Tag Archives: Newfoundland and Labrador

‘I can’t imagine being anywhere else’: The call of the ocean came naturally for six-year-old Petty Harbour fisherman

In the heart of the vast ocean, just off the shores of Petty Harbour, where the sun danced on the water’s surface, and the salty breeze kissed the cheeks of those who dared to venture, there came a moment that would forever be etched in the memory of six-year-old fisherman Austen Chafe. As the boat gently glided on the waves, an unexpected visitor emerged from the depths — a majestic tuna, gleaming with power and grace. In a split second, the world changed, as the tuna leaped and bestowed upon Austen a gift of seawater, laughter and an enduring love for the sea. “When that tuna splashed on me,” Austen said, his eyes sparkling with the memory, “I felt like the luckiest kid in the world. It’s moments like these that make me love the ocean even more. There’s something magical about being out here, and I can’t imagine being anywhere else.” Born into a family of fishermen, the call of the ocean was as natural as the rhythm of the tides for young Austen. Photos, >>click to read<< 09:34

Crab plant workers have punched their time in spades this season, and are being called heroes

Workers at seafood processing plants in Newfoundland have been working all summer long in an effort to make sure snow crab quotas for the shortened 2023 season are met, and they say they’re ready for a break. “This season has been one of the hardest seasons that we have worked here, because we had to do a lot of crab in a short period of time,” Louise Power, a floor supervisor at the Quinlan Brothers Ltd. plant in Bay de Verde, told CBC News Tuesday. She worked at the plant for 46 years, and has had four days off since May. “We all got through it, and made the season work,” she said. “Right now, [I’m] happy as a lark.” >>click to read<< 11:50

DFO investigates fishing licences for outside control

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) encourages inshore owner-operators who have lost control of their commercial licences or fishing enterprise to contact Fisheries and Oceans, which is actively investigating several cases. “If you are not in control of your boat or licences then contact DFO and have it looked into and made right,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director. “By law, licensed inshore harvesters must be independent — solely in control of their enterprises, licences, and catches — and if you are not then SEA-NL encourages you to take control.” >>click to read<< 08:45

The Ties that Bind

Nancy Bowers’ mother fished in the 1980s when it was uncommon for women to be out in boat. Since then, Bowers says, the fishing industry has come a long way. “[If] my mom was alive today and saw all these women that’s actually fishing, she would be mind boggled.” Bowers herself is one of these women. Fisherwomen might be few in number, but they have a strong community. Bowers says what started as a couple of women wanting to stay connected became a group of over 100 fishers. They meet virtually once a month and once in person after the fishing season. Lillian Saul fished in Alaska before moving to Newfoundland. She says she was surprised by how few women fish in the province. “In Alaska there’s tons of women, not only just on boats but also running boats and a lot of different types of fisheries.” Photos, >click to read< 10:40

Shortage of workers and housing causing perfect storm of problems at Makkovik fish plant

The operator of Makkovik’s fish plant says a shortage of workers, and a shortage of places for workers to live, has left the plant unable process crab as normal this season. Keith Watts, general manager of the Torngat Fish Producers Co-op, which operates plants in Makkovik and Nain, says operations in Nain went smoothly this season but work in Makkovik has been limited due to a lack of workers. Watts said the community has an aging workforce and the plant’s remote northern location limits the number of workers it’s able to attract. He’d like to be able to attract temporary foreign workers to work at the plant, he said, but he knows there would be nowhere for them to live. Barry Andersen, Makkovik’s AngajukKak, or mayor, said he knows housing is a real concern in the region, especially when it comes to rentals and other spaces available for booking, like hotels.  >click to read< 09:55


The Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union (FFAW) has received reports confirming the presence of healthy cod populations near our shores. The union has been advocating for an increase in the total allowable catch for several years, but their efforts have been largely unsuccessful. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) takes a cautious approach when determining quotas, despite the fact that the pressure on the cod stock from harvesting activities is minimal. FFAW Secretary Treasurer, Jason Spingle, is urging the Canadian government to conduct a thorough stock survey to obtain more comprehensive scientific data. >click to read< 10:22

Fish plants are busy with crab, so here’s how harvesters are selling their catch of cod and are getting creative to sell it

“We’re down here today filleting our fish because we have nowhere to sell our fish,” said fisherman Wade King. “None of the fish plants were buying, so we got a restaurant in Mount Pearl [buying], King Cod.” Snow crab harvesters kept their boats tied up at the beginning of the fishing season in April to protest the price set for their catch. After a six-week delay, the fishery began at the same price that had been set to start the season. But the delay means plants are still busy processing crab when they’d normally be processing cod. King said he’s still without a buyer three weeks into the cod fishery, which is something he’s never seen before. >click to read< 13:14

Crab chaos leads to cod condundrum for Newfoundland and Labrador fishing industry

Chris Button, a fish harvester from Old Perlican, was one those trying to sell his catch at the wharf last week. The problem for Button and the others is that since the cod fishery opened on July 23, catches have been good but not every processing company is buying. Some of them are still busy with capelin and crab. They can’t accommodate cod just yet. Even if some processors are buying, many have a limit on how much they will buy per week from each licence holder. While the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) allows a licence holder to land 3200 pounds of cod each week, many processors are buying only 2,000 pounds a week per licence. That’s frustrating for Button, and others, who have been seeing good catch rates in their cod nets. >click to read< 09:05

Too Many Seals – Canada’s Pinniped Population Problem

Seals in Atlantic Canada eat a lot of fish every day and there is a great deal of them, coming in at nearly 12 million animals. Their voracious appetite, according to experts, is damaging both the commercial fishery and fish stocks. Bob Hardy has spent a good portion of his life dealing with seals in one way or another. Growing up in Battle Harbour, Labrador, Hardy spent some time taking part in the inshore cod and salmon fisheries. After graduating from university, he spent nine years as a researcher before entering the seafood industry wherein he developed the first seal oil capsule that was commercially available in Newfoundland and Labrador. In 2007, he founded Hardy Fish Co., a fisheries consultancy company, where he took part in projects that researched seal oil, meat and by-product utilization. He has also spent time as a member of the Atlantic Seal Science Task Team. Hardy has since drafted a document entitled, Seals Eat Fish, highlighting the impact the large seal population has on fish stocks and the fishery itself. >click to read< 18:56

Fisheries’ union president blasts N.L.’s oil regulator over encroachment on crab harvesters’ turf

At this moment, ExxonMobil’s Hercules rig is drilling about 350 kilometres east of St. John’s, in the Jeanne D’Arc Basin, as part of its oil exploration program but it has pushed crab harvesters out of an area where their catch is abundant, and the union is calling foul. It could be a sign of future friction, warns Fish, Food & Allied Workers-Unifor president Greg Pretty, who is blasting the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board over what he calls a lack of communication and a disregard for the fishing industry. “We were actually shocked to find out that that rig, the Hercules — the drill rig — was actually on one of the most productive crab grounds in that area,” Pretty said Thursday. >click to read< 15:56

N.L. fishing companies in tug of war over towing bill

The dispute between Ocean Choice International and Newfound Resources has now reached the Federal Court, with one vessel being arrested by sheriffs last week, and both sides accusing the other of wrongdoing. Newfound has gone to court, trying to recover the nearly $270,000 plus HST it says it is owed by Ocean Choice, while Ocean Choice has paid $200,000 to Newfound, and is refusing to hand over any more cash, saying the bill is excessive. It all started Jan. 30, while the Newfoundland Lynx was harvesting shrimp for Ocean Choice in the Hopedale Channel, off the coast of Labrador. The Lynx lost propulsion in ice-infested water and issued a distress call. The Canadian Coast Guard was unable to respond, so the Newfoundland Victor, which harvests Newfound’s shrimp quota and was fishing nearby, came to its aid. >click to read< 09:09

FFAW: Conflict Brews At-Sea as Drill Rig Takes Over Prime Crab Grounds

July 21, 2023 – Crab harvesters on the Avalon Peninsula are calling out the oil and gas industry as the Hercules drill rig, operated by ExxonMobil in the Jeanne d’Arc Basin, is in direct conflict with traditional prime fishing grounds. Despite vocal opposition from FFAW-Unifor throughout the consultation process with the regulatory body, the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB), the Board and Exxon proceeded with the drill operations during peak fishing time in an especially difficult year for harvesters. “Our members feel this brewing spatial conflict is representative of the continuous disregard for the fishing industry. Expansion of the oil and gas industry needs to be considered alongside the fishery, not in priority to it,” says FFAW-Unifor President Greg Pretty. >click to read the press release< 14:28

Still a lot of crab to be caught in Newfoundland and Labrador

A 2022 report by consultant David Conway, who was commissioned by the province to review the fish price setting system, recommended the industry begin discussions in October of that year to establish a formula for crab prices for the 2023 season. However, discussions between the FFAW and ASP didn’t get going until March, partly because both groups saw a change in leadership over the winter with Keith Sullivan resigning as union and Derek Butler leaving as executive director of the ASP. The decision on prices for this season fell to the province’s Fish Price Setting Panel which used the final offer selection model, where processors and the union each made a pitch on price and the panel had to choose one or the other. >click to read< 13:12

Canada: Positioning for redfish re-opening

Canada’s commercial fishery for redfish in the Gulf of St. Lawrence has remaind closed since 1995 to allow redfish stocks rebuild to healthy levels. Now the authorities are positioning to re-open the Unit 1 redfish commercial fishery in Atlantic Canada and Quebec in the near future. The announcement has been made by Minister of Fisheries Joyce Murray that in preparation for a pending commercial fishery, the 2023 experimental fishery for Unit 1 redfish will be increased from 2500 to 5000 tonnes. Twenty-four individuals and groups from Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador have been approved to participate, five of which are Indigenous groups.  >click to read< 07:48

‘Unacceptable sacrifice’ – Ottawa extends mackerel moratorium when U.S. continues to fish same stock

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) says a decision by federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister Joyce Murray to extend the moratorium on mackerel fishing in Canadian waters is an unacceptable sacrifice when the United States continues to fish the same stock. “How foolish is that?” questions Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director.  “DFO science is questionable at best, and now without mackerel fishermen on the water again this year there will be even less data.” The federal Minister announced Wednesday a continuation of the 2022 closure of commercial and bait fishing for mackerel in Atlantic Canada and Quebec for the 2023 season. Fishing mackerel for food and ceremonial fisheries will remain open. >click to read< 15:55

The Newfoundland and Labrador Groundfish Industry Development Council are Disappointed with the Northern Cod Maximum Allowable harvest announced today by DFO

“The NLGIDC were hoping for an increase in the harvest level for 2023 based on the extremely successful cod fishery in the 2J3KL area in 2022”, said James Baird, the chair of the NLGIDC. “Weekly harvest rates for the first 4 weeks of this fishery in 2022 all surpassed the highest weekly landings observed in this fishery since 2016”, continued Baird. “Additionally, the lack of science assessments for Northern cod in 2022 and 2023 continue to hinder the development of this iconic fishery and is a cause of considerable concern for the Newfoundland and Labrador fishing industry”, said Paul Grant, the Executive Vice-President of Beothic Fish Processors Ltd. >click to read< 18:48

Opinion: Canada failed the N.L. fishery by Harvey Jarvis

The 2023 crash in the price of snow crab and the 1992 moratorium on northern cod have been talked about as the two major catastrophic events in the Newfoundland Labrador inshore fishery. While I totally agree that the two events have inflicted major damage on those who make a living from our ocean’s renewable resources, in my opinion, neither of them is THE major catastrophic event. In 1949, Newfoundland Labrador signed over control and management of the world’s richest renewable resources to Canada. While Canada was supposed to manage those resources to produce maximum benefit to Newfoundland Labrador, the opposite has occurred. >click to read< 13:17

Conservation must trump profit; SEA-NL calls on DFO to close window on high-grading in crab fishery

Seaward Enterprises Associations of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) has called on the federal minister of Fisheries and Oceans to take immediate action to close a window that’s been opened by processors/buyers to allow for high-grading in the snow crab fishery. “Conservation must trump profit, which is obviously not the case with the processing sector that is out to scrape every last cent from the inshore fleet at the expense of the future health of the stock,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director. For years there has been an industry-managed two-price system for snow crab in Newfoundland and Labrador — with a higher price paid for crab with a greater than four-inch carapace (currently $2.25/lb), and lower price for smaller, but still legal-sized crab ($1.90/lb). >click to read< 11:07

Fairness in Scheduling and the Targeted Elimination of the Small-Boat Fleet

Three weeks into the snow crab fishery and dozens of attempts made to work out a fair arrangement for fish harvesters, FFAW-Unifor is calling on the provincial government to better regulate processing companies, issue additional processing licenses, and open the province up to outside buyers immediately to allow inshore harvesters to sell their catch. “Processing companies are engaging in unethical business behaviour to the targeted detriment of the small boat fleet in our province. The fishery may be open with a price agreement in place, but with no avenue to sell, harvesters are still in crisis,” says FFAW-Unifor Secretary-Treasurer Jason Spingle. “Our Union has made every effort this year to work out a fair proposal to ensure all fleets have a fair opportunity to participate in the fishery, but at every turn we’ve only been met with the same fish merchant-style tactics,” he says. >click to read< 15:10

Union Launches Call for Economic Support for Crab Industry

Today, FFAW-Unifor is launching a campaign for federal support for those impacted by the post-pandemic collapse in the snow crab fishery. The detailed proposal includes income support requests for fish harvesters, fishery workers, and enterprise owners, to address significant income shortages this year and provide the help needed to make it to next season. The fishery is a reliable, sustainable, and important source of economic development for coastal communities with over 7,500 Newfoundlanders and Labradorians relying on the crab solely or mostly for their livelihood. The current crisis can be attributed to the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, pandemic stimulus spending in the United States, the Russian/Ukraine challenge and Russia’s takeover of Japanese seafood markets,,, click to read< 09:43

Crab catch price creeps up and plants ramp up as delayed N.L. harvest enters third week

The protests and the rhetoric have somewhat subsided, and the catch price has improved slightly, as Newfoundland and Labrador’s long delayed and controversy-riddled snow crab harvest enters a third week. “It’s been a very smooth start largely due to the state of readiness that producers have been in now for eight weeks,” Jeff Loder, executive director of the Association of Seafood Producers, said Friday. But there’s rarely smooth sailing in the fishing industry, with tensions continuing to simmer between the ASP and the Fish, Food & Allied Workers union, which represents harvesters and plant workers. Some outstanding issues include trip limits for fishing vessels to ensure an orderly harvest and maintain the highest quality, changes in the long-standing policy,,, >click to read< 17:37

N.L. inshore crab boats accuse Royal Greenland of giving them the cold shoulder

In a crab fishing season that has been contentious from the start, allegations continue to be levelled by Newfoundland and Labrador fish harvesters against processing companies. The latest accusation is against Royal Greenland, the Danish-owned company that owns three processing plants in the province. A handful of harvesters took to social media in recent days, posting on the Fishermen’s Forum Facebook Page, that Royal Greenland has been refusing to buy crab from some boats in the under 40 ft fleet. However, Simon Jarding, manager of Royal Greenland operations in Newfoundland and Labrador, says those allegations are not accurate. >click to read< 12:21

Trouble brewing if Royal Greenland doesn’t start buying crab from under 40’ fleet: SEA-NL

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) says enterprise owners in the under 40’ fleet warn there will be trouble if Quin-Sea/Royal Greenland doesn’t start buying snow crab from them, and processing companies are not reined in. “Forget tie-up, someone could be strung up,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director. “The 2023 crab dispute is not over yet, and tensions will boil over unless the union stands up for its members, and the provincial government supports small-boat fishermen against the foreign country trying to drive them under.” >click to read press release< 07:26

N.L. group wants increase in northern cod catch from Minister Murray

We could use a bit more cod. That’s the message the Newfoundland and Labrador Groundfish Industry Development Council (NLGIDC) is sending to Joyce Murray, Canada’s minister of Fisheries and Oceans. Jim Baird is chair of the council, whose members include the Fish Food and Allied Workers union and inshore processors, including Barry Group, Labrador Fishermen’s Union Shrimp Co., Beothic Fish Processors and Fogo Island Co-operative Society. He told SaltWire members of the council want the minister to allow a harvest of 17,000 tonnes, or more, of northern cod from the stewardship fishery in zones 2J3KL, along the northeast coast of the province. >click to read <  19:06

Diversification – Rebuilding the inshore fishery and regaining control – Ryan Everard

It is too bad the young, educated people in the inshore have been forced out of the apprenticeship program for the last 30 years when the people on larger boats had a choice. The fishery would be in a much different state today if they had to have a choice. I’m going outside the box and throwing myself out there, but, when people say it’s impossible to represent three different groups, I beg to differ because I have seen it done since 2005, when the PFHCB involuntary forced me out of the program (not out of the boat) because I couldn’t survive on 10k during a hypothetical fishing season that was removed from the industry in 1997. (Besides for new entrants that they should have been trying to retain). >click to read< 08:53

SEA-NL relaunches Pot to Plate; public encouraged to buy snow crab from inshore boats at the wharf

SEA-NL has relaunched its Pot to Plate program to connect inshore boats directly with the public interested in buying snow crab for personal consumption.  “Pot to Plate won’t take a dent out of this year’s 121 million/lb crab quota — that’s not what the program is about,” says Pam Patten, a Fortune-based inshore enterprise owner and President of SEA-NL.  “Pot to Plate will help build local markets around the province, reintroduce our people to buying seafood at the wharf, and put some cash in the pockets of the inshore fleet — particularly smaller boats,” Patten adds. SEA-NL announced Pot to Plate on April 4th, but the program was immediately delayed due to the snow crab tie-up, which ended on May 19th. >click to read< 11:57

MEDIA RELEASE: Crab Fishery Underway in Newfoundland and Labrador

With an agreement reached, the snow crab tie-up ended on Friday and a fishery is now underway in most areas of the province. The secured agreement is a formula structure that guarantees a lowest minimum price of 2.20 per pound with incremental increases as the Urner Barry market price increases. “To say we are no better off than when the Panel price came out is incorrect. The final offer selection process didn’t give harvesters a formula. But the Union did. Our members’ solidarity did. The value we’ve protected here is extremely important and cannot be overstated,” says FFAW-Unifor President Greg Pretty. >click to read< 19:39

Snow crab producers, harvesters ready to move on from 6-week delay to start of season

“We have a shortened season, we have an increase in quota, and it’s very important that we keep our focus not on what has happened, but where we need to go,” ASP executive director Jeff Loder told reporters Tuesday. Loder did show slight frustration around the length of the holdout, saying both the price of $2.20 and the incremental increases were part of conversations months ago. Although the FFAW wasn’t able to change the $2.20 per pound set by the price-setting panel, President Greg Pretty says the work done in six weeks of holding out, like making sure $2.20 is the minimum price along with incremental increases, is a positive. >click to read< 15:06

THE RECENT TIE-UP – Leadership and protecting Rural Communities – Ryan Everard

To me this tie-up was a lot more than fishing for $2.20 a pound. It was an opportunity to let our stories be told and our voices be heard. It’s about the overall state the industry is in, and it’s about all of us coming together and letting our voices finally be heard. No matter what fleet you are in, or if you wear an apron or oil skins, we need to all come together and remove the rules that are meant to divide us. When I look at the Inshore vs Offshore & Plant- Workers VS Crew members, I don’t see a big difference in any of us other than financially living in three separate worlds. I see families with nine Trap Bert draws vs one, and I see the wife’s, sons, and daughters that helped spread their fish. Just like it was a family affair for our forefathers, I believe it still a family affair for all of us. >click to read< 09:38

Transparency and Taking Control of the Merchants that Controlled our Family Since John Cabot

Just to be transparent and clear on my motives. My only goal is to cap our new boat at the 3 licences its allowed over the next 8 years so my kids have the same right as John and Jane Dos got in the larger fleet. I was forced out of the program in 2008 but I persevered and stayed fishing anyway and now I am a certified Fishing Master that paid for it out of my own pocket rather than depending on government funding to do it. That don’t make me less of a Professional Fish Harvester or less of a Fishing Master. >click to read the rest< by Ryan Everard (Certified Fishing Master)