Tag Archives: Newfoundland and Labrador

“DFO operates in denial of Reality”- Scientist says seal predation not having a significant impact on spawning cod stocks 

Instead, Karen Dwyer, weighing in on the contentious debate over the health of cod stocks, said Thursday that environmental factors and a limited supply of the cod’s primary food source — capelin — are more to blame.,, Trinity Bay fisherman Keith Smith said DFO continues to downplay the impact of seal predation on cod. “It’s like DFO operate in denial of reality,” Smith said. “Fishing mortality is at an all-time low while natural mortality, likely led by the growing seal population that consumes vast amounts of both capelin and cod, remains high,”,,, >click to read<  11:04

John Gillett: Fishery mismanaged while people go hungry

Canada is doing the world a big injustice by mismanaging our Newfoundland and Labrador fisheries. If our fisheries were managed right, we could supply a million tonnes of fish protein to the world and still have enough for our own country. Canada refusing to address the predation of millions of tonnes of fish a year by 10 million seals is criminal to me. Canada, under the UN food security program, has an obligation to share food with the world, not let it be wasted by not controlling the seals that are destroying what fish harvesters harvest and causing an ecological marine disaster. >click to read<  09:10

2021 Newfoundland and Labrador Snow crab quotas going up by 29 per cent

Today, the Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard, announced that the 2021 Snow crab fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador will have a total allowable catch (TAC) of 38,186 tonnes.“Our government understands how important the Snow crab fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador is to the provincial economy, and to rural and coastal communities. After taking steps in recent years to protect the health of the Snow crab population and ensure long term sustainability of the stock, I am very pleased to share that, for 2021, the total allowable catch will be increasing across nearly the whole province. >click to read< 10:22

Association of Seafood Producers Calls for Closure of Commercial Capelin Fishery “Misguided”

ASP says the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ latest stock assessment for capelin along the northeast coast of Newfoundland and Labrador may be at low levels, but the biomass is near the long term average. The association argues that a fishery took place in 2010 when the stock was at lower levels and the stock rebounded from then. Executive Director Derek Butler says that alone supports a fishery. Butler says capelin are harvested in the last few weeks before they spawn, which is the point in the life cycle when they die. >click to read< 12:41

Capelin stocks aren’t climbing, could the fishery really face a moratorium in Newfoundland and Labrador?

The capelin stock in Newfoundland and Labrador has not had any sustained growth for 30 years, and the chances of a quick rebound are poor. Fran Mowbray, capelin biologist with Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), wouldn’t go as far as to say the stock could become extinct. “I don’t think we have enough evidence to say that. We are definitely concerned about the status of the stock right now. But worldwide, when forage species reach very low levels … it will take them an extremely long time to rebound.” >click to read< 19:15

In praise of a Newfoundland and Labrador fisheries advocate

I write regarding a letter from Gus Etchegary of the Fishery Community Alliance published in your paper on Feb. 22, 2021 (“A fish-damned tale”). I can only hope and pray that if I reach the age of Gus Etchegary I will have the same passion and drive that this man has always shown. I have known him for many years and have always admired his love for the province and the industry that he knows so much about. When we, as a people, chose to join Canada in 1949, I believe we made the right decision. However, I describe myself as a proud Canadian but always as a Newfoundlander and Labradorian first. By R. David Moores>click to read< 09:39

Lessons from cod collapse

By the end of World War II about 320,000 people lived spread out over 1,000 small “outports”, small fishing villages many of which dating back as far as the Napoleonic Wars (*source: Atlasobscura.com). These communities were self-sufficient and lived by fishing the abundant cod and herring fields, and by logging and seal hunting. The beginning of the end came In 1949, when Newfoundland and Labrador voted to join Canada. The studies done by the departments of Welfare and Fisheries proved that this way of life was backwards and that there was much more money to be made by “modernizing” how resources were extracted. Opinion by Huguette Allen >click to read< 21:17

The diet of seals – What to make of what winds up in seal stomachs

I wasn’t invited for a free lesson on seal digestion: this was wharf-style politics. The Rideouts are betting on the power of an image and the strength of social media. They believe my camera’s presence can drive home their argument: They say seals play a huge part in slowing the growth of weak crab stocks. They also think its high time the federal government acknowledges it. “Only this week, Labrador got a report back from scientists that their female crab is declining [and] they don’t know why. Well, we know why!” he said. “They are in the stomachs of these seals, and DFO will not let people know that they are in there.” >click to read< 08:20

VIDEO: Newfoundland fisherman provides proof seals eat crab – No Doubt!

When Natasha Rideout took a knife and cut through the thick membrane, more than 100 small crab spilled out, along with red clumps of crab roe. And that was just from one seal. The seals were caught by local fish harvester Trevor Jones, When cleaning the seal, the crew noticed that the stomachs were bursting with female snow crab, more than 100 in some. The company noted there are six species of seal found off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador, all at the highest population ever recorded, and with few natural predators. The current quota for seals is 400,000 animals, but Rideout says only about 50,000 to 60,000 animals are taken each year. >video, click to read< 12:47

Good news for Newfoundland fishermen, plant workers, and processors in the snow crab fishery

The snow crab fishery should continue to be an economic bright spot for the Newfoundland and Labrador economy in 2021. The latest report from Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) science shows modest improvements in snow crab biomass in several fishing zones around the province. The good news from science is that the snow crab stocks appear to be recovering in some areas.,, Julia Pantin, DFO’s lead biologist for snow crab in the Newfoundland region, said the population of crabs becoming available to the fishery is expected to increase over the new two to four years in most areas. >click to read< 11:30

What to do about seals?

Atlantic Seal Science Task Team, Dear Sir/Madam, I wish to contribute input to the work of the Atlantic Seal Science Task Team related to DFO’s science activities and programs regarding seals, and the role of the animals in the ecosystem in Atlantic Canada and Quebec. To begin, I want to refer to the February, 1990 Independent Review of the State of the Northern Cod Stock by the late Dr. Leslie Harris, a report that questioned the impact of seals on the marine ecosystem. The Review Panel, which held a series of province-wide public hearings at the time, was “repeatedly confronted” by inshore fishermen with the issue of the growth of the seal herds, and the impacts on the abundance of cod.,, >click to read< By Ryan Cleary 12:04

Wow. Just, Wow. A belly full of fish ramps up seal debate

If you have a weak stomach, the video might be difficult to watch. But for fish harvesters in Newfoundland and Labrador, the images of a seal stomach being cut open to reveal a gut full of small herring and Arctic cod is proof enough that seals are a factor in the slow recovery of cod stocks. Last week Dion Weir and a buddy hunted a few seals for personal use in Hall’s Bay, off the Baie Verte Peninsula. They were filled with small fish. “Up in these bays now they’re eating herring and Arctic cod,” Weir said. “Wherever the cod is, the seals are there.” Multiply that by 7.6 million seals,,, >click to read< 15:42

Fight for our fisheries. Provincial politicians need to pressure Ottawa to manage our fisheries

Gus Etchegary doesn’t mince words when it comes to the state of Newfoundland and Labrador’s fishery. The longtime fishery advocate laments that since the 1992 cod moratorium the federal government has “practically abandoned” the province’s fishery. The fishery is federally regulated, but he says doesn’t absolve the provincial government from its role “to be continuously pressuring Ottawa to take on the role that they were given in 1949, and that is to manage our fisheries in the same style as Iceland and Norway,” he said, pointing to two fishing powerhouses in the North Atlantic. >click to read< 12:15

Wife of St. Lawrence fisherman killed at sea in May says recovery system ‘badly broken’

A lobby group demanding improved search and rescue oversight in Newfoundland and Labrador wants a say in the newly-launched provincial inquiry on the matter,,, Concerned Citizens for Search and Rescue, led by Merv Wiseman and founded in August, wants to shape the terms of reference for the inquiry into ground search and rescue services, launched Jan. 14 nine years after the death of its catalyst, Burton Winters. “There’s no oversight for search and rescue,” said Wiseman at a press conference Monday. The group also wants official standing at that inquiry, Melissa Mayo-Norman lost her husband, Scott, last year when a four-man crew was lost on a fishing vessel off St. Lawrence. She sat beside Wiseman and voiced her support for the group’s efforts. >click to read< 08:42

NL Groundfish Industry Development Council can’t support federal cod stock rebuilding program

The Newfoundland and Labrador Groundfish Industry Development Council says it can’t support the federal government’s recently announced cod stock rebuilding plan, saying it’s overly restrictive and will not enable the industry to rebuild as the cod stock rebuilds. Jim Baird, chair of the NL-GIDC, wants to see further surveys done based around the impact of seals and capelin stocks, adding the entire plan appears to be based around limiting the catch for harvesters and not other sources which could be impeding the development of cod stocks. >click to read< 22:32

DFO has a new plan for northern cod stocks. It doesn’t include more fishing

The rebuilding plan, made public with little fanfare on Dec. 21 after years in development, outlines the Department of Fisheries and Ocean’s objectives to boost fish numbers and the management techniques it intends to use to measure any progress starting in 2021. Northern cod numbers have ticked upwards since the 1992 moratorium brought harvesting and processing to a screeching halt. A small stewardship fishery now exists, with 1,865 licence holders allotted a maximum harvest of around 12,000 tonnes of cod in 2020. But 28 years later, stocks remain well below pre-moratorium levels, and in DFO terminology, remain squarely in a “critical zone.” >click to read< 11:15

“Seared Diver Scallops”: In these tough economic times, this dive harvester is trying to keep money in the province

Through late summer and early fall, Tim Ball spent as much time as possible underwater in his dive gear, scouring the seabed off the Burin Peninsula for scallops. It’s an ocean-to-table operation that sees his hand-harvested scallops quickly making their way to dinner plates in the downtown of St.   John’s. Terre Restaurant in St. John’s is one of the destinations for Ball’s scallops. For Ball, that means, among other things, using locally made bags and boxes for packing his scallops and using a Burin Peninsula cab company for sending his catch into St. John’s. “They’re amazing,” said head chef Matthew Swift. “Anywhere else in the world … the idea of marketing day boat scallops is sort of a pipe dream. >click to read< 09:04

Our fishery is not only neglected, but for sale

Imagine our centuries-old fishery taken over by a foreign country. Imagine a minister of fisheries representing our province’s interest rubber-stamping this proposal. Imagine the recommendation coming from a five-member all-male board with little experience. The unimaginable above is truly our reality for our iconic industry. Denmark has recently bought interests in the Newfoundland fisheries, with the aim to now purchase additional fishing companies. Those Newfoundland and Labrador companies they have bought have been operating here for many years. By gaining access to processing plants, Denmark will also gain control over the fishing resource through fishermen who have been given quotas for various species. >click to read<  by Gus Etchegary 08:20

Royal Greenland buying 4 more N.L. fish plants – FFAW raising red flag over corporate concentration and foreign ownership

A Crown corporation owned by the Greenland government is set to become the largest fish processor in Newfoundland and Labrador, dramatically changing the landscape of the province’s fish-processing industry. In a deal recommended by the Fish Processing Licensing Board and approved by Fisheries Minister Elvis Loveless, Royal Greenland is taking controlling interests in Quinlan Brothers fish plants in Old Perlican, Bay de Verde and Baie Verte. Royal Greenland subsidiary Quin-Sea Fisheries will take over valuable crab, shrimp and other processing licences owned by Quinlan Brothers. Royal Greenland is also taking a controlling interest in St. Anthony Seafoods in a partnership with Clearwater Seafoods. >click to read< 17:29

Andrew Furey sworn in as 14th premier of Newfoundland and Labrador

The surgeon and charity CEO from a political family was elected Liberal leader Aug. 3 and will replace Dwight Ball to become the 14th premier of the province. Furey, the son of Senate Speaker George Furey, was sworn in during a ceremony at Government House in St. John’s this morning. The new premier, who has never held public office and does not have a seat in the provincial legislature, will take questions at a news conference later today. Furey will inherit a troubling financial situation in Newfoundland and Labrador, with officials attributing a $2.1-billion deficit to falling oil prices and pandemic-related spending. The new premier will face the likelihood of rising electricity rates due to cost overruns from the Muskrat Falls dam and will have to manage a struggling offshore oil and gas industry. >click to read< 15:04

Shrimp fishery set to begin with financial loss – could be larger if boats stay at the wharf

Association of Seafood Producers president Derek Butler said the start of the fishery has been driven by a sense of responsibility among everyone that relies on the fishery to make a living. Butler said those involved in the fishery had time to decide whether or not they wanted to open, and understand this season will bring almost guaranteed financial loss. The Fish, Food and Allied Workers’ original price offer was $1.18 per pound, while processors countered with 70 cents per pound. In the end, a hearing settled on $1.08, but the ASP said that number still means losses for processors. However, Butler said the losses could be larger if boats don’t leave the wharf this season. >click to read< 16:52

Seismic surveying off Newfoundland and Labrador could bring lasting effects to fish

Seismic surveying happening in Newfoundland and Labrador this year is leaving researchers and fish harvesters concerned over the health of fish and catch rates in the province’s waters. Seismic activity in the province is being carried out by Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS), with projects in Labrador, eastern Newfoundland and off of the Grand Banks. Weilgart said fish can also be harmed in other ways as a result of seismic surveying. She said  damage done by seismic surveying could lead to reflexes and immunity systems being compromised for long periods of time, which can make them more susceptible to predators. “Sometimes these [effects] are four months [after a survey], sometimes even a year, these impacts persist a year after the seismic survey ended,” she said. >click to read< 10:52

Five rescued after fishing vessel Exploits Navigator sinks – Canadian Coast Guard credits EPIRB

Early Thursday morning the Canadian Coast Guard Marine Communications and Traffic Services station in Port aux Basques received a distress call that the 40-foot fishing vessel Exploits Navigator had run aground in Trinity Bay. Five people were onboard. They abandoned the vessel and took to a life raft. They were rescued by the Coast Guard vessel Sacred Bay and taken to Hickman’s Harbour in good health. The Canadian Coast Guard credits an Emergency Position Indicating Radiobeacon (EPIRB) with helping them locate the life raft. >click to read< 11:44

2020 shrimp price disagreement for NL fish harvesters goes to arbitration

There’s 58 cents worth of disagreement over shrimp prices between the union that represents fish harvesters and the organization that represents processors in Newfoundland and Labrador. According to the union, the Association of Seafood Processors (ASP) proposed 70 cents per pound while the FFAW proposed $1.18. The matter is now before the Standing Fish Price Setting Panel, which met today in St. John’s to hear the proposals from both sides.,, The union also said, “This is a challenging year for shrimp, as the market is lower than it was last year.” However, the union also said the 70 cent offer from the ASP “is a price that cannot be justified by any rational assessment of the market.” >click to read< 16:07

New oil regulation means step backwards for fishermen

The change to allow environmental assessments for exploratory drilling offshore to be done quicker will impact Newfoundland and Labrador’s fishing industry,,, The move was made to help the province’s oil and gas industry, which has faced countless setbacks over the course of the year. However, FFAW President Keith Sullivan says the new regulation has removed fishermen from the consultation process. Sullivan said the faster approval of environmental assessments, along with seismic work expected to take place in the province later this year, adds up to a larger impact on the environment and the waters people fish in. “More exploration and drilling in areas can cause problems either directly, and then there’s added risk of things like oil spills  >click to read< 17:37

Economic storm brews over Newfoundland and Labrador

Crab season in this part of Newfoundland and Labrador normally starts at the end of April and has always marked the beginning of the fishing calendar in a place where work is still tied to the bounty of the sea. But now that their crab pots are in the water, the crews aren’t sure if they can collect them. The pandemic has cut the price of crab in half, and fishermen are worried about confrontations at the wharf with larger boat operators who can’t afford to go to sea with such deflated prices. “It looks like when someone has died and you’re just waiting around to see what’s going to happen. As oil prices have collapsed, so have revenues from key industries such as tourism, forestry, mining and the fishery because of the continuing COVID-19 fallout. Personal income and sales tax streams have shriveled. The pandemic also shut down megaprojects such as the Voisey’s Bay mine and the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric dam, and closed the province’s only oil refinery. Future offshore projects, including the $6.8-billion deep-water Bay du Nord oil field, have been put on hold. >click to read< 14:58

Snow crab price sees a bump to $3.50 after arbitration decision

On the heels of a federal government announcement in the form of a $470 million COVID-19 relief package for fish harvesters across Canada came more good news for crab fishermen in Newfoundland and Labrador. On Thursday evening FFAW-Unifor, the union representing fish harvesters in the province, announced the price setting panel sided with the union after an arbitration hearing on Wednesday over snow crab pricing. The price setting panel has now set the snow crab price to $3.50 per pound — the FFAW-Unifor minimum price — not $2.90 per pound as tabled by the Association of Seafood Producers. >click to read< 20:59

FFAW asks for review of crab prices for Newfoundland and Labrador fishers, Panel agrees to hear submission May 13

The FFAW has asked the province’s Standing Fish Price Setting Panel to reconsider the price set for snow crab for the 2020 season. Earlier this month, the panel set the price at $2.90 per pound, after considering submissions from the FFAW and the Association of Seafood Processors (ASP) and assessing market reports. For the past three years crab fishers in this province have been getting exceptional prices for their catches, ranging from $4.50 to over $5 per pound, thanks to high consumer demand. This year, however, the market for crab is in a slump,,, The Coronavirus slump.  >click to read< 11:01

Opening of N.L. crab fishery will inject new money into provincial economy

After nearly a month of delays prompted by COVID-19 fears and a wrangle over prices, crab fisherman from Newfoundland and Labrador are ready to put pots in the water. The crab fishing season stats midnight, Monday, May 11, putting thousands of skippers and crew members back to work. While there is still some angst — with fish harvesters seeking a federal aid package to help them through what they say is an extra challenging year — the start of this fishery is a relief for many, like the people who work on the processing lines at places like the Ocean Choice International (OCI) plant in Bonavista. The main market for this shellfish is the United States, with about half of the Atlantic Canada catch ending up in restaurants, casinos and cruise ships. With those industries shut down, the only market left is the grocery store, where crab is often sold as a promotional sale item. As a result, fishers in N.L. will get $2.90 a pound, a drop from last year’s average price of $5.14. However, fishers are also getting a little more crab to catch. >click to read< 08:02

Opinion: Fish union’s delay tactics appalling

It is disgraceful what is happening in Newfoundland and Labrador. Our government declared our food supply essential weeks ago. Those involved had to step up, despite the pandemic, to maintain the food supply. Most industries were ordered to close, a societal lockdown the likes of which we have never witnessed before. The closest comparison is past world wars. The global economy has been thrown into mayhem. Soon after, Newfoundland and Labrador seafood processors mobilized their people to prepare for COVID-19.,,, The Fish, Food and Allied Workers union (FFAW) was kept fully informed, through 15-plus Zoom meetings and numerous phone calls over six weeks. By Gabe Gregory, Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s  >click to read< 10:53