On the Waterfront – October 2017

Marine Institute Receives Funding for Eelgrass Restoration

Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard recently announced that the Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador will receive $4.7 million over five years for a project to help restore eelgrass ecosystems in Placentia Bay, Newfoundland.

The Marine Institute is the first group in Newfoundland and Labrador to receive project funding through the fund.

The project will enhance the Placentia Bay ecosystem, benefitting fish and shellfish resources in coastal waters by restoring eelgrass beds and enhancing habitat through deployment of artificial reefs. It will also restore migratory corridors for Atlantic salmon and increase ecosystem productivity for species at risk such as blue whales and leatherback turtles.

The Coastal Restoration Fund will support projects that contribute to coastal restoration on all of Canada’s coasts. Preference is given to projects that are multiyear and involve a broad number of partners that include Indigenous groups.

Placentia Bay has been identified as a priority for coastal restoration. Its port facilities handle some of the largest volumes of oil in Canadian waters and have experienced continued growth in both the oil and gas and marine shipping sectors.

Eelgrass beds are ecologically significant due to the number of ecosystem services they provide, such as acting as a nursery for marine species. For example, eelgrass is found to be 17,000 times better at ensuring survival of young cod than other habitat.

This project will be led by the Marine Institute’s Centre for Fisheries Ecosystem Research (CFER) and will include partnerships with the Miawpukek First Nation, ACAP Humber Arm, Salmon Association of Eastern Newfoundland, Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union and local fish harvesters.

Price Setting Panel Sides with Processors on Fall Shrimp Price

After siding with the FFAW’s proposal on the summer price of Northern shrimp, the Newfoundland and Labrador Standing Fish Price Setting Panel has accepted the processors’ submission.

The Panel announced it has accepted the Association of Seafood Processor’s (ASP) proposal of $1.30 per pound for this fall. The FFAW had submitted a price of $1.36 per pound.

Earlier this year, the Panel chose the FFAW price of $1.25 per pound. The ASP had proposed a summer price of $1.04.

New Licence to be Issued for Arctic Surf Clams in 2018

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has announced it is introducing a fourth licence for Arctic surf clams representing 25 per cent of the existing total allowable catch (TAC) for 2018.

The new entrant to the Arctic surf clam fishery will be identified via an expression of interest. Interested parties wishing to participate in this fishery must send a written proposal, to be received by DFO by 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) on November 2, 2017. This licence will be issued to a new participant in 2018.

Applicants, regardless of configuration, must be majority owned by Canadians, must demonstrate an ability to comply with all the measures set out in the existing conditions of the licence, and must be an Indigenous entity located in one of the four Atlantic provinces or Quebec.

Further details on the specific criteria are found within the notification at http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/decisions/fm-2017-gp/atl-31-eng.htm

The most recent stock assessment of the Grand Banks was 2010 and serves as the basis for the current TAC.

Scientific work for the Grand Banks stock area is planned and an updated stock assessment will be completed once scientific work is finalized. The Grand Banks assessment was based on a survey that took three years to complete between 2007 and 2009.

An assessment of Banquereau Bank took place in April 2017 and it is expected the results will be used as the basis for any future TAC decision or changes to management measures.

N.B Premier Shuffles Cabinet

New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant recently shuffled his cabinet and realigned several departments.

One of the departments impacted was the now former Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries, headed up by Rick Doucet.

As a result of the changes, responsibility for agriculture has been removed from that department.

Under the new structure, Doucet will be minister of Aquaculture and Fisheries, minister of Energy and Resource Development and government house leader, while Andrew Harvey will serve as minister of Agriculture, Mines and Rural Affairs.

Keith Sullivan

New Committee Seeks Fair Access to Adjacent N.L. Resources

The FFAW-Unifor recently announced the formation of a new fisheries committee focused on securing fair access to the growing groundfish resource in the waters adjacent to our province.

The 2J3KLNO/NAFO Fair Access Working Group will seek fair and reasonable access to fish species for the traditional, adjacent, inshore owner-operator fleets of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Fair Access Working Group will focus primarily on groundfish species, such as greysole and turbot, where inshore owner-operator access has been unfairly denied or limited. The quotas for many of these emerging groundfish species are managed by the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO), an international body of representatives from countries all over the world, from Japan to Cuba.

The Working Group will be composed of approximately 20 members, mainly inshore fish harvesters.

“The working group is the front line of our efforts for fair access,” said FFAW-Unifor President Keith Sullivan. “Access for the inshore owner-operator fleet means work for fish harvesters and plant workers, as well as the spinoff opportunities that arise under conditions of real economic development,” Sullivan added.

“We must ensure the voice of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians is well-represented at the international level when it comes to Canada defending our historical right to the resources in our waters,” said Tony Doyle, a working group member and Vice-President of the inshore sector of FFAW-Unifor.

“By working together on behalf of our communities that depend on the fishery, we will advocate for access to the resources we’ve depended on for generations,” Doyle said.

The committee’s mandate is to secure fair access for inshore harvesters in the growing groundfish fishery including access to redfish, greysole, American plaice and turbot. It will work towards achieving adjacency as a primary fisheries management principle and to secure value for the independent inshore owner-operator fleet which is the basis for a vibrant rural economy in the province. The committee will also work to obtain investment in marketing and infrastructure needed to grow a fishing-based economy.

DFO Extends P.E.I. Halibut Fishing Season

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) recently granted a rare two-week extension to the Prince Edward Island halibut fishing season.

CBC reported that the decision was made to allow fishermen an opportunity to fill their halibut quotas for the year.

As of the end of August, the 330 registered fishermen on P.E.I. had only caught half of the permitted fish.

Bobby Jenkins, president of the P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association, said catches haven’t been what they were in past years. The halibut fishery is a very short fishery, but due to the high price, can be lucrative for those with licences.

N.L. Government Supports Processing Plant Workers

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has made $5.5-million in funding available to address significant employment challenges faced by processing plant workers as a result of declines in shellfish resources, severe sea ice conditions, and other challenges this year.

Administered by the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment, the funding will be used to create short-term insurable employment for processing plant workers.

The provincial government will be reaching out to impacted companies, communities and residents to provide information on available supports and determine eligibility for assistance.

A suite of supports is also available under the Integrated Transition Framework for Displaced Plant Workers. This multi-departmental program exists to respond to communities and individuals impacted by fish plant closures. It provides transitional employment assistance and offers participants access to transitional counselling services to better prepare for future employment opportunities.

Steel Fab Industries Donates Torbay Jib Crane

FFAW-Unifor members frustrated by a lack of crucial unloading equipment at the port in Tapper’s Cove, Torbay, will soon be safely unloading their catches, thanks to an incredible show of solidarity from fellow FFAW-Unifor local, Steel Fab Industries.

After hearing of the Torbay fish harvesters’ plight, the local fabrication company stepped forward to offer a jib crane to assist the harvesters in unloading their catch safely.

“The offer by Steel Fab Industries is what being a union and working together is all about,” said FFAW-Unifor Industrial Director Greg Pretty. “When their harvesting brothers and sisters spoke out they saw an opportunity to help. That is solidarity.”

Crucial infrastructure, such as the jib crane sought by Torbay harvesters, was removed from many ports but this equipment is now more necessary than ever as harvesters begin landing cod again, the union explained.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Small Craft Harbours had originally quoted the piece of equipment at $50,000, an investment that DFO would not commit to as the Department had already completed wharf upgrades — a move harvesters say has benefitted recreational fishers more than the commercial sector. Harvesters were frustrated, but the generous offer from Steel Fab has helped alleviate some of the frustration and uncertainty faced by harvesters as the cod fishery returns, the FFAW explained in a press release.

P.E.I. Lobster Marketing Board Hiring Staff

The P.E.I. Lobster Marking Board is hiring a full-time marketing expert to help the fishermen raise the status of P.E.I. lobster, CBC recently reported.

The board said it hopes the marketing expert can help with day-to-day marketing and add to the advertising campaigns the board has already done.

The board has been collecting a two-cent-per-pound levy for advertising purposes since the spring of 2016 — bringing in approximately $300,000 last year and roughly the same amount again so far this year.

P.E.I. lobster fishermen were the first in Canada to to create a levy to market their product, voting last year to introduce the two-cent-per-pound levy.

Labrador Union Shrimp Company to Process 3K Cod

In early August, the Labrador Fishermen’s Union Shrimp Company Ltd. (LFUSC) reached a preliminary agreement with the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW-Unifor) union and St. Anthony Seafoods Inc. to purchase and process cod caught in NAFO Division 3K.

According to The Northern Pen, under the preliminary agreement, harvesters will unload the cod in Goose Cove and St. Lunaire-Griquet and it will then be shipped by truck to St. Barbe. There, it will be transported across the Strait of Belle Isle by ferry, to be processed at the LFUSC plant in L’Anse au Loup.

Company Marketing Shrimp Oil

BlueOcean NutraSciences is expanding its market to private labels for its Pure Polar® Double Strength Shrimp Oil.

The company announced recently that Pure Polar Labs, a wholly owned subsidiary, received its first private label order for the Pure Polar Shrimp Oil, to be marketed under the customer’s brand.

BlueOcean’s strategy is to partner with a select group of customers who will market their formulas under private brands to markets that do not compete directly with BlueOcean’s current markets.

The wholesale price for private label will be the same as the price to distributors of the company’s current brands.

“One of our strategic initiatives is to broaden the target markets for our shrimp oil products,” said BlueOcean CEO, Dr. Marvin Heuer.

“By partnering with customers that private label under their own brands in markets that do not compete directly with our own brands, we are able to accomplish market expansion for our products without the risk of cannibalization, as well as selling at distributor pricing in order to maintain the same margins as our current brands.”

BlueOcean currently markets its shrimp oil under three consumer brands: Pure Polar Omega-3 Shrimp Oil, Joint AX and Sport AX.

The shrimp oil is made from the shells of Northern coldwater shrimp, a sustainable fishery that, in the course of processing, discards the shells. The process helps to fully utilize the resource and does not cause additional shrimp fishing beyond what is already fished for food consumption.

According to BlueOcean’s website, Pure Polar Shrimp Oil contains 10 times the amount of astaxanthin, a more powerful antioxidant than krill oils.

Canada Announces Largest Marine Protected Area in High Arctic

A section of Tallurutiup Imanga/Lancaster Sound in Canada will be protected as part of a national marine conservation area (NMCA).

The conservation area is approximately twice the size of Nova Scotia and is home to whales, polar bears, migrating birds and other wildlife. The decision to protect the area was spurred by climate change and human activity that has begun to not only affect the landscape, but the “traditional way of life in the Arctic.”

“Protecting this area is critically important,” Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, said in a statement. “Like most of the Arctic, the region is threatened by climate change. Rising temperatures and melting sea ice are shrinking habitats, and putting vulnerable sea life under pressure. Inuit, who for millennia relied on these species for food, clothing and shelter, have found their livelihoods endangered and their futures at risk.”

For McKenna, protecting Tallurutiup Imanga/ Lancaster Sound is helping to “preserve a rich legacy for tomorrow.” Inuit practice traditional activities and harvesting in the area, and have for generations.

“We are creating a buffer against the threats of climate change, and protecting against the stressors of human encroachment,” she added. “We are implementing a sensible and integrated plan that will sustain biodiversity and sustain traditional ways of life.”

The decision to protect the area came from a partnership between the government and the Nunavut Inuit. The area will protect Inuit harvesting rights and “ensure the protection of species at risk.” According to a press release, the agreement also “confirms a ban on future offshore oil and gas exploration and development.”

But the proposed NMCA in Tallurutiup Imanga/ Lancaster Sound is only the beginning.

“Our government is committed to protecting five per cent of our marine areas by this year and 10 per cent by 2020; this national marine conservation area is a powerful step toward our goal,” Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, said in a press release. “We are also implementing the Oceans Protection Plan, a historic, $1.5 billion investment that help our oceans stay safe and clean.”

The Tallurutiup Imanga/Lancaster Sound would contribute about 1.9 per cent to the five per cent that the government is committed to protecting by the end of 2017.

New Cold Storage Opens in Cape Breton

The Eskasoni First Nation has partnered with seafood processors Jim and Allan Gillis of North Sydney to turn the former co-op building in Sydney River into cold storage and shipping facility.

The vacant building was purchased recently from Nova Scotia Business Inc.

Four people are now working at the facility, but the owners are hoping that number will grow to 20.

The plan is to use the facility for storing all types of seafood, including lobster.

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