Tag Archives: Keith Sullivan

“DFO operates in denial of Reality”- Scientist says seal predation not having a significant impact on spawning cod stocks 

Instead, Karen Dwyer, weighing in on the contentious debate over the health of cod stocks, said Thursday that environmental factors and a limited supply of the cod’s primary food source — capelin — are more to blame.,, Trinity Bay fisherman Keith Smith said DFO continues to downplay the impact of seal predation on cod. “It’s like DFO operate in denial of reality,” Smith said. “Fishing mortality is at an all-time low while natural mortality, likely led by the growing seal population that consumes vast amounts of both capelin and cod, remains high,”,,, >click to read<  11:04

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

DFO has a new plan for northern cod stocks. It doesn’t include more fishing

The rebuilding plan, made public with little fanfare on Dec. 21 after years in development, outlines the Department of Fisheries and Ocean’s objectives to boost fish numbers and the management techniques it intends to use to measure any progress starting in 2021. Northern cod numbers have ticked upwards since the 1992 moratorium brought harvesting and processing to a screeching halt. A small stewardship fishery now exists, with 1,865 licence holders allotted a maximum harvest of around 12,000 tonnes of cod in 2020. But 28 years later, stocks remain well below pre-moratorium levels, and in DFO terminology, remain squarely in a “critical zone.” >click to read< 11:15

Inadequate Assessment by DFO Leaves Harvesters with Rollover for 2020 Cod Catch Limits

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) announced the management plan for northern cod yesterday evening, revealing a rollover in the total allowable catch from last year. The rollover is a result of an inadequate assessment that failed to take into account important data as well as harvester observations – the result of which will have dire impacts on an already suffering inshore fishery. “ A rollover for this year’s quota is completely unacceptable and must be reconsidered by DFO before the season opens,” says Keith Sullivan, FFAW-Unifor President.>click to read< 13:29

DFO‘s Lack of a Full Assessment Leads to a Roll-over in the Allowable Harvest of the Stewardship Cod Fishery for 2020 – The Newfoundland and Labrador Groundfish Industry Development Council (NL-GIDC) believes that the rollover in the allowable harvest for the 2J3KL Cod Stewardship fishery is somewhat disappointing but not surprising. >click to read<

2020 shrimp price disagreement for NL fish harvesters goes to arbitration

There’s 58 cents worth of disagreement over shrimp prices between the union that represents fish harvesters and the organization that represents processors in Newfoundland and Labrador. According to the union, the Association of Seafood Processors (ASP) proposed 70 cents per pound while the FFAW proposed $1.18. The matter is now before the Standing Fish Price Setting Panel, which met today in St. John’s to hear the proposals from both sides.,, The union also said, “This is a challenging year for shrimp, as the market is lower than it was last year.” However, the union also said the 70 cent offer from the ASP “is a price that cannot be justified by any rational assessment of the market.” >click to read< 16:07

Coronavirus: Atlantic Canada’s fishing industry calls on feds for help

Crab and lobster fisheries throughout Atlantic Canada have faced delayed season openings due to fears about the coronavirus spreading in small communities and close working conditions. A significant drop in prices due to a collapse in retail and restaurant markets in the United States, Japan and China, major export markets for Canada’s seafood, overshadow the start of the season for many. Responding to a question during Tuesday’s virtual House of Commons meeting, Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan said support for the industry would be announced in the coming days, but by Thursday no additional details were available. >click to read< 09:09

Cod Cannibalism: With natural prey like capelin and shrimp in decline, cod are eating their young

Stalled. That’s how research scientist Karen Dwyer of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans describes the northern cod stock following this year’s assessment. Ecosystem conditions appear to be the main factor, said Dwyer — especially low stocks of capelin and shrimp. “Both of those prey are very important in driving the population dynamics for cod,” she said. While there’s been an increase in different types of zooplankton, Dwyer said, there’s been a decrease in fatty zooplankton. “There used to be large numbers of large fatty zooplankton, full of fat, which are really good for young fish to eat, young fish such as capelin or even young cod,” she said. “Over time they’ve seen a decline in these large fatty zooplankton.” >click to read< 07:18

Coronavirus: Fishermen block out-of-province crab shipments heading for N.L. fish plants

It’s the latest development in an argument with the Association for Seafood Producers over whether or not the fishery should be up and running during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Fish, Food and Allied Workers union (FFAW) says its members do not want to go to work on boats or in plants until their safety is assured. “Fish harvesters are mobilizing around the province to block out-of-province crab from landing in Newfoundland and Labrador for processing,” said a statement sent by the FFAW on Sunday night. “Harvesters and plant workers are calling on the provincial government to step in and for companies to respect N.L. workers.” >click to read< 07:40

Trudeau pledges $62.5M for fish and seafood sector amid mounting food supply concerns

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced $62.5 million for Canada’s fish and seafood sector amid mounting concerns over the state of the country’s food supply.,, Keith Sullivan, president of Fish, Food and Allied Workers, a trade union representing 15,000 workers in Newfoundland and Labrador, called the financial relief “encouraging”. “Harvesters from all of Atlantic Canada right across to B.C. have been looking for some relief since the pandemic began,” Sullivan.,, Federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan said in a Saturday news conference that help for harvesters is on its way. >click to read< 14:00

Coronavirus: FFAW calling for delay of crab fishery, NL-FHSA released 12 control measures to prevent spread of virus on fishing vessels

The FFAW’s crab committee chairs met Sunday and voted to delay the fishery opening again. President Keith Sullivan said the recommendation will be sent to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, who holds the authority to open or delay the fishery. “We have to be able to ensure that we have a safe fishery for everyone involved,” Still, Sullivan said harvesters aren’t ready to call off the 2020 crab fishing season, which employs thousands and is worth more than $300 million, including export value and spin offs.,, Meanwhile, The Fish Harvesting Safety Association (NL-FHSA) has released 12 control measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on fishing vessels, if fisheries open later this spring. >click to read< 18:14

Northern cod growth off NL stalled, latest science indicates

Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) on Friday released it’s latest stock status assessment information on northern cod. “We continue to be concerned about the status of the northern cod stock, which remains in the critical zone,” a technical briefing document states. “Survey indices suggest that recently observed stock growth (2012-2016) may have stalled. Ecosystem conditions indicated limited productivity and reduced food availability may be limiting growth of cod. “The precautionary approach requires that removals be kept at lowest possible levels.” >click to read< Does the precautionary approach include a plan for a major extraction of marine mammals? Asking for a friend. 11:32

Fisheries union presents giant novelty cheque for $1 billion to C-NLOPB

Days before a C-NLOPB call for bids closes, Newfoundland and Labrador’s largest fisheries union made what president Keith Sullivan called a “last-ditch effort” to stop the process.  Sullivan, who leads the Fish Food and Allied Workers, presented an oversized cheque for $1 billion Monday morning at the headquarters of the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board, made out to the board.  >click to read< 13:38

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. >click to read<

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

“we’ll go out with our vessels and we’ll get in the way”, FFAW vows to stop oil and gas exploration in crab fishing area

Newfoundland and Labrador’s largest fishermen’s union says oil companies shouldn’t be able to explore in some of the province’s most productive crab fishing areas — and members will stop them if necessary. Last week the C-NLOPB issued a call for nominations, asking oil companies which areas they’d be interested in bidding on. “We are not going to stand by and let someone take our livelihood,” said Fish Food and Allied Workers executive board member Nelson Bussey, who has fished for 43 years, on Thursday. “We’ve put too much into this. It’s our life, it’s our industry and we’re not going to stand by. If we’ve got to do it, we’ll go out with our vessels and we’ll get in the way.” >click to read<  20:36

Following seal predation report, FFAW calls for government action

FFAW-Unifor accuses the Department of Fisheries and Oceans of remaining “complacent while evidence mounts that an overpopulation of seals is having a serious impact on important fish species.” A study conducted by DFO shows that a lack of cod recovery in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence may be caused by predation by grey seals, and could account for up to 50 per cent of natural cod mortality. This is limiting the cod stock’s recovery, DFO said. An assessment predicts a 32 per cent drop in cod numbers over the next four years. >click to read<  10:03

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

Crab pricing commentary a ‘confused and conspiratorial mess’

This letter is in response to that of Derek Butler, published on June 13 (“GUEST COLUMN: FFAW wants things their way on pricing, not ‘transparency.’”) The issue he attempts to address is very important, however, his argument is a confused and conspiratorial mess and delivered in a tone that would make any merchant smile in his grave. It is telling that Butler felt the need to mention the circumstances surrounding how fish harvester collective bargaining rights were enshrined in legislation. The Fishing Industry Collective Bargaining Act exists to protect the collective bargaining rights of harvesters,,, By Keith Sullivan >Click to read<11:22

Harvesters Call for Better Consultation as Grieg Aquaculture Plans Expansion to Additional Sites

Fish harvesters are concerned about plans by Grieg Aquaculture to establish three additional sites east of Marasheen Island in Placentia Bay. The FFAW-Unifor is calling on the provincial government not to move forward with any project approval until they have pursued a proper consultation process with harvesters as the project may put their livelihoods at risk.  Placentia Bay is a high-traffic area with the highest concentration of small fishing vessels during peak fishing times. Union president Keith Sullivan says previous consultations on the overall project have been insufficient, and information on site locations has been inconsistent. >click to read<12:30

UPDATED: Labour relations board dismisses FISH-NL certification application

The Labour Relations Board on Friday dismissed FISH-NL’s certification application. Federation of Independent Seafood Harvesters (FISH-NL) president Ryan Cleary said he’s “absolutely shocked” by the decision. In a news release, FFAW-Unifor wrote they are “pleased” with the decision by the board, which “confirmed FFAW-Unifor’s longstanding assertion that there are nearly 10,000 inshore fish harvesters in our province, which clearly shows that FISH-NL did not have adequate support to warrant a vote.” Both FISH-NL and FFAW-Unifor appear to agree on one point – that the process over the past couple of years has resulted in unrest within the inshore fishery. >click to read<08:08

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

Hope fading for recovery of northern cod off Newfoundland: ‘This stock isn’t growing’

Hopes have been dashed for a recovery of the once mighty northern cod stock off Newfoundland, a leading conservation group says. Three years after scientists confirmed there were signs of a comeback and catch limits were increased, the federal government decided this week to reduce the limit. Ottawa cited a spring stock assessment that found the cod population had declined 30 per cent after seven years of rebuilding. >click to read<09:55

Disappointed by cut to cod quota, FFAW president says stocks can handle larger harvest

The president of Newfoundland and Labrador’s largest fishermen’s union says the province’s cod stocks can handle a greater harvest and didn’t need to see this year’s commercial quota cut. Keith Sullivan of the Fish, Food & Allied Workers’ Union told CBC Radio’s The Broadcast that the 25 per cent cut to this year’s quota will hurt Newfoundland and Labrador communities that are heavily reliant on the fishery. “It doesn’t really take into consideration the livelihoods what people depend on the fishery, whether you’re a fish harvester or you work in a plant or the entire economy of coastal communities,” said Sullivan. >click to read<20:13

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

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

‘Protected’ marine area open to oil, gas exploration

Newfoundland and Labrador’s offshore oil and gas regulator is taking bids for exploration off the island’s east coast, in an area the federal government recently listed as a marine-protected area. While the area is closed to fishing, it remains open to the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) — and that’s not sitting well with the president of the fisheries union. “We cannot ask fish harvesters to accept the closure of an area to fishing activity in the name of conservation while continuing to allow oil and gas exploration in that same area,” said Fish, Food and Allied Workers president Keith Sullivan in a news release.>click to read<13:39

Northern cod an icon for fisheries mismanagement

I wish to respond to the March 31 letter to the editor (“Northern cod numbers no reason to panic: FFAW”) by Keith Sullivan, President of the FFAW-Unifor. Sullivan is correct — the latest scientific information on the health of the Northern Cod stock isn’t reason to “panic.” Indeed, the news from DFO science of a 30 per cent decline in the iconic resource that was already deep in the “critical” zone is reason for inshore harvesters to riot in the streets, or, at the very least, burn the few union cards left. The news is also reason to demand an independent investigation of the management practices of the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) in the Newfoundland and Labrador region. >click to read<10:13

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

Key northern shrimp stock off N.L. down again

Details of the latest northern shrimp stock assessment were released Friday with key Shrimp Fishing Area (SFA) 6 off the province’s northeast coast looking pretty grim. Fishable biomass is down 16 per cent and spawning stock biomass is down 19 per cent in SFA 6, thus leaving shrimp in that area in the critical zone of the precautionary approach framework employed by Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) science. That will likely translate into another drop in the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for the area,,, >click to read< 16:34