On the Waterfront – June 2023

Record Prices for N.L. Lobster

Newfoundland and Labrador’s Standing Fish Price Setting Panel has come to the decision to side with the final price offer made by the Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union (FFAW) for lobster in 2023, with the season opening at $14.37 per pound.

The final offers by both the FFAW and the Association of Seafood Producers (ASP) were based on the “Average of Thursday-Tuesday” Urner Barry (UB) Index, which provides information on the price of live lobster in the U.S. market twice weekly.

The ASP, as they have in the past, opted to negotiate their price at a $0.15 reduction from the UB formula to reflect their inability to achieve UB prices when they sold the lobster to market. The panel agreed with the FFAW’s position that the ASP has not shown that producers have been unable to achieve UB prices in their recent sales. Without evidence to support the $0.15 deduction, the panel maintained that lobster will be priced according to the index at this time.



ASP Offer Chosen for 2023 Shrimp

Newfoundland and Labrador’s Standing Fish Price Setting Panel has sided with the Association of Seafood Producers (ASP) shrimp price offer.

In 2023, shrimp landed to a plant will go for $1.08 per pound, shrimp trucked to Port Saunders will be valued at $1.05 per pound and trucking anywhere else on the island will net $1.00 per pound.

The Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union (FFAW) offer of $1.58 per pound landed and $1.55 trucked was unanimously rejected by the price setting panel. According to the panel, the FFAW’s position does not reflect a reasonable price both sides would be able to live with, while ASP’s offer more accurately reflects the realities of N.L.’s shrimp industry.



N.L. Tech Companies Receive Funding from Province for Innovation and Development

Notus Electronics and SubC Imaging, two Newfoundland and Labrador-based ocean technology companies, are receiving over $138,000 in funding from the provincial government through the Business Development Support Program.

Notus Electronics, a St. John’s-based company, has been in operation since 1992. Notus’ 12-person team has developed a one-of-a-kind Trawl Positioning System that communicates trawl net position relative to the trawler and the ocean bed. Notus is receiving $98,169 to assist them with marketing the product locally and internationally.

SubC Imaging, founded in 2010, designs and manufactures underwater cameras, systems, LED lighting, DVRs and lasers. SubC and its 30-person team are receiving $40,775 to facilitate the purchase of an Enterprise Resource Planning System — a software companies use to better integrate different facets of their operations.

“As a government, we continue to support technological advancements and innovations in our key industries, one of which is the ocean economy,” said Andrew Parsons, Minister of Industry, Energy and Technology. “Investing in promising ocean technology companies like Notus and SubC enables them to access the right resources and tools needed to compete in an increasingly globalized market, which in turn enables economic development and creates economic opportunities in the province.”



Cooke Given Environmental Approval for $72-Million Salmon Farm in N.B.

Kelly Cove Salmon, a subsidiary of New Brunswick-based aquaculture giant Cooke Inc., has received environmental assent from the N.B. government to build a new salmon aquaculture facility in Bayside, N.B.

The $72-million project is expected to take three years to complete, with land clearing beginning in early April. It is expected to create 340 direct construction jobs and 222 indirect jobs.

The facility will be a hybrid of land and sea-based operations. Salmon will be raised on land until they’re of age to be transferred to marine cages.

“Bayside near Saint Andrews is well suited for this project because there are world experts in salmon farming, marine biology, engineering, science R&D, and fish health in the local community and in Charlotte County,” said Joel Richardson, Cooke’s vice president of public relations. “New Brunswick is a hub of expertise on aquaculture and fisheries operations and technologies.”



Baffin Fisheries Expands to Include Baffin Seafood

Baffin Fisheries, the largest fishing enterprise in Northern Canada, is expanding its services.

The new Baffin Seafood will serve to act as a broker for the international sale of cold-water seafood products, allowing increased dividends in their areas of operation.

Baffin Fisheries announced this new business venture at the Seafood Global Expo 2023 in Spain. Alongside this, they announced Baffin Fisheries COO Rick Lambe will be transitioning into a CEO role at Baffin Seafood as well as a satellite office being opened in Denmark.



Standing Committee Delivers Report on N.L. Ferries

The Standing Committee on Public Accounts has submitted a report to the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly on its review of the purchase of two ferries, MV Veteran and MV Legionnaire, by the Auditor General.

The review, which was requested in 2018 by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), came about after a number of concerns were raised regarding mechanical issues since the ferries came into service.

MV Legionnaire. David Greening photo

The review included briefings from the Auditor General, a request for responses to the Auditor General’s recommendations from the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, and public hearings from current and former officials within the provincial government. The PAC’s findings were summarized under the themes of project management, human resources, the duty to document and industrial benefits agreements. It also resulted in six recommendations.

“All members of the Public Accounts Committee are united in our responsibility to ensure appropriate oversight and accountability on behalf of the Legislature and the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, and we are dedicated to improving public administration in partnership with the Auditor General,” said Helen Conway Ottenheimer, chair of the Public Accounts Committee.

“It is the Committee’s expectation that the findings and recommendations further to this review will result in improved implementation of public policy going forward.”



Preliminary Results Released for Northern Cod “Fishery Improvement Project”

Stakeholders including the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP), Marks and Spencer, Young Seafoods, Sysco France, High Liner Foods, members of the Association of Seafood Producers (ASP) and the Atlantic Groundfish Council (AGC) gathered in Spain to discuss the Northern Cod Fishery Improvement Project (FIP).

Central to the FIP is their fish tracking project, in which around 800 cod have been tagged to track their annual migrations. The fish are tracked with a series of receivers placed up to 200 miles off the Eastern Canadian shore, with autonomous ocean gliders annually retrieving the data for analysis.

So far, the FIP has discovered a pattern in seasonal migration routes that indicate two “supergenes” that are possibly associated with different migratory patterns and spawning times.

“The information obtained over the life of this Project will eventually enable more effective stock assessment modelling and targeted management measures to control fishing mortality,” said Bruce Chapman, President of AGC and FIP Co-Chair along with Jeff Loder, Executive Director of ASP.



FFAW Opposes Grieg Seafood’s Reneging of Contract with Union Workers

The Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union (FFAW) has called for tighter regulations on processing companies in Newfoundland and Labrador. This comes on the heels of aquaculture giant Grieg Seafood moving the processing of their product to the non-union Quinlan’s Seafood plant. According to the FFAW, the original labour was promised to the unionized Ocean Choice International plant in St. Lawrence.

“We are trying to build a meaningful industry on the Burin Peninsula, and Grieg chose to roll back the clock on labour relations,” said FFAW President, Greg Pretty. “The retendering of the processing contract as a money-saving move by the company significantly reduces the local benefits on the Burin Peninsula. It’s another example of a non-union shop securing cheap labour and bottom-of-the-barrel prices to bulk their bottom line through contract flipping. Our members at the OCI plant in St. Lawrence were given a commitment of quality employment and opportunity, and it’s another show of blatant disregard for our workers, the region and our industry.”

The FFAW says contract flipping such as this is intended to “depress wages for workers to maximize profits for a company that is already seeing billions of dollars in record revenues.”



DFO Notifies Harvesters of Existing Closures

The Department of Fisheries and Ocean (DFO) has released a statement to remind harvesters of the existing closures in Marine Conservation Areas.

These areas, spanning 842,821 square kilometres, include Hatton Basin Conservation Area, Hopedale Saddle Closure, Hawke Channel Closure, Funk Island Deep Closure, Northeast Newfoundland Slope Closure, Division 3O Coral Closure, Gilbert Bay Marine Protected Area, Eastport Marine Protected Area and Laurentian Channel Marine Protected Area.



Fire Guts Grand Manan Fish Plant

Special K Fisheries, a fish plant next to the ferry terminal on Grand Manan, New Brunswick, that processes shrimp, scallops and lobster, suffered severe fire damage on Monday, May 1.

Local volunteer firefighters, the RCMP and Ambulance New Brunswick responded to the blaze that began around 1:30 p.m.

Officials said they were unaware of any injuries that resulted from the fire.

Grand Manan Mayor Bonnie Morse said that the fire that struck the facility will have significant impact on the community, calling the plant a “landmark.”

The cause of the blaze is under investigation.



Canada Invests in Arctic Shipping

François-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced $91.6 million dollars in funding over seven years to the Qanittaq Clean Arctic Shipping Initiative.

The research initiative, in partnership with Memorial University and the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC), is meant to address the increase in shipping in the Arctic regions as well as to address the Inuit community’s supply needs. Together, they’ll work with government, industry and academia to develop ship designs, operation technologies, policies and capacity in communities to act as leaders in the future of Arctic shipping.

“We are honoured to partner with Memorial University on this vital research initiative related to Arctic shipping,” said Lisa Koperqualuk, the president of ICC Canada. “This comes at a time when there is a huge international focus on Arctic shipping, considering the effects climate change is having on the increase in shipping traffic and the consequences to the Arctic environment. For Inuit, this will be a game-changer and help position us as leaders in the field.”

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