Tag Archives: SEA-NL

FFAW-Unifor election ‘democratic farce’: SEA-NL

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) calls the election process followed by the FFAW-Unifor to select a new secretary-treasurer a democratic farce, with thousands of members blocked from taking part in the vote. “The FFAW election is an attack on democracy in terms of a free, open, and transparent election given the absolute corruption of what should be the union’s prized democratic process,” says Merv Wiseman, a member of SEA-NL’s executive board with extensive experience in organizational governance. “The broader public should be concerned anytime we see democratic rights and freedoms usurped,” he added. >click to continue reading< 11:11

SEA-NL Calls for Crackdown on Foreign Overfishing

SEA-NL is calling on Ottawa to address foreign overfishing. The organization says the fact that a Faroese longliner with six accusations of fishing violations within the past year was allowed to return to fishing shows that the enforcement regime outside Canadian waters is a “horrible joke”. Executive Director Ryan Cleary says the joke is on Newfoundland and Labrador as it makes no difference if the province conserves commercial stocks in their own waters when fish who leave the 200 miles are being picked off by foreign vessels. >click to read< 09:02

SEA-NL: Fish price-setting ‘fiasco’; minister did not refer complaint to labour board

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador says the province’s failure to have reports investigated that some processors may have paid less than the “binding” snow crab price further undermines government’s fish price-setting system. “Paying even one cent less than the binding price undermines government’s pricing system over the entire $1 billion-plus commercial fishing industry,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director. “Every other day there’s another example of how the fish pricing system in this province has become a fiasco.” Provincial Fisheries Minster Derrick Bragg told at least one enterprise owner late last month the province’s labour relations board was looking into reports that some processors were paying less than the minimum $6.15/lb snow crab price. >click to read< 13:12

SEA-NL calls for elimination of province’s farcical system of fish pricing before fisheries lost

“There is no point in government being involved in negotiating the price of fish when its appointed panel does not have the power to enforce one price or the other, and its decisions do not result in commercial fisheries,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director. “The existing system has collapsed with processors refusing to buy for the prices that are set, and inshore fleets remaining tied to the wharf,” he added. “Both sides must stick it out at the negotiating table until a price or contract is hammered out like with any other collective agreement.” >click to read< 16:16

Panel-system of fish pricing has collapsed: SEA-NL

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador says the panel system of fish pricing in this province has collapsed, with the panel either setting prices that will not result in a fishery, or processors ignoring prices and unilaterally setting their own. SEA-NL is calling on the provincial government to immediately step in and restore confidence in fish pricing. “The panel system has become a joke not only here in Newfoundland and Labrador, but with fishermen right around Eastern Canada laughing at us,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s executive director. In mid-May the provincial government-appointed price-setting panel set the latest price for snow crab paid to the inshore fleet at $6.15/lb. Processors refused to buy crab for that price,,, >click to read the rest< 22:31

Days of chopping off fishing boats over; DFO to increase maximum inshore vessel length to 49’11

“The days of chopping off boats are over. This is a massive victory for inshore harvesters in what is now the under 40’ fleet,” says Jason Sullivan, President of SEA-NL, and Bay Bulls-based inshore owner-operator. “We have fought DFO in this province and the FFAW for years to be treated the same as the rest of Atlantic Canada in terms of vessel length, and today we finally have a victory that puts the safety and lives of inshore harvesters first.” The news was announced this morning by Avalon MP Ken McDonald, chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, who, along with SEA-NL and FISH-NL before it, fought for years to change the vessel-length policy. >click to read< 10:53

Fisherman who vowed to dump shrimp if no buyer stepped forward has found one,,, in Nova Scotia

The La Scie inshore fisherman who vowed to dump his first load of northern shrimp for the season if he couldn’t sell the catch has found a buyer across the Gulf in Nova Scotia. “Thank God we don’t have to dump it,” says Ryan, who operates the fishing enterprise, F/V Atlantic Blue Too, with his son Josh, the skipper and license holder. “A Nova Scotia buyer has agreed to purchase the shrimp for significantly more than buyers are willing to pay here.” Most of the province’s shrimp fleets in the Gulf and off the east coast have yet to untie this season, despite the fact the spring price was set on April 24th, and the fishery opened on May 29th. >click to read< 08:04

Make-or-break moment for province’s Liberal MPs; seal vote goes before Parliament on Wednesday

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is calling on the province’s six Liberal Members of Parliament to vote for a bill before Parliament Wednesday (July 15th) that would force Fisheries and Oceans to implement seal management plans. “This is one of those make-or-break moments for our Members of Parliament when they must decide whether they represent Newfoundland and Labrador in Ottawa or the other way around,” says Ryan Cleary, Executive Director of SEA-NL, and a former NDP MP.  “Seals eat fish just as surely as MPs need votes.” Bill C-251 calls on the federal minister of Fisheries and Oceans to develop management plans for pinnipeds — including seals, sea lions, and walruses on the East and West coasts and Northern Canada. >click to read< 09:00

SEA-NL demands province allow inshore fleet to truck snow crab out of province

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) demands the provincial government allow owner-operators to truck snow crab out of province given some local processors have stopped buying. “If processors will not buy snow crab then fishermen who can find mainland buyers must be able to truck out their crab or the entire industry will shut down,” says Jason Sullivan, President of SEA-NL and a Bay Bulls fisherman. “There are no jobs left to protect.” At least two processing companies, Notre Dame Seafoods and Quinlan’s, reportedly stopped buying crab on Friday. >click to continue< 11:21

Fisherman who vowed to dump shrimp if no buyer found suffers vessel breakdown, threat stands

The La Scie fisherman who vowed to dump his first load of northern shrimp for the season if there was no buyer returned to port today without any catch after his fishing boat suffered mechanical problems at sea. But Terry Ryan says he expects the Atlantic Bluefin Too will be repaired as early as Friday, and he plans to follow through with his pledge. “Full-steam ahead,” says Ryan, who operates the enterprise with his son, Josh, the skipper and licence-holder. Terry Ryan threatened to dump their first load of shrimp at an estimated loss of $100,000 if there’s no buyer when the catch landed as a protest of the province’s panel system of fish pricing. >click to read< 15:14

Shrimp fisherman prepared to dump 50,000-pound catch if processors not prepared to buy it

Terry Ryan of La Scie, who together with his son Josh operate the Atlantic Bluefin Too, vows the boat will start fishing shrimp on Saturday, and if there’s no buyer for the 50,000/lbs they expect to have aboard by late Sunday/early Monday when the vessel returns to port, the catch will be dumped as a means to shake up the fishery and get it going. The spring shrimp price was set at $1.42/lb on April 24th, and Fisheries and Oceans opened the fishery on Sunday, May 29th (after public complaints by Terry Ryan on VOCM Open Line/The Broadcast), but the inshore fleet has yet to untie because processors say the price is too high.  Which leads back to the increasingly popular question: what’s the good of the government-appointed price-setting panel? >click to read< 07:46

Who decides the price of fish at the wharf?

“They’re going to stop buying crab. They’re not going to buy crab if they’re losing money. The processors always have the upper hand,” Jason Sullivan, a fisherman from Bay Bulls, Newfoundland and Labrador, told The Independent back in mid-May, just before going crab fishing.  As it turns out, those words foreshadowed a May 30 press release from the Association of Seafood Producers, which represents most processors in the province, that reads: “Snow crab producers compelled to respond to 2022 market challenges” and “full picture will become apparent in the coming days.”  “It’s the exact opposite happening this year as to what happened to fishermen last year,” says Sullivan—who is also the president of SEA-NL, an association for licensed, independent owner-operator inshore fish harvesters in Newfoundland and Labrador. >click to read< 16:31

SEA-NL on increase in snow crab processing capacity

“More competition in the processing sector should mean more opportunity for inshore boats to land crab quotas faster, with less expense, and safer for all hands,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director. The province’s Fish Processing Licensing Board today approved two of four applications for fish processing licenses — including a new primary processing license for groundfish, whelk, and snow crab (2.5 million/lbs) for St. Mary’s Bay Fisheries Ltd., and doubling the amount of crab Dandy Dan’s Fish Market of Argentia can purchase to two million pounds per year. >click to read< 11:29

SEA-NL calls for public inquiry into fishing vessel safety, search and rescue

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador is calling for a joint, federal/provincial commission of inquiry into fishing vessel safety, and search and rescue response in this province to investigate why incidents and deaths at sea are on the rise. “There is no greater indictment of serious, systemic problems with fishing vessel safety and search and rescue than the rise in mariner deaths,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director. “Fishing is already one of the most dangerous occupations in the world without lax government oversight increasing those risks.” > click to read < 13:30

SEA-NL supports province issuing new snow crab processing licenses

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador supports the issuance of new snow crab processing licenses as the quickest way to increase industry capacity and reduce pressure on the inshore fleet to fish in potentially unsafe conditions. “We see more processing licenses as the quickest way to take pressure off the inshore fleet,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s executive director. “More competition in the processing sector should mean more opportunity for inshore boats to land crab quotas faster, with less expense, and safer for all hands.” “More crab processing capacity will take pressure off the inshore fleet, and that’s the bottom line for SEA-NL,”  >click to read< 14:20

Impact of foreign overfishing as bad as seals; must also be addressed

SEA-NL congratulates the Government of Canada for finally recognizing that seals eat fish but reminds Ottawa that foreign overfishing on/off the Grand Banks is as destructive as ever to commercial stocks. “Seals aren’t the only killer of fish stocks,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director. “It’s still the wild west outside the 200-mile limit in terms of overfishing by foreign factory-freezer draggers.” Federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister Joyce Murray said Thursday more research is needed on the impact of seals on dwindling East Coast fish stocks in response to a report that said DFO’s science doesn’t go far enough. DFO, however, must consider all factors, including foreign overfishing, on the health of battered East Coast fish stocks. >click to read< 13:16

Portuguese dragger again accused of illegal fishing on Grand Banks; NAFO can’t enforce quotas

A Portuguese offshore factory-freezer dragger has been accused for the fifth time in six years of illegal fishing on/near the Grand Banks, hammering home, yet again, that the enforcement regime that oversees foreign fleets outside Canada’s 200-mile limit is a joke (on Newfoundland and Labrador). The latest accusation (not actual court charge) against the F/V Nova Virgem Da Barca was issued on March 28th when enforcement officers from the Canadian Coast Guard ship Cygnus boarded the dragger on the tail of the Banks (fishing zone 3N) where she was fishing redfish. The officers issued a “notice of infringement” against the captain for misreporting catches, with “supporting documentation from the inspection and infringement forwarded to the European Union for investigation and follow-up.” Canada cannot charge a foreign dragger with illegal fishing. >NAFO<>click to read< 15:42

Trip limits must be addressed in Newfoundland and Labradors snow crab fishery

SEA-NL is demanding Premier Andrew Furey address trip limits in the snow crab fishery or his government may have blood on its hands before the end of the fishing season. “The inshore fleet has one of the most dangerous jobs without trip limits adding to the risk,” says Ryan Cleary, Executive Director of SEA-NL. “Trip limits put pressure on enterprise owners — who are also dealing with the threat of a price drop, and fishery closures in the case of molting or soft-shell crab — to fish in weather they would not ordinarily fish in,” he said. “If government stands idly by and lives are lost this crab fishing season the province will have to answer for them directly.” >click to read< 15:09

Mackerel fishery closed, but inshore fleet still wants their licenses

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is calling on Fisheries and Oceans to continue issuing mackerel licenses to existing license holders in the inshore fleet even though the fishery is closed. “Owner-operators want to know their mackerel licenses are safe and will be there for them when the fishery reopens,” says Ryan Cleary, Executive Director of SEA-NL. “Many of them do not trust DFO, there’s no other way to put it.” “A mackerel license represents a major investment of many thousands of dollars — not just for the license itself — but in terms of the fishing enterprise and gear, and owner-operators want to keep their licenses even if it is just for the privilege of not fishing them.” >click to read< 10:13

Northern cod 30 years after the moratorium: Confederation’s greatest shame

As the 30th anniversary of the northern cod moratorium looms, DFO cannot say with certainty whether the at-sea fall survey will be completed this year, the small-scale inshore fishery limps on with an average price of 64¢/lb, and the number of active enterprises has fallen to 1,259 — a shadow of the fishery’s glory days when the stock supported 30,000-40,000 workers. On the plus side, scientists with Fisheries and Oceans finally acknowledge that seals “undoubtedly” have an impact on cod — just not as huge as the lack of caplin (which seals also eat by the millions of pounds, but one DFO baby step at a time). >click to read< 08:02

Russian head of NAFO has stepped down; country must be expelled/fish quotas transferred to Ukraine

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) says it’s not enough that the Russian president and chair of the international organization that manages fish stock inside and outside Canada’s 200-mile limit has stepped down. The Russian Federation itself must be expelled from the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization, with the country’s thousands of tonnes of quotas transferred to the Ukraine, another member of the 13-country organization. “Russia has violated every protocol on the face of the earth with its war on Ukraine, and its membership in NAFO should be cancelled outright, and its fish quotas transferred,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director. “Russian seafood is banned around the world, so it stands to reason that its offshore dragger fleet should not be permitted to fish as a NAFO-member country.” >click to read< 11:50

SEA-NL calls for Derek Butler’s resignation from Association of Seafood Producers

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador, representing owner-operators in the inshore fleet, is calling for the resignation of the executive director of the association representing buyers/processors after publicly criticizing the province’s snow crab resource. “Derek Butler said on NTV News Tuesday that our snow crab is second-rate compared to product from the Maritimes, worth 30% less,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director. “For the spokesman for seafood companies in this province to say that publicly shows poor judgement and reflects poorly on what is the best snow crab in the world. He must no longer speak for industry.” >click to read< 13:36

SEA-NL launches petition to change status of non-core groundfish licenses

SEA-NL has launched a petition urging the House of Commons to change the status of non-core groundfish licenses in this province so they can be sold or handed down. “Non-core license holders are treated like second-class fishermen,” says Jason Sullivan, President of SEA-NL, the distinct voice of the province’s licensed owner-operators. “That must end based on safety-at-sea, and fairness.” DFO’s licensing policy for Newfoundland and Labrador states that non-core groundfish licenses are not eligible for reissuance, meaning they die with the inshore owner-operators who hold them. >click to read<, and sign the petition 11:55

Overwhelming support for extending length of inshore fishing boats – SEA-NL

The province’s inshore owner-operator fish harvesters overwhelmingly support extending the maximum length of fishing boats in their fleet for safety reasons, and to fall in line with the rest of Atlantic Canada. “The message from the inshore fleet is clear that the days of chopping off boats are over,” says Jason Sullivan, President of Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador, the distinct voice of the province’s licensed, owner-operators. “Fisheries and Oceans has gotten the message loud and clear that the policy must change.” >click to read< 10:32

Should Russia be kicked out of NAFO; its trawler fleet banned from fishing outside Canadian waters?

There’s a case for it considering Canada has closed its airspace to Russian aircraft, and even a call by hockey legend Wayne Gretzky for Russia to be banned from the rescheduled World Juniors this summer in Alberta as a consequence for the country’s invasion of Ukraine. Offshore trawlers from the Russian Federation have access to thousands of tonnes of quota a year in the NAFO zone, including redfish, turbot, and skate. Kicking Russia out of NAFO and banning its offshore draggers from the area (if that’s possible), could be another message to President Vladimir Putin that his invasion of the Ukraine is unacceptable. Below are the NAFO quota tables for 2022, including a breakdown of fish set aside for Russia. >click to read< 09:34

SEA-NL up and running as ‘distinct voice’ of skippers, licensed inshore owner-operators

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) elected its first executive during a founding convention earlier this month, and the Board’s first order of business was to hire an Executive Director. “Licensed inshore harvesters finally have an organization to serve as their distinct voice, and their voice alone,” says Jason Sullivan, a Bay Bulls fisherman who was elected SEA-NL President during the virtual convention. >click to read< 11:48

SEA-NL calls for third-party investigation into DFO NL

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to order an independent investigation of the operations of the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans in the province amid alarming allegations of political interference raised by the CBC. “DFO’s last shred of credibility in this province is on the line,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s interim Executive Director. “The allegations by the union representing DFO scientists not only call into question the department’s faith in itself, but what little faith inshore harvesters and all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have left in DFO to manage the wild commercial fisheries.” >click to read< 10:48

SEA-NL says bottom-trawling must be banned from all three adjacent cod stocks (not just two)

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) has recommended that Fisheries and Oceans expand its ban on bottom-trawling to include all three cod stocks off the province’s shores. “Fisheries and Oceans cannot scientifically justify banning bottom-trawling for cod in two adjacent stocks when all three are in the critical zone,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s interim Executive Director. DFO allows for bottom-trawling of the cod stock off southern Newfoundland in fishing zone 3Ps. However, bottom-trawling is banned in the northern cod fishery off eastern Newfoundland and Labrador, and for cod in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. All three cod stocks have been designated by DFO science as in the critical zone, meaning fishing must be kept to a minimum. >click to read< 12:06

SEA-NL: Standing Fish Price Setting Panel

SEA-NL says an immediate priority for the 2022 inshore fishery is for the province to amend its fish price-setting system to address a weakness that cost harvesters untold millions of dollars in last year’s snow crab fishery alone. “Inshore harvesters were not paid a fair-market return from their snow crab sales in 2021 because a provincial government regulation stood in the way,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s interim Executive Director. “The regulation must be amended before the start of the 2022 season, or what little faith that exists in the price-setting system will be gone altogether.”>click to read< 08:05

DFO responds to Ryan Cleary’s allegations of a ‘backroom’ plan 

The interim executive director of Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador accused the Department of Fisheries and Oceans of orchestrating a “backroom” plan to rebuild the cod stock off southern Newfoundland and exclude the voice of inshore harvesters. According to Cleary, DFO has assembled a working group, made up of DFO and FFAW union officials, fish processors, indigenous interests and the offshore, sector to develop a rebuilding plan for cod in the 3Ps fishing zone. An official for DFO, however, says when DFO established the working group they invited members of the 3Ps Groundfish Advisory Committee to participate. >click to read< 13:32