On the Waterfront – January 2023

Another FFAW Executive Stepping Down

In a surprising move, Keith Sullivan, president of The Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union (FFAW-Unifor) is stepping down.

The decision was announced at a Dec. 1 press conference at the FFAW-Unifor office in St. John’s. Sullivan, who has served as president since 2014, claims the decision is personal and that he has no subsequent employment plans.

“It’s a personal choice for me. And most importantly, I think the organization that I’ve been a part of — it’s in a very good place,” said Sullivan. “There has been transition, but I spoke to the leadership we have around — both the volunteer and both on staff — we have an incredible group of people that are well-situated to continue being that strong voice…”

L-R: Tony Doyle, Keith Sullivan and Jason Spingle

Sullivan will remain in office for a one-month transition period, during which FFAW’s Council will elect a new president.

In July, then FFAW Secretary-Treasurer Robert Keenan also surprisingly announced his resignation.

Any FFAW-Unifor member in good standing is eligible to be nominated for the position. The nomination period will open on December 15 and close on December 29, with an election being held at the Joint Council meeting on January 5, 2023. The selected president will remain in office until 2024, at which time if the position is challenged, a full membership election will be held.

“I’m proud of the difference this organization has made for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. The N.L. commercial fishery is now valued at over $1 billion each year. This value is due in no small part to the collective action of fish harvesters, who stood in solidarity for a fair fishery and a better life 51 years ago, and those who have continued to do it every year and every day since,” said Sullivan.

“Thank you to the members who fight to make their workplaces and their communities better. We have tremendous leadership throughout our province and talented, dedicated staff who will ensure the FFAW continues to grow and be a strong voice for workers and our coastal communities.”



Research Fund Planned to Honour Cabot Martin

The Friends of Cabot Martin are planning to build the Cabot Martin Fund for Research in Regional Policy and Development in honour of the late Cabot Martin.

The fund would be given to the recipients of the Cabot Martin Award for Research in Regional Policy and Development. The fund would be awarded annually over a six-year basis, with each year’s recipient eligible for up to $15,000.

The goal of the fund is to provide funding to applied research projects relating to regional public policy including “development, planning, governance and regulation of the province’s natural resources, particularly mineral resources on land and under the sea, the fishery both wild and cultured, its renewable energy resources, its forests and its land.” Eligibility will be determined by Memorial University.

The organization planning the fund is seeking contributions from private citizens and industries and hopes to receive matching funding by the provincial government.



Feds Announce Funding in Wake of Fiona

As part of a $300-million Hurricane Fiona recovery fund, the Canadian government is funding endeavors to recover, return and dispose of marine litter such as fishing gear as well as finding ways to prevent fishing gear loss in the future.

Joyce Murray, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard announced that $28.4 million will be available for cleanup efforts. This funding is in addition to immediate funding of up to $1.5 million made available to 11 separate groups helping with cleanup in affected areas.

“Hurricane Fiona’s devastation extends beyond the shore. Getting this lost fishing gear out of the water as quickly as possible is a priority for the Government; that way waters will be safer for coastal communities and aquatic ecosystems,” said Murray.

“The Ghost Gear Fund will help reunite fish harvesters with their usable fishing gear, so they can continue their work feeding a hungry world. We remain dedicated to supporting Atlantic Canada and Eastern Québec as communities rebuild.”



N.S. Projects Receive AFF Funds

The Canadian government and the province of Nova Scotia recently announced $7 million for 120 Atlantic Fisheries Fund (AFF) projects, aiming to increase lobster quality in the province through infrastructure, innovation and science partnership projects.

The projects include 95 vessel upgrades, 22 shore facility improvements, one project meant to improve the standard for lobster quality and two research and development projects related to lobster quality. The vessel enhancements include the purchase of live well systems and other technological and equipment upgrades, while the shore facility improvements will include automation upgrades.

The $400-million AFF project is in year five of its seven-year run. Commercial fisheries, aquaculture industries, Indigenous groups, academia, industry associations and organizations and research institutions are eligible to apply for funding through the AFF.



China Seafood Show Cancelled

The 26th China Fisheries and Seafood Expo (CFSE), which was originally supposed to take place October 26–28 in Qingdao, has been pushed to October 25–27 of 2023 due to concerns over rising COVID-19 cases in China.

“Due to the growing number of COVID-19 cases in China, Qingdao city officials still are unable to relax the prohibitions on mass gatherings such as trade shows,” explained Peter Redmayne, President of Sea Fare Expositions.

“In addition, pandemic quarantine and control policies continue to restrict in-country travel between Chinese cities to reduce the risk of pandemic transmission.”



Maine Launches Aquaculture Apprenticeship Program

The Maine Aquaculture Association (MAA) and the Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMI) have launched an aquaculture apprenticeship program with support from the state and the federal government, beginning in 2023.

“The Aquaculture Apprenticeship Program is going to springboard Maine high school graduates into fulfilling careers in Maine aquaculture, providing a wonderful opportunity for them to work on the water and for local partner farms to train and hire them,” said Christian Brayden, MAA Project Manager who is spearheading the program

The program, available to six high school graduates state-wide, is meant to bring young people into the aquaculture industry, as many youths find barriers to entering the trade. The program will feature on-farm training, comprising 2,000 hours of on-the-job training and 144 hours of classroom time at the Southern Maine Community College. The skills these chosen graduates would learn include the maintenance of tools and equipment, shellfish and seaweed production and management, crop and animal husbandry and food safety.

“We are interested in training an apprentice, with the hope that they would stay on as a long-term member of our team,” said Shey Conover, co-owner of Marshall Cove Mussel Farm of Islesboro, Maine. “We have experience hiring and training high school and college students interested in gaining experience on the water and are able to offer training and opportunities for growth within our company.”



Cooke Finalizes Tassal Acquisition

Cooke Inc. has officially acquired the Australia-based salmon and black tiger prawn aquaculture company Tassal Group, paying $5.23 per share and marking the New Brunswick-based group’s first investment in Australia.

“We are thrilled to be joining the Tasmanian aquaculture industry and look forward to welcoming Tassal’s 1,700 employees to the Cooke family of companies,” said Glenn Cooke, CEO of Cooke Inc.

“Over the last few months, myself and members of our global management team have had the opportunity to visit Tassal’s operations and have been so impressed by the team’s dedication to what they do and their communities. We’re looking forward to working with Tassal’s employees and customers to ensure that we continue to produce high-quality, sustainable seafood for the Australian market and beyond.”



ECFE Set to Resume in Yarmouth

In partnership with The Navigator Magazine, the Eastern Canadian Fisheries Exposition will return to the Yarmouth Mariners Centre from January 20 to 21, 2023.

The showcase, which is held every two years, offers visitors an opportunity to see new products in the commercial fishing industry. Visitors to the show include fish harvesters, fish processors, those involved in the workboat industry, search and rescue organizations and other marine industry professionals.

“The rising demand for Canadian seafood generates much anticipation for the 2023 edition,” said Show Manager Shawn Murphy.

“The industry is in an upswing right now and this enthusiasm will definitely be present in Yarmouth when we return to the show floor.”

The 2023 exposition website is now live at www.ECFX.ca. The show hours run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, January 20 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, January 21.



Grieg Backtracks on Norwegian Project

Grieg Seafood has decided to halt a $75-million salmon farming project in Rogaland, a Norwegian county.

The decision is due to uncertainty around a proposed Norwegian tax that is set to affect fish farming operations.

The project was part of Grieg’s Blu Farm concept, which is a tensioned-anchored concrete cage based on technology used in the oil and gas sector. The project had been in the planning phase, with an estimated construction time of two years.

“Sustainable aquaculture at sea offers great opportunities for Rogaland and Norway. With Blu Farm, we have wanted to help develop the industry in this direction, but it will require a lot of capital and has a very high risk,” said Nina Willumsen Grieg, regional director of Grieg Seafood Rogaland.

“With the ground rent proposal, the development concessions will be less valuable, and we will also have less capital left in the company for investment and development. That is why Blue Farm is now unfortunately put on hold.”

This development comes after Grieg had also halted the expansion of a smolt plant, which would have allowed the company to produce larger salmon on land and shorten their time at sea.

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