Tag Archives: Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland and Labrador cod stocks rebounding, but still critical

Cod stocks off Newfoundland and Labrador have shown “tremendous progress” in recovery over the past several years, but the species is still in critical shape. That’s what delegates at a cod conference in Gander heard Tuesday, Nov. 28. The conference, titled “Cod: Building the Future of the Fishery” and organized by the Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation (CCFI), provided updated figures from the 2016 cod stock assessment. click here to read the story 12:31

First Nation groups in Newfoundland and Labrador coming together to apply for new surf clam licence

The Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band is looking at getting in on another fishing enterprise. Earlier this year, Qalipu announced it was teaming up with the Barry Group in pursuing a quota to harvest ocean perch off western Newfoundland. Monday, three Indigenous groups from Newfoundland and Labrador, including Qalipu, the Miawpukek First Nation and the Innu Nation, announced they will be partnering to apply for a new Artic surf clam licence being made available by the federal government. click here to read the story 09:20

FISH-NL makes formal request for Prime Minister to reopen province’s Terms of Union

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) has formally asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to reopen the province’s Terms of Union with regards to fisheries management “The Terms of Union must be revisited so that the principles of adjacency and historical attachment are made constitutional corner stones,” Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL, wrote in a Sept. 28th letter to the Prime Minister. “No one minister or government should have such absolute control over Newfoundland and Labrador’s fishery fortunes.” Most commercial stocks off Newfoundland and Labrador are at or near critical levels, with inshore harvesters and their enterprises starving for fish. click here to read the press release 22:00

FISH-NL president Ryan Cleary has written a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asking for the Terms of Union to be re-opened so that inshore harvesters get a fair shake. click here to read the story 10/3/17 11:13

The Japanese like to see sea urchins with big gonads, but not too big.

Newfoundland and Labrador has made a dollar on urchins, but could potentially make more in future. “It needs to have the right shape, the right colour, the right texture and most importantly the right taste,” said Philip James, a scientist with the Norwegian institute of food, fisheries and aquaculture research (Nofima), describing the seafood market demand, at the recent World Seafood Congress in Reykjavik, Iceland. About 90 per cent of the globally produced urchin gonad — or roe, as is more commonly known — is sent to the Japanese market. It can be hard at times for the world’s producers to source good roe, with urchins plucked from the ocean not always having consistent quantity and quality. click here to read the story 11:18

One plant is processing more shrimp thanks to the elimination of tariffs under European free trade deal

The new free trade deal with Europe has only been in effect for a few days but one seafood processor in Newfoundland and Labrador says it’s already meant more work. Ocean Choice International has extended work at the Port au Choix plant.,, On Sept. 21 the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA, came into effect. It dropped tariffs on 96 per cent of the Canadian seafood sold into Europe.,, As part of the tradeoff for the elimination of tariffs, Newfoundland and Labrador agreed to drop minimum processing requirements. They required fish caught off the province to be processed there. click here to read the story 12:54

Greenland halibut quota increase to boost fishing jobs in N.L.

A small increase in the total allowable catch (TAC) of Greenland halibut will pay big dividends for fishing communities in Newfoundland and Labrador, according to the Groundfish Enterprise Allocation Council (GEAC). At the annual meeting of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) in Montreal this week, all contracting nations agreed to an 11 per cent TAC increase of the species, raising it to 16,500 metric tonnes.  “Canada’s 36 per cent share of this TAC translates into 6,000 mt for 2018.” click here to read the story 14:55

What if the cod came back? The push to reinvent Newfoundland and Labrador’s fishery

If you want to find out if there’ll ever be a vibrant, successful commercial cod fishery off Newfoundland and Labrador again, start with the guy whose boat sank in some of the most formidable waters in the country. “Groundfish is not coming back, it is back,” says Brad Watkins, who is determined to be at the vanguard of a reimagined cod business. Two years ago, his boat, the Atlantic Charger, sank in the frigid waters of Frobisher Bay, off the coast of Nunavut, nearly costing the lives of the nine men on board. Despite that severe setback, Watkins is back in the game, investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in state-of-the-art fishing gear and capitalizing on easy-on-the-ocean technology. click here to read the story 08:58

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

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

 

Letter: Why Richard Gillett went on a hunger strike. ” In my opinion he is a brave man,,,”

April 13th, Richard Gillett went on a hunger strike because he felt that rural Newfoundland and Labrador was facing a bleak future due to the mismanagement of oceans that had sustained us for 500 years. Richard had two requests: one for a review of the science and management of all provincial fish stocks, the other a review of the relationship of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers union and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Those are two very legitimate questions.,, In my opinion he is a brave man who is concerned about this province and has done more than anyone since the moratorium to bring to the forefront the state of our oceans. Click here to read Capt. Wilfred Bartlett, retired, letter 17:41

Newfoundland and Labrador Fishermen don’t agree that crab, shrimp stocks are as bad as scientists say

The province’s fishery appears to be on the brink of a sea change. News over the past couple of months of continually declining snow crab and northern shrimp stocks in waters off Newfoundland and Labrador’s coasts have sent waves of concern washing over the fishing industry. The expected cuts this spring to crab and shrimp quotas have fisherman all around the province on edge. And there’s little else to fill in the gap — the northern cod stocks, while showing signs of strong growth in recent years, are still not ready for a major commercial fishing effort. Lying in the balance are huge investments in vessels and fishing gear, work for boat crews and plants, and the survival of rural areas of the province. But while scientific stock assessments of crab and shrimp reveal a dismal picture, many fishermen are not so sure that picture is accurate. In fact, many say they are seeing things a bit differently out on the water, and see some hope for the fishery of the future if fishermen are willing to branch out into other potential commercial species. click here to read the story 08:50

N.L. fishermen worried after double-whammy of snow crab, shrimp announcements

Fishermen in Newfoundland and Labrador say they’re shocked the total allowable catch for snow crab will be slashed 22 per cent this year — and some are relieved it isn’t worse news. “It’s going to be very difficult,” said Nelson Bussey, a fish harvester in Port de Grave, who’s predicting 40 per cent less crab than he caught last year. The quota, announced Monday by the federal department of Fisheries and Oceans, has been set at 35,419 tonnes. Bussey says the cut doesn’t match up with reality. continue reading the story here 09:40

Crab quota cuts are grim news – The news hit just before question period in the House of Assembly Monday afternoon that the federal government is cutting crab quotas by 22 per cent. This was an additional blow after the federal government cut the Area 6 shrimp quota by 63 per cent last week, in response to a declining biomass. Shellfish made up more than 80 per cent of the total landed value of seafood last year, so these kinds of cuts will have a huge economic impact. continue reading the story here 09:46

Northern Shrimp quota slashed – Who will get the remaining shrimp quota? Who gets to financially survive?

The fights were starting to brew on Friday, as word spread of cuts to northern shrimp quota for 2017. Lean times in the Newfoundland and Labrador fishery are turning to desperate times. In response to declining shrimp numbers in areas off the province’s coast, the federal government has slashed quotas, with the result an expected wave of job losses. Shellfish shock is hitting the province. Shrimp is not the only consideration, with largely ecological factors including warming temperatures and a return of groundfish numbers also driving down crab counts (the province’s other big cash crop). Click here to read the article 10:50

FISH-NL: Shrimp cuts impact harvesters/rural communities like a hammer

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) says the massive cut to the northern shrimp quota off the Great Northern Peninsula and southern Labrador (Shrimp Fishing Area 6) has hit the inshore fleet and adjacent communities like a hammer. “The crisis in the shrimp fishery is unprecedented,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “The situation today is even worse than the groundfish moratoriam of the early 1990s in that many shrimp harvesters have no other species to turn to. The harvesters who do have other species have also taken massive hits.” Read the press release here 17:47

20-year shellfish harvester says he can’t wait long for return of cod

The return of an expanded commercial cod fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador can’t come soon enough for Basil Goodyear, a fisherman in Lumsden who’s been relying on shellfish for about 20 years. Goodyear first started fishing crab and shrimp with three of his brothers in 1997. But as the stocks of shrimp and crab continue to fall, Goodyear is looking for somewhere to turn. He told CBC Radio’s The Broadcast on Monday that he might be able to tough it out if a full commercial cod fishery returns in five years’ time, but he says 10 years is too long to wait. Goodyear predicts there will not be many people left in the fishing industry in a decade unless there are quota increases in some species. He is not sure how much longer his crew can last with crab and shrimp alone.  continue reading the story here 09:02

FISH-NL calls on Ottawa to reopen seal hunt by March 25th

Monday, March 20th, 2017 The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is calling on Ottawa to reopen by March 25th the harp and hood seal hunt to all harvesters and all fleets in Newfoundland and Labrador. The federal government closed the hunt on March 15th to allow time for seal whelping and nursing, which will be all but wrapped up by the 25th. Sealers want to harvest the older seals then for their meat and high fat content (although the entire animal is utilized), but as more times passes, the animals lose their weight. Read the press release here, and support the seal hunt! 22:37

Fisheries Minister Steve Crocker DFO should listen to harvesters seeing different catch rates than DFO scientists

Not all Newfoundland and Labrador fish harvesters are witnessing such a dramatic decline in shellfish stocks, according to provincial Fisheries Minister Steve Crocker, who said the federal government should listen to local fishermen when deciding upcoming quotas. Local fish harvesters are seeing catch rates that don’t match up with the analysis produced by DFO scientists, according to Crocker. That analysis showed major declines in shrimp and snow crab biomass, and hinted at a dire situation for fish harvesters who rely on those stocks to make a living. Crocker said he would be speaking to federal Fisheries Minister Dominic Leblanc this week, and would urge him to listen to local fish harvesters. Read the story here 10:08

Fishery fund ‘biggest sellout’: Paul Davis says Ball government gave up $300M

The Progressive Conservatives are calling an Atlantic fisheries fund that will direct $100-million to Newfoundland and Labrador a sellout. “It’s the biggest sellout in the history of the fishery,” said Opposition Leader Paul Davis who went on the attack in question period in the House of Assembly Tuesday. “This is nothing but a sellout to the federal government.” Davis complained that, in the fund announced Friday, the province settled for a fraction of what was contemplated under a trade agreement between Canada and Europe [CETA]. That $400-million dollar fund would have included $280 million from Ottawa, with the rest coming from the province. The money was demanded by the province as the CETA took shape in 2013 to compensate for giving up minimum processing requirements. read the story here 20:00

FISH-NL wins first battle against salt-water mafia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday, Feb. 23rd, 2017 The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) has won the first battle in its bid to represent the province’s inshore fish harvesters. The province’s Labour Relations Board issued a ruling Thursday afternoon rejecting an application by the FFAW that FISH-NL is not an association under the Fishing Industry Collective Bargaining Act. “If you were listening closely Thursday afternoon you would have heard the collective cheer of thousands of fish harvesters around the province,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “The ruling by the Labour Relations Board legitimizes our movement. FISH-NL has now been legally recognized as an official organization of fish harvesters, despite the best efforts of the salt-water mafia.” The FFAW has made another application to the Labour Relations Board that the membership list of inshore fish harvesters not be released to FISH-NL. “We’re hopeful the Labour Relations Board will schedule a hearing on that application as soon as possible,” says Cleary. It’s expected that once the Labour Relations Board rules on the release of the membership list to FISH-NL, an investigator with the Board will begin the review of FISH-NL’s application and membership cards. On Dec. 30th, FISH-NL presented an application to the Labour Relations Board to represent the province’s inshore fish harvesters, breaking them away from the FFAW. The application included 2,352 membership cards signed by inshore harvesters around Newfoundland and Labrador. FISH-NL argues that number represents more than 50 per cent of all inshore harvesters, the amount required to force a vote by the Labour Relations Board to ultimately decide which union will represent harvesters.

Northern shrimp stocks still ‘critical’ – no improvement in spawning biomass

It’s the season to talk about the prospects for the shrimp fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador and the initial information for the new season does not look promising. In a media briefing this morning, Katherine Kanes, mathematician/stock-assessment biologist with Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) outlined the current picture from the most recent stock assessments, for northern shrimp in fishing areas 6, 5 and 4 — off the Northern Peninsula and the coast of Labrador. Data collected from the fall multi-species trawl survey by DFO, as well as information from fishers shows there’s not been much improvement from last year. In SFA 6 — the area that most inshore commercial fishers from this province depend on for their shrimp catches — the biomass of female shrimp is still in the critical zone, she said. Continue reading the story here 09:26

Warming trend continues in waters off Atlantic Canada

Warmer ocean temperatures off Atlantic Canada continued in 2016, maintaining a trend that started earlier this decade, according to survey results from Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans. On the Scotian Shelf off Nova Scotia, temperatures last year were as high as three degrees above the 30-year average used to establish climatic norms. “It’s not quite the same [record] level of 2012, but it’s getting close to it,” said Dave Hebert, a research scientist with DFO. He added that 2016 was probably the second warmest year on record.  Scientists have struggled to explain what is causing the most intriguing aspect of the recent trend: the warming of ocean bottom water, which is not influenced by surface weather events. Hebert said the latest theory is based on model results that see the Gulf Stream moving northward and intersecting with the tail of the Grand Banks. “That is stopping the cold Labrador Sea water from coming around the tail of the Grand Banks,” he said. “That’s where we normally get the cold water that refreshes the [Scotian] Shelf. That hasn’t been happening. Read the story here 16:48

FISH-NL announces Crowd Funding Campaign; all hands on deck

722xwvbqThe Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is launching a crowd funding campaign today to raise $16,000 to fund the conclusion of the breakaway union’s membership drive. “If you want to see a prosperous fishing industry in Newfoundland and Labrador, we urge you to support the cause,” says Ryan Cleary, president of FISH-NL.“This battle has been compared to David vs. Goliath, but while the FFAW has unlimited funds at its disposal — as well as a definitive list of all fish harvesters in the province — FISH-NL has overwhelming momentum fueled by hundreds of volunteers.” It’s not just fish harvesters who are urged to contribute to the cause, but all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians concerned about the future of rural communities and their sputtering economic engine — the fishery. The funds raised will be used to purchase media advertising, hire staff to oversee the conclusion of the membership drive, and travel/office expenses. “The will for change is unstoppable,” says Cleary, “but only if all hands are on deck.” PLEASE NOTE: FISH-NL operates based on fairness for all harvesters — donations do not translate to influence within FISH-NL. To fish processing companies and the offshore sector — keep your money, FISH-NL is for inshore harvesters only. For more information, contact Ron Woodman 697-6026 Click here for gofundme page.

Fish Harvester Tonia Grandy believes it’s time for change in representation.

Many of the problems in the province’s fishery can be traced back to the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW-Unifor) union, the Garnish fish harvester surmises. She hopes that change will come in the form of the Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL). The Ryan Cleary-led group currently leading a charge to breakaway from FFAW-Unifor and form a new union that solely represents fish harvesters in the province has her full support, she said. FFAW-Unifor represents fish harvesters and fish plant workers. “This is a union for the fishermen, by the fishermen,” she said of FISH-NL. “This is something I believes in, and I’ve got my time and effort put into this a hundred per cent – a hundred per cent. We needs someone who is going to stand up and who is going to get the fishermen their fair share of quota.” Read the story here 14:49

Fund compensating Newfoundland seafood industry could resolve one of the final obstacles to CETA deal

With the United States poised to adopt a more protectionist trade policy under President-Elect Donald Trump, some good news for supporters of Canada’s major trade deal with the European Union could come this week. A decision is expected soon on compensation for businesses in Newfoundland and Labrador that would lose out due to provisions in the recently-signed Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) — one of the last potential causes of a hold-up on the Canadian side of the deal. A Liberal source said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been discussing a special fisheries fund with Premier Dwight Ball and an announcement could come as soon as later this week. Read the rest here 19:31

Canada Plays Leadership Role in Protecting Key Fish Stocks and Ecosystems in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean

nafo-areaCanada expressed its strong support for science advice and strict management measures that protect straddling fish stocks in the Northwest Atlantic at the 38th annual meeting of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) in Varadero, Cuba last week. Quick Facts – The Canadian quota for 2+3KLMNO Greenland halibut in waters off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador was set at 5,478 tonnes for 2017, which is a rollover from 2016. –  The Canadian quota for 3LN redfish in waters off the east coast of the island portion of Newfoundland and Labrador was increased by 1,619 tonnes to 6,049 tonnes for both 2017 and 2018. –  The Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) is an international regional fisheries management organization (RFMO) founded in 1979. NAFO’s overall purpose is to help its members work together and share knowledge to effectively manage and conserve the straddling fishery resources of the Northwest Atlantic Ocean. Read the press release here  16:56

Ryan Cleary says Newfoundland and Labrador fishermen want him to set up a new union

ryan-cleary-becomes-a-toryA former MP from Newfoundland and Labrador says fishermen are asking them to help organize a new union that would be a rival to the Fish, Food and Allied Workers union. Ryan Cleary says he’s never seen fish harvesters so angry and disillusioned with the FFAW, which currently represents them. “The common theme is that fishermen aren’t happy with the representation. In a lot of ways, the fishermen see the FFAW as having evolved into a corporation, more concerned with feeding itself than looking after the fishermen it’s charged with representing.” Cleary says fishermen have many reasons for wanting to break from the FFAW. He cites a recent lawsuit that scallop fishermen on the Northern Peninsula launched against the union over compensation money from Nalcor, which the fishermen won. Read the story here 11:44

Direct-buy seafood still finding its sea legs

newfoundland buy directBeing allowed to do something and being able to do it are two different things. Buying seafood direct from a fisherman for personal use is no longer against the law in Newfoundland and Labrador, since the provincial government’s announcement in September 2015. Yet direct sales (not through a processing plant or established retailer) are still not the everyday for most — both buyers and sellers. There are fish harvesters interested in exploring direct sales and potential customers abound, but the challenge is connecting one with the other. Blaine Edwards has offered some help through From the Wharf (fromthewharf.com), an online marketplace bringing fish harvesters and seafood lovers together. Read the rest here 12:01

Abandon LIFO: Fishermen ask for new deal on shrimp

Glen Winslow and the six-member crew of the Roberts Sisters II should have been fishing for crab Tuesday. Instead, the boat was tied up in St. John’s harbor. Winslow joined more than 150 other people, mostly fishermen, in trying to convince a federal review panel to recommend the federal government abandon the last in, first out (LIFO) approach on allocating northern shrimp quotas. The majority of those in the room asked the minister not continue to force smaller, inshore enterprises to take the greater share of quota cuts on the declining stock off Newfoundland and Labrador, when compared to larger, “offshore” enterprises. “We’ll be out of the (shrimp) fishery this year,”,, Read the story here 15:01

Harvesters want higher Gulf halibut quotas for Newfoundland and Labrador fishermen

Halibut%20(Hippoglossus%20hippoglossus)Halibut harvesters in Newfoundland and Labrador are calling on the federal Liberals to address the previous government’s wrongs by establishing what the union calls “fair” quota allocations for Gulf of St. Lawrence halibut. In a press release today, the Fish Food and Allied Workers (FFAW-Unifor), the union that represents fishers in this province, said it will be making a presentation to the Gulf Groundfish Advisory Committee reviewing halibut allocation decisions made since 2007. “Previous sharing agreements have resulted in significant and disproportionate reductions in quota for Newfoundland and Labrador harvesters,” FFAW president Keith Sullivan said in a prepared statement. Read the rest here 16:34

Newfoundland and Labrador Groundfish Industry Development Council launches with recognition of challenges ahead

cod-fishFive years down the road, members of the new Newfoundland and Labrador Groundfish Industry Development Council plan to handle more groundfish catch, processing it in-province, providing the best possible product to the international marketplace as shellfish work drops off. It’s their identified road to sustainability. It means lots of new training, fishermen gearing up for groundfish, more plant workers ready to punch hours handling that groundfish year-round, fish plants with the right machinery and environments to do the required processing and attract younger workers. Read the article here 10:31