On the Waterfront – July 2021

N.L. Fisherman Dies After Boat Capsizes

A well-known Western Newfoundland fisherman died on May 21 after the boat he was in overturned on St. George’s Bay.

60-year-old Lawrence Kendall of Lower Cove was confirmed to be the victim of the tragic lobster fishing accident. Another man, who had been on the boat when it overturned, was stranded on a cliff and later airlifted to safety.

Bay St. George RCMP received a call about the overturned 22-foot vessel, near Lower Cove, at around 8:15 a.m.

The body of the victim was later recovered by other local fishmen.

N.L. Fisheries Minister Derrick Bragg offered his condolences to the family and friends of the lobster fisherman lost at sea.

“I also want to extend my heartfelt support to his boat mate who was rescued and is now recovering from this untimely and tragic event. Incidences such as this are stark reminders that the men and women who engage in the fishery to support their families and communities do so by putting their lives at risk.”


FFAW Not Pleased with 2021 Capelin Management Plan

On May 28, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) released the management plan for the 2021 2J3KLPs capelin fishery, announcing a total allowable catch (TAC) of 14,533 tonnes — a 25 per cent reduction from the quota in 2020.

The FFAW-Unifor said the management strategy by DFO is not reflective of what harvesters see on the water, nor does it include accurate biomass estimates or fully consider predation.

“International environmental organizations have called for a closure of the harvest, which would have had huge impacts for fish harvesters and plant workers. Such a call is irresponsible because it ignores real impacts on the stock, such as predation, and focuses on the very small harvest that does not impact the stock trajectory. In the 2021 technical briefing, DFO acknowledged that the biomass of 2J3KL capelin is primarily environmentally-driven, but did not have any specific figures to put forward on the impact of predation, particularly by seals, the union said in a press release.

“The commercial capelin landings in 2020 were less than 17,000 tonnes — and very valuable to rural Newfoundland and Labrador,” said Keith Sullivan, FFAW-Unifor President.

“You cannot advocate for the sustainability of a healthy capelin stock by removing or reducing commercial fisheries and not taking action to control the size of the seal herd.”

Natural mortality by seals, finfish, seabirds and other predators remains the largest factor in the stock’s health, with the capelin fishery having a historically low quota, taking 0.1 per cent of the removals, the press release went on to say.

“While the assessment in March indicated that the biomass index is near the long-term average, harvesters’ observations of widespread abundance are not being captured with the existing DFO data.

Harvesters are also concerned that biomass is not accurately measured and may not reflect the total size of the capelin stock. Due to COVID-19, the spring acoustic survey did not take place in 2020 and the assessment is based on the capelin forecast model.”


More Than $600,000 for Gaspé Seafood Processors

Seafood processors in Gaspé, Quebec will receive $605,272 through the Canadian Seafood Stabilization Fund.

The fund aims to help fish and seafood processors across the country to help come back from the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare Canada for reopening. The companies receiving the funding are Poissonnerie de Cloridorme, Lelièvre, Lelièvre et Lemoignan, Gaspé Cured and Unipêche M.D.M.

Poissonnerie de Cloridorme Inc., a business specializing in the processing of seafood products, particularly sea cucumbers, is receiving a repayable contribution of $277,098. CED’s support enabled the business to ensure the health and safety of its workers and develop new markets for its products. Therefore, it can continue its operations and maintain its jobs in a region where the seafood industry plays a major role.

Lelièvre, Lelièvre et Lemoignan ltée, a family business that originally specialized in processing salted and dried cod and now focuses primarily on processing lobster and groundfish, is receiving a non-repayable contribution of $217,500. CED’s support helped the business install a ventilation and air conditioning system, acquire durable sanitary equipment, build a new workroom and reorganize the production line and employee rooms to allow for physical distancing.

Gaspé Cured Ltd., a business specializing in lobster processing, is receiving a non-repayable contribution of $99,671. CED’s support was used to implement sustainable protection and health measures and acquire and install a ventilation system.

Unipêche M.D.M ltée, a business specializing in the processing and marketing of a wide range of seafood products, is receiving a non-repayable contribution of $11,003. CED’s support enabled the implementation of sustainable protection and health measures.


Differing Reactions to PERT Report

Key stakeholders in the Newfoundland and Labrador fishery had vastly different reactions to the recently announced Premier’s Economic Recovery Team (PERT) report, chaired by Dame Moya Greene.

The FFAW-Unifor said it was appalled and incensed at the Greene Report.

“This is not the Great Reset; this is the Great Regression,” said Keith Sullivan, FFAW-Unifor President. “This report is critical of every important structure that sustains the inshore fishery and rural communities in this province. It is a blueprint for the destruction of rural Newfoundland and Labrador.”

“The section on the fishery reads like a press release from the Association of Seafood Producers. We face a crisis of corporate concentration in the fishery that keeps prices down and inhibits competition for raw material. The only glimmer of hope in this system is that new licenses can now be issued. The people of our province, the provincial government, and the federal government all support a community-based inshore fishery,” noted Sullivan.

And speaking of the Association of Seafood Producers (ASP), it is encouraged by what it has read so far.

“We might not agree on everything, logically, but there is a clear vision for the province, which we care about as an industry sector,” said Derek Butler, Executive Director, ASP. “We’re not just concerned about the fishery, we want our province to be fiscally sustainable, and we are not. This report provides a path to a better place.”

“Clearly, the fishery needs change and everyone keeps saying that. Whether it is the structure, the science, collective bargaining, incomes, etc., there is room for improvement. Dame Greene and her team have that right, and processors are ready for the conversation,” said Butler.


Aquaculture Canada and WAS North America 2021 Rescheduled to 2022

The Aquaculture Canada and WAS North America 2021 conference (a partnership of the Aquaculture Association of Canada (AAC), the World Aquaculture Society (WAS) and the Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association (NAIA)) will be rescheduled to August 15–18, 2022, at the St. John’s Convention Centre in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has impacted all events and travel planning globally. The health, safety and well-being of attendees is paramount in any decisions made by the steering committee. The health protection guidance in many countries has restricted global travel and has halted large-scale public events.

Please note that all originally planned events and sessions for the conference will proceed as planned with the exception of the dates. This meeting will still also represent the 2022 annual meetings of the AAC and NAIA. Submitted abstracts to date will continue to be processed by the program committee, and all registrations will continue to be valid. The abstract deadline will be changed to March 15, 2022.

Booth bookings will continue to be acknowledged. Conference management will send the updated manual and all other pertinent information to those registered.


Arctic Small-Scale Fisheries Project Launched

A new project from Ocean Wise aims to support community-based small-scale Arctic fishers in becoming recognized for their sustainable fishing practices.

Building on existing partnerships with Nunavut-based fisheries organizations and Arctic communities through the Ikaarvik program (an Ocean Wise-administered program that empowers Northern Indigenous youth and their communities to identify and address their own local research priorities), Ocean Wise, Ikaarvik youth and Inuit fishers will together build a Northern network to co-develop and test a seafood sustainability assessment framework that relies on both Indigenous knowledge and scientific data.

The project also draws on Ocean Wise’s 16 years of experience in the sustainable seafood ratings space through the Ocean Wise Seafood program, and has been made possible thanks to a $970,000 grant from the Future Skills Centre.

“Indigenous fisheries are likely some of the most sustainable in the country, if not the world, but global sustainability rating programs often exclude them because rating frameworks are based almost entirely on Western science data which is financially and logistically difficult to collect in the Arctic, or any remote community around the world,” says Eric Solomon, Director of Arctic Programs at Ocean Wise.

“This project recognizes that Western science is not the only valid knowledge system to inform sustainability assessments. By ensuring that the needs, expertise and knowledge of our Northern partners are at the forefront of this project’s goals, we hope to create a replicable model that includes multiple ways of knowing in how we assess the environmental performance of fisheries.”

In addition to supporting the skills, confidence and capacity of communities as they develop their own locally and culturally relevant economies, the project will help Arctic small-scale fishers gain access to larger markets through Ocean Wise’s network of over 750 business partners. If successful, the framework has the potential to be adopted by other small-scale fisheries around the world.

“When seafood is rated as sustainable, fishers can command a higher price in various markets,” says Sophika Kostyniuk, Director of Fisheries and Seafood at Ocean Wise.

“We’re looking forward to working with Northern collaborators including Project Nunavut and First Fish as well as Indigenous advisors including River Select Fisheries Cooperative, who have developed their own locally relevant sustainability criteria, to grow a network that will co-develop this framework and ultimately introduce and promote these locally harvested products to Canadian and international markets.”


Icefish Exhibition to Return this Fall

After more than a year of pandemic restrictions, this September’s Icefish will provide exhibitors with the long overdue facility for multiple face-to-face business meetings in one place.

European and global vaccination programs are progressing well, with planned COVID-19 passports relaxing travel from the summer.

Held only once every three years, the 13th Icefish will return September 15–7, 2021, with 80 per cent of the exhibition space already booked and still over three months to go.

The last exhibition, held in 2017, saw a 41 per cent increase in overseas exhibitors and this trend continues for 2021 with very strong presence from Turkey, Spain, France, Norway, the Faroe Islands and Lithuania. The 2021 exhibition will also welcome a number of national pavilions including Denmark, the U.K. and Canada. For the first time there will also be a Spanish national pavilion, representing a large number of shipyards.

The 2021 exhibition welcomes a number of new initiatives including a dedicated area for processing, value added, fish farming and by-products. This is to recognize and reflect industry developments and to align with the 4th edition of the Fish Waste for Profit Conference, taking place on day two and three of the exhibition.

Following the success of 90-plus meetings involving 24 countries in 2017; the matchmaking facility, run in conjunction with Innovation Centre Iceland, bringing buyers and sellers together during the show, will also return, further supporting exhibitors/visitors in making key connections at the exhibition.


N.L. Government Assists  Local Seafood Operations

One year after the official launch of the first commercially cultivated oyster in Newfoundland and Labrador, Merasheen Oyster Farms Inc. is set to grow and expand its operations.

The company, which had been producing oysters in Placentia Bay for the last few years, is adding production to Notre Dame Bay.

Owner Juan Roberts, the only oyster farmer in the province, says the move is expected to result in a higher-quality product. The shallower, warmer waters of Notre Dame Bay are likely to speed up the usual five-year growing process — resulting in a better oyster product reaching markets more quickly.

The provincial government’s non-repayable $248,608 contribution will assist with oyster cultivation research in Notre Dame Bay using specialized equipment, such as the Floating Upweller System, and dedicated oyster growth cages. This support will help the company continue its growth and development in a very competitive marketplace.

The N.L. Government also recently announced support for Labrador Gem Seafood, operating in Ramea, to focus on packaging, marketing and distribution as the company ramps up efforts with its North American market plan. The province is contributing $75,000 from the Business Development Support (BDS) program to support the company’s new activities.

Building on its experience marketing scallops and sea urchin, Labrador Gem Seafood will use this support to help promote its expanded product line of lobster, snow crab, shrimp and cod.

Home to a 10,000-square-foot secondary fish processing facility, the Town of Ramea has a strong history of seafood production, and the market for the company’s high quality seafood product creates much needed, long-term employment for the area.


Seafood Expo Global/Seafood Processing Global 28th Edition Now Scheduled for 2022

Diversified Communications, organizer of Seafood Expo Global/Seafood Processing Global, recently announced that the 28th edition of the event will now take place April 26–28, 2022 in Barcelona, Spain.

The event had been postponed from its original date of April 27–29, 2021 to September 7–9, 2021.

“Keeping our customers’ best interest in mind is our top priority,” said Liz Plizga, Group Vice President, Diversified Communications.

“After evaluation of suppliers and buyers’ concerns around the continued uncertainties caused by the on-going COVID-19 situation worldwide, it became evident that 2021 would still be too soon to host an international event that would provide the global experience the seafood community would find valuable.”

Seafood Expo Global/Seafood Processing Global is the world’s largest and most diverse seafood trade event bringing together more than 29,000 industry professionals from around the globe. More than 158 countries are represented at the event and each country’s complex COVID-19 regulations and governmental restrictions make it impossible to hold a large-scale global event in September 2021.

“We are committed to Barcelona,” added Plizga. “We will continue working with Fira de Barcelona and the city to ensure we can host a valuable in-person event that will bring back, at the Gran Via venue in 2022, the international representation that makes Seafood Expo Global/Seafood Processing Global the global seafood marketplace and the largest seafood trade event in the world.”

“We have already received contracts for the 2022 edition and strong participation interest from all sectors of the global seafood industry. We look forward to having the most successful first edition in the beautiful city of Barcelona, Spain,” said Wynter Courmont, Event Director, Diversified Communications.

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