On the Waterfront – July 2023

Port of Stephenville Acquired by World Energy GH2

World Energy GH2 Inc. has successfully closed a deal to acquire the port from the town of Stephenville, Newfoundland and Labrador as part of their Project Nujio’qonik to ship green hydrogen and ammonia to international markets.

Project Nujio’qonik aims to produce hydrogen by 2025 as part of a Canada-Germany Hydrogen Alliance, which calls on the two partner countries to invest in the renewable energy source. The wind-generated hydrogen will be shipped out of the port of Stephenville as part of a transatlantic supply corridor to Germany, which is facing an energy crisis in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“The Port of Stephenville is the cornerstone of our project and will position the Bay St. George area as a green energy hub,” said Sean Leet, the Managing Director and CEO of World Energy GH2. “As a project and an industry, we are building serious momentum here. In just the last few weeks, several key pieces have come together, including the partnership agreement with SK ecoplant, marking the first overseas investment in a Canadian green hydrogen project. Now, we have acquired the Port of Stephenville, a key asset for the production and shipping of green hydrogen and green ammonia. These are important de-risking milestones in the development of our project — and in the launch of a new industry. We look forward to investing in, expanding, upgrading and operating a world-class port for clean energy development here in Newfoundland and Labrador.”



Fish Relocating to World’s Poles as Oceans Warm

According to researchers, a majority of fish populations are relocating to the colder waters of the north and south poles in response to climate change.

“We observed a striking trend wherewith species living in areas that are warming faster are also showing the most rapid shifts in their geographical distributions,” said Carolin Dahms, the lead author of the study. “It’s possible that rate of warming in some regions may be too fast for fish to adapt, and so relocating may be their best coping strategy. At the same time, we see that their ability to do so is also impacted by other factors such as fishing, with commercially exploited species moving more slowly.”

While this move may be a good short-term solution, senior author Sean Killen says that there may be long-term consequences for these fleeing species as well as the ecosystems they’ve chosen to inhabit.

“While relocation to cooler water may allow these species to persist in the short-term, it remains to be seen how food webs and ecosystems will be affected by these changes,” said Killen. “If the prey of these species don’t also move, or if these species become an invasive disturbance in their new location, there could be serious consequences down the road.”



BCSFA Fights for the Future of Salmon Farming in B.C.

The B.C. Salmon Farmers Association (BCSFA) is raising red flags over what they see as the Minister of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) Joyce Murray’s commitment to shuttering the salmon farming industry in British Columbia.

The BCSFA says that they’ve learned that Murray has shown an intention to close the remainder of B.C. salmon farms, of which 40 per cent have been closed since 2020.

“A decision like this will result in the loss of thousands of jobs, trample Indigenous rights, and leave businesses who support the industry scrambling to survive,” said Brian Kingzett, Executive Director of the BCSFA. “This decision is not based on any credible science, including DFO’s own peer-reviewed studies, and is not supported by the many First Nations who want to continue salmon farming in their waters. The closure of salmon farming will decrease Canada’s local food supply, forcing Canada to import salmon from other countries to meet the needs of Canadian consumers at a significant price increase. The plan will also take away the ability of B.C.’s rural, coastal communities to participate in Canada’s Blue Economy.”

The BCSFA is calling on the federal government to “bring a more rational approach to a chaotic process and include other Ministers in providing leadership to develop a reasonable path forward.”

A joint letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in support of salmon farms in B.C. has been signed by the Animal Nutrition Association of Canada, Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance, Canadian Aquaculture Suppliers Association, Canadian Federation of Agriculture, Canada Grains Council, Canadian Meat Council, Canola Council of Canada, Coalition of First Nations for Finfish Stewardship and CropLife Canada.


Capelin Roe Beer Makes a Splash at Seafood Expo Global

Icelandic Asia, an Iceland-based seafood company, made a distinct impression at the 2023 Seafood Expo Global in Barcelona, Spain with their Japanese-inspired beer made of capelin roe, known in Japan as masago, as well as the Japanese herb shiso.

The beer was available in last year’s conference as well, but without the added shiso. Agnes Guðmundsdóttir, Icelandic Asia’s director of sales, said the unique beer was a big success. The masago beer was specifically brewed for the expo, and is not commercially available.

“It was a hit last year and we decided to make a new version of it for this expo and it’s been a hit too,” said Guðmundsdóttir.



OECD Recognizes MUN for Contributions to Oceans Innovations

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has recognized Memorial University of Newfoundland’s (MUN’s) contributions to the province’s oceans innovations ecosystem in a report, where they describe their contributions as “a best practice of how a university can support its regional innovation sector.”

The report, The Geography of Higher Education of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, focuses on the university’s contribution to economic development in the oceans sector, highlighting Memorial’s focus on engagement and connections to the people and organizations that comprise the sector.

“Memorial is an ocean university with deep ties to every aspect of the provincial ocean sector,” said Dr. Rob Greenwood, director of the Harris Centre and associate vice-president, public engagement and external relations, at Memorial. “There is a need for shared understanding — a shared narrative — and a sense of ‘being in it together,’ the university and the province. With more than 40 per cent of Memorial’s research focused on oceans, we believe we are having a positive impact on one of the most important economies in the province.”

The report recommended that Memorial can further improve these connections to the ocean economy by focusing on entrepreneurship and innovation, as well as strengthening international relationships as one of the leading institutions in marine science and technology.



Harvester Successful in Postponing Oil Burning Experiments

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) announced they will be postponing two offshore oil-burning experiments this year, after a battle with the Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union (FFAW).

The experiments were planned to test in-situ oil burning in order for Canada to have better preparedness for handling oil spills. The FFAW’s position was that no amount of oil on the open sea was acceptable — a position DFO eventually acquiesced to.

“We are pleased to see DFO indefinitely postpone these two misguided experiments. An oil spill, no matter the magnitude, could have unknown implications on the health of the ocean environment. Deliberate spills of this nature would be entirely counterintuitive to the principle of environmental protection,” says FFAW-Unifor President Greg Pretty.



FFAW Concerned Over Canada-Philippines Labour Deal

The Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union (FFAW) is raising concern after Transport Canada signed a new deal allowing Filipino seafarers to work aboard Canadian-flagged vessels. This deal, they say, could lead to a loss of well-paying, at-sea jobs in exchange for cheaper labour. The union is also worried that the government’s deal will erode in place safety standards.

With an unemployment rate of 12 per cent in Newfoundland and Labrador, the FFAW believes that effort would be better spent on creating and protecting local jobs.

“FFAW is mostly known as the fish harvester and plant worker Union, but we’ve got over 200 members who work in offshore jobs who are most affected by this decision by Transport Canada,” says FFAW-Unifor President Greg Pretty. “Atlantic Canada has alarmingly high unemployment rates, and yet our Federal Government is looking at ways to make it harder for these Canadians to compete for jobs. And not just any job; a job that is on their doorstep and provides a meaningful livelihood in a skilled industry,” Pretty says.



East River Shipyard, Gold River Marina Operator Set to Expand, Acquiring Lunenburg Shipyard

Brad Boutilier, the owner of East River Shipyard in Hubbards, N.S. and managing partner of Gold River Marina on Mahone Bay, is primed to expand his business to Lunenburg, N.S. by acquiring the idle Lunenburg Shipyard.

The shipyard was previously owned by Lunenburg Marine Railway Company Ltd. and Lunenburg Foundry and Engineering Ltd.

“I’m thrilled that we are able to announce this pending acquisition. I truly feel that we are the right team to bring the shipyard to its full potential as a critical service supporting local, regional and international marine sectors and customers. We are excited to work with the town, industry and all the great skill sets and sub-trades in Lunenburg,” said Boutilier.

The pending acquisition is scheduled to close on or before June 2023.



DFO Releases Details of Experimental Unit 1 Redfish Fishery

In order to gather data on redfish species identification, testing gear to minimize undersized redfish catch, bycatch and targeting specific redfish species and collecting information on reproduction stages, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has announced the criteria for the 2023 Unit 1 experimental redfish fishery. The experimental fishery’s goal is to assess the viability of reopening the commercial fishery for redfish.

To apply, harvesters must be existing groundfish mobile gear license holders with access to the Unit 1 redfish, the applying enterprise must be majority-owned by Canadians, must meet three out of five research objectives, and must submit to criteria such as At Sea Observer coverage and a vessel monitor system.



Premium Brand Holdings to Establish “Clearwater West” in B.C.

The parent company of Clearwater Seafoods, Premium Brand Holdings, is set to close a deal with Indigenous groups in British Columbia to establish a Clearwater West branch.

“We are quite advanced in announcing a Clearwater West type of transaction involving certain Indigenous First Nations, Coastal First Nations in B.C.,” said Premium Brands CEO George Paleologou.

Beyond this expansion, Paleologou mentioned that they’re working on “a number of acquisitions” to expand Clearwater into value-added products.

“We’ve made a number of investments in value-added, both in our soup business,” said Paleologou. “We’ve launched a number of sour type of soups in Canada and the U.S., and we are launching more. We’re also launching them into countries in Asia as well.”



NOAA Announces Fishing Opportunities for Squid, Flounder and Redfish

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that U.S. fishing vessels will be able to fish for yellowtail flounder, shortfin squid and redfish in the international waters of the Northwest Atlantic.

Interested parties may apply to take part in this fishing season until June 1, 2023, with the season running through December 31, 2023. Interested vessel owners must write to Michael Pentony at 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930, phone 978-281-9315 or email Michael.Pentony@noaa.gov.

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