Tag Archives: Ryan Cleary

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

Conditional discharge awarded to Grand Bank fisherman

Wayne Meade was in provincial court in Grand Bank Aug. 31, where he pleaded guilty to two counts of uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm. The charges stem from comments Meade made to Fish, Food and Allied Works (FFAW) union representatives Dwan Street and Roland Hedderson during a meeting in Fortune Nov. 1, 2016. An agreed statement of facts presented to the court states Meade was aggressive when he attended the meeting, he continued to pound the table with his fists, and at one point told the representatives, “I will rip your heads of and shit down your neck.” Council for the accused said Meade told police he did not intend to cause harm to either Dwan Street or Roland Hedderson. “This is a very frustrating time in the lives of fishermen,” said Randy Piercey. click here to read the story 14:02

FISH-NL’s request for immediate vote denied by Labour Board; inshore harvesters, the most controlled labour group in western world

“It’s impossible to enjoy the Labour Day Weekend when upwards of 3,000 inshore harvesters are being crucified by oppressive union representation, and a government that allows it to continue,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “What’s more, provincial legislation blocks harvesters from taking part in free enterprise in that outside fish buyers aren’t allowed in. Where else in the democratic world would this be permitted? Harvesters are the most controlled labour group in the province, country, and western world.” FISH-NL wrote David Conway, the new chair of the province’s Labour Relations Board, on Aug. 15th, requesting the board proceed with an immediate vote to determine which union they want to represent them. In an Aug. 31st response letter, CEO Glenn Branton pointed out the investigation into FISH-NL’s application for certification — which was presented to the board on Dec. 30, 2016 — is ongoing. click here to read the press release 12:50

FISH-NL urges provincial government to establish Fishery Stress Line similar to one for western farmers 

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is calling on the provincial government to establish a Fishery Stress Line to help inshore harvesters access help for mental health. “The fishery is in worse shape today than the cod moratorium days of the early 1990s because harvesters have bigger loans, and there are no other species to move onto,” said Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “More and more harvesters are having a hard go of it because of quota cuts that make it difficult for them and their families to keep going financially, and they see the future as bleak.” Saskatchewan has had a Farm Stress Line since 1989, offering mental health services to thousands of rural farmers. click here to read the press release 10:49

FISH-NL reiterates call for province to lift ban on outside fish buyers

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is reiterating its call for the provincial government to lift all restrictions and allow out-of-province buyers into the provincial market place for all species. “The commercial fishery for northern cod reopened on Newfoundland’s northeast coast on Aug. 1st, but very few harvesters are at it because there are no buyers,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL.,, “Some fishermen are salting their cod with no idea of what they’ll eventually get for it — just like in my grandfather’s day,” says Richard Gillett. Vice-President of FISH-NL. “How far we’ve come.” click here to read the press release 16:11

FISH-NL: Canada’s fishery reputation was shot long before the death of 10 right whales

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) says federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister Dominic LeBlanc’s has some explaining to do regarding his statement that the recent death of right whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence pose a threat to Canada’s reputation. “Is that the same fisheries reputation that boasts the 25-year anniversary of the ’92 northern cod moratorium, and the same reputation that has most commercial fish stocks today off the province’s shores at or near critical levels?” asks Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “What an insult to Newfoundland and Labrador and the management crisis that has tightened its grip on our fishery for 25 years. The minister may not know it, but the embarrassing state of the Grand Banks has tarnished Canada’s fisheries reputation for decades.” click here to read the press release 14:05

FISH-NL calls on DFO to extend snow crab season off eastern Newfoundland and southern Avalon 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 14th, 2017 – The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is calling on the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans to extend the snow crab fishing season in fishing zone 3L off eastern Newfoundland and the southern Avalon for at least two weeks in light of the delayed start to the season. “Severe ice conditions set most inshore harvesters back, and they need to make up that time on the water,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “Inshore harvesters are also experiencing slower catches because of the caplin and herring coming in over the fishing grounds, so that must be taken into account.” As it stands, the snow crab season is slated to close in 3L on July 31st. FISH-NL has made an official request to DFO on behalf of harvesters to extend the season. 12:18

FISH-NL slams redfish deal that would give quota to Qalipu First Nation when inshore harvesters have nothing to fish

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is deeply concerned over media reports that the Corner Brook-based Qalipu band, Barry Group, and federal government are in talks to start divvying up a rebounding redfish stock in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. “Inshore harvesters and their enterprises are the engines of rural communities, live adjacent to the resource, and have an historical attachment that goes back hundreds of years,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “Inshore harvesters — and inshore harvesters alone — must have priority access to fish stocks off our shores.” “The Qalipu First Nation has absolutely no investment in the redfish fishery, and absolutely no history of fishing it,” says Boyd Lavers, an inshore harvester from Port Saunders, and Captain of FISH-NL’s over 40-foot fleet. click here to read the press release 15:19

Barry Group, Qalipu sign deal to harvest and process western Newfoundland ocean perch – Bill Barry says he has never been so stoked about fishing a new resource. The owner of the Barry Group of Cos. has signed a deal with the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band to harvest and process ocean perch fished off the coast of western Newfoundland. click here to read the story

Letter: Fish union failing members on crucial issues

I wish to respond to Lana Payne’s June 24th column (“Austerity should be on trial”). I have no problem with the opinion piece — austerity, no doubt, had a hand in the recent tragic high-rise fire in London, England. But while austerity should be on trial in Europe, FFAW-Unifor was actually before the courts right here in Newfoundland and Labrador, and Payne, Unifor’s Atlantic director, ignored the elephant on the wharf — as has the province’s Federation of Labour and every other union leader in the province, and country. It’s unprecedented for a Canadian union to have deceived its members, which is exactly what happened with scallop harvesters in the Strait of Belle Isle. click here to read the letter 19:48

FISH-NL calls on C-NLOPB to suspend seismic work in light of potential impact on basis of marine food chain 

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) has requested that the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) immediately suspend seismic work  off Newfoundland and Labrador in light of a new study that found the intense acoustic signals may damage critical elements of the marine food chain. “With most commercial fish stocks at or near critical levels our first priority must be the health of our renewable marine resources,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL, who made the request Thursday in a letter to Scott Tessier, chair and executive officer of the C-NLOPB. “The potential impact of seismic testing on the marine environment — combined with a potential conflict of interest in which the best interests of inshore harvesters may not be represented — should compel the C-NLOPB to act,” Cleary wrote in the letter. click here to read the press release 08:59

FISH-NL recommends Ottawa cancel 2017 sentinel cod program 

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) recommends that Ottawa cancel the 2017 sentinel cod program, a series of tests fisheries around the province first introduced when stocks were under moratoria. “The sentinel fisheries have become a waste of taxpayers’ money because the model was developed for the moratoria years, and the uncertainties in the data means it has little to no impact when it is used in the assessment model,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “It appears the catch data may have also been negatively impacted by the resumption of the commercial fisheries and other factors.”  click here to read the press release 10:48

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Meeting With the Premier.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Statement by FISH-NL

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

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

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

The elephant on the wharf – ‘Salt-water mafia’ term coined for a reason

I wish to reply to Russell Wangersky’s March 11th column (“FISH-NL goes cap in hand”) by stating for the record that the characterization of the FFAW as the “salt-water mafia” wasn’t my turn of phrase, but that of inshore harvesters. Indeed, the phrase is so common by the water these days that I’m surprised the salt-water mafia hasn’t challenged harvesters for calling them the FFAW. The way Wangersky sees it, by referring to the salt-water mafia as the FFAW (my apologies, can’t keep it straight), I’m actually “saying that the FFAW is an organized criminal enterprise” that’s been “implicated in everything from drug running to prostitution to murder.” That’s not true. The word “mafia” is defined as a “closed group of people in a particular field (or body of water), having controlling influence,” which, to most harvesters’ line of thinking, sums up the FFAW. Read the Ryan Cleary op-ed here 10:27

Labour Relations Board orders release of FFAW/ASP lists of inshore harvesters

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is pleased with the latest order of the province’s Labour Relations Board regarding the release of membership lists of commercial inshore harvesters. After hearing arguments on Friday morning, by late Friday afternoon the board ordered the FFAW to turn over its list of commercial inshore harvesters who were members of the FFAW between Jan. 1, 2015 and Dec. 30, 2016 to its investigating officer. The Board also ordered ASP (the Association of Seafood Producers) to hand over its list of inshore harvesters on whose behalf members of the association collected and remitted FFAW union dues between Jan. 1, 2015 to Dec. 30, 2016 to its investigating officer. Read the press release here 10:22

FISH-NL calls for independent, expert review of DFO in light of reported dramatic decline of key stocks

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is calling for an independent, external review of the management/science capabilities of the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans in relation to the reported dramatic decline of key stocks off Newfoundland and Labrador. “The picture right now for our harvesters is bleaker than the moratorium,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “When cod stocks collapsed in the early 1990s harvesters could turn to other species, but crab, shrimp and south coast cod are apparently in simultaneous free fall, if not outright collapse, and the common theme is DFO management.” continue reading the press release here 09:32

Ryan Cleary – Russell Wangersky’s column demands a response 

I wish to respond to Russell Wangersky’s Jan. 28th column (Fish harvesters have the most to lose), by noting with interest how Wangersky gets along with me, “on and off,” while he has known Lana Payne since the late 1980s when the two worked together at The Sunday Express. Does that mean Wangersky loves Lana more than me? I can’t quite tell. I know that Payne calls me as a “narcissist” and “liar,” and Wangersky spits out the word nationalist when he tackles me on the page. Personally, I see myself more Newfoundland and Labrador first, as opposed to Wangersky, who’s more Canadian first, which, “on and off,” separates us. Wangersky clearly states what he thinks about Newfoundland and Labrador opening the door to out-of-province fish buyers — he’s against it, “damaging the province as a whole by shipping a common resource out of province for the benefit of a few.”  The “few” that Wangersky refers to are the few thousand inshore fish harvesters left in this province who can’t survive on 60-cents-a-pound cod, certainly not when there’s little else left to catch. Read the rest of Mr. Cleary’s letter here 19:24

FISH-NL renews call for province to allow in outside buyers; ensure provincially owned quotas caught by inshore harvesters

In light of declining south coast cod stocks, the Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is renewing its call that the provincial government lift all restrictions and allow out-of-province buyers into the provincial marketplace for all species. FISH-NL also calls on the province to ensure the provincially owned 150-tonne halibut quota is caught by the inshore harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador. “Fish harvesters cannot survive on 60 cents a pound for cod, which is what they made last year and what they made 30 years before that,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “It’s time to blow open the doors to the provincial marketplace and allow in outside buyers.” Read the press release here 14:42

FISH-NL releases details of certification application — 2,372 harvesters sign membership cards, well over 50 per cent required 

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is today releasing details of its certification application filed with the Labour Relations Board on Dec. 30th, including the total number of fish harvesters signed on.  “A total of 2,372 harvesters from more than 300 Newfoundland and Labrador communities signed FISH-NL cards over our two-month membership drive,” says Ryan Cleary, president of FISH-NL. “From all indications that number represents well over 50 per cent of all inshore fish harvesters.” Read the Press release, click here 08:04

Upstart fishing union says more than 2,300 fish harvesters have joined   Click here 08:56

FISH-NL leaders to meet with Labour Relations Board, address reporters on Friday

The leaders of an upstart union movement in Newfoundland and Labrador will reveal their strategy for a certification bid Friday, months after launching a bitter and divisive campaign to try and raid the province’s influential fisheries union. Representatives from the Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters (FISH-NL) will visit the Labour Relations Board in St. John’s in the morning, and plans to speak with reporters at their office on Job Street at 11 a.m.  “All will be revealed tomorrow,” FISH-NL president Ryan Cleary said. The FFAW has also ramped up its criticism in recent weeks, accusing FISH-NL of having no real plan for the fishery and trying to weaken the bargaining power of harvesters. Read the story here 18:48