On the Waterfront – June 2019

FFAW Concerned Over Grieg Aquaculture Applications

On May 2, the FFAW-Unifor said it was notified of three applications by Grieg Aquaculture for sites east of Merasheen Island in Placentia Bay.

The union is now calling on the provincial government to not to move forward with any project approval until it has pursued a proper consultation process with fish harvesters, as this project may put the livelihood of harvesters in the area at risk.

The three sites are for Darby Harbour, Butler Island and Red Island.

Placentia Bay is a heavily trafficked area with by far the highest concentration of small fishing vessels during peak fishing times, the union explained in a press release.

As an important stakeholder in Placentia Bay, the FFAW-Unifor continues to have serious concerns regarding the approval process.

“Previous consultations on this overall project have been insufficient. Information on site locations and details have been inconsistent, and government should not move forward with approving these sites until consultations with fish harvesters have taken place,” says FFAW-Unifor President Keith Sullivan.

“Fish harvesters are concerned about lost crab, lobster, cod and other fishing grounds and habitat. Furthermore, there are concerns about other effects on wild fish, such as parasites and disease, environmental contamination and navigational hazards which the wild harvest industry will have to deal with if this project is approved. If there is going to be aquaculture development in Newfoundland and Labrador, it must be weighed against the possible impact it has on valuable inshore fisheries and the health of the marine environment,” the press release stated.

The FFAW-Unifor said it anticipates additional applications are forthcoming.

Oceana Canada Advises to Keep Northern Cod Quotas at Lowest Possible Levels

A four per cent increase in the Northern cod spawning biomass was recently announced, prompting calls to increase quotas by as much as 30 per cent in 2019.

Oceana Canada is urging DFO to follow its own scientific advice and keep fishing pressure at the lowest possible level to give this population a chance to recover, decades after its collapse.

Oceana Canada’s director of science, Dr. Robert Rangeley, explained that “A small increase in Northern cod’s biomass does not mean DFO should quickly increase harvest levels. While a trend of incremental increases is positive, we must proceed with caution because Northern cod is fragile and in the early stages of rebuilding. It is deep in the critical zone, where it has been for decades and is at less than 50 per cent of the biomass that would move it into the cautious zone.”

Rangeley added that Northern cod’s ability to rebound is further compromised by historically low recruitment, ecosystem changes and low prey availability.

“In 2018, the commercial fishery harvested more than 9,000 tonnes and — due to inadequate monitoring and unreliable estimates — an additional unknown but significant amount was fished recreationally. Despite this, Northern cod does have a chance to recover if DFO follows its own scientific advice to keep fishing pressure at the lowest possible level and implements a rebuilding plan that follows globally recognized best practices. The alternative is to prematurely ramp up harvest levels, as was done in the past, at the expense of rebuilding a resilient and sustainable fishery. Commercial fisheries are an important source of income for many people, and rebuilt fish populations provide much greater benefits to fishing communities and ocean ecosystems.”

Government Launches Nova Scotia-Europe Engagement Strategy

Nova Scotia is seeking to maximize trade, tourism and investment opportunities in Europe with the launch of the Nova Scotia-Europe Engagement Strategy.

Premier Stephen McNeil announced the strategy April 25, along with a trade mission to Europe and China.

“We have already created many successful trading relationships in Europe and this formal engagement plan helps us sharpen our focus so we can further advance economic opportunities and investment,” said McNeil.

“The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union creates even more opportunities for Nova Scotia to grow export markets in Europe.”

The trade mission was to take place between April 29 and May 15 and included stops in Ireland, Amsterdam, Portugal, Brussels, France and Guangdong province in China.

The Europe mission included meetings with government officials, along with representatives of the air transport industry, ocean technology, information and communication technology, seafood, post-secondary institutions and business officials.

Officials from Intergovernmental Affairs, Tourism Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia Business Inc., Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, including Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Keith Colwell and executives from Halifax International Airport Authority participated in the mission.

Following the European mission, Premier McNeil was to travel to China May 11–15, to meet with Guangdong Governor Ma Xingrui, tour the Guandong Museum of Art Maud Lewis exhibit, meet with Rachael Bedlington, consul general of Canada in Guangzhou as well as meet with other government and business officials.

Group Calls N.L. Hatchery Expansion Unlawful

Ecojustice recently filed a lawsuit to ensure the Indian Head Hatchery expansion does not go ahead without a proper environmental assessment.

The expansion to the Stephenville, N.L. facility poses a threat to the last of Canada’s healthy wild Atlantic salmon populations and could further stress wild salmon populations already in decline, the group said in a press release.

Ecojustice claims the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Environment acted unlawfully when he decided to release the hatchery from further environmental assessment.

“The environment assessment for the Indian Head Hatchery expansion was scoped to exclude the project’s marine portion — that is, the open-net pens to which an additional 2.2 million salmon smolt will be transferred. The expansion, approved in September 2018, will result in a 50 per cent expansion of the hatchery’s production capacity. Due to regulatory loopholes in Newfoundland and Labrador, fish farms are often not subject to environmental assessment — even though it is well-established they have an adverse impact on wild salmon populations,” the group explained

Ecojustice lawyers are acting on behalf of the Salmonid Association of Eastern Newfoundland, the Freshwater-Alexander Bays Ecosystem Corporation, the Port Au Port Bay Fishery Committee, Alan Pickersgill, John Baird and Wayne Holloway in this matter.

We’koqma’q First Nation Getting Advanced Aquaculture Certification

The Federal Government recently announced financial support for the We’koqma’q First Nation to obtain Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification for its high-value fish farm.

BAP certification will help open up new markets, grow operations and gain efficiencies, ultimately increasing revenues and job opportunities for the First Nation community.

This well-recognized certification focuses on processing, sustainability and accountability best practices. The certification process will help the First Nation identify improvements and implement practices and policies that meet BAP standards.

The We’koqma’q First Nation officially took over the fish processing facility in 2015. At the time, it employed eight people. The facility, which now encompasses a hatchery, grow-out site and processing plant, employs more than 50 We’koqma’q community members.

The Government of Canada invested $217,687 in this project through ACOA’s Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REGI) program.

The province of Nova Scotia invested $100,000 in this project through the Department of Labour and Advanced Education’s Workplace Innovation and Productivity Skills Incentive (WIPSI) program.

Study Highlights Impact of Invasive Species

A new study shows that invasive species can have a dramatic impact on native species and a strong proactive response can help mitigate those impacts.

Dr. Amanda Bates is the Canada Research Chair in Marine Physiological Ecology and an associate professor in the Department of Ocean Sciences, Faculty of Science, at Memorial University. She is part of an international research team that conducted the first global meta-analysis of the characteristics and size of invasive species’ impacts on native species as invaders become more abundant.

The team found that impacts depend strongly on the invader’s position in the food chain, also known as tropic level. Invasive species at higher trophic levels have the greatest impact early in the invasion.

“What surprised me most was the magnitude of these effects,” said invasion ecologist Bethany Bradley of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. “Invasive animal pests, like the emerald ash borer, or lionfish, will, on average, cut the populations of native species in half if we don’t prevent or control these invasions.”

Bates says when just a few invasive individuals higher in the food chain show up and begin eating native species, there’s an immediate sharp decline in native populations. Once they reach a higher abundance, the damage has already been done.

“Removing these species immediately will make a major difference, especially if they are top predators,” said Bates. “This has big implications for management. Early detection is critical, but if you can control the invasion at any point, it’s a win for ecosystems.”

For native species faced with an intruder at the same level of the food chain, competition for the same resources does not lead to a sharp initial decline, but as the number of invaders increases, native species decline in abundance and community diversity.

“Invasives reduce other species around them because they’re feeding on them, or they’re competing for space and taking up resources,” said Bates. “In Newfoundland and Labrador, the green crab not only competes with lobster and has impacted the lobster fishery, but green crabs also bury themselves in the sediment and feed on the roots of seagrasses, which can decimate seagrass beds, which are important habitat for juvenile fishes.”

Maine 2018 Lobster Landings Increased to 110 Million Pounds

The Maine Department of Marine Resources recently published its 2018 lobster landing totals.

For 2018, total landings were 119.6 million pounds, up from 111.9 million pounds in 2017. The 7.7-million-pound increase is in line with expectations from people in the industry, who experienced a heavier pace of landings during the year.

Maine also increased its exports to Canada substantially over 2017, which reflected both the increased landings during the summer and the strong demand for Canadian lobsters from China, after the U.S. export industry was hurt by the U.S.-initiated trade war with China.

U.S. exports to Canada, which come primarily from Maine, rose to 59.6 million pounds through November, an increase of 9 million pounds over the 11 months of 2017.

The value of all of Maine’s 2018 commercially harvested marine resources increased by more than $60 million over 2017 and for only the third time in history exceeded $600 million. At $637,174,944, the overall value represents the second highest on record, according to preliminary data from the Maine Department of Marine Resources.

2018 was only the seventh time in history that more than 110 million pounds of Maine lobster were landed. At $484,543,633, the value of Maine’s lobster fishery climbed by more than $46 million over 2017 on the strength of a boat price that increased from $3.92/pound in 2017 to $4.05/pound in 2018.

FCC Provides Update on New Career Development Program

The Fisheries Council of Canada (FCC) recently announced the launch of the Future Leaders Canada program, in partnership with the National Fisheries Institute.

Future Leaders Canada’s curriculum will help develop emerging leaders in the Canadian seafood industry through networking, programming and unique experiences along the supply chain.

Paul Lansbergen, FCC President, announced the participants of the inaugural class.

“Together with our friends at the National Fisheries Institute, FCC is pleased to announce the inaugural class of the Future Leaders Canada,” Lansbergen adds, “We are excited to provide this opportunity in Canada and we look forward to working with this elite group.”

The Future Leaders Canada 2019 Class includes the following seafood industry professionals: Denise Avery, Clearwater Seafoods LP; Robert Courage, BAADER Canada Ltd.; Kurtis Hayne, Marine Stewardship Council; Neil Kiqutag, Baffin Fisheries Coalition; Amanda Luxton, MOWI Canada West; Brent McNamara, Newfound Resources Limited and Kristopher Smith, Ocean Choice International.

“These individuals will be known as trail-blazers for Future Leaders Canada. Make note of their names because this is the beginning of the next chapter of their seafood careers,” said Lansbergen.

The program will expose Future Leaders Canada participants to the various aspects of the seafood industry and facilitates opportunities for networking with classmates. The program will enhance industry knowledge and leadership skills in the areas of government relations, production, sales, marketing and the seafood community broadly.

In addition to facility tours, students will get the opportunity to interact with different audiences that affect business decisions in the seafood industry. For example, curriculum includes opportunities to interact with parliamentarians and bureaucrats who make legislative and regulatory decisions.

Students will also get a chance to learn about how customers such as retailers and restaurants operate and what influences their buying decisions. The program consists of three three-day sessions, from May through August.

Lansbergen noted that the application period is closed but added “if a compelling candidate presents themselves in the next week or so, we will make space for them in the 2019 Class.”


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