Tag Archives: FFAW

Redfish making a big comeback in the Gulf of St. Lawrence

“We won the lottery.” That’s not a phrase you normally associate with someone doing stock assessments for Fisheries and Oceans Canada. But DFO biologist Caroline Senay is excited by the amount of redfish they’re tracking off the island’s west coast in the Gulf of St. Lawrence: about 2.5 million tonnes of fish in an area referred to as unit 1. By comparison, Iceland has a total redfish biomass of 430,000 tonnes. >click to read<09:00

FISH-NL calls on DFO to take direct control of scientific quota of redfish in the Gulf of St. Lawrence

“The FFAW-Unifor should not be controlling science quotas,” says Boyd Lavers, an inshore harvester from Port Saunders on the Great Northern Peninsula, and Captain of FISH-NL’s over 40-foot fleet. “The only fair way to deal with this experimental quota is for it to be handled directly by DFO, so the FFAW doesn’t get a chance to show favouritism as to who fishes the quota, or to take a cut from the sale of the fish.”,,, Further, harvesters have been told by the union they will have to sell the redfish to a plant of the FFAW’s choosing, and pay the union half the money from the sale of the fish. >click to read<18:35

FFAW seeking clarification on EI extension for fishery – Fish harvester wants answers

President Keith Sullivan says his impression was that all fishery workers would be covered by the extension that was announced earlier this week, but now he’s hearing concern that plant workers are covered but fish harvesters are not. Alfred Fitzpatrick is an inshore fisherman out of Garnish on the Burin Peninsula. He says that the extra five weeks of EI would greatly benefit fish harvesters. He questioned an FFAW decision to issue a press release about the EI victory when doubts still remain about whether harvesters will qualify as well. “There’s a good news story for some of the membership but not all. And some of the most vulnerable are being left behind again. I don’t like it,” said Fitzpatrick, who sits on the FFAW’s inshore council. >click to read<21:31

Latest joke in labour circus; FFAW’s top executives acclaimed after thousands blocked from union election: FISH-NL

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) calls the final slate of candidates for the FFAW-Unifor executive the latest joke in an ongoing labour circus. “How Keith Sullivan or Dave Decker can look the membership in the face is beyond me,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “But then how any labour leader in this province can stand by as the democratic rights of inshore harvesters are stripped from them is another mystery.” Nominations for the FFAW-Unifor’s 16-member executive board closed May 28th, and the union announced Monday that the top two union positions — president (Sullivan), and secretary-treasurer (Decker) — were uncontested. >click to read<09:29

Ryan Cleary: What makes an inshore fish harvester?

I write this letter to inform your readers why it’s important to define an inshore fish harvester for purposes of a vote by the Labour Relations Board to ultimately decide which union should represent them. Here are three, real-life examples: 1) Two men who hold commercial fishing licenses are on the provincial government’s “sunshine list” as having made more than $100,000 in base salary/overtime in 2016 (one alone made more than $130,000), should they also be eligible to vote? 2) A teenager worked aboard his grandfather’s boat a couple of summer’s ago to help him out, and had a fish sale put in his name, with dues automatically remitted to the FFAW/Unifor. Should he be given a vote? 3) A man works aboard a fishing boat for a trip or two a couple of summers ago, never to set foot on a boat again. Should he be entitled to a ballot? >click to read<10:41 

FISH-NL calling on labour board to shed thousands from FFAW list

The Federation of Independent Seafood Harvesters (FISH-NL) is arguing that the ranks of inshore harvesters in the province’s fisheries union is swollen to nearly twice its actual size by individuals with no serious connection to the industry. As a result, it wants the labour relations board to strip thousands of card-carrying members of their right to vote in any certification process. “Everybody who pays dues is not a harvester,” FISH-NL president Ryan Cleary told reporters.,,, “We just want bona fide, full-time boots on the deck harvesters to participate in a vote,” >click to read<20:31

No mutiny: FFAW bans all FISH-NL supporters from running in its elections

All fish harvesters and processors who tried to split from Newfoundland and Labrador’s only fisheries union are now banned from running for executive positions. The Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union (FFAW) has altered its constitution to require anyone running in this summer’s election to sign an affidavit stating they have never signed a card with another organization. “If there’s people out there who are looking to tear down the organization, those people certainly cannot run for office,” Sullivan said.>click to read<10:00

Throw out FISH-NL application, FFAW says after labour board ruling

The results of an investigation by the Labour Relations Board is proof that FISH-NL has insufficient support to trigger a ratification vote and its application to represent inshore fish harvesters should be dismissed, says Fish Food and Allied Workers union president Keith Sullivan. FISH-NL president Ryan Cleary, however, says the latest development is just more “smoke and mirrors” by the FFAW.  Sullivan issued a news release Friday saying an investigation by the provincial government board has confirmed that membership numbers presented by the FFAW are accurate. >click to read<12:14

Northern cod numbers no reason to panic: FFAW

Last week’s news on Northern Cod wasn’t what anyone was hoping for, but it’s no cause for panic. There will be fluctuations in biomass from year to year in any stock that’s rebuilding. These same cod stocks had declines from 2009 to 2011, but the overall stock still increased 12-fold in the last 15 years, from an estimated 25,000 metric tonnes to 315,000 metric tonnes. This year’s decrease was not a result of the very small stewardship fishery; natural mortality has been driving the trajectory of this stock since the moratorium. The harvest limits approved,,, >click to read< 19:35

Northern cod stock declined over last year; scientists urge minimum fishing effort

Those in the province’s fishing industry hoping the northern cod would be ready for a commercial fishery in a few years’ time — a saviour to an industry suffering repeated blows from declining crab and shrimp stocks — better hold on to their hooks and nets. Northern cod this year are in the same leaky boat, having declined significantly over the past year. And that has come as a surprise to many because the northern cod stocks off the province’s east and northeast coast showed promising growth since 2012 — the first real glint of light since the dark and uncertain days of the northern cod stock collapse of the late 1980s and early 1990s. >click to read<10:10

DFO says Snow crab biomass relatively unchanged

Snow crab stocks off Newfoundland and Labrador remain at low levels going into this spring’s fishery, and while that may result in status quo or lower quotas, there is optimism for coming years. The optimism may only hold true if measures are taken to further protect an apparent increase in small and medium-sized crab being seen in most areas of the province. A technical briefing held by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) Monday morning in St. John’s showed that while the snow crab biomass remains relatively unchanged from last year, more favourable water temperatures for crab have resulted in better production in the last couple of years. >click to read< 22:01

Harvey Jarvis: Fishery proclamations much ado about nothing

For those who missed it, the week beginning Feb. 5th gave us a great example of how the media is used to convince us what a what a great job is being done. On day one we had a letter in The Telegram from the FFAW telling Dominic Leblanc what he should do (“Fishery corporations kick messaging into high gear,” Feb. 5), and the next day we had Dominic Leblanc standing at a podium telling everyone what he has done or is about to do. Then about 30 seconds later we had a press release from the FFAW patting itself on the back for another great win. I am referring, of course, to the news of how Dominic Leblanc is reversing some of Stephen Harper’s reforms plus making some changes to the Fisheries Act. >click to read< 08:31

FFAW, FISH-NL at odds over what Fisheries Act amendments will mean for N.L.’s inshore fishery

The federal Liberal Government said Tuesday it is restoring protections for the fishing industry that were taken away by the former Conservative government in 2012. And, in making the announcement, Fisheries and Oceans Minister Dominic LeBlanc said there is more good news for the country’s fishing industry. The minister announced $284.2 million to support the restoration of protections to fish and fish habitats and to incorporate new modern safeguards in the industry. >click to read< 09:32

Bonavista area fishers meet DFO

Dennis Miller of Burgoyne’s Cove is a typical inshore fisherman. Fishing up to 50 miles from shore in a 39-ft 11-inch boat, he makes his living from groundfish, capelin, herring, mackerel, lobster and snow crab.,, He wonders if the Department of Fisheries and Oceans will give smaller boats, like his, access to turbot by opening up fishing zones closer to shore. He was one of about 30 fishers who showed up for the meeting.,, With FISH-NL and the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW) in the same room, there was bound to be an argument. >click here to read< 14:24 

FISH-NL calls on Federation of Labour to clarify FFAW’s fate

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is calling on the province’s Federation of Labour to clarify whether the FFAW can remain a member following the decision by Unifor, its national affiliate, to leave the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC). “Inshore harvesters are demanding to know the lay of the land with the local labour movement,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. >click here to read<11:06 

When Rome was burning, Nero played his violin – Current Fisheries Policy Damaging Industry

Just a little over a year ago, the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour came out swinging against FISH-NL. The head of the federation of labour, Mary Shortall, said FISH-NL was raiding one of its member unions and the federation was completely against it. Shortall said all of the federation’s member unions were standing in solidarity with the FFAW-Unifor. The fact that FISH-NL was formed because a significant number of the FFAW-Unifor’s fish harvester membership was totally unsatisfied with the FFAW-Unifor, was totally ignored by the federation of labour. click here to read the story 09:19

Department of Fisheries and Oceans installs security office, excavates hill where hunger strike held last spring

The hill is alive with the sound of an excavator at the start of the road leading to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) headquarters in St. John’s where Twillingate fisherman Richard Gillett held an 11-day hunger strike in April. The site where Gillett pitched his tent is all mud now. According to a statement from DFO, the excavation and the security office are part of new security and safety protocols being implemented at the facility.,, Gillett’s hunger strike started on April 13 and his supporters caused a bit of disruption at times for people trying to enter and leave the facility. But that wasn’t the only protest action by fishermen in the spring that caused some concern for DFO officials. click here to read the story 21:08

FFAW payback: FISH-NL supporters say union pressured DFO to close cod fishery

Well-know Grand Bank fisherman Wayne Meade accuses the FFAW-Unifor of being behind a recent federal Fisheries and Oceans decision to shut down the cod fishery in a small area of Fortune Bay because most inshore harvesters who were fishing there are FISH-NL supporters. “This was not a DFO decision because DFO doesn’t run the fishery, and hasn’t since the moratorium — the FFAW calls the shots,” says Meade, who’s publicly endorsed FISH-NL since it was organized in the fall of 2016. “Eighty to 90 per cent of the fishermen who were fishing that cod support FISH-NL, and it’s the FFAW getting back at us.” click here to read the press release 10:48

Fishermen’s union wants draggers out of vulnerable south coast cod fishery

The union representing the province’s fish harvesters is calling for the Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to close the south coast cod fishery to offshore vessels. Keith Sullivan, president of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW) union, said the cod stock in the 3PS fishing area along Newfoundland’s south coast is too fragile to handle the pressure.,,, On Friday, DFO issued a notice that the fishery was closing to inshore fishermen on Nov. 15. Another notice announced the fishery was opening Nov. 11 to offshore vessels. The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador is also against the decision to allow offshore fishing in the 3PS zone. click here to read the story 13:23

FISH-NL and FFAW still at odds over harvester numbers

There is still no official list, no final count of Newfoundland and Labrador inshore fish harvesters for the purposes of determining if there will be a vote on a breakaway union. Leaders with the Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) and the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW-Unifor) union have disputed who has a better total count on harvesters — one truly representative of inshore industry participation. The numbers being floated are very different, by thousands of individuals. click here to read the story 10:37

Port Saunders fisherman defiant over remarks he made about the FFAW

Despite threats of a lawsuit and a demand for an apology, fish harvester Conway Caines remains defiant in his criticism of FFAW-Unifor. In September, Caines made harsh remarks on VOCM’s “Open Line” program, alleging that the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW) union is an unlawful enterprise. His accusations of backdoor dealings stem from the 2016 Supreme Court decision in favour of scallop harvesters over the FFAW. The harvesters had sought compensation from the FFAW due to the loss of fishing grounds along the Strait of Belle Isle. click here to read the story 13:12

FFAW-Unifor legal action – threatening to sue its own members who speak out against it. 

Well-known Port Saunders fisherman Conway Caines received a registered letter today from the FFAW demanding a retraction/apology for statements he made on VOCM’s Open Line in mid-September. Caines’ comments were critical of the FFAW over the 2016 scallop decision in which the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador ruled in favour of scallop fishermen who took on the union over a compensation fund for lost fishing grounds in the Strait of Belle Isle. Copies of the registered letter are attached. click here 17:14

Fisherman passing on enterprise to his son, but with an uncertain future

For the Dobbins, fishing is the family business, and Fintan Dobbin and his son Robert have been a team for years. While Fintan is preparing to retire from the industry and sell off his over 40-fleet to Robert, he has doubt if there is much of a business he’s leaving behind for his son. “I’m about to sign it over to him now, but I don’t know what he’ll do with it,” Fintan said. This uncertainty was not always the story. There was a time when the Dobbin’s enterprise was a successful operation, largely due to the fishing of halibut in the 4R region. “We made our living at the halibut, we put our lifetime into it,” Fintan said. “Until they took it all away from us.” click here to read the story 22:57

From faithful to faith lost – Northern Peninsula fishermen weigh in on union debate

As issues abound within a particularly turbulent fishery this summer, the union debate among Newfoundland and Labrador harvesters still seems uncertain as ever. Since they came on the scene, the Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) has been stirring up a call for a labour board vote on whether the long-standing Fish, Foods and Allied Workers union (FFAW) still deserves to represent the province’s fishers. Maxwell Sexton has spent five decades fishing the waters of the Northern Peninsula. While he knows the common complaints, he says he’s never had any personal issues with the FFAW. But Dan Reardon of Goose Cove, a fisherman who retired just this year, says he’s had a rough history with the FFAW and is completely fed up with the union. click here to read the story 14:00

FFAW — Frigging fishermen and Alienating Workers

Good morning NL, all ships at sea, and inshore fish harvesters far and wide. Just so you know, the FFAW-Unifor’s sole right as your union is to negotiate the price of fish, and administer the collective agreement. That’s it. Period. End of FFAW story.  When it comes to negotiating fish quotas with Ottawa or compensation packages with Nalcor, the FFAW-Unifor needs your permission. Case in point, the recent Supreme Court of NL case that found the FFAW-Unifor deceived scallop fishermen in the Strait of Belle Isle. click here to read the story 14:05

FFAW admits error in handling Calvin Tobin death benefit

The Fish, Food and Allied Workers union has admitted it made a mistake in relaying false information to the family of a dead fisherman. The union was too quick to say Calvin Tobin’s family did not qualify for his death benefit, when in fact they may qualify for the entire $30,000, said FFAW project manager Robert Keenan. “We did communicate the wrong information to the family and we’ve been heartbroken by that,” Keenan told the Central Morning Show. “We should be there to be the pillar of support they need and not to cause any further complications.” click here to read the story 08:45

FFAW owes apology to family of dead fisherman for telling them they don’t qualify for death benefits when they do

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) says the FFAW-Unifor owes an apology to the family of a young fisherman who died tragically earlier this month for telling them they didn’t qualify for $30,000 in death benefits when they, in fact, qualify for at least half. Further, the question must be raised whether other families may have been denied death benefits based on misinformation from the union.,,, Calvin (Bud) Tobin, a 25-year-old fisherman from Southern Harbour, died Aug. 2nd in a car accident near Clarenville. Soon after, the family contacted the FFAW-Unifor about the union-administered $30,000 insurance policy, only to be told they didn’t qualify. click here to read the press release 16:05

Calvin Tobin’s family should get $15K from Sun Life, says FFAW didn’t know insurance plan – click here to read the story

A day late, $30,000 short: Union blames insurer for denying death benefit to fisherman’s family

Keith Sullivan wants to make one thing clear — it was never his union’s decision to prevent a dead fisherman’s family from receiving benefits. Denying Calvin Tobin’s death benefit was a decision made by the union’s insurance provider, says the president of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers union.,, Tobin, 25, died after a car accident near his hometown of Southern Harbour on Aug. 1. His insurance coverage was terminated the same day, when he failed to pay his union fees by the 11:59 p.m. deadline on July 31.,, At the time of his death, Tobin owed $180 in fees from 2016, Carol Ann Brewer said. But she can’t figure out why the money owed wasn’t taken out of his first paycheque of the current fishing season. click here to read the story 08:45

Family of dead fisherman allegedly denied $30K benefit over owing dues to FFAW

The family of a fisherman who was killed in a car crash last week says they are being denied a $30,000 benefit because his union card expired the day before he died. Calvin Tobin was just 25 when he died in the crash near Clarenville on Aug. 1. Now his family is fighting to collect his life insurance policy, which they say is being held up by the Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union (FFAW). Tobin was 24 hours overdue on union fees when doctors were trying to save his life. “For the sake of one day really … they are refusing to pay out his benefits,” said Richard Brewer, Tobin’s uncle.,,, Tobin may have believed his union fees were already covered, his uncle said. click here to read the story 13:42

FFAW proposes buyout for 3Ps fishers

Last October, the union submitted a proposal to the provincial and federal governments for funding to retire fishing licenses in that region. According to briefing documents for the provincial fisheries minister, the FFAW proposal submitted Oct. 18 in 2016 said the overall program target is to retire 110 enterprises, 90 percent of which will be under 40 ft. enterprises. The cost estimated, and budget proposed by FFAW, for the program would be just over $13 million. click here to read the story 09:04