won’t cut it anymore because harvesters are at the end of their rope.” The state of the fisheries today is described as worse than the early 1990s when groundfish stocks such as cod collapsed. Back then, harvesters moved on to other species such as shrimp and crab, but now most fisheries are at a critical level or on a downward spiral. Debt levels are also higher, and — given severe cuts to quotas for species like shrimp — many harvesters are teetering on bankruptcy. click here to read the press release 13:06

FISH-NL calls for resignation of leader of province’s Federation of Labour, and they’re not alone!

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is demanding the resignation of Mary Shortall, president of the province’s Federation of Labour, for taking sides in the dispute between FISH-NL and the FFAW, as well as blatant conflict of interest. “Mary Shortall has no business choosing sides — standing by the executive of the FFAW over rank-and-file fish harvesters who are slowly being starved out by a combination of failed management and a union that has lost its way,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “Mary Shortall has also lost touch with workers in this province and should be forced to resign immediately, and it’s not just me who’s saying that — but at least one local union president.” click here to read the press release (image cbc) 11:34

Censored! No Media Allowed: FFAW Union Boss to meet with protesters but not interested in ‘spectacle’

The Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW) will meet with fish harvesters who protested outside the union building on Monday, but says media will not be allowed. “To have [media] in the meeting, and to really make something a spectacle is not really what we’re interested in,” Keith Sullivan, president of the FFAW, told CBC Radio’s St. John’s Morning Show. “Obviously [we’re] happy to meet with members, but to have a spectacle and something that’s only going to further embarrass our industry … we have no interest in doing that.”Protesters first rallied outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada building where Richard Gillett — vice-president of the Federation of Independent Seafood Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) — held his 11-day hunger strike and headed to the offices of the FFAW on Monday.  They demanded a meeting with the union, and that media be present during that meeting. click here to read the story 14:36

A protest that had the makings of turning ugly on Monday in St. John’s ended with handshakes between the fishermen fighting for their livelihoods and the police force charged with keeping public order and safety. Still, the fishermen drove away — back to home communities and boats scattered around the island — disappointed with not getting answers to a net load of questions. Fisherman Brent Adams from Marystown said the meeting should take place in the union building. “This is our building. We paid for this building. Why not meet here?” he said. “They (FFAW executive) should all resign.” click here to read the story and watch the video. 15:29

FFAW – Statement on Fish Harvester Protest in front of their building.

FFAW’s Executive Board understands and agrees that this is a difficult time in the fishery. The fishery is in transition which creates uncertainty. FFAW has worked hard to help ease the difficulties created by changes in the marine environment. We are in daily communication with DFO on improving quotas, on finding a better approach to assessing fisheries science, and on ensuring that the voice of harvesters is clearly heard in matters of fisheries management. We have dozens of elected committees throughout the province engaged with DFO on a wide variety of issues. Over the past six months, these committees, in conjunction with FFAW staff, have conducted hundreds of meetings in communities across the province. We are engaged and the vast majority of our membership understand the support we provide and results we achieve. continue reading the press release, click here 15:29

Richard Gillett Stands Firm, Determined, while FISH-NL executive accuses DFO and FFAW of playing politics in fishery protest

Ryan Cleary says the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW) union are killing Richard Gillett with politics. “This guy is a rock, but he’s hurting now and they’re playing with his life,” the Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador president said of the organization’s vice-president, who is now eight days into a hunger strike while camped outside the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Centre in St. John’s. Cleary was responding to a news release from the FFAW that he claims takes credit for the federal government’s decision to conduct a full assessment on northern cod stocks on an annual basis. (Ten yearold Lucas Wilkinson made the point it was important to show solidarity with Richard Gillett. click here to read the story! 21:54

Day 6 – The hunger strike of Canadian Fisherman Richard Gillett continues

While Richard Gillett’s accommodations along the side of East White Hills Road have improved, his physical and mental state is headed in the other direction. Gillett, a Twillingate fisherman and vice-president of the Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL), is five days into a hunger strike outside the entrance to the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Centre. He is protesting what he considers mismanagement of Newfoundland and Labrador fish harvesting operations by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and its relationship with the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW) union.,, Also on Monday, Gillett had a meeting with two representatives from DFO, a senior scientist and a member of senior management. The meeting, he says, was nothing more than “lip service” and an effort to gauge his level of determination and the expected turnout of supporters on Tuesday morning when federal employees return to work following the Easter long weekend. click here to read the story 10:50

Easter Sunday marks the fourth day of Canadian Fisherman Richard Gillett’s hunger strike.

The vice-president of the Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) set up camp in front of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans headquarters in St. John’s on Thursday. One of Gillett’s requests is a meeting with Dominic LeBlanc, the federal minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, to ask for an independent review of science and management at DFO. “Up until right now we haven’t heard anything from Minister LeBlanc,” Gillett said. Gillett said he thinks the fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador is close to extinction. click here to read the story 17:25

Twillingate Fisherman Richard Gillett enters Day 2 of hunger strike: ‘If I can’t fish, I’m no good to no one’

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—Friday, April 14th, 2017 – Richard Gillett, an inshore fish harvester from Twillingate and Vice-President of the Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL), began a hunger strike Thursday afternoon on the grounds of DFO’s NL headquarters in St. John’s. Gillett’s demands include: a meeting with the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Dominic LeBlanc,  and his assurance of an independent review of DFO science/management; as well as an independent review of the relationship between DFO and the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW) union. “Enough is enough,” says Gillett, “This is a desperate situation that needs to be looked into right now. The industry is in the worse mess it’s ever been in,” says Gillett, who’s been drinking only water since Thursday afternoon. “DFO science has been gutted and the management system we have today, when most of our fisheries are in crisis, is the same one that we had back in ’92 when the cod moratorium came down. And the FFAW, which is supposedly our union, stopped standing up for fishermen long ago and got in bed with DFO.” “If I can’t fish I’m no good to no one. I’m no good to myself. I’m no good to my family. I’m no good to my friends. I was meant to fish.” On Tuesday, April 11, Gillett, along with Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL, travelled to Ottawa and met with five of NL’s Liberal MPs, including: Gudie Hutchings, Yvonne Jones, Ken McDonald, Scott Simms and Nick Whalen. The MPs called the meeting to discuss the current fisheries crisis. click here to read the press release, and FISH-NL’s presentation 08:26

FISH-NL – A statement on Friday’s protest in St. John’s

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) describes the protest Friday at the headquarters of the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans as a warning of rising unrest within the fishing industry. “Desperate times in the fishery lead to desperate measures,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “We do not condone violence or civil unrest, but some harvesters around the province are being pushed to the breaking point and have been openly talking about it for months.” “The federal government must realize that the crisis in the fishery today is unprecedented — worse than the groundfish moratoria of the early 1990s — because in most cases harvesters have no other species to turn to.” click here to read the press release 14:20

A Statement by FISH-NL

As President of the Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL), I and FISH-NL apologize to the FFAW for referring to them as the “salt-water mafia.” We won’t be using that expression again.  FISH-NL will continue to hold the FFAW to account for its failure to represent the inshore harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador.  Ryan Cleary,  President, FISH-NL 13:49