On the Waterfront — January 2016

Man Dies on Lobster Season Dumping Day

A Cape Breton lobster fisherman is dead after falling overboard on dumping day off Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

RCMP told the Chronicle Herald that the victim fell from the lobster boat Cock-A-Wit Lady sometime before 9 a.m. on Nov. 30.

The vessel’s crew pulled the man out of the water and they started providing first aid. The Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Halifax had flown search and rescue technicians to the area. They jumped into the water and another boat took them to the Cock-A-Wit Lady, where they went to the man’s aid.

The search and rescue technicians then took the man to the Canadian Coast Guard cutter Clarks Harbour, where he was airlifted to Yarmouth in a Cormorant helicopter from 413 Transport and Rescue Squadron in Greenwood.

He died later that day at Yarmouth Regional Hospital, the Herald reported.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada has said it will be sending investigators to the scene of the accident.

There were eight fatalities in the Nova Scotia fishery in 2013, three in 2014 and this incident is the third this year.

Georges Bank Moratorium Extended to 2022

The Nova Scotia Government has introduced legislation to extend the moratorium on oil and gas exploration and drilling on Georges Bank to Dec. 31, 2022.

Under the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation (Nova Scotia) Act, government will also have the ability to further extend the moratorium in increments of 10 years.

“Nova Scotians have been very clear about wanting the moratorium to remain in place,” said Energy Minister Michel Samson. “The Georges Bank fishery supports an important part of our rural and provincial economy, and this legislation will ensure this area remains protected for the long-term sustainability of these important fishing grounds.”

The existing policy moratorium is set to expire on Dec. 31.

Over the past few years, government has been actively working to reinstate the Georges Bank Moratorium under the accord acts, resulting in amendments to the federal version of the act being passed this past spring. The provincial bill mirrors the federal legislation, which is part of the joint management approach for the Canada-Nova Scotia offshore area.

These changes will be reflected in the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation (Nova Scotia) Act.

The legislation will also repeal the Offshore Licensing Policy Act (2010), which will no longer be required.

Princess of Acadia Berthing Contract Awarded

The federal government recently awarded a $500,000-contract to berth the MV Princess of Acadia during the winter.

A tender awarding the $499,758 contract to Newfoundland-based Heddle Marine Services was issued in November.

The former Digby-Saint John, N.B. ferry had been temporarily tied up at the former coast guard base at Parker Street on the Dartmouth side of Halifax Harbour. The ferry is now docked at Heddle Marine’s facility at Sydney Harbour.

“The contractor is responsible for care and custody of the vessel and is to monitor and maintain the safety and security… in all regards while the vessel is located at the winter layup berth for the specified period from Oct. 31, 2015 to March 31, 2016,” the contract states.

The tender specifies only a “safe and secure winter layup berth for the Princess of Acadia that is located in a protected port on the east coast of Canada.”

The 146-metre long Princess of Acadia entered service in 1971. She was replaced in July by the Fundy Rose, which Ottawa purchased in 2014 for $44 million.

Heddle Marine is required to maintain 24-hour security and to remove and dispose of all diesel fuel, ballast water and sewage on board the Princess of Acadia.

OCI Refitting Shrimp Trawler for Groundfish

Undercurrent News is reporting that Ocean Choice International (OCI) plans to have the Katsheshuk II, which was built in Norway in 1996, fishing for groundfish and not shrimp during the second half of 2016.

OCI is investing $7-8 million on refitting one of its two shrimp trawlers for groundfish, CEO Martin Sullivan told Undercurrent News.

The company is looking to configure its fleet for the resurgence of groundfish quotas off the east coast of Canada.

Re-fitting Katsheshuk II for groundfish from frozen-at-sea (FAS) shrimp production will mean OCI can fish all of its yellowtail flounder, as well as capitalize on increases in its redfish and grey sole quotas, Sullivan told Undercurrent.

The company’s quota for yellowtail is 14,000 metric tonnes, which it will push to harvest all of in 2017, with the refitted Katsheshuk II and Ocean Breaker, a new vessel added to the fleet in 2013 from Greenland.

N.L. Environment Department Seeking More Information on Proposed Marystown Salmon Hatchery

The Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Environment and Conservation recently determined that Grieg Nurseries NL Ltd’s Marystown Atlantic Salmon Hatchery environmental assessment cannot proceed until a description of the entire project, including the salmon hatchery, the sea cage components and triploid fish is registered as a single undertaking.

This order is pursuant to Section 29 of the Environmental Assessment Regulations, 2003 and is as follows:

An undertaking that will be engaged in farm raising fish or shellfish where that undertaking will intervene in the rearing process to enhance production by keeping the animals in captivity, stocking and feeding the animals and protecting the animals from predators including:

  • fish or shellfish farming in salt water or fresh water; and
  • fish or shellfish breeding and propagating or hatchery services, where the undertaking will include the construction of shore-based facilities other than wharves and storage buildings and
  • permanent marine trap or weir fisheries, shall be registered.

The proponent may submit supplementary information to be combined with the current submissions or withdraw the current proposal and re-submit a new document which describes the full scope of the project.

Regardless of which approach is taken, another 45-day screening review period which will include a 35-day public review period will be required.

ICCAT Unveils New Management Plans

The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) recently announced a new path for tuna management including a system to reduce illegal fishing, as well as new protections for porbeagle sharks.

This year, ICCAT agreed to start the process of developing new management strategies for tunas and swordfish in 2016 which, when implemented, can help prevent problems of the past and ensure healthy, productive fisheries in the future. Furthermore, ICCAT agreed on a more specific plan for albacore tuna as a first case study. These management strategies mean that countries and stakeholders can agree on the parameters for setting quotas ahead of time, so that the fish populations never reach or return to depleted levels.

ICCAT also agreed to fully implement an electronic catch documentation system for bluefin tuna in May of 2016. This precedence setting electronic system will replace a paper-based one and aims to decrease the amount of illegal catch.

The organization also agreed to further protect porbeagle sharks. The European Union first introduced a proposal to ban the retention of these sharks in 2009. The measure passed this year should prevent further declines in the species. It specifies the release of live sharks and if the number of porbeagles caught increases from 2014 levels, additional measures to limit catch could be implemented and enforced.

Mackay Communications Acquires CMC Electronics

Mackay Communications, Inc. acquired CMC Electronics’ commercial marine business on October 30, 2015, from Canadian parent, Esterline.

Esterline divested their marine sector to concentrate efforts on its core aviation business. CMC Electronics’ maritime brand traces its roots to the Canadian Marconi Company (CMC), originally the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of Canada (circa 1903).

Mackay Communications’ Marine Division is a turnkey supplier of communications and maritime electronic solutions and global service. The acquisition of CMC Electronics’ commercial marine business mutually compliments their product offerings, enhances access to diverse market segments, and will provide customers with quality 24/7 services at all major ports throughout North America.

A new regional division, Mackay Marine Canada, will blend Mackay’s Vancouver office and CMC Electronics’ marine locations, resulting in five Mackay offices in Vancouver (British Columbia), Quebec City (Quebec), Halifax and Yarmouth (Nova Scotia), and St. John’s (Newfoundland).

Mackay Marine Canada will continue to represent leading brands Canadian customers are familiar with, strengthened by Mackay’s worldwide network and extensive portfolio.

Seal Processing Facility Files Expansion Plans

The Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Environment and Conservation recently announced that PhocaLux International Inc.’s Fleur de Lys Seal Processing and Tannery expansion plans have been filed relative to Part 10 Environmental Assessment of the Environmental Protection Act.

PhocaLux International Inc. has submitted a proposal to expand an existing seal processing facility at Fleur de Lys to include seal skin tanning. All tanning operations will take place on the first floor of an existing 2,787-cubic metre building.

Minor renovations will be required and additional equipment relative to the tanning process will be installed, i.e., tanks, drums, piping and auxiliary machinery. The tanning process will use a combination of chemicals and tanning activities will be phased in over the first year from 200 pelts a day to 400 pelts a day.

All liquid waste products and effluent from washing and tanning steps will be captured in an isolated, self-contained drainage system and placed into wastewater storage and treatment tanks on site. Various methods of treatment of the different waste streams will be employed including process modifications and physio-chemical applications.

The undertaking was registered on November 6, 2015; the deadline for public comments is December 18, 2015 and the minister’s decision is due by December 21, 2015.

N.S. Company Wins International Innovation Award

At the recent Fish 2.0 Competition Finals and Sustainable Seafood Innovation Forum, a Nova Scotia company walked away with one of the major awards.

The top scoring business with the greatest potential for social and environmental impact was Nova Scotia-based SabrTech, whose RiverBox system provides algae-based aquaculture feed using waste streams from fish farms.

About 250 investors, business leaders and seafood experts attended the finals event at Stanford University in California.

The group that made it to the competition finals was diverse, with 17 businesses based in the U.S. (including two with operations in Chile), six in Canada, four in Latin America, five in the South Pacific, two in Europe and three in South-East Asia.

Broad Canadian Participation at China Fisheries and Seafood Expo

The 20th China Fisheries and Seafood Expo, Asia’s largest seafood event, was recently held in Qingdao, East China’s Shandong province.

With 80,000 square metres of exhibit space, the three-day event attracted more than 1,300 exhibitors from 46 countries and regions across the world, including Canada.

Various kinds of seafood at the Canada pavilion, including lobster, geoduck clams, shrimp, crab and salmon, were highlights of the event. Among the approximately 100 participants from 11 associations in relevant industries and 53 companies, the group from Canada was one of largest exhibitors at the expo.

“Canadian seafood is high-quality and produced in safe and clean waters,” Dave Murphy, minister (commercial) of Canada’s embassy in China, said.

“The size of Canadian seafood is also favorable for the Chinese habit of consuming the seafood,” said Murphy, who was glad to see Chinese consumers were interested in the country’s food.
Take Canadian lobsters for example. They are famous for freshness, high quality and good flavor. “More than half of Atlantic lobster with a hard shell, both raw and processed, is supplied by Canada,” Murphy said.

The lobster has become a global ambassador for the country and is a well-known specialty for Canadian export, added Murphy.

According to Global Trade Atlas data from Global Trade Information Services, the export value of lobster from Canada to China hit $69 million in 2014, an increase of 69 per cent from the previous year.

Murphy added that the North American countries emphasize sustainable development in seafood products, which can guarantee a long-term supply for the Chinese market. Another country, Chile, also had a big group at the expo.

“Chile’s salmon is very popular with Chinese consumers and the country ranked within the top three of all countries in terms of export volume of salmon to China,” said Andreas Pierotic, minister counselor for economic and commercial affairs with Chile’s embassy in China.

“But Chilean seafood ranked seventh last year among the most consumed imported seafood products in China,” Pierotic said. “We will take advantage of the free trade agreement between China and Chile and continue to tap the potential of the Chinese market.”

“Our goal is to become the first or the second largest seafood exporter in China in five years,” he added.

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