Tag Archives: Newfoundland and Labrador

SEA-NL recommends electronic auction pilot project for 2023 fishing season

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador recommends the introduction of an electronic auction pilot project for the 2023 fishing season to address the industry chaos of recent months and help achieve fair market share for the inshore fleet. “This province is the only jurisdiction I know of outside of China or North Korea where electronic auctions and other free-market systems are not used to set the price of fish,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director. “That alone tells you there’s a problem.” SEA-NL recommended an electronic auction pilot project in its recent submission to a review of the province’s legislated system of fish pricing.  >click to read< 09:16

Provincial Government Condemns Addition of Snow Crab and Lobster to Seafood Watch ‘Avoid’ List

The Provincial Government has said a decision by the organization Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch that adds snow crab and lobster harvested in Newfoundland and Labrador to the group’s “avoid’ list is unwarranted and irresponsible. The US-based organization recently released an updated seafood rating that placed North American lobster and Canadian snow crab in the ’avoid’ category. Some retailers and consumers in North America and worldwide use these rankings to help make seafood buying decisions. The listing is based on the potential impact for North Atlantic Right Whales to become entangled in fishing gear. >click to read< 10:01

East Coast lobster harvest sustainable, according to non-profit’s criteria — but a Seafood Watch report advises consumers to avoid it

A recent report by a California-based seafood assessment group has the East Coast lobster industry seeing red. While Seafood Watch has put lobster on its “red list” and recommend consumers avoid it, lobster fisheries in most areas of Atlantic Canada have been certified sustainable by another group that has significant credentials in the business of seafood accreditation. In existence for about 25 years, the Marine Stewardship Council is a global non-profit organization that works to end overfishing around the world. Catherine Pigeon-Dubeau, fisheries and commercial manager for MSC in Eastern Canada, said the last review of the East Coast lobster fishery was in July of this year, and the Blue Label certification remains in place. >click to read< 14:10

FFAW Responds to Seafood Watch “Avoid” Placement of Snow Crab, Norther American Lobster

The FFAW is responding to the US-based Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch which has placed North American lobster and Canadian snow crab among seafood species to “avoid.” The reason is based on the potential impact of gear on the North Atlantic right whale which is prone to entanglements with surface gear. The Fisheries Union says the North Atlantic right whale is not commonly found in waters around Newfoundland and Labrador. According to the union, there have only been three sightings of North Atlantic right whales in waters around this province in the last number of years, and no reports of entanglements. >click to read< 07:59

Atlantic Canada snow crab sales slowed to a crawl in 2022 according to latest export data

In 2021 crab fishing crews landed just over 39,000 metric tonnes. With an average price of $7.36 per pound the landed value that season was $623 million. There were expectations that N.L. harvesters might land a billion dollars’ worth of crab in 2022, thanks to record high prices of $7.60 at the start of the season, and DFO’s decision to increase the overall quota by 32 percent. However, global financial uncertainty precipitated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the end of virus economic stimulus packages in the United States and rising interest rates, lead to consumers scratching high priced seafood from their grocery lists. Just over a month into the season snow crab prices plummeted. >click to read< 12:37

Take a look inside this Cartwright net mender’s workshop as he passes on the traditional craft

In a shed the size of a small apartment, Josh Burdett has a net strung up in the centre of the space. The former fisherman has the door open in hopes of a breeze but sweat still gathers on his brow as he works during a hot August afternoon. Burdett started learning how to mend nets from his father as soon as he was able to hold a needle. Now he’s sharing his knowledge with whoever comes in the door. The elder is holding workshops through NunatuKavut during the annual gathering in Cartwright, on Labrador’s south coast, and more are being planned for this fall. Photos, >click to read< 09:17

CLOSURE WITHOUT CAUSE: Unprecedented Levels of Mackerel Call into Question Minister’s Decision to Close Fishery

Fish harvesters throughout the province are reporting observations of unprecedented levels of mackerel, calling into question the decision by Minister Joyce Murray and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) to close the commercial fishery this year. Harvesters are once again asking Minster Murray to take urgent action to reconsider the decision and undertake new survey opportunities to better understand the true health of the mackerel stock. Harvesters throughout the province have been sending in their observations and photos of mackerel schools and unprecedented levels of bycatch during other fisheries. >click to read the rest< 15:03

Search and rescue services must top Ottawa’s Labrador agenda

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador, (SEA-NL) joins Indigenous leaders in expressing disappointment that search and rescue (SAR) services for Labrador are not Ottawa’s highest priority. “For as long as the entire Labrador coastline is void of a dedicated Canadian Coast Guard ship, and a dedicated Cormorant helicopter to carry out primary SAR missions, the issue must top all agendas,” says Merv Wiseman, a member of SEA-NL’s executive, and outspoken advocate for stronger SAR services. Labrador represents one of the largest geographical areas in Canada without a dedicated SAR air or maritime resource stationed in its region. >click to read< 13:57

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

Profit over people: Royal Greenland isn’t here to help Newfoundlanders

Jarding’s assertion that Royal Greenland truly wants product landed and processed in Newfoundland and Labrador has proven to be categorically false. The company, a Crown corporation of the country of Greenland, flatly refused to buy shrimp from NL harvesters at a fair price earlier this summer, telling harvesters if they wanted to fish, they must bring their product all the way to Quebec if they wanted a buyer. Why could the Royal Greenland plants in Quebec pay double the price for the same product? Why did Royal Greenland refuse to pay the same to NL harvesters? These are the key questions Mr. Jarding has conveniently sidestepped. >click to read< 11:45

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

Captain of Faroese longliner cited 6 times in under year for halibut fishing violations on Grand Banks

For the sixth time since September, 2021 the captain of a Faroe Islands longliner has been issued a “notice of infringement” for an illegal fishing violation on the tail of the Grand Banks just outside Canadian waters. The notices were issued by DFO Fishery Officers during six separate inspections, once at sea and the remainder when the ship unloaded halibut in Bay Roberts. The “notices of infringement” against the captain of the Bordoyarnes were issued on Sept. 3rd and 16th, 2021, as well as May 17th, May 23rd, June 2nd, and July 1st of this year. DFO only recently updated its website on the most recent four infringements. The notices were all categorized as “serious” as they relate to the misreporting of catches (the four this year involved failing to maintain a logbook; the two from 2021 related to not properly recording discards) while the longliner was fishing halibut in fishing zone 3N on the tail of the Banks. After each inspection the longliner was allowed to return to the fishing grounds. photos, >click to read< 15:22

Multi-million dollar capelin fishery is a bust for eastern Newfoundland

The Lone Wolf is lying idle at the wharf in Hickman’s Harbour, Trinity Bay. The only sound is the lap of water against hull, the occasional screech of sea gulls flying past, hunting for food. Earlier this year the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) set a quota of around 15,000 metric tonnes for fishing zones from the south coast (area 3Ps) to the North East coast (2J, 3K and 3L zones). Inshore licenses, like the one the Marshes have, grant them just 12,000 pounds of crab. “This year we landed $82,000 worth,” she said. And that’s not a whole lot of money to pay a crew and cover the expenses of running a boat. “Last year I could fuel up my boat for $800,” she noted. “This year it costs $1600.” Capelin could have added another $30-40,000 to their seasonal revenue, making it the second most important fishery for their enterprise. But they’re not fishing it. Why not? It’s complicated. >click to read< 11:05

We’re not going anywhere — FFAW

According to Mr. Butler, fish harvesters in Newfoundland and Labrador are living like kings and queens while the poor processing companies struggle to balance the books. It’s a tale that’s been spun by Butler and his cronies with the Association of Seafood Producers since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ah yes, Derek Butler, champion of corporate profits, knows much about the rich shrimp harvesters of the Northern Peninsula (who, by the way, have no access to crab). They haven’t been able to sell their shrimp for enough to make ends meet, while the same companies buy the exact same product for over 50 per cent more at their facilities in Quebec. >click to read< 07:44

Labour Minister Bernard Davis to launch review of N.L.’s price-setting system

The review follows weeks of bickering, including several harvester-led protests in recent days on the Northern Peninsula between harvesters and processors over a stalemate in the shrimp fishery that has delayed the harvest. It also comes on the heels of a decision by the provincial government to provide mediation services between the Fish, Food & Allied Workers union and the Association of Seafood Producers in hopes of resolving friction in the shrimp fishery. “It is incumbent on me, as minister responsible for labour, to ensure that we have legislation that is responsive to the needs of the industry,” said Davis in the release. Also in the release, Fisheries Minister Derrick Bragg said an efficient and effective price-setting system is “key to ensuring fisheries commence in a timely manner for the maximum benefit of the province’s fishing industry.” >click to read< 10:26

Ocean Choice to Purchase Shrimp at Competitive Price – Ocean Choice’s processing facility in Port aux Choix will be purchasing shrimp at a rate above the minimum price set by the Standing Fish Price-Setting Panel. >click to read<

Why are NL fishers going out of province to land their catch?

Although Port au Choix has a growing tourism industry, the fish plant is still the focal point of the harbour and it depends significantly on the fishers and their fishing boats to keep it going. The arrival of the summer shrimp fishery would usually mean this port would be buzzing with activity,,, But today, the usual thrum at the wharf is replaced with a murmur, as participants get ready to take the mic. Together, they’re rebuffing this year’s minimum price offered to fishers landing their shrimp at this plant, operated by Ocean Choice International L.P. “I was one of the first ones to land shrimp to this plant,” says long-time Flowers Cove fisher, Ren Genge, stepping up to speak. “I see people here, who were the first to shell that shrimp by hand. I’ve been here for 55 years fishing shrimp, and I’m not about to let three companies take me out of business.” Video,  >click to read< 07:46

Trudeau launches expanded oceans protection plan, with aim to reach more regions

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced new details about the federal government’s $3.5-billion plan to protect the oceans and boost coast guard facilities on the world’s longest national coastline. In its most recent budget, the government pledged to add $2 billion over nine years to the $1.5 billion already set aside for ocean protection. Speaking at a news conference on Bowen Island, B.C., Trudeau said the government had now launched an extended version of the Oceans Protection Plan. Initiatives already funded by the program include the opening of six coast guard stations in British Columbia and Newfoundland and Labrador, establishing an Indigenous-led coast guard auxiliary in B.C., the restoration of coastal aquatic habitats, and the removal and disposal of hundreds of abandoned boats. >click to read< 15:56

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

Fisheries report brings hope to Indigenous communities, sparks anger in industry

“I was pleasantly surprised, to be honest,” said Rosalie Francis, a member of the Sipekne’katik First Nation in Nova Scotia. But elsewhere in the province, the surprise has been significantly less pleasant. There are concerns the report titled “Peace on the Water” is instead stoking anger in communities where lobster is a livelihood. Representatives of the commercial fishing industry say they’re frustrated they weren’t invited to speak to the Senate as it drafted the report on Indigenous rights. It’s “throwing fuel on a fire” in an area where tensions have remained high since 2020, said Colin Sproul, president of the Unified Fisheries Conservation Alliance, which has about 1,900 members. >click to read< 12:09

I was a kid when the moratorium started. As a union leader, I’m still fighting for change

Three decades have come and gone since the cod moratorium in Newfoundland and Labrador was announced on that fateful day in 1992. I was just 12 years old growing up in Calvert at the time, and the cod fishery was the heart and soul of the Southern Shore from Trepassey to Bay Bulls, just like the communities so many of you called home. My family remained in the fishery after the moratorium, but many others did not. More than 30,000 people lost their livelihoods that day and the landscape of our province was forever changed. By Keith Sullivan >click to read< 13:57

The fishery is worth more than ever. If the fisheries were meant to save rural N.L., what gives?

It’s 2022. It’s hard to believe, for a number of reasons. Time is flying by, and things inevitably change. But for the cod fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador, and in too many ways for the fishery generally, “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose,” or, the more things change, they more they stay the same. We are 30 years out from the initial groundfish moratorium of July 1992. As we reflect, there are reasons to be grateful. By Derek Butler >click to read< 07:42

Fraud, breach of trust charges dropped against former Baffin Fisheries Coalition CEO

Garth Reid, 52, was charged in March 2021 with fraud over $5,000 and criminal breach of trust, stemming from his time as the company’s leader between October 2016 and April 2017. In the fall of 2017, Baffin Fisheries terminated Reid and sued him in civil court for $1.4 million, alleging that he built on his private property in Winterton, N.L. and billed the company for the work. In a statement of defence, Reid denied the allegations against him and said if any payments were made by Baffin Fisheries for his own property, he didn’t know about it and they were done out of negligence by the company. He counter sued for $20 million over breach of contract and defamation. >click to read< 09:35

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

New Report Shows Canadian Government Has Failed Indigenous Fishers

The Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans had harsh words for the Canadian federal government. At a meeting this week in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the committee presented its new report, which looked at the implementation of Indigenous rights-based fisheries. Its findings suggest that, despite more than two decades since key precedents were set, the fisheries have not been fully implemented. This has led, the committee stated, to confusion, tension and violence. In Canada’s Atlantic provinces (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador), as well as parts of Quebec, 35 First Nations have a treaty right to fish for a moderate livelihood.  >click to read< 14:50

30 years after the moratorium, what have we really learned about cod and science?

“Although the industry has many problems, a shortage of fish is not one of them,” confidently pronounced the 1982 report of the Task Force on Atlantic Fisheries, which is commonly called the Kirby report. But a shortage of fish, as we now know, would become an insurmountable problem a decade later —so much so that on July 2, 1992, the federal government shuttered the commercial Northern cod fishery, once Canada’s largest fishery. So where have these vast learnings taken us 25 to 30 years on? Fisheries management remains highly dependent on modelling. >click to read< 17:28

Whitbourne cod fisher hoping for another big one after monster catch on last trip

Hilda Whalen says she finally feels good enough to get back on the water after a battle with cancer and hopes she can replicate her last catch. Whalen caught a 30-kilogram, (66lb.) six-foot cod in Trinity Bay during her last fishing trip in 2018. “At the time I didn’t think it was a big thing. A friend of mine was holding up a cod fish, and I just whacked off the picture to him saying ‘Try to hold this one up with one hand!” “Someone else said, ‘did you ever think of throwing it back?’ … I said no. What Newfie would throw that back in the water after the cod moratorium?” >click to read< 17:45

NLGIDC concerned with the recent announcement regarding Northern Gulf Cod

Similar to many NL fishing industry associations and the Province of NL, The Newfoundland and Labrador Groundfish Industry Development Council (NLGIDC) is also concerned with federal Fisheries Minister Joyce Murry’s decision to place a one-year moratorium in the Northern Gulf Cod stock. “This was a small fishery, however the total closure will have negative impacts on harvesters and processors as well as coastal communities on the west coast of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Lower North Shore of Quebec,” says Jim Baird, the Chair Person of the NLGIDC. >click to continue< 15:29

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

1-year commercial cod moratorium ordered for northern Gulf of St. Lawrence

Two days after the 30th anniversary of the 1992 cod moratorium that decimated the Newfoundland and Labrador economy, Ottawa has closed commercial cod fishing in the northern Gulf of St. Lawrence. On Monday, Fisheries and Oceans Minister Joyce Murray announced a one-year ban on directed commercial fishing in the northern Gulf of St. Lawrence in order to give young fish time to reach maturity. >click to read<

Rebuilding the Cod Fishery in Northern Gulf of St. Lawrence – “This is a tough decision; I recognize this commercial closure will pose economic challenges for many harvesters and comes at a hard time for people in Newfoundland and Labrador and Quebec. >click to read<

 FFAW-Unifor Disappointed with Minister Decision to Close Gulf Cod – Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union is deeply disappointed with Minister Joyce Murray’s decision to close the cod fishery in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The small cod fishery is economically and culturally significant to the region, and science has shown that natural mortality is the key unaddressed factor in the stock’s ability to grow. >click to read< 12:11

30 years after N.L. cod moratorium – the wins are few and losses are many

John Williams wishes he could say the cod moratorium of 1992 feels like it was yesterday. But after losing his livelihood and reinventing himself a few times over, he’s felt every one of the past 30 years. Williams was one of about 30,000 people put out of work when the federal government brought an end to the northern cod fishery on July 2, 1992. It’s a date that still stirs up feelings from a solemn and desperate chapter in Newfoundland and Labrador’s history. “It was a pretty sad time to know that you weren’t going to go fishing anymore,” Williams said. “At the time I had three kids, and they had to be fed, go to school, and be clothed. It was tough.” It doesn’t help Williams that he’s constantly reminded of his small role in history — being the person who prompted former Fisheries Minister John Crosbie to utter some of his most famous words. Video, photos, >click to read< 08:38

Today Marks 30th Anniversary of Cod MoratoriumGus Etchegary spent his working life in the fishery and has been an outspoken advocate for the industry. He believes a big contributing factor keeping stocks low is seal predation, which wasn’t a problem when stocks were healthy. He says when the resource was huge there was little impact because replacement levels overcame any pressure put on the stocks by seal predation. >click to read< 09:40