On the Waterfront – April 2023

SEA-NL Elects New President

Pamela Patten

Pamela Patten, a Fortune-based enterprise owner, has been elected to replace Jason Sullivan as President of Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) — an organization that represents owner-operators in N.L.

Patten, who has been an enterprise owner for 11 years and a harvester for 22, is believed to be the first female to lead a fisheries organization in the province’s history. She was elected to lead the organization during its annual general meeting on February 25, 2023.

“As a woman, I will obviously bring a slightly different perspective to the table, but my role will be to unite owner-operators around the province regardless of fleet or gender,” said Patten, who runs the Bradley Venture, a 39’11” longliner that mostly fishes snow crab and lobster.



NAIA Presents 2022 Aquaculture Hall of Achievement Awards

The Newfoundland and Labrador Aquaculture Industry Association (NAIA) has announced the winners of the 2022 Aquaculture Hall of Achievement Awards which is meant to, “highlight the accomplishments of the best and brightest people, innovations and advances in the province’s quarter-billion-dollar finfish and shellfish aquaculture sector.”

Gary Wilton of Cooke Aquaculture was named the Aquaculturist of the Year, Chris Williams of Mowi Canada East was awarded the Lifetime Achievement award, Cold Ocean Salmon of St. Alban’s won the Excellence in Innovation award, Rebecca White was presented the Stewardship and Sustainability award, Julia Norris and Tyler Penton of Grieg Seafood were recognized with the Distinguished Early Career/Youth award and Cyr Couturier was named 2022’s Aquaculture Ambassador.

Photo L to R: Chris Williams, Tyler Penton, Julia Norris, Cyr Couturier, Sheldon George, Rebecca White (Missing from photo: Gary Wilton)

“The finfish and shellfish aquaculture sectors in this province have seen some truly tremendous advances on all fronts in recent years, and these awards help recognize the contributions of the many dedicated and talented people and companies we have supporting that effort,” said NAIA Executive Director Jamie Baker. “The people recognized today have all made remarkable contributions to the establishment and growth of the sector in our province on many levels, and we look forward to their continued dedication and achievements.”



Fishery Management Shown to Help Endangered Shark and Ray Populations

Simon Fraser University (SFU) in Vancouver has reported in a new journal that fishery management has a positive effect on endangered shark and ray populations.

The population of these slow-breeding sea creatures has dropped by 71 per cent over the last 50 years. This downtrend, however, has shown signs of recovery in the Northwest Atlantic in nine species of 11 since the implementation of U.S. fishery management plans in 1993.

The current number of coastal species threatened with extinction is four times higher in the Southwest Atlantic, where such management measures are not in place. According to the lead author of the journal, Nathan Pacoureau, these strides made in certain parts of the globe can easily be undone in areas with less strict management plans.

“Our findings provide hope but are a microcosm of the wider problem faced by sharks and rays,” said Pacoureau. “Many shark and ray species range widely and successful conservation in one country can be undone by less regulated fishing areas outside those borders.”



Global Demand for Frozen Seafood on the Rise

According to Fact.MR, a market research group, the demand for frozen seafood products is on the rise, boasting a current value of US $27 billion, with a compound annual growth rate of around five per cent through 2031.

Frozen fish, due to its long shelf life and year-round availability, is able to be purchased at a lower cost without sacrificing the nutritional value of meals in consumers’ hectic day-to-day schedules. This trend has led manufacturers to expand their production of processed seafood products worldwide.

“Manufacturers are focusing on expanding their product portfolios and entering new markets as a result of widespread adoption of frozen seafood around the world. Investing substantially in promotional initiatives to increase awareness of the product’s benefits, as well as innovating in packaging, will help gain a competitive edge in this space,” said a lead analyst at Fact.MR.



N.L. and Nunavut Sign Memorandum of Understanding

Andrew Furey, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, and P.J. Akeeagok, Premier of Nunavut, along with other members of the respective governments, recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that seeks to foster collaboration, partnership and development within the Arctic.

“We value the partnership we have with the Government of Nunavut. We are geographic neighbours, and we share many economic, social and cultural relationships,” said Furey. “Signing this memorandum of understanding strengthens our efforts to continue working together on shared priorities such as climate change, health care, housing and emergency preparedness.”

Both governments have begun the process of establishing a Cooperation and Implementation Committee that will establish a structure in which the governments can collaborate on areas of mutual interest.

“Nunavut’s relationship with Newfoundland and Labrador is founded on common values and a shared maritime history,” said Akeeagok. “This partnership allows us to work together to diversify our economies in areas like fisheries, tourism and modern internet connectivity. As coastal regions, we will collaborate on infrastructure that promotes growth and contributes to Canadian sovereignty.”



FCC Recommends Funding for Reconciliation and Sustainability in Fisheries

Fisheries Council of Canada (FCC) President Paul Lansbergen stressed to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance the importance of financial support for reconciliation for Indigenous peoples in the fisheries sector.

“The federal government has committed to furthering Indigenous reconciliation, so financial resources must be allocated to make meaningful progress,” said Lansbergen.

Lansbergen also highlighted the importance of funding science and sustainability in the sector. He highlighted Canada’s status as a sustainable supplier of seafood, and the FCC’s action plan to maximize the value and economic benefit of the sector by 2040.

“Canada is a water nation, and we have a role to play in the blue food movement,” said Lansbergen. “We need to support the fisheries industry with sufficient science to maximize sustainable use of the resource, and foster innovations that benefit both humans and the oceans.”



Canada On Track to Meet 2025 and 2030 Conservation Targets

Joyce Murray, the Canadian Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, recently announced that the government has made strides towards its goal of conserving 25 per cent of the country’s oceans by 2025, and 30 per cent by 2030.

As part of this progress, Canada recently unveiled its 2023 Marine Protected Area (MPA) Protection Standard. The standard prohibits certain actions in MPAs such as oil and gas exploration, mineral exploration and exploitation and disposal of waste and pesticides.

Mobile, bottom contact, trawl and dredge gear are also prohibited in MPAs, but trap-based fisheries are excluded.

“Canada is a proud ocean nation, with the longest coastline in the world. The ocean plays a central role in climate regulation and are vital to our way of life. Canadians expect us to protect the environment, and today’s announcement does just that,” said Murray. “With a strong protection standard and an ambitious plan for new sites that will help us reach Canada’s targets to conserve 25 per cent of our oceans by 2025, we are well positioned to preserve oceans effectively for generations to come.”



30 Lobster Vessels Testing Ropeless Gear off Massachusetts and Rhode Island

Through April 30, federally permitted vessels will be testing ropeless lobster fishing gear in two separate areas where static vertical lines aren’t permitted. These areas, known as Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan Restricted Areas, are set up to protect endangered whales from becoming entangled in lines.

The gear, which is tracked via GPS and sits on the ocean floor, will not have a vertical line and buoy. Vessels will be allowed to fish up to 10 trawls each using this gear and will feature a flag that reads “Research Through Collaboration” to allow authorities and other vessels to recognize them.

These tests aim to “demonstrate successful retrievals of multi-trap trawls using proven acoustic releases on a variety of experimental on-demand components.”

While many officials are hailing ropeless, on-demand gear as a method of fishing while avoiding whale entanglements, many are criticizing the gear for its high price point.



Canada Investing in Ocean Monitoring Technology

Joyce Murray, the Canadian Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, recently announced $46.5 million in funding to Ocean Networks Canada, a University of Victoria initiative that supports deep sea and coastal observatories.

These observatories monitor data such as climate impacts, ocean noise, and wave and surface currents to help monitor ocean conditions and prepare for extreme events. The data is meant to help protect ecosystems, support navigation and help with emergency response planning.

“Ocean science is essential to the protection and the sustainable use of oceans and waterways,” said Murray. “Today’s funding will support data collection needed to safeguard our waters and the abundance and diversity of the ecosystems and marine life within them. Canada continues to be an ocean science leader for our aquatic environment and blue economy. Ocean science and monitoring is a smart investment when it comes to ocean protection.”



Harvesters Still Waiting for Support After Fiona

About half a year from when Hurricane Fiona made landfall in Newfoundland and Labrador and just two months out from the start of the 2023 fishing season, many harvesters are still awaiting compensation promised to them by the government to recuperate their losses.

Around 40 harvesters suffered losses ranging from lobster pots to wharves and vessels. Those affected were instructed to apply for the Disaster Financial Assistant Arrangements (DFAA) Small Business Program, but the process has led to frustration for those trying to navigate the system. The Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union (FFAW), which has been working with affected harvesters to help apply for compensation, have aired their frustration with the process.

“Our communities are relying on government support to allow us to make desperately needed repairs to infrastructure and replace lost gear,” said Troy Hardy, a harvester from Burnt Islands and an elected Inshore Council member. “Time is slipping away, and without this emergency assistance, many may not be in a position to fish this year.”



Five N.L. Companies Attended International Ocean Tech Forum

Five Newfoundland and Labrador companies, with help from the provincial government, attended the Oceanology International Americas forum in San Diego, California.

eDNAtec Inc., eSonar Inc., the Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University of Newfoundland, Rutter Inc. and SubC Imaging attended the forum from February 14 to 16, 2023, alongside marine science and ocean technology companies from over 30 countries worldwide.

Andrew Parsons, N.L.’s Minister of Industry, Energy and Technology, announced $15,000 in funding to facilitate these companies and organizations to attend the event, explore business development opportunities and expand their market reach. The companies occupied the event’s 2,000-square-foot Canada Pavilion alongside companies from British Columbia, Québec and Nova Scotia.

“Newfoundland and Labrador has a strong and vibrant cluster of companies to support the ocean technology industry,” said Parsons. “Participation at Oceanology International Americas provides a unique forum for connecting with the offshore energy and marine industries. We are pleased to support these businesses as they forge new relationships, demonstrate commitment to their market and further develop ongoing business.”



Canadian Superclusters Receiving Extra Government Funding

François-Philippe Champagne, the Canadian Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced that the Global Innovation Clusters program will receive over $700 million to advance innovation and commercialization in sectors encompassing Advanced Manufacturing, Protein Industries, Digital Technologies, Scale AI (Artificial Intelligence) and Oceans.

The Advanced Manufacturing Cluster is receiving up to $177 million, the Protein Industries Cluster is receiving up to $150 million and the Digital Technology Cluster, Scale AI Cluster and Ocean Cluster are all receiving up to $125 Million.

The Ocean Cluster funding is intended to be used to, “accelerate solutions to address global ocean opportunities, building a stronger Canadian economy and a healthier planet.”



Horizon Enters New Venture with Bourbon

Bourbon Marine and Logistics and Horizon Maritime have entered into a joint venture — Bourbon Horizon AS, incorporated in Norway, to service the North Sea and Canadian offshore oil and gas markets.

The new venture is headquartered in both Fosnavåg, Norway and St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador with a fleet of seven offshore support vessels. Five of these vessels are platform support vessels (PSVs), alongside one anchor handling tug supply vessel (AHTS) and a multi-purpose support vessel (MPSV).

“Horizon is pleased to partner with Bourbon Marine and Logistics, a global leader in the offshore service market, and I’m excited to join my colleagues in this joint venture,” said Bourbon Horizon’s new Managing Director, Cliff Gaetz. “Bourbon Horizon AS will combine our expertise in challenging offshore environments focused on delivering modern equipment, experienced personnel, innovative solutions and exceptional value in support of offshore oil and gas and renewable projects.”



41st Edition of Seafood Expo North America/Seafood Processing North America is Back and Bigger

Seafood Expo North America/Seafood Processing North America, presented by Diversified Communications, will take place from March 12–14, 2023, at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center and is boasting over 25 per cent growth in event space from the previous iteration.

“It is very exciting to see such significant growth of the event. It is a testament to how much the industry values the opportunities the in-person expo provides for their business,” said Wynter Courmont, Event Director at Diversified Communications. “While we still have about five more weeks in the commercial cycle, we have seen increased presence from countries like Canada, China, Ecuador, Iceland, India, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey and the U.S. To date, new participating exhibiting countries include Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea among others; and new pavilions represent Australia, Denmark, Papua New Guinea and Poland. China is also back with a notable presence, after a hiatus brought on by pandemic travel restrictions.”

The convention will be bustling with seafood and processing companies offering a variety of seafood products, from fresh to canned to processed and packaged products. Other exhibitors will feature processing and packaging equipment, logistics and other related services.

The exhibition will also feature educational conferences on topics like, “Economic Update for 2023 — Where are we headed?” and the annual “Power of Seafood 2023” report update.

More information on the expo can be found at seafoodexpo.com/north-america.


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