Tag Archives: Ryan Cleary

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

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

DFO and fishing vessel safety – A Damning Indictment of its safety culture

Fisheries and Oceans’ decision not to extend the halibut fishery in the Gulf of St. Lawrence for the province’s inshore harvesters who didn’t catch their quotas due to poor weather is a damning incitement of its safety culture, says Merv Wiseman, an outspoken search and rescue advocate. “DFO is telling fishermen if you don’t go to sea because of bad weather you’re going to lose your fish,”,,, “Putting extra pressure on fishermen to make decisions contrary to safety is a recipe for disaster that we’ve seen play out too many times.” A Transportation Safety Board report into the 2016 drowning of four Shea Heights fishermen found they took a risk in going out in questionable weather in order to land their weekly cod quota, and to recover fishing gear before deadline. >click to read< 07:34

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

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

5 miles of seals: Newfoundland fisherman’s video fires up more debate about pinnipeds

Fisherman Jason Branton was steaming home after a crab fishing trip a week ago when he saw something he’d never witnessed before. The 45-ft longliner Gracie’s Adventure was about 60 miles out from Baccalieu Island, in Trinity Bay, on May 30 when Branton and the crew noticed seals all around them. They had encountered a large herd of seals, a patch about five miles wide,, adding this is also the time when capelin begin migrating inshore. Branton and his crew rely mainly on crab, capelin and cod for their fishing income. The question of the impact of seals on fish and shellfish stocks has been debated for years and become more heated in recent years,,, video, >click to read< 10:23

SEA-NL Calls on Federal Fisheries Minister to Reverse Decision to Limit Increase to 2021 Northern Shrimp Quota

“DFO went outside its own rule book to limit the increase to this year’s quota, which will translate into the loss of more than 2,000 tonnes of shrimp to the province’s inshore fleet,” says Ryan Cleary, interim Executive Director of SEA-NL, a new association to represent the province’s more than 3,000 independent owner-operators. Cleary wrote federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister Bernadette Jordan Tuesday regarding her recent decision to institute a year-over-year limit of 15% to this year’s northern shrimp quota off southern Labrador and northeastern Newfoundland. (A copy of the letter is attached.) >click to read< 11:10

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

‘You can’t touch the union boat’- Former Fishery Officer alleges DFO kept 2012 Katrina Charlene conviction quiet

The Katrina Charlene and the crab quota it was built to fish have been in the news for almost 20 years for their connection to the FFAW. The story made national news in February when a Fishery Officer alleged DFO kept quiet a conviction against the trawler, so as to not embarrass the union. Today, there’s news the quota sold recently for $1 million, a fraction of its estimated value, to Conne River First Nation. The boat and quota have been sold, but questions remain. What happened to the tens of millions of dollars generated by the crab quota? Fisherman’s Road lays out the story as it’s never been told. First of a three-part series. By Ryan Cleary >click to read<  11:59

A Magnitude of Evidence: Seal Processing Company Accusing DFO of ‘Hiding Evidence’ of Seal Predation

A group of sealers are accusing DFO of “hiding evidence” of seal predation on crab stocks and they intend to take the matter further if need be.,, This year’s crab stock assessment showed some improvement in certain areas, but fishing activity is still only a fraction of what it was 15 or 20 years ago and there is little information on the impact of natural predation on crab stock recovery.,,, Rideout claims they’re keeping the evidence to launch a possible court case against DFO—if necessary. >click to read and, listen to the audio< of Brad Rideout! We’re not just talking crab, and he describes it so even DFO can understand it! 13:36

Is politics getting in the way of rebuilding a sustainable fishery in Newfoundland?

The sentinel program, created after the cod moratorium in 1992 to monitor fish populations, is run exclusively by the Fish Food & Allied Workers, the powerful union that represents around 15,000 fishermen, fish plant employees and other workers in the province. DFO relies on data from the sentinel fishery to help assess fish stocks, and has paid the union millions to run the program. “The FFAW and the DFO are cheating the fishermen out of a resource that belongs to the people of Newfoundland,” said Jason Bateman, a former enforcement officer with DFO.  Ryan Cleary, a former member of Parliament for St. John’s-Mount Pearl and an outspoken critic of the FFAW, said the union has found a way to prosper since the collapse of cod by integrating itself into fisheries management, acting almost as a regulator, while becoming a vocal industry voice that contradicts science. >click to read< 17:55

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

FISH-NL Taught FFAW A Lesson About Communication

If the challenge created by FISH-NL taught the FFAW anything, it’s about ensuring good communication with your membership. That’s according to FFAW President Keith Sullivan who was responding to the dissolution of FISH-NL, a group that had been trying to gain certification to represent inshore harvesters in the province. The FISH-NL movement was born from dissatisfaction with the Fisheries Union from some members. >click to read< 08:40

Ryan Cleary: Newfoundland and Labrador fishery needs outside oversight

Near the end of FISH-NL’s three-year battle with Fish, Food and Allied Workers-Unifor, a senior reporter with the local CBC took exception on Twitter to being tagged to a particular clash between the two unions, and asked to be left out of the “spat.” Now that the spat’s behind us, there’s no excuse for the media not to take a deep dive into the concerns raised by inshore harvesters over their union representation. They could start with the conflicts of interest I contend there are between the FFAW and Ottawa, the FFAW and oil companies, and the FFAW and its own members. What are the consequences of being funded by so many masters? >click to read< 06:58

After three years at the helm of FISH-NL, Ryan Cleary contemplates his future

The large FISH-NL banner that hung behind the head table at every membership meeting lies on the floor, half rolled up.“You can tell how many meetings we had,” Cleary said, pointing to the numerous pin holes in the corners of the vinyl sign. Cleary may be dismantling his office and walking away from FISH-NL, but he’s far from done fighting for what he believes in.,,, In 2016, when several fishermen, one by one, approached him for help to start a new union, apart from the FFAW-Unifor, Cleary was full steam ahead. >click to read< 07:46

Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL, gave the following statement this morning, Tuesday, Dec. 3rd, 2019

I have a message for the thousands of harvesters who signed FISH-NL cards, and a message to the 437 harvesters who paid dues to FISH-NL. Keep fighting — against mismanagement. Keep fighting — against conflicts of interest. Keep fighting — against favouritism and unfair, undemocratic, union practices. Keep fighting for what’s right — because there’s so much wrong in today’s fishery. And everybody knows it. Most importantly, keep trying to fight with each other — side by side. The more individual fishermen and women worth together, the better things can be. Right is right/wrong is wrong. >Please click to read the statement<. 11:00

FISH-NL extends membership drive

“We always knew a time extension was available if we needed it,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “We need the extra time based on the unique challenges associated with collecting membership cards over a 90-day timeline from thousands of inshore harvesters spread out over a massive geographical area, as was the case 22 years ago.” “In order to make sure all inshore harvesters have the opportunity to decide their future we have decided to go with an extension.” Precedent for an extension of the 90-day rule was set in 1997 when the province’s Labour Relations Board agreed to extend the timeline up to 180 days for the United Food and Commercial Workers union,,, >click to read< 08:30

Clock ticking on FISH-NL’s 2nd certification drive

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters-Newfoundland and Labrador has until Friday to sign up enough members to trigger a vote on whether it should be the union to represent the province’s inshore fishermen. Union president Ryan Cleary says collecting cards has been a covert operation because people are worried about repercussions from the Fish, Food & Allied Workers union — the union FISH-NL is looking to unseat as the inshore industry’s bargaining unit. >click to read< 08:47

FFAW publicity stunt

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) calls the FFAW-Unifor’s submission of a land bid this morning to protect crab grounds a publicity stunt to deflect attention from the final days of FISH-NL’s membership drive. “The FFAW submits a fake cheque to protect snow crab grounds during the last week of FISH-NL’s drive the same way the union gave away free cod on the St. John’s waterfront the very day in early August that our drive began,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “Inshore harvesters aren’t stunned— the FFAW just treats them as if they are. >click to read< 13:51

Fisheries union presents giant novelty cheque for $1 billion to C-NLOPB>click to read<

FISH-NL plans Day of Action for Nov. 6th: ’We need more fight to make this work’

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is organizing a Day of Action for Wednesday, Nov. 6th — a final opportunity for the province’s inshore harvesters to break free from the FFAW-Unifor. It’s been made more than clear that the FFAW-Unifor is not working in the best interests of inshore harvesters,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “Fishermen know the score, but it’s in their hands now. They have spent years complaining on the wharf about the FFAW, but now the time has come to either join the harvesters putting up a fight, sign a card, and take a stand, or accept the scraps they’re been left with by Ottawa, the other provinces, foreign nations, offshore companies, and the FFAW.” >Click to read< 09:55

Federal Liberals treat East Coast fishery as ‘second class’; move to ban at-sea fish farms off BC, but not eastern Canada?

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) accuses the Liberal Party of Canada of talking out of both sides of its mouth for promising to phase out at-sea salmon farms in British Columbia while ignoring Eastern Canada. “The impact of open-pen aquaculture is the exact same on both coasts, with the same companies reportedly operating on both ends of the country, but the Liberal policy is strictly for the West Coast,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “How does that make sense? How is that fair? Do the Liberals consider the East Coast fishery a second-class industry?” >click to read<  14:41

Police called as FISH-NL execs crash FFAW meeting in Baie Verte – Cleary and Leonard physically forced out

The president of an upstart fisheries union says he didn’t barge in on an meeting in search of a confrontation with the union that represents the province’s in-shore harvesters, but a confrontation is what he got.,,, What ensued was momentary, aggressive chaos, as Cleary shouted “I tell the truth” and “we want a debate,” amid other people yelling and swearing, before meeting attendees physically forced him and Leonard from the room. The RCMP were also called to the incident. >click to read<  16:37

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

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

LETTER: Fish harvesters, plantworkers are stronger together

This letter is a response to Ryan Cleary’s letter “Single union can’t represent all sides of fishery” >click here<. Uniting workers in the fishing industry through a single union has delivered significant benefits to both fish harvesters and plant workers in the 50-year history of FFAW-Unifor and its predecessor unions. The only groups who do not support strong unions are the fishing companies we negotiate with, and Ryan Cleary and his group FISH-NL. by Keith Sullivan >click to read< 13:01

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

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

Try, try again: FISH-NL making second push to unseat FFAW

The union, which formed three years ago, has learned from its first failure and adjusted tactics accordingly, said its president. “This has been a long, hard process. and we’ve learned a lot along the way,” said Ryan Cleary. Whereas before FISH-NL spent six weeks campaigning for cards, now it will use the maximum allowed amount of 90 days, submitting the results to the province’s Labour Relations Board on Nov. 8. The board will then verify the submission and rule on whether FISH-NL met the qualifications to trigger a vote among all fish harvesters as to who they want as their union. >click to read< 09:05

Scientist says DFO may be overestimating Newfoundland cod stocks by 35 per cent

A British Columbia fishery scientist says he’s worried federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans managers aren’t getting an accurate picture of the state of the northern cod stock. In fact, George Rose’s research suggests DFO science may be overestimating the biomass of the stock by 35 per cent.,,, The president of the FISH-NL union says DFO should take the criticism seriously. Cleary is calling for the cancellation of all fishing for northern cod outside the stewardship fishery, including the recreational food fishery, which is not something the union takes lightly, he said. >click to read< 19:10

FISH-NL calls for immediate halt to all fishing for northern cod outside stewardship fishery; independent assessment of DFO science

“When one of the preeminent fisheries science researchers in the world warns that Fisheries and Oceans may be dramatically overestimating the size of the iconic northern cod stock — which is already classified as critical, and in the 27th year of a commercial fishing moratorium — you listen,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “From FISH-NL’s perspective, we must also err on the side of caution and take immediate and unprecedented action,” said Cleary. “That means a cancellation of all fishing for northern cod outside of the stewardship fishery — including the sentinel (test) fisheries, cod quality program, recreation/food fishery, and any and all fishing of northern cod by offshore, factory-freezer trawlers, foreign or domestic.” >click to read< 09:02