P.E.I. Fishing Accidents Claims Two Lives
The Canadian Transportation Safety Board is investigating an unusual collision of two lobster boats on June 12 that left two crew members dead.
The accident, that occurred in the area of Murray Harbour, involved one vessel colliding with a stationary lobster boat. RCMP said the collision occurred when one boat, on its way back to shore, smashed into another boat that was buoyed about nine kilometres off the coast. Both fatalities were on the stationary vessel that split in two as a result of the collision and sank.
59-year-old Chris Melanson, of Weymouth, N.S., and 20-year-old Justin MacKay, of Montague, P.E.I., were identified as the victims of the accident.
Support Announced for N.L. Fish Plant Workers
The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has made $2.5 million available to support plant workers impacted by the downturn in the fishing sector.
Funding will come from the Labour Market Development Agreement and is in addition to $500,000 for other supports available under the Integrated Transition Framework for Displaced Plant Workers, which responds to communities and individuals impacted by fish plant closures.
Administered by the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment, the funding will help displaced workers find new employment. The provincial government will be reaching out to impacted companies, communities and residents, to provide information on available supports and to determine eligibility for assistance.
This funding builds on the assistance and support provided through the Community Enhancement Employment Program administered through the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment, which provides funding to eligible sponsors, including towns, Inuit community governments, regional municipalities, local service districts, community and economic development organizations and other non-profit organizations.
Union Critical of New Oil Exploration Sector
The Fish, Food and Allied Workers’ Union (FFAW) is criticizing a recent announcement by the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) of a new oil and gas exploration sector that lies within a marine refuge area closed to all fishing activity.
This comes just months after the federal Liberal government announced several new marine refuges that restrict all fishing activity while oil and gas operations persist unencumbered, the union stated in a press release.
The newly announced sector is in addition to a separate call for bids that was opened in April for new exploration licenses.
“Oil, gas and seismic activity is continuing completely unrestricted in these supposed protected areas. This is understandably frustrating for harvesters who have given up considerable fishing grounds in the name of conservation,” said FFAW-Unifor President Keith Sullivan.
Sullivan adds, “We cannot ask fish harvesters to accept the closure of an area to all fishing activity in the name of conservation while continuing to allow oil and gas exploration in that same area.”
In addition to the marine refuge closures, new areas that are promoted as open to oil and gas exploration and development include valuable fishing grounds that will significantly affect fish harvesters’ enterprises. The provincial government also has plans to double oil and gas extraction in the next 12 years, which will undoubtedly impact conservation areas and harvesting activities. It is essential that harvesters be properly consulted prior to the bid process commencing.
“Both levels of government have shown a clear disregard for the interests of fish harvesters and coastal communities by prioritizing oil and gas over the fishing industry and conservation efforts. It’s time for the government to stop shutting harvesters out while letting oil and gas in,” concluded Sullivan.
Eastern Canadian Fisheries Exposition Returns to Yarmouth for 2019
Canada’s longest-running, most successful commercial fishing show will return to the Yarmouth Mariners Centre January 25-26, 2019.
The Eastern Canadian Fisheries Exposition is held every two years in southwestern Nova Scotia and offers visitors a comprehensive showcase of products and services for the commercial fisheries industry. The show is presented in partnership with the Navigator Magazine, the voice of Atlantic Canada’s fishing industry.
The event attracts visitors from throughout the Maritimes, across the country, and the eastern United States. At its last edition in 2017, attendance numbers soared to 4,726 — the highest in more than a decade. Visitors to this key biennial event include fish harvesters, fish processors, those involved in the workboat industry, search and rescue organizations and other professions relating to the marine industries.
“Strong attendance and strong sales were underlying themes throughout the latest editions of each of Master Promotions Ltd.’s commercial fisheries shows,” said show manager Shawn Murphy. “The industry is in an upswing right now and this energy and enthusiasm will definitely be present this February in Yarmouth. It’s going to be a great show!”
The Eastern Canadian Fisheries Exposition is part of a portfolio of marine trade events in Atlantic Canada produced by Master Promotions Ltd. Other related events include the North Atlantic Fish & Workboat Show and Fish Canada Workboat Canada, held in St. John’s, N.L. and Moncton, N.B. respectively.
The 2019 show website is now live at www.ECFX.ca. Companies interested in exhibiting at the show are invited to visit the show website for information on booth package and pricing options.
Again in 2019, deserving individuals who have made valuable contributions to the marine industry will be inducted into the Atlantic Canada Marine Industries Hall of Fame. Additionally, a networking reception will take place in conjunction with the show. For up-to-the-minute information on the event, stay tuned to the website as well as the show’s Facebook and Twitter pages.
Show Hours: Friday, January 25 from 10 a.m – 5 p.m.
Saturday, January 26 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Show Location: Mariners Centre, 45 Jody Shelley Drive, Yarmouth, N.S.
Show Website: www.ECFX.ca
Marine Protected Area of Banc-des-Américains to be created
The Government of Canada and the province of Quebec recently announced their intention to establish the first joint marine protected area — the Banc-des-Américains — located off the eastern tip of the Gaspé Peninsula.
This will be the first project under the Canada-Quebec Collaborative Agreement to establish a network of marine protected areas in the Estuary and Gulf of the St. Lawrence.
The establishment of the proposed Banc-des-Américains marine protected area will be subject to a specific intergovernmental agreement. The new marine protected area will have double status, as an aquatic reserve under Quebec law and as a marine protected area under the Oceans Act.
The proposed Banc-des-Américains Marine Protected Area covers approximately 1,000 km2 off the Gaspé Peninsula between Cap-Gaspé and Cap-d’Espoir where the Gaspé and Chaleur Bay currents meet. This biological crossroad is rich in plankton and therefore important for many fish and whale species, some of which are endangered, such as the blue whale and the wolffish.
The Canada-Quebec Collaborative Agreement to establish a network of marine protected areas in the Estuary and Gulf of the St. Lawrence will enable both levels of government to meet their marine conservation targets and to protect biodiversity.
The Agreement specifies the principles of collaboration for the creation of marine protected areas in Quebec and the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence. It also confirms the mandate of the Canada-Quebec Bilateral Group on Marine Protected Areas, created in 2007.
The Agreement states that marine protected areas will be selected, planned and implemented jointly and that the designation of each new area will be subject to an intergovernmental agreement.
Consultations on the areas of interest for potential joint marine protected areas in the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence will be undertaken in fall 2018. Stakeholders will have the opportunity to comment on the proposed areas.
Nunavut Fisheries to Get $2.5-Million in Development Funds
CanNor is a program to support development of fisheries in northern Canada.
It has invested more than $8 million in exploratory fisheries research and feasibility studies in the north. This has resulted in an increase in northern fisheries quotas and expanded the development of the industry.
A new injection of nearly $3 million was recently announced in Nunavut.
CanNor will spend $2 million over four years on fisheries research off the coast of Baffin Island, supporting the work of the Nunavut Fisheries Association, formerly known as the Nunavut Offshore Allocation Holders Association.
The association fishes for both turbot and shrimp.
In addition, CanNor will spend $536,130 to develop the inshore turbot fishery and the Nunavut government and other partners will contribute another $393,020. The inshore fishery is being developed around Oikiqtarjuaq.
“The Government of Canada has long supported the development of the fisheries sector in the north. By providing investments in research, training and infrastructure we are helping to grow an industry worth millions and provide employment to those living in northern communities,” said Navdeep Bains, the Federal Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and the Minister responsible for CanNor.
Newfoundland Cod Pot Study Nets Positive Results
A study led by Philip Meintzer and other researchers at Memorial University in St. John’s compared four different types of cod pots used in Newfoundland and Norway.
The purpose was to see if certain pot designs could increase catch per unit effort (CPUE) and to determine whether there was a cod pot that was optimized for catching cod in Newfoundland.
The researchers worked with a group of fishermen off Fogo Island who are catching pot cod.
They found that the current models in use in Newfoundland are superior than the Norwegian pot designs for both catch and for reduced bycatch.
Most significantly, with a modification to the pot used in Fogo Island, the researchers were able to show a 145 per cent increase in CPUE, with no corresponding increase in bycatch.
Pot fisheries, in general, are very low bycatch fisheries.
The study confirmed that pot cods were a viable harvest method in Newfoundland.
Snow Crab Market Adjusts to Lower Supply
The international snow crab market has adjusted to lower supplies.
With the season almost over in Newfoundland and the Gulf, Urner Barry is reporting that the crab market is now flat, both for Canadian snow crab and for Russian snow crab as well.
It appears the market has adjusted to the higher prices, which are up 20 per cent over last year for Gulf crab for example and 56 per cent higher than their five-year average.
At $9.10 to $9.15, both Newfoundland and Gulf snow crab 5-8 sections are more expensive than Alaskan 5-8s, dungeness clusters and Russian bairdi crab.
As a result, Urner Barry is reporting that sales activity has slowed and instead of buyers calling suppliers looking for crab, the shoe is now on the other foot and sellers who are holding crab are now calling buyers, trying to drum up some sales.
Usage is definitely down in the traditional crab buffets, but the foodservice operations that depend on snow crab are still buying, although in lower quantities.
ASF and NASF Sign 12-Year Salmon Agreement with Greenland Fishermen
The Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) and the North Atlantic Salmon Fund (NASF) have signed new agreements with commercial fishermen in Greenland and the Faroe Islands that will protect thousands of adult wild Atlantic salmon from commercial nets and longlines, allowing them to return to North American and European rivers.
The new Greenland Salmon Conservation Agreement will be for a period of 12-years (2018-2029). Representatives of ASF, NASF and the Association of Fishers and Hunters in Greenland (KNAPK) finalized the agreement on May 24 in Reykjavik, Iceland, after more than 12 months of negotiations. The Faroe Island agreement between ASF, NASF and the Faroese Salmon Fishing Vessel Association (Laksaskip) was signed in Reykjavik on May 22, continuing a decades-long suspension of commercial salmon fishing dating back to 1991.
The coastal waters of Greenland and the Faroe Islands are critical ocean feeding grounds for large wild Atlantic salmon from hundreds of rivers in North America and Europe. Commercial catches in these areas are known as mixed-stock fisheries because salmon are captured from relatively healthy populations as well as endangered ones. This impacts vulnerable rivers like the Penobscot River in the U.S. and the St. John River in Canada, as well as iconic rivers with reduced counts, such as the Tweed in Scotland, Iceland’s Bix Laxa and the Alta in Norway.
Under the terms of the agreement, the Greenland and Faroese delegations to the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO) will declare zero commercial quotas at the international summit in Portland, Maine. As a result, mature salmon that would otherwise be removed by commercial nets will begin returning to their home rivers in the spring of 2019.
In exchange for no commercial salmon fishing in Greenland, ASF and NASF will financially support alternative economic development, scientific research and education initiatives focused on marine conservation. A subsistence harvest by licensed recreational fishermen for personal and family consumption will continue.
Norway Reports Record Cod Exports
The Norwegian seafood council reported that cod exports reached a record value in the first quarter of 2018.
“This is the best quarter for cod ever, with a total export value of over NOK 3 billion. In particular, clipfish, salted fish and fresh whole cod in particular have experienced price increases, with 19 per cent, 12 per cent and seven per cent respectively. This is due to strong demand in our most important consumer markets, such as Portugal and Spain,” says Ingrid Kristine Pettersen, seafood analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council.
Norway exported 8,700 tonnes of salted fish with a value of NOK 429 million in the first quarter. This is an increase in volume of four per cent and an increase in value of NOK 68 million or 19 per cent. Portugal, Greece and Spain were the main markets for salted fish in the first quarter.
Norway exported 32,000 tonnes of fresh cod, including skrei, worth NOK 1.1 billion in the first quarter. This is a slight decrease in volume from last year, while export value has increased by NOK 42 million or 4 per cent. Of this, skrei accounts for 4,300 tonnes, which is an increase of 3 per cent. Norway exported NOK 166 million in the first quarter. This is an increase of NOK 14 million or 9 per cent compared to the same period last year.
Norway exported 22,000 tonnes of frozen cod with a value of NOK 772 million in the first quarter. This is an increase in volume of 5 per cent, while export values increased by NOK 86 million or 13 per cent compared to the same period last year.