Tag Archives: Newfoundland and Labrador

Five rescued after fishing vessel Exploits Navigator sinks – Canadian Coast Guard credits EPIRB

Early Thursday morning the Canadian Coast Guard Marine Communications and Traffic Services station in Port aux Basques received a distress call that the 40-foot fishing vessel Exploits Navigator had run aground in Trinity Bay. Five people were onboard. They abandoned the vessel and took to a life raft. They were rescued by the Coast Guard vessel Sacred Bay and taken to Hickman’s Harbour in good health. The Canadian Coast Guard credits an Emergency Position Indicating Radiobeacon (EPIRB) with helping them locate the life raft. >click to read< 11:44

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

New oil regulation means step backwards for fishermen

The change to allow environmental assessments for exploratory drilling offshore to be done quicker will impact Newfoundland and Labrador’s fishing industry,,, The move was made to help the province’s oil and gas industry, which has faced countless setbacks over the course of the year. However, FFAW President Keith Sullivan says the new regulation has removed fishermen from the consultation process. Sullivan said the faster approval of environmental assessments, along with seismic work expected to take place in the province later this year, adds up to a larger impact on the environment and the waters people fish in. “More exploration and drilling in areas can cause problems either directly, and then there’s added risk of things like oil spills  >click to read< 17:37

Economic storm brews over Newfoundland and Labrador

Crab season in this part of Newfoundland and Labrador normally starts at the end of April and has always marked the beginning of the fishing calendar in a place where work is still tied to the bounty of the sea. But now that their crab pots are in the water, the crews aren’t sure if they can collect them. The pandemic has cut the price of crab in half, and fishermen are worried about confrontations at the wharf with larger boat operators who can’t afford to go to sea with such deflated prices. “It looks like when someone has died and you’re just waiting around to see what’s going to happen. As oil prices have collapsed, so have revenues from key industries such as tourism, forestry, mining and the fishery because of the continuing COVID-19 fallout. Personal income and sales tax streams have shriveled. The pandemic also shut down megaprojects such as the Voisey’s Bay mine and the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric dam, and closed the province’s only oil refinery. Future offshore projects, including the $6.8-billion deep-water Bay du Nord oil field, have been put on hold. >click to read< 14:58

Snow crab price sees a bump to $3.50 after arbitration decision

On the heels of a federal government announcement in the form of a $470 million COVID-19 relief package for fish harvesters across Canada came more good news for crab fishermen in Newfoundland and Labrador. On Thursday evening FFAW-Unifor, the union representing fish harvesters in the province, announced the price setting panel sided with the union after an arbitration hearing on Wednesday over snow crab pricing. The price setting panel has now set the snow crab price to $3.50 per pound — the FFAW-Unifor minimum price — not $2.90 per pound as tabled by the Association of Seafood Producers. >click to read< 20:59

FFAW asks for review of crab prices for Newfoundland and Labrador fishers, Panel agrees to hear submission May 13

The FFAW has asked the province’s Standing Fish Price Setting Panel to reconsider the price set for snow crab for the 2020 season. Earlier this month, the panel set the price at $2.90 per pound, after considering submissions from the FFAW and the Association of Seafood Processors (ASP) and assessing market reports. For the past three years crab fishers in this province have been getting exceptional prices for their catches, ranging from $4.50 to over $5 per pound, thanks to high consumer demand. This year, however, the market for crab is in a slump,,, The Coronavirus slump.  >click to read< 11:01

Opening of N.L. crab fishery will inject new money into provincial economy

After nearly a month of delays prompted by COVID-19 fears and a wrangle over prices, crab fisherman from Newfoundland and Labrador are ready to put pots in the water. The crab fishing season stats midnight, Monday, May 11, putting thousands of skippers and crew members back to work. While there is still some angst — with fish harvesters seeking a federal aid package to help them through what they say is an extra challenging year — the start of this fishery is a relief for many, like the people who work on the processing lines at places like the Ocean Choice International (OCI) plant in Bonavista. The main market for this shellfish is the United States, with about half of the Atlantic Canada catch ending up in restaurants, casinos and cruise ships. With those industries shut down, the only market left is the grocery store, where crab is often sold as a promotional sale item. As a result, fishers in N.L. will get $2.90 a pound, a drop from last year’s average price of $5.14. However, fishers are also getting a little more crab to catch. >click to read< 08:02

Opinion: Fish union’s delay tactics appalling

It is disgraceful what is happening in Newfoundland and Labrador. Our government declared our food supply essential weeks ago. Those involved had to step up, despite the pandemic, to maintain the food supply. Most industries were ordered to close, a societal lockdown the likes of which we have never witnessed before. The closest comparison is past world wars. The global economy has been thrown into mayhem. Soon after, Newfoundland and Labrador seafood processors mobilized their people to prepare for COVID-19.,,, The Fish, Food and Allied Workers union (FFAW) was kept fully informed, through 15-plus Zoom meetings and numerous phone calls over six weeks. By Gabe Gregory, Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s  >click to read< 10:53

A fisheries protest in spring? That’s normal, but this one’s quite different

Earlier this week, there was an uproar in South Brook, Triton and Port aux Basques about out-of-province crab needing to be processed. The details this time were quite different from prior years — this would be the first time a pandemic prompted a protest — but the scenario may have seemed familiar. Over the years, we’ve seen windows get smashed at DFO headquarters in St. John’s, a hunger strike outside the same building, gear getting torched in Port au Choix, an occupation at fisheries offices in Corner Brook, a blockade in front of Confederation Building … there’s been a lot. >click to read< 09:16

FFAW, processors remain at odds on opening Newfoundland and Labrador crab season

It remains to be seen whether harvesters in the province will eventually start fishing for crab and offloading it at plants for processing. According to the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW-Unifor), two vessels from outside the province were turned away in Port Aux Basques and denied the opportunity to offload crab as of Monday morning, and three transport trucks carrying crab harvested outside the province were being blocked from making deliveries to fish plants, two in South Brook and one at Goobies. “The fishery was postponed three times on health and safety issues,” Pretty said. “During that time, the bargaining for the price of crab should have progressed, but instead of progressing,,, >click to read< 19:46

Troy Turner photo

Crab trucks roll toward Triton after confrontation in South Brook – Crab fishery delayed until at least May 11

By noon on Tuesday, the trucks began to roll toward the fish plant, but were being slowed by protesters. RCMP were on hand ticketing the drivers who were interfering with their progress. >click to read< 16:56

Crab fishery delayed until at least May 11, following days of protests – After two days of protests by fish harvesters, the snow crab fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador has been delayed until at least May 11. DFO issued a media release at 5 p.m. Tuesday saying the exact start of the season has not yet been determined. That delay comes after several days of protests in several different locations in the province.  The protests started late Sunday in Port aux Basques when the Fish, Food & Allied Workers union, which represents fish harvesters, learned snow crab was being brought in from outside the province to be processed. Late Tuesday afternoon, two transport trucks were able to offload crab,, >click to read< 17:03

Coronavirus brings financial and physical worry for fish harvesters

“Whatever way this goes, it’s going to be a very hard year in the fishery, I think, overall,” said Jason Sullivan, a fisherman on the Avalon Peninsula. “There’s no way to sugarcoat that.” He said DFO’s release of the snow crab management plan — which saw an average quota increase of about 10 per cent — has lifted the spirits of some fish harvesters. Still, he figures others are going to have a tough decision to make this year. “If they do open the fishery, and I says ‘well, jeez I’m not going fishing, I don’t feel safe,’ the bank is going to call me and say ‘Jason, why didn’t you make your payments,'” he said. “Do you think they’re really going to care?” >click to read< 16:34

2J3KL Cod Scientific Update was recently released. Important information was not included

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans released an update of the scientific assessment for 2J3KL Cod on Friday, April 17, 2020. While the Newfoundland and Labrador Groundfish Industry Development Council appreciates the effort by DFO-Science in completing this update in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, it appears that some important information was not included in the scientific deliberations. There is an internationally-accepted scientific model that has been used for this stock since 2016. This model provides information on overall stock biomass, fishing mortality, natural mortality and recruitment. All the data required to complete this analysis was available to scientists, but they chose not to run the model for this update. Contact: Jim Baird >click to read< 12:06

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 Shrimp Harvester Roland Genge questions science methodology, hoping for changes to quota rules

He’s seen the best the Newfoundland and Labrador fishery has had to offer over the past 42 years — and the worst. From buying a new boat in the 1980s, to the collapse of cod in 1992, to the rise of shrimp quotas and price, Roland Genge has taken the waves of the inshore fishery in stride. Now, the Anchor Point fisherman is concerned about last month’s shrimp assessments. “We’re going to be cut … every year on account of the way the survey is being done,” >click to read< 08:14

Cautious, healthy and critical. Northern shrimp stocks a mixed bag, suggest DFO’s latest numbers

Shrimp in fishing areas 4, 5, and 6 are assessed by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans every February. On Monday, the agency said despite some uptick, “We continue to be concerned about the future of these stocks.” For shrimp fishing Area 4, the stock remains in the cautious zone. For shrimp fishing Area 5, the stock is in the healthy zone. For shrimp fishing Area 6, the stock remains in the critical zone, according to DFO’s briefing. DFO said there are several factors that could account for Area 6 retaining critical status, including above-average bottom temperatures, and more predators. >click to read< 15:31

VIDEO: DFO northern shrimp stock assessment for N.L. far from rosy>click to read<

FISH-NL Taught FFAW A Lesson About Communication

If the challenge created by FISH-NL taught the FFAW anything, it’s about ensuring good communication with your membership. That’s according to FFAW President Keith Sullivan who was responding to the dissolution of FISH-NL, a group that had been trying to gain certification to represent inshore harvesters in the province. The FISH-NL movement was born from dissatisfaction with the Fisheries Union from some members. >click to read< 08:40

Ryan Cleary: Newfoundland and Labrador fishery needs outside oversight

Near the end of FISH-NL’s three-year battle with Fish, Food and Allied Workers-Unifor, a senior reporter with the local CBC took exception on Twitter to being tagged to a particular clash between the two unions, and asked to be left out of the “spat.” Now that the spat’s behind us, there’s no excuse for the media not to take a deep dive into the concerns raised by inshore harvesters over their union representation. They could start with the conflicts of interest I contend there are between the FFAW and Ottawa, the FFAW and oil companies, and the FFAW and its own members. What are the consequences of being funded by so many masters? >click to read< 06:58

LETTER: Standing up for our fishery

A famous Newfoundland and Labrador politician was once asked about the impact of seals on the fish stocks off our coast. He replied using the wit many good Newfoundland orators are known for and said something to the effect of well, they don’t eat Kentucky Fried Chicken.  He was absolutely right then and the same holds true today as we see thousands of tons of fish consumed daily off our shores by these cute-looking mammals with voracious appetites for cod, crab and other lucrative species; the same fish our harvesters and processors depend on,,, by Paul Lane  >click to read< 07:21

Arnold’s Cove company investing $10M in high-tech plant

The president and CEO of Icewater Seafoods in Arnold’s Cove wants more cod.,, He said his company is investing $10 million over three years to buy the latest cod-processing technology, and claims Icewater is the only North American processor dedicated full-time to Atlantic cod production. Seventy-five per cent of the $10 million is coming in the form of conditionally repayable loans from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and the Atlantic Fisheries Fund. >click to read< 09:56

LETTER: ‘World class’ means something different in Newfoundland and Labrador. Smoke and Mirrors!

Here in Newfoundland and Labrador we routinely hear politicians and private industry speak of the “world class” qualities of whatever they are promoting. Whether it is megaprojects, various standards or qualities of whatever public or private business is involved — or just about anything it seems — our cup runs over with world class items. Here are a few examples: “The Muskrat Falls project is world class”; “The salmon aquaculture industry in Newfoundland and Labrador is world class” and recently, the new rules touted by our provincial government to regulate the aquaculture industry here are described as “surpassing the world as the place of best practise for aquaculture.” From the now six-week unfolding of the massive Fortune Bay farmed salmon die off,,, by David Downton >click to read< 09:33

2.6 million farmed salmon dead on south coast of Newfoundland, company says

A massive salmon die-off on Newfoundland’s south coast has led to the suspension of licences for Northern Harvest Sea Farms in Newfoundland and Labrador. The die-off first occurred on Sept. 3, but information about the incident did not go public until weeks later. No estimate for the amount of dead salmon in the Northern Harvest pens were disclosed until Friday, when the company announced 2.6 million salmon had died. “As a result of the ongoing investigation and evidence of non-compliance,,, >click to read< 14:45

FISH-NL launches ‘Full-Steam Ahead’ crowdfunding campaign

FISH-NL launched the “Full-Steam Ahead” public crowdfunding campaign today to raise $40,000 to support the ongoing province-wide membership drive. “Every time FISH-NL has put out a call for support, inshore harvesters, their families and our supporters in rural Newfoundland and Labrador have answered,” says Cleary. “We need you once again to push this movement over the top.” >click to read< 16:12

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

“You never know the mind of a squid” – The squid’s short lifespan makes it hard to study

Late this summer, squid showed up in abundance in many bays in the province, a sight not seen in several harbours, including Holyrood, for decades. Why have the squid finally come back?,,, The squid that come into Newfoundland and Labrador waters are called northern shortfin squid. While they’ve been seen in great numbers near beaches, squid don’t come here to spawn. In fact, according to Baker, there are no known spawning sites in all of Canada. “The female squid that we see here are actually immature and maturing,” >click to read<  08:09

Harvey Jarvis: Blame for fisheries woes lies with the union

Lately there seems to be more news stories about problems in the fishery then there are rodents at the Robin Hood Bay landfill. The province is blaming Canada, the provincial parties are blaming each other and the Fish, Food and Allied Workers-Unifor is blaming everyone but themselves for the mismanagement of our fisheries. The root cause of the problems with our inshore fishery today is it is micromanaged to a level that a fish harvester cannot go to the washroom without permission. Wither it be for a new species, an abundant species or a species deemed to be in the critical zone, there are more layers of management in Newfoundland and Labrador then there are Unifor members in the public service of Canada. “>click to read< 09:04

“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

What Newfoundland and Labrador could learn from the worst offshore oil disaster in U.S. history

Marine scientist Donald Boesch says the controversy fuelled by recent oil spills off Canada’s East Coast has some “fairly interesting and striking comparisons” to his past work examining how the offshore (oil) industry is managed, as part of a U.S. inquiry into the Deepwater Horizon disaster.,,, Boesch says one of the most critical lessons the commission learned is that the U.S. agency overseeing offshore oil in the gulf had a conflict of interest built into its mandate.,,, Critics have accused the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) of having a similar conflict. >click to read< 10:26

Governmental Hypocricy? N.L. fish plant owner ‘completely floored’ over gov’t cod market decision

The owner of a fish plant near Lewisporte is taken aback by the news that processors from outside Newfoundland and Labrador are going to be allowed to buy locally caught cod, when she says her operation has been denied that same ability. “I was completely floored. I couldn’t believe it,” said Alisha Hodder, who runs Hodder’s Shellfish in Stoneville with her husband. The Stoneville plant processes sea urchin,,, >click to read< 09:21