Ottawa Creates $325-Million Atlantic Fisheries Fund
The federal government has announced an investment of $325 million to create an Atlantic Fisheries Fund aimed at benefiting the fishery in all four Atlantic Provinces.
The Fund is aimed at stimulating innovation, with a focus on growing opportunities and increasing their value to meet market demands for sustainably sourced, high quality fish and seafood products.
Judy Foote, Minister of Public Services and Procurement Canada said, in this sector, which is integral to the region’s economy, the fund will hopefully lead to more jobs for fishers in hundreds of small coastal and Indigenous communities across the Atlantic Provinces.
“Our government is committed to growing the fish and seafood sector in Newfoundland and Labrador. With the announcement of the Atlantic Fisheries Fund, we are looking to the future of this industry and taking the necessary steps to transform and drive innovation so this sector is positioned for even greater success.”
This new investment under the Atlantic Growth Strategy will help strengthen the economy and increase job opportunities, Foote added.
Funding for this new initiative is in addition to existing federally funded programs. The Government of Canada and the Atlantic Provinces will collaboratively develop parameters of the Atlantic Fisheries Fund. Engagement with Indigenous communities and stakeholders will contribute to shaping the program, developing partnerships and priority areas for investments in Canada. Further details on the Atlantic Fisheries Fund will be provided in the coming months.
The new Atlantic Fisheries Fund comes in the wake of the controversial $400-million Fisheries Investment Fund that was supposedly negotiated earlier between Conservative governments in Ottawa and Newfoundland and Labrador — related to the removal of minimum processing requirements in the Newfoundland fish processing sector. The earlier fund was a bargaining chip to allow Canada to finalize the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).
The deal never did materialize.
Under this new fund, Newfoundland and Labrador will receive approximately $100 million.
Labour Board Rules FISH-NL is an Official Association
The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) has said it has won the first battle in its bid to represent the province’s inshore fish harvesters.
The province’s Labour Relations Board issued a ruling Feb. 23 rejecting an application by the Fish, Food, and Allied Workers (FFAW) that FISH-NL is not an association under the Fishing Industry Collective Bargaining Act.
“If you were listening closely Thursday afternoon you would have heard the collective cheer of thousands of fish harvesters around the province,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “The ruling by the Labour Relations Board legitimizes our movement. FISH-NL has now been legally recognized as an official organization of fish harvesters, despite the best efforts of the salt-water mafia.”
The FFAW has made another application to the Labour Relations Board that the membership list of inshore fish harvesters not be released to FISH-NL. “We’re hopeful the Labour Relations Board will schedule a hearing on that application as soon as possible,” says Cleary.
It’s expected that once the Labour Relations Board rules on the release of the membership list to FISH-NL, an investigator with the Board will begin the review of FISH-NL’s application and membership cards.
On Dec. 30, FISH-NL presented an application to the Labour Relations Board to represent the province’s inshore fish harvesters, breaking them away from the FFAW. The application included 2,352 membership cards signed by inshore harvesters around Newfoundland and Labrador.
FISH-NL argues that number represents more than 50 per cent of all inshore harvesters, the amount required to force a vote by the Labour Relations Board to ultimately decide which union will represent harvesters.
Nova Scotia Launches International Seafood Brand
Seafood exporters in the province have a new brand, Nova Scotia Seafood, to promote products in international markets.
Establishing an effective seafood brand will help give Nova Scotia a competitive advantage in those key global markets and will also help communicate Nova Scotia’s key attributes — exceptional taste and premium quality, the N.S. government said in a press release.
Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Keith Colwell showcased the new seafood brand March 2 at Halifax Stanfield International Airport, where a large amount of Nova Scotia’s exports depart for the international marketplace.
“Nova Scotia seafood is a premium product and we want to share it with the world,” Colwell said.
“The international seafood brand we’ve developed will give the province and industry tools to deliver that message in key markets and help to continue increasing the value of our exports.”
The brand package, which includes a logo, images, signs, videos and a website will raise awareness and help increase the value of Nova Scotia seafood in international markets.
The new brand will be the main focus of the province’s presence later this month in Boston at Seafood Expo North America, the largest seafood show in North America.
Controlling Agreement Challenge in Hands of Judge
Federal Court Justice Cecily Strickland is now weighing the evidence in the case of Cartwright, Labrador fisherman Kirby Elson.
Elson is appealing a 2015 decision by the minister of fisheries to strip him of his snow crab licence because he refused to exit a controlling agreement with two fish processors.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans says such agreements are a deliberate circumvention of rules that state individual fishermen, not corporations, are allowed to hold and control inshore licences.
The pending decision, which some say could be precedent setting, is being watched closely by processors, fishermen’s groups and government regulators. There has been no word on when the judge will render her decision.
Cold Storage Company Expands Canadian Services
VersaCold Logistics Services announced recently that 11 of its refrigerated warehousing facilities have received approval to export fish to the People’s Republic of China and six more have been approved to export fish to the European Union (EU) as of January 2017.
The new approvals mean that VersaCold now operates a total of 17 refrigerated warehousing facilities in Canada approved to export fish to these two key global markets. The facilities are located across Canada’s east to west coast and give VersaCold the largest geographical footprint of refrigerated warehousing facilities to receive the approvals in the country.
The approved facilities — located in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia — are in compliance with all aspects of the Fish Inspection Act and Regulation and were approved following a rigorous review process.
Storm Damage to Fish Farm in Shelburne County
The Nova Scotia government is looking into an incident of damage to an aquaculture site in Shelburne Harbour after a major winter storm in February.
Cooke Aquaculture reported damage to one of its pens to the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture on, Feb. 15, in accordance with the province’s aquaculture regulations and has continued to provide regular updates.
It is believed some of the salmon were released from the damaged pen. The operator has been engaged in harvesting all of the fish at the site and the remainder of the fish from the damaged pen.
“Our new aquaculture regulations require an operator to notify us of a containment breach as soon as they know about it and that is what happened in this case,” said Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Keith Colwell. “Our departmental staff have been in contact with the operator and will continue to monitor the situation to ensure they are taking the appropriate actions to secure their site.”
Conservation officers with the Department of Environment are following up on the situation with the operator.
Marine Harvest Gets Approval to Buy Gray Aqua’s Salmon Farming Assets
Marine Harvest Canada has received court approval to complete its purchase of the Gray Aqua Group’s salmon farming assets in New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador.
The assets purchased include one hatchery in New Brunswick, two farming licenses in New Brunswick, seven farming licenses in Newfoundland and one processing plant in Newfoundland. Currently, no fish has been stocked related to the licenses.
Marine Harvest has a production plan and investment framework for the East Coast of Canada, including building an organization capable to produce 15,000-20,000 metric tonnes of gutted weight equivalent of salmon annually.
N.S. Aquaculture Review Board Members Appointed
Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Keith Colwell recently appointed the first members of the new independent Nova Scotia Aquaculture Review Board.
Jean McKenna of the Halifax Regional Municipality was appointed as chair of the review board. McKenna is a retired lawyer with 30 years’ experience as a litigator. She is currently the chair of the Nova Scotia Police Review Board. She also is involved with such bodies as the Elizabeth Fry Society, Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society and Metro Resource Centre for Independent Living. She is being appointed as chair of the Aquaculture Review Board for a three-year term.
Michael McKinnon of Halifax Regional Municipality was appointed as a member of the review board. McKinnon is an owner of two businesses giving him experience in business management and financial risk assessment. He has knowledge of recreational fishing industries through his long-time enjoyment of recreational salmon fly fishing. His appointment is for a two-year term.
Richard Patterson of Halifax Regional Municipality is currently the president of AquaEng Consulting. He is an adjunct assistant professor of the Engineering Department, Dalhousie University and a member of the Aquaculture Engineering Society and continues to study the engineering aspects of aquaculture broadly. His appointment is for a three-year term. The Nova Scotia Aquaculture Review Board is a new adjudicative board which reviews and makes decisions on applications for marine aquaculture licences and leases. They will also hold public hearings on applications.
New Programs in Fisheries Science Introduced at the Marine Institute
The Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University of Newfoundland has introduced new graduate degrees in fisheries science that will foster the next generation of fisheries researchers.
Starting Fall 2017, the Marine Institute’s School of Fisheries will deliver three program options: Master of Science in Fisheries Science (Fisheries Science and Technology); Master of Science in Fisheries Science (Stock Assessment); and Doctor of Philosophy in Fisheries Science.
Across the three programs, students will conduct cutting-edge research and complete focused training courses in programming, statistics and study design. Stock assessment students will receive extra training in this specialized area of research.
The Marine Institute’s fisheries science program will be unique in that all students will complete a mandatory course in science communication, which will train them to make their work accessible to people without formal training in science.
The launch of the fisheries science programs marks the first time the Marine Institute has offered a doctoral program in its 53-year history.