On the Waterfront – June 2024

FIP Celebrates Several Achievements in Latest Meeting

Stakeholders from around the world met in Barcelona, Spain to celebrate a number of achievements in the Northern cod Fishery Improvement Project (FIP).

The meeting included United Kingdom stakeholders like Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP), Marks & Spencer, Youngs Seafoods and Thistle Seafoods, France’s Sysco division, High Liner Foods from the United States/Canada as well as Canadian stakeholders including Ocean Choice International, Icewater Seafoods, the Association of Seafood Producers (ASP) and the Atlantic Groundfish Council (AGC). Also included in the meeting were representatives from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the government of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Marine Stewardship Council.

The FIP, according to the group, has made strides in the tagging and acoustic identification of Northern cod, with over 1,000 cod tagged as of March 2024. As a central part of the Northern cod FIP, the Northern Cod Acoustic Tracking Project, an array of 75 receiver stations have been placed along 700 kilometres of deepwater shelf-slope regions to track their movement.

Another victory for the FIP comes out of Canada, where the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has revised the stock’s limit reference point (LRP) using a wider array of data and a longer timeline for the stock. Given this new data, Northern cod in Canada is not considered to be out of the “critical zone” at around 20 per cent above the LRP, which denotes the boundary between a critical stock and one in the “cautious zone.”

The FIP is also set to receive $500,000 in funding through Canada’s Atlantic Fisheries Fund to refurbish the array and tag more cod. The funding will also allow for two new PhD research projects to continue to “address gaps” in the group’s understanding of Northern cod.

“There have been encouraging updates on Northern cod science in the past year, setting the stage to move towards a sustainable commercial fishery,” said Jim Cannon, President of SFP. “At the same time, the FIP and its world-class acoustic research continues to bring together industry, academics and government to improve knowledge and inform fisheries management for generations to come.”

 

FFAW Expresses Disappointment in Wind Farm Greenlighting

Following an approval of World Energy GH2’s environmental assessment by the government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union (FFAW) expressed worry over the possible impacts the offshore wind project could have on fisheries off the southwest coast of the island.

World Energy GH2 will have around 60 conditions to meet throughout the lifespan of the project, some of which relate to water and noise monitoring. The union, however, claimed there are many “unknowns” when it comes to the project’s effects on the long-term health of the marine environment and the fishery surrounding it.

“FFAW is not against new developments and job creation, however, new developments cannot come at the expense of longstanding and successful fisheries in our province. The threat imposed on commercial fisheries on the southwest coast is very real, particularly for Lobster Fishing Areas 13A and 13B, which are directly adjacent to the development area,” said FFAW Secretary-Treasurer Jason Spingle. “Undertaking the necessary research on impacts, as well as a commitment to implementing corresponding monitoring plans, would demonstrate an interest in ensuring that wind energy can co-exist with fisheries and this relationship must begin with early and consistent engagement.”

 

Mike Kocsis Appointed New CEO of GSA

The Global Seafood Alliance (GSA), an advocacy group promoting responsible seafood practices, has named Mike Kocsis as its new CEO.

Kocsis’ career in seafood spans over two decades, having worked in leadership roles with High Liner Foods, King and Prince Seafood and Gorton’s Seafood. In 2022, he joined the GSA as its Chief Systems Officer, and was promoted in 2023 to Chief Strategy Officer.

“I’m excited to continue advancing responsible seafood practices globally with our partners. GSA is proud to engage with many of the world’s leading aquaculture and wild-caught seafood producers, retailers, foodservice operators and NGOs, and I look forward to closer collaboration as we advance our shared vision,” said Kocsis. “This work isn’t possible without the incredible team at GSA. Their commitment to our mission and dedication to continuous improvement inspires me daily. It’s an honour to serve this team and lead GSA into the future.”

 

Cooke Aquaculture Named One of Atlantic Canada’s Top Employers

Cooke Aquaculture, which employs 2,300 people in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador, has been recognized as one of Atlantic Canada’s top employers in 2024 by Mediacorp.

“This year’s winning employers understand that it’s not just about making charitable donations. It’s about providing benefits like paid time off so employees can volunteer with local charitable groups without having to worry about losing income or precious vacation time,” said Kristina Leung, Managing Editor at Mediacorp. “In many cases, employers are matching these volunteer hours with donations, which is an effective way to encourage volunteerism.”

Cooke Aquaculture was highlighted for supporting numerous cancer charities in the region as well as participating in other charitable events such as mentoring in local schools and shoreline cleanups.

“The strength of our family company is our people, and Atlantic Canadians are known for their kindness, hard-work and pride in their communities,” said Glenn Cooke, CEO of Cooke Aquaculture.

 

N.L. Opposition Leader Reacts to New Mackerel Bait Fishery

Tony Wakeham, leader of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Progressive Conservative Party, spoke out against the Department of Fisheries and Ocean’s (DFO) decision to open a 470-tonne personal use bait fishery for Atlantic mackerel in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

He said that the voices of the fishery, like the Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union (FFAW), who have called for a commercial mackerel fishery, have been ignored by the federal Liberal Party.

“Yet again the Trudeau Liberals, in faraway Ottawa, are ignoring the voices of those who make their living on the water and are closest to the resource. Harvesters in this province have been calling for a modest fishery for years, but have been ignored,” said Wakeham. “It is remarkable the Trudeau Liberals continue to ignore the voices and experience of those adjacent to the fishery, who speak from personal experience.”

Wakeham also called out the provincial Liberal Party’s “silence” on the matter.

“Again, the Furey Liberals have been silent on another critical fishery issue. Rather than being subservient to their federal cousins, the Furey Liberals need to stand up for our harvesters and those adjacent to the resource,” said Wakeham. “What is most insulting is that American harvesters continue to enjoy a commercial fishery of the resource, for the past number of years, while our boats remain tied up. It is outrageous.”

 

DFO Announces Seizure of Elvers in Digby County, Nova Scotia

Late into the night and early morning of April 20–21, fisheries officers assisted by Nova Scotia Conservation Officers arrested five individuals from Maine for infractions under the Fisheries Act.

During the arrest, 3.448 kilograms of elvers, one vehicle, three dip nets and one fyke net were seized. In addition, and not related to the arrested individuals, officers seized an additional 13 kilograms of elvers and various fishing gear from the same location. In total, 16.5 kilograms of elvers were returned to their river of origin.

 

Municipality of Argyle to Work Hand-in-Hand with Aquaculture Industry

In Argyle, Nova Scotia, a new pilot project known as the Argyle Aquaculture Development Area will see the municipality working in partnership with the aquaculture industry in designating areas for the sector’s development.

Development areas in the area will include Lobster Bay and Pubnico Harbour, which will be developed in phases over time. Applications for the first six sites in Argyle opened as of April 15.

“Municipal and department staff have worked together over the past four years to make this project a reality,” said Kent Smith, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. “It’s a proactive approach to aquaculture development to support local economies and sustainable shellfish and marine plant farming. Sites were reviewed by the Department, working with federal and provincial government partners and the municipality.”

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