On the Waterfront – July 2015

Newfoundland-Based Fishing Vessel Sinks Off Nova Scotia

The St. John’s-registered Bear Cove Point sank off Georges Bank on the morning of June 9.

All four crew members were rescued by another fishing vessel and were brought back to Riverport, N.S. on June 10.

The vessel sank, in less than hour, about 175 kilometres southwest of Yarmouth and is now at the bottom of Georges Bank, roughly 20 metres below the surface.

Coast Guard officials said it’s still early in the investigation but the transportation safety board has conducted interviews with the crewmen with more expected.

Cookes Purchase Wanchese Fish Company

Last month the Cooke family announced the signing of an agreement to purchase Wanchese Fish Company, based in Suffolk, Virginia.

Wanchese is one of the largest scallop producers located south of New England.

The move into wild fisheries will lead to the creation of a new company, Cooke Seafood USA, which will handle scallops and finfish currently sold by Wanchese. The new company, while owned by the Cooke Family, will not be a subsidiary of Cooke Aquaculture.

The Wanchese Fish Company was founded in 1936 and has grown to become a leading supplier of seafood products in North America and Europe. A vertically integrated seafood harvester, processor and distributor, Wanchese is capable of harvesting over 4,000 tons of wild scallops, flounder and other seafood products each year. Its industry-leading fleet of 15 vessels is capable of providing fresh product to the USA and also has process-at-sea capabilities.

Marine Institute’s ROV Technician Program Receives Accreditation

The Fisheries and Marine Institute’s remotely operated vehicle (ROV) technician diploma has been accredited by the Canadian Technology Accreditation Board (CTAB), a standing committee of the Canadian Council of Technicians and Technologists (CCTT) and represented in Newfoundland and Labrador by the Association of Engineering Technicians and Technologists of Newfoundland and Labrador (AETTNL).

“We are very proud of our program and this accreditation reinforces the strength of our offering and the quality education and training our students receive,” said Glenn Blackwood, vice-president, Memorial University (Marine Institute).

“Graduates and future graduates of this program should be confident that their education is well-respected.”

The Marine Institute’s ROV technician diploma is the only program of its kind in Canada, preparing students to work with a wide range of vehicles, perform ROV maintenance, understand ROV systems and work safely in unique ocean environments.

PEIFA Moving Forward with Commodity Board

The Prince Edward Island Fishermen’s Association (PEIFA) recently met with Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Alan McIsaac to discuss the lobster levy and expressed its wish to move forward with the formation of a lobster commodity board under the Natural Products Marketing Act.

Once established, the lobster commodity board will finalize details of the plan to market and promote Prince Edward Island lobsters.

It is expected that planning and communication will begin immediately once the board is formed. Implementation and collection of the lobster levy for harvesters will begin in the spring of 2016.

“Due to some timelines and procedural challenges, we will be getting the required infrastructure in place now and commence with the levy collection in spring 2016. This continues to be an important initiative of the organization and the fishers of P.E.I.” states PEIFA President Craig Avery.

“I had a great discussion with the PEIFA and am encouraged by their leadership and commitment to this important issue,” said McIsaac.

“The implementation of this levy and the creation of a lobster commodity board will allow Prince Edward Island’s lobster industry to continue to expand their markets and promote the top quality lobster that comes from our seas. The department will continue to work with industry to promote Island seafood products both nationally and internationally.”

Colemans Launches Seafood Traceability Program

Newfoundland-based Coleman’s Supermarkets recently kicked off a seafood traceability program at its stores.

It works when customers purchase a tagged product they can conveniently scan the small bright orange tag with their smart phone or blackberry device which automatically brings them to this website; www.thisfish.info where they enter the number on the tag. A full detailed profile of the fisher will appear on their screen with details on which fisher caught the lobster or halibut and where it was caught.

Currently over 300 west coast fishermen are participating with two species, Newfoundland lobsters and halibut.

ASF Concerned About Salmon Fishery in Greenland

The Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) is very concerned about the continually increasing harvest by Greenland of Canadian Atlantic salmon in its mixed-population fishery.

Greenland expanded its capture of wild Atlantic salmon from 47 tonnes in 2013 to 58 tonnes in 2014, far beyond sustainable levels for the species, the ASF said in a recent press release.

The latest report from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) indicates that, for salmon that spent two winters on Greenland’s ocean feeding grounds and returned to Canada in 2014, Greenland harvested 63 per cent, Canada 35 per cent and St- Pierre et Miquelon two per cent.

“Mixed-population fisheries are unacceptable human impacts upon salmon runs that are already suffering from habitat loss, interactions with farmed salmon and changing environmental conditions,” said ASF President Bill Taylor. “Harvest is one impact that effective government action can help solve and there are steps that can be taken this year that would have an immediate and very positive effect.”

The Government of Canada recently prohibited retention of wild Atlantic salmon for 2015 in the recreational fishery of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. This conservation measure was announced in April by Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Gail Shea in response to dwindling salmon numbers as an interim measure that was recommended by the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Atlantic salmon. Further recommendations to the Minister from the Committee are anticipated this summer and will hopefully achieve greater reductions in the harvest of Canadian salmon.

Cape Breton Seafood Plant Expands Live-Storage Capacity

Cape Breton-based Lobsters ‘R’ Us Seafood is expanding its facilities with some help from the federal government.

The Little Harbour company is boosting its live seafood storage capabilities with a $500,000 repayable contribution from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, the federal government announced last month.

In 2012, the company invested in an energy-efficient, three-room, live seafood storage facility in L’Ardoise that holds up to 650,000 pounds of live lobster and snow crab for up to 150 days. The aim is to keep daily catches fresher for longer and satisfy demand during the off-season, a news release said.

This new federal aid will allow the company to store up to one million pounds, the release noted.

CAIA Receives Federal Funding

The federal government recently announced an investment of nearly $2.5 million over two years to the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance (CAIA) to help the aquaculture industry increase the domestic and international market share for Canadian aquaculture products.

This investment will enable the CAIA to do market research, attend international trade shows and lead missions to raise awareness of Canadian farmed seafood products and target marketing activities for farmed salmon, mussels, sablefish, sturgeon and oysters.

The primary international target markets are the United States, Canada, Asia and Europe.

Canada’s aquaculture sector is primarily an export sector, with over 85 per cent of its production sold abroad. The export value of aquaculture products is approximately $576 million. In 2013, Atlantic salmon dominated farmed exports, with a total value of $502.5 million. Oyster and mussel exports came next, with export sale values of $41.3 million and $21 million respectively.

Acadian Seaplants Named Nova Scotia Exporter of the Year

Acadian Seaplants of Cornwallis, Annapolis Co. took home the award for Exporter of the Year at the 31st annual Export Achievement Awards, held May 21, in Halifax.

“Congratulations to Acadian Seaplants for being named the 2015 Exporter of Year, and to all of the companies recognized today,” said N.S. Business Minister Mark Furey.

“Export success like we are seeing exemplified by these companies will help us reach the goal set out by the OneNS Commission to increase the value of our exports by 50 per cent, creating more jobs and a more prosperous future for our province.”

Acadian Seaplants and eight other Nova Scotia companies, recognized in their communities by regional chambers of commerce, received honours at the ceremony — including Big 8 Beverages, Stellarton, Premium Seafoods Group, Arichat, Richmond Co., Sara Bonnyman Pottery, Tatamagouche, Advanced Glazings Ltd., Sydney, Randsland Farms Inc., Canning, Kings County, Wedgeport Lobsters, Yarmouth, Blue Ocean, Halifax and Van Dyk’s, Caledonia, Queens Co.

Nova Scotia Lobster Landings Smash 200-year-old Records in LFA 33, 34

Senior DFO scientist John Tremblay has released figures for LFA 33 (the area between Halifax and Digby) showing that last season total landings have exceeded 6,000 tonnes, (13.2 million pounds), which he said is the highest total in 200 years of Canadian records, reported Seafoodnews.com.

Although the official report has not been released for LFA 34, (the area around Yarmouth and the Bay of Fundy), total landings are reported to be also a record, over 25,000 tonnes (55 million pounds).

Grey Seals are Compromising Scotland Cod Stock Recovery Plans

Grey seals are compromising the recovery of cod stocks off the west coast of Scotland, research has suggested.

The cod population has been in long-term decline for many years, largely due to fishing. The EU introduced a recovery plan to try and curb cod fishing, but this appears to have had a limited impact.

The BBC recently reported that a study found that although cod fishing has now been cut in half, predation by seals has rapidly increased.

Grey seal populations increased significantly after the passing of conservation laws in the 1970s but, more recently, their numbers in the west of Scotland have levelled off at around 30,000 to 40,000.

The seals are believed to consume nearly 7,000 tonnes of cod each year off the west of Scotland, where landed catches now amount to only a few hundred tonnes.

Researchers from the University of Strathclyde said the amount of cod being eaten by seals was preventing stocks of the fish from recovering.

Less than 10 Per Cent of Seal Quota Taken This Year

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans reported that fewer than 40,000 seals were killed throughout the Atlantic provinces this season, which is less than 10 per cent of the total quota.

There were just over 38,000 harp seals and about 1,100 grey seals hunted, mostly off the coasts of Newfoundland and Quebec.

The local hunt received several setbacks this year.

The first blow came when industry fixture Carino Processing announced it would not be buying seal pelts for fat this year, but instead would be concentrating on selling its current inventory.

This was followed by the somewhat surprising announcement from the Canadian Sealers Association (CSA) that it had let go its executive director, closed its office in St. John’s and would be considerably scaling back operations.

Newfoundland Fisherman Fined $12,000 for Turbot Infractions

Joey Leyte of Seldom has been convicted under Section 22(7) of the Fishery (General) Regulations for failing to accurately report the amount of gear fished, as well as exceeding his trip limit for Greenland halibut (turbot).

Leyte was convicted in Gander Provincial Court on May 4, 2015, for breaching two counts of the Fishery (General) Regulations. He was fined $5,000 with two years to pay for failing to fully and accurately complete his fishing log on a daily basis. He was also fined $2,500 and forfeited $4,742.59 for the value of the fish for exceeding his trip limit of turbot.

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