Tag Archives: Newfoundland and Labrador

‘A reckless approach to regulation’ – Aquaculture critic presses for answers after another salmon die-off

More than 90,000 salmon being farmed in an open-net aquaculture pen on Newfoundland’s south coast died over the weekend, the Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture announced in a media release Saturday. The event occurred at a site known as “the gorge,” which is operated by Mowi’s Marine Harvest Atlantic Canada, and was caused by “sudden low dissolved oxygen levels.” The dead fish have been removed from the site. The release said mitigation measures, including deeper nets and aeration equipment, “improved survivability” during the die-off. Friday’s die-off was only the latest in a series of mortality events on Mowi-owned aquaculture farms, White noted.  >click to read< 12:40

SEA-NL questions federal candidate Mary Shortall’s commitment to inshore fish harvesters

“As a labour leader Mary Shortall turned her back on the fishermen and women of Newfoundland and Labrador in favour of the union executive,” says Ryan Cleary. “The question must be asked, who will Mary Shortall stand for if she’s elected to Parliament: workers or the union and party executive?” Cleary points out that as President of the Federation of Labour, Shortall failed to react to a 2016 Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court decision, later upheld on appeal in favour of inshore scallop harvesters who took their union to court over a compensation fund for lost fishing grounds in the Strait of Belle Isle. In the court case, it was revealed the FFAW-Unifor had negotiated a compensation package with Nalcor without permission of scallop harvesters. >click to read< 09:41

SEA-NL: Province to review foreign investment in fishery

SEA-NL is encouraged by news that the province has finally commenced a review of its policies related to foreign investment in the fishery, with consultations planned for this fall. “Our message now is for complete transparency,,, Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture Minister Derrick Bragg wrote SEA-NL on Friday, Sept. 3rd, to reveal his department has begun work on a review of its policies regarding foreign ownership in the fishery. Bragg advised that consultations with industry stakeholders are scheduled for late October-November. The minister’s letter was in response to one written by Cleary to Premier Furey on Aug. 23rd requesting the province investigate foreign control/corporate concentration in the fish processing sector. >click to read< 10:29

Mismanaged Since 1949! – A primer on fishing failures

Both the federal and municipal elections heighten our interest in whether or not fishery issues will, at last, be tackled in this province. Perhaps those running for elected positions need a primer on how our fishery was decimated over the past 70 years since Canada took over management of this resource following Newfoundland and Labrador’s Confederation entry in 1949. Hopefully, it will counter the current PR that is being disseminated by DFO, which wants Canadians to believe that it is not the department that has failed our province and our communities, but that the destruction has come from climate change, changes in water temperatures and other uncontrollable factors accounting for the demise of our once great fishery resource. There are still many, including myself, who have worked in the industry all these decades and witnessed first-hand and know full well that DFO has mismanaged our fishery since 1949. >click to read<, By Gus Etchegary, St. John’s 13:30

SEA-NL: Investigation into foreign control/corporate concentration in fish processing sector required

SEA-NL is calling on Premier Andrew Furey to launch an investigation into foreign control/corporate concentration in the province’s fish processing sector to coincide with a similar ongoing federal review of offshore fishing licences. The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) is currently reviewing foreign ownership/corporate concentration of offshore licences to prevent foreign interests from establishing effective control over licence-holders. “Ottawa’s review of offshore licences is only half the story, and only half the issues that must be addressed in the province’s fishery,” says Ryan Cleary, interim Executive Director of Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador. “The whole story about potential illegal control of offshore and inshore fish quotas won’t be told until the Premier launches a parallel investigation.” >click to read, including the letter< 20:16

Water content deductions keeping harvesters sitting out the summers sea cucumber fishery

Sea cucumbers represent a $10-million industry in Newfoundland and Labrador, according to Fish Food & Allied Workers president Keith Sullivan. The creatures are a delicacy in Asian countries and other markets, and fetch a price of 70 cents per pound, according to the province’s fishery pricing panel. When catches are landed, processors drain the water inside sea cucumbers to remove the weight of the sea water from the buying price.  Harvesters used to deduct 23 per cent of the sea cucumber’s weight across the board to account for the water, but that percentage has been changed in the past year, and Sullivan says the harvesters’ bottom lines are being impacted. “Whereas other years you might be getting paid for 80 per cent or close to that of the animal, this year in a couple of cases we’re talking just over 50 per cent,” >click to read< 11:43

SEA-NL calls for review of the panel system for fish pricing

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) says this year’s snow crab fishery had the highest landed value in the province’s history, but there’s evidence inshore harvesters may not have gotten a fair share of market returns. “When the market price of snow crab continued to rise after the final price to inshore harvesters was set at the end of April with no way for harvesters to appeal that price, then the system must be overhauled or scrapped, says Ryan Cleary, interim Executive Director of SEA-NL. “In that light, SEA-NL is asking the Andrew Furey administration to review the panel system of fish pricing.” >click to read< 15:46

SEA-NL accuses federal Fisheries Minister of favouritism. Demands an apology.

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) demands the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans apologize for showing favouritism to her home province – describing Nova Scotia as “leading the way” in Canada’s seafood sector. “Bernadette Jordan needs to be reminded she’s the Minister for all of Canada – not just Nova Scotia,” says Ryan Cleary, interim Executive Director of SEA-NL, a new and distinct voice for the province’s licensed, owner-operator inshore harvesters. “Premier Andrew Furey himself must ask the Minister whether her goal is to lead the way for jobs and more fish to leave Newfoundland and Labrador,” said Cleary. “It’s time the Furey administration took a stand for the wild commercial fisheries.” >click to read< 14:49

After 58 years, Fisherman Peter Marche is hanging up his oilskins, and he’s going out in style

At the age of 13, Peter Marche bought his first lobster fishing licence for 25 cents. He would get up in the morning, set up his lobster pots, and go to school. After school, it was time to return to the pots to see if anything was there. It was a tough life, but he always had a passion for fishing. Fast-forward 58 years, and he is finally hanging up his oilskins and rubbers after catching a 196-pound halibut. >click to read< 09:34

Soaring crab prices leave Newfoundland and Labrador harvesters out in the cold

On July 3, Ocean Choice International frozen snow crab sold at Sam’s Club in Orlando, Fla., for $16.60/lb US, or $20.41 CAD. That works out to a 171 per cent mark up from the most recent $7.53/lb price paid to Newfoundland and Labrador inshore harvesters for the snow crab they land. Let there be no doubt, the 2021 price paid to harvesters for snow crab is fantastic, the highest it’s ever been, but the question that must be asked is whether it amounts to a reasonable sharing of market returns? >click to read< 09:55

29 years of northern cod moratorium have cost NL at least $26 billion

In his 1992 book, No Fish and Our Lives, Some Survival Notes for Newfoundland, Cabot Martin wrote that a rebuilt northern cod stock could support annual harvesters of 400,000 tonnes (881 million/lbs).The moratorium remains the biggest layoff in Canadian history, and while there’s a small-scale inshore stewardship fishery, Fisheries and Oceans does not set a total-allowable catch (TAC), and it’s not considered a full-fledged commercial fishery. Where are we today? All three commercial cod stocks adjacent to Newfoundland and Labrador are categorized by DFO scientists as in the critical zone, meaning removals are to be kept to a minimum. >click to read< 25 Years ago Today – The Northern Cod Moratorium – Sunday, July 2,   marks a quarter of a century since then federal fisheries minster John Crosbie announced what was planned to be a two-year moratorium on the northern cod fishery. It continues on today, though it has often seemed lost in the wake of a lucrative crab and shrimp fishery that remarkably saved the industry and many communities. But back in 1992, a province settled and built on the back of the mighty cod fishery, >click to read< 11:20

Shrimp prices set for Nfld. and Labrador, stockpiles and restaurant closures reducing shrimp demand in U.K.

A dollar a pound was not enough to lure the inshore shrimp fishing fleet in Newfoundland and Labrador to set their gear this spring. But most boats are hitting the water now, as the crucial summer shrimp fishing season opens. This week saw the price increase by 10 cents, to $1.10 a pound, for summer catches following a ruling by the province’s Fish Price Setting Panel. The U.K. and Europe are the main markets for shrimp exports from this province. >click to read< 13:54

Why summer shrimp price should be set at $1.22/lb (which even then may be too low)

The 2021 summer price of shrimp paid to inshore fishermen — either the FFAW’s proposed $1.22/lb or the $1.10/lb offered by processors — is now in the hands of the province’s price setting panel, which, by law, must choose one or the other. That’s even if the “right price” is somewhere in the middle, just as the panel wrote in late April when it set the spring price of shrimp at $1/lb (processors’ price) over the FFAW’s $1.50/lb. The panel system of fish pricing doesn’t work in terms of best possible price to harvesters, but that’s another story. >click to read< 16:00

1 year after tragic sinking, St. Lawrence marks anniversary with memorials to those lost at sea

The heartache is still as fresh as it was one year ago for Kerri Lynn Kettle. Kettle lost her husband, Isaac Kettle, when the fishing vessel Sarah Anne sank off St. Lawrence in May 2020. Now, she’s raising two little boys on her own. “It’s been a living nightmare. We are slowly getting through it,” said Kettle. Three other men from the community lost their lives when the crab fishing vessel went down on May 25, 2020: skipper Eddie Joe Norman, 67; his son, Scott Norman, 35; and his nephew, Jody Norman, 42. What makes things even harder for Kerri Lynn Kettle is that her husband wasn’t even a commercial fisherman. Isaac Kettle, 33, had been working as a driller at a gold mine in Ontario.  >click to read< 21:32

1 man dead, 1 survivor after lobster boat overturns in St. George’s Bay

One man is dead while another survived after a lobster boat overturned in St. George’s Bay on Newfoundland’s west coast on Friday morning.  Bay St. George RCMP received a call about the overturned 22-foot vessel, near Lower Cove, at around 8:15 a.m.  When firefighters and paramedics arrived at the scene, they saw a man in the water who appeared to be dead. He was recovered by local fishermen and his body was turned over to police. >click to read< 21:56

How Newfoundland’s wild fisheries have gone from plentiful to pitiful – How did we get here?

The headline in the daily paper at the end of January 2019 had said it all: Cod recovery still far off: DFO. In the case of cod, the same factors that had contributed to a hopeful comeback — thriving capelin and warming waters — had since swung in unfavourable directions. Fewer capelin prey and changing environmental conditions did not bode well for cod. Now, in 2021, the prognosis for the cod population, capelin and the environmental  conditions remains no better. How did we get here? DFO science shows several factors are predominantly to blame for declining cod and capelin populations, including: natural causes, especially lack of capelin prey in the case of cod; high predation, particularly from fish (more so than seals), in the case of capelin; and warming ocean waters, among other environmental factors. >click to read< 08:26

Will fishing shrimp be worth it this year?

The price set by the Association of Seafood Producers came in at one dollar a pound Thursday, with the Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union pushing for a price of $1.50. Shrimp harvester Rendell Genge has been in the industry since 1970, and has seen up and down years fishing on the west coast of Newfoundland. This summer, he wonders if taking his boat out will be feasible. “There’s no way we can fish for a dollar,”,,, “We had a group meeting  and 100 per cent agreed not to go fishing [unless] we do the $1.50, at least $1.50 right now.” >click to read< 19:46

FFAW submits a request for Snow Crab price review in Newfoundland and Labrador

The Fish Food and Allied Workers has submitted a request for reconsideration of snow crab prices to the Standing Fish Price Setting Panel for Newfoundland and Labrador,,, FFAW said the panel has 96 hours to either establish a new price or maintain the current price of $5.73 per pound. If the panel decides to set a new price, it would come into effect Sunday. April 25. Crab fishers in Newfoundland and Labrador have questioned the apparent gap in snow crab prices from province-to-province in Atlantic Canada.  They’ve been sharing information that suggests snow crab fishers in the Maritime provinces have been getting $8 to $9 per pound for crab. >click to read< 18:42

‘It’s more than just a fish:’ Scientists worry cod will never come back in N.L.

“Next year will be 30 years since the original moratorium on this stock,” said Robert Rangeley a marine biologist and director of science with Oceana Canada, a non-profit group aimed at protecting the country’s oceans. “It’s time to do something different.” Atlantic cod in the waters off Newfoundland’s northeast coast have been in the critical zone since the early 1990s, shortly before the federal government in 1992 announced a   sweeping moratorium on fishing the species, instantly eliminating a traditional livelihood for about 30,000 people. There’s now a small commercial cod fishery, known as the “stewardship” fishery,,, The Fisheries Department declined a request for an interview to address criticism that it needs a greater focus on conservation. and a growing seal problem that is ignored in this communication,,,  >click to read< 08:01

SEA-NL forms to represent the licensed commercial inshore fish harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador

In a media release Thursday, the Seafood Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador said it will represent the interests of only licensed owner-operators. As an association, says the press release, >click to read<  SEA-NL won’t need permission from the province’s Labour Relations Board to organize and incorporate. “Owner-operators are a distinct group within the province’s fishing industry, and it’s high time they were recognized as such,” said SEA-NL organizer Ryan Cleary. >click to read< 18:39

N.L. fishers crabby over Snow Crab prices

Since last week they’ve taken to social media to rant about an apparently-large gap in prices between Nova Scotia and N.L. and chew out the Fish Food and Allied Workers (FFAW) union for failing to negotiate a better price. According to a post by Ryan Cleary on April 9, Nova Scotia buyers were offering $8 a pound for crab, while N.L. harvesters are fishing crab for $5.73 a pound. That’s the price set by the Fish Price Setting Panel, who chose the price suggested by the FFAW.  “What’s clear is the price setting panel does not work and it’s costing Newfoundland fishermen millions,” stated Cleary, who led the former FISH-NL group in an attempt by some inshore harvesters to break away from the FFAW. >click to read< 07:59

“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