On the Waterfront — March 2016

N.S. Government Looking for Seafood Brand

The Province of Nova Scotia has issued a request for proposals for a new provincial seafood brand.

“Nova Scotia’s seafood sector needs geographical branding that gives our product an assurance of distinctiveness attributable to its origin,” reads the government document. Establishing a new fish and seafood brand will “give us a competitive advantage in key global markets such as Asia, Eastern Europe and the United States.”

IMG_0394To do that, the branding must be clear and “convincingly distinct,” while also conveying our “greatest advantages and selling features.” Those are, according to the RFP document, our global reputation for sustainable products, the geographical advantages that make for “ease of shipping and logistics” and, of course, our “exceptional taste and premium quality.”

“Nova Scotia fish and seafood is naturally delicious for the simple reason — the best seafood comes from the clean and coldest waters.”

The tender documents note that fish and seafood make up Nova Scotia’s largest export commodity, accounting for $1.3 billion in 2014.

Crew Rescued from Sinking Lobster Boat

A Coast Guard ship rescued the crew of a fishing boat early morning on Jan. 31 after it reported the vessel was taking on water 16 nautical miles off the coast of Yarmouth, N.S.

Five fishermen aboard the Jill Marie were rescued from the sinking vessel at 1:30 a.m. by the Coast Guard cutter Spray.

JRCC Halifax also dispatched a Cormorant helicopter and a Hercules aircraft from 14-wing Greenwood to help with the rescue efforts.

The vessel eventually sank about 25 kilometres south of Westport, N.S. The five crew members on board were taken to the Meteghan wharf.

Mills Aquaculture Newfoundland Wants to Build Soft-Shell Clam Farms

Mills Aquaculture Newfoundland is proposing to build three soft-shell clam farms at Stephenville Crossing, Seal Cove and Piccadilly Bay, according to The Telegram.

The proposal for Stephenville Crossing would create a farming area covering 337.89 hectares of sandy flats.

In Seal Cove (the Seal Cove west of Stephenville Crossing), the proposed farm covers 378 hectares.

The farm at Piccadilly Bay, on the Port au Port Peninsula, would cover 83.26 hectares.

Mills Aquaculture Newfoundland is proposing to clear the areas of predatory species such as starfish, plus invasive species including green crab. The areas would then be subdivided and the company would try different means of promoting clam reproduction and growth for harvesting.

Harvesting would begin in April and run into November. Operations, if approved, could start in April 2016, according to the proponent.

The proposal is currently undergoing environmental review by the province. All three farms were registered for assessment on Jan. 21. Public comments were due Feb. 25. Decisions are expected by Mar. 6.

MacLauchlan_ccP.E.I. Premier Pleased With Federal Fisheries Meeting

Open dialogue and a commitment to collaboration were the highlights of meetings in January between the Province of Prince Edward Island and the federal minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Hunter Tootoo.

“Prince Edward Island’s fishing and aquaculture sectors are important contributors to our province providing jobs and opportunities for economic development,” said Prince Edward Island Premier Wade MacLauchlan.

“To continue to build on our successes, it is important to ensure the province’s interests and concerns are heard when decisions are being made nationally that could affect our industry. The Province of Prince Edward Island will continue to work with our local industry associations and the federal government to ensure a prosperous fishery for our province.”

MacLauchlan had the opportunity to speak to Tootoo on labour forces challenges, in particular in the processing sector due to changes to the federal Temporary Foreign Worker Program, as well as opportunities for continued export growth for the Island’s fishing and aquaculture industries.

In a meeting later in the day, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Alan McIsaac spoke with the federal minister about the province’s current quota allocations and the importance of innovation and research in the sectors.

McIsaac also addressed the labour force challenges and the need for short-term measures to be in place for this fishing season if a full review of the program could not be completed at this time.

“The province has been pleased with the level of cooperation and positive working relationship we have had with Fisheries and Oceans and looks forward to strengthening those relationships over the coming years,” McIsaac said. “Working collaboratively we can find ways to move our industry forward and ensure the continued strength and sustainability of our fishing and aquaculture sectors.”

Did N.L. Seek a Food Fishery Commitment From Tootoo?

Kevin Parsons, Newfoundland and Labrador’s fisheries critic for the Official Opposition, is asking if the Ball Government received a commitment from federal Fisheries Minister Hunter Tootoo to end the dangerous and discriminatory practice of limiting the Newfoundland and Labrador recreational food fishery to just a few days when bad weather can put people in jeopardy.

The Liberals promised in their 2015 policy platform to advocate strongly on the province’s behalf for an expanded recreational food fishery.

The Premier’s mandate letter to the province’s fisheries minister states: “I expect you to strongly advocate to the federal government on issues related to the Newfoundland and Labrador fishery and oceans policy in collaboration with your colleagues, given their role in the fishery. Advocacy efforts should include … An expanded recreational groundfish fishery…”

Parsons said, “People are waiting to hear a full report from the provincial minister on the details and results of his advocacy efforts. It’s time to expand the recreational food fishery so people in this province can enjoy the benefits that other Atlantic Canadians enjoy and choose to fish on days when it is safe to be on the water.”

N.S. Salmon Aquaculture Committee in Place

Nova Scotia now has a committee to develop a system to track escaped farmed salmon.

“Escapees are a worldwide concern wherever there are marine salmon farms,” chairman Carl Purcell of the Nova Scotia Salmon Association said in a news release issued last month.

“Nova Scotia can become a world leader in this field and develop a tracing system that could be used globally.”

The group will include representatives from the angling community, aquaculture operators and provincial and federal governments as part of the new containment management rules for fish farms in Nova Scotia, the release said.

For the next year, the group will review practices and make recommendations to the provincial Fisheries and Aquaculture Department for policies related to the fish farming industry in the province.

“I would like to thank the committee members for agreeing to work on this important issue as we build public trust in the ability of aquaculture to develop in an accountable way,” Keith Colwell, provincial fisheries and aquaculture minister, said in the release.

“I’ve made it very clear that we are committed to a transparent approach to managing the development of this sector. That includes our approach to tracing escaped salmon.”

Summerside-PEI-fish-plantPEIFA Raising Concerns Over Fish Plant Staffing

The Prince Edward Island Fishermen’s Association (PEIFA) announced recently it has significant concerns regarding insufficient staffing levels at processing plants in Prince Edward Island and Atlantic Canada.

The past two years have seen a rebounding of prices paid to the harvesters. These price increases have been related to increased demand related to a combination of expanding export markets and increased promotion of value added products and supplying these new markets is at risk if sufficient plant staffing levels are not achieved, the PEIFA said in a press release.

In addition, staffing shortages can also limit the availability of value added products.

A significant harvester issue is an increased possibility of daily catch limits for individual harvesters due to a lack of plant workers in both P.E.I. and New Brunswick.

The PEIFA has worked closely with the PEI Seafood Processors and the Maritime Seafood Coalition in advancing these concerns. The worker shortage continues despite wage increases and other improvements in working conditions. Dwindling rural populations are also a contributing factor to the worker shortage.

“It is important to note that all major countries that process seafood products depend on temporary outside labour to make their seafood industries successful and profitable. This past week the United States has increased their number of temporary foreign workers. The seasonality of many fisheries makes these staffing issues an international challenge.”

The PEIFA supports the position of Egmont MP Robert Morrissey in advancing a call to action on this critical issue. The PEIFA is calling for an immediate change in the current Temporary Foreign Worker policy so that processing plants can be staffed sufficiently for the upcoming 2016 spring fishing season.”

Baffin Fisheries Expanding Operations in Nunavut

A new executive team at Baffin Fisheries Coalition (Baffin Fisheries) recently announced it has secured 100 per cent ownership of all vessels and assets, and is expanding its administrative offices in Nunavut.

The announcement was made by a newly appointed executive team of Jacopie Maniapik, president; Methusalah Kunuk, vice-president and Leo Mucktar, corporate treasurer. The appointments were confirmed in December 2015 by the board of directors, which is composed of representatives from each of five Inuit community groups that jointly own Baffin Fisheries.

“This marks the beginning of a new era for Baffin Fisheries,” Maniapik said. “We are now able to fully manage our fleet and create new jobs and career opportunities in Nunavut.”

In addition to the three new executive positions based in Nunavut, Baffin Fisheries is expanding its board of directors, and creating new crew management, recruitment, and administrative positions in Nunavut communities.

“The first priority is to recruit more Nunavummiut to the fishing industry,” Maniapik said. “We need to educate our youth about the benefits of a career in this growing industry.”

Baffin Fisheries operates a fleet of four vessels, producing cold water turbot and shrimp from the waters around Baffin Island. The company exports fresh-frozen seafood products to markets around the world is involved in developing new inshore and offshore fisheries, and conducting scientific research regarding emerging fisheries.

Baffin Fisheries secured 100 per cent Inuit ownership of its entire fleet in late 2015 by acquiring from its Icelandic partners all outstanding shares in Inuksuk Fisheries Ltd., which owns and operates the large factory freezer multi-species trawler, the Inuksuk. This acquisition, combined with the September 17, 2015 acquisition of the 64-metre Arctic shrimp trawler, Sivulliq, positions Baffin Fisheries as the largest seafood harvesting company in Nunavut. Baffin Fisheries is 100 per cent owner of two factory freezer, fixed-gear vessels and two large factory-freezer multi species trawlers.

277Milestone Edition of Newfoundland Commercial Marine Event

The North Atlantic Fish and Workboat Show returns to Mile One Centre in St. John’s, Newfoundland this fall.

Taking place November 18-19, 2016, the show will be celebrating a special anniversary: its 5th edition.

Presented by The Navigator and produced by Master Promotions, the show caters to all those who work on or around the water and features boats, marine services and equipment, as well as supplies, services, and safety gear for commercial fishermen and other workboats.

“This show is a proud Atlantic Canadian tradition,” said Show Manager Shawn Murphy. “It features a broad exhibitor base, new and innovative products, and an engaged audience who are in the market to buy. We love bringing this show to Newfoundland every two years!”

“We are just coming off a hugely successful edition of Fish Canada Workboat Canada, held in late January in Moncton,” Murphy added. “That success combined with the current strength of the industry will certainly mean a strong North Atlantic Fish and Workboat Show with thousands of key buyers from across the region.”

As part of the event, the latest group of inductees for the Atlantic Canada Marine Industries Hall of Fame will be presented. Further details on the nomination process will be available soon on the show website: www.NAFISH.ca.

“This special recognition is a wonderful way of formally acknowledging some of the many people who have made valuable contributions to all sectors of the marine industry in Atlantic Canada,” said Kerry Hann, Editor, The Navigator. “It is a great pleasure for us at The Navigator to work with those who nominate individuals for the Hall of Fame, because it allows them and us an opportunity to say ‘Thank You’ for all they’ve done for the rest of us.”

Show Hours:
Friday, November 18
10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Saturday, November 19
10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Mile One Centre
St. John’s, N.L.
For full show details, visit: www.NAFISH.ca.

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