On the Waterfront – March 2022

N.L. Government Gathers Input on Foreign Ownership in Fish Processing Sector

An online questionnaire seeking public input on the issue of foreign ownership in the Newfoundland and Labrador’s fish processing sector recently closed.

The survey was a key component of a comprehensive review of foreign ownership in the Newfoundland and Labrador fishing sector currently being undertaken by the Provincial Government.

In addition to the online survey, direct consultations between key fishing industry stakeholders and Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture officials are ongoing and will also form another critical component of the review.

Information gathered during the review process will be used to support the development of fish processing licensing policy recommendations for future consideration by the Minister of Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture.

The deadline to complete the online survey was February 4. A final report on the foreign ownership review is expected to be completed and made available to the public later this year.


St. John’s to Host World Aquaculture Event This year

The Aquaculture Canada and World Aquaculture Society (WAS) North America 2022 in-person conference is officially set to take place August 15–18, 2022, at the St. John’s Convention Centre, St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada.

A partnership between the Aquaculture Association of Canada (AAC), World Aquaculture Society (WAS) and the Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association (NAIA), the conference will bring key global aquaculture players together in Newfoundland and Labrador.

“Event organizers and industry partners are thrilled to be working together to bring the Aquaculture Canada and WAS North America 2022 conference to Newfoundland and Labrador, a province that has become a global beacon for responsible aquaculture growth and opportunities,” said John Cooksey, WAS Conference Manager.

“We are planning an exciting four days of events in St. John’s for industry participants from all parts of the sector.”

With eight conference rooms, the three-day conference program will include all aspects of aquaculture from farm to table (visit www.was.org and click the event logo to view the various session topics).

The trade show has a few booths remaining – but with excitement at an all-time high, more than 90 per cent of the exhibition space has already been sold. All exhibitors will have an opportunity to host their staff, customers and conference delegates at the trade show.

Event organizers wish to recognize and thank the sponsors (to date) for the event, including Diamond sponsors: Poultry Protein & Fat Council, and TD Commercial Banking. The lanyard sponsor is BDO Canada. Gold sponsors: Newfoundland Styro, and Pharmaq; Silver sponsors: Badinotti and Skretting; Bronze sponsors: City of St. John’s, Advanced Aquacultural Technologies, Barry Group Inc., EWOS, Hoskin Scientific, Pennecon and Steinsvik. We also thank the WAS premier sponsors: Blue Aqua, Kemin, USSEC, MSD Animal Health and Zeigler.


2022 N.S. Fisheries Minister’s/Seafarmers Conference Postponed

It was recently announced that the 2022 Nova Scotia Fisheries Minister’s/Seafarmers Conference and Trade Show has been postponed until October 11–13.

The organizing committee said that due to the recent surge in cases from the latest variant of the COVID-19 pandemic and new Nova Scotia health restrictions on in-person meetings, an in-person conference and trade show is not possible at this time.

The committee said the event will be held at the Nova Centre in Halifax. To date, more than 40 companies so far have signed up to participate in the trade show.


Bruce Wareham Legacy Lives On in New MI Award

Bruce Wareham

Icewater Seafoods and the Wareham family recently launched the Bruce Wareham Memorial Award in Seafood Quality, a new annual award to honour and continue the legacy of its founder.

The annual award will be granted through the Fisheries and Marine Institute to a student in the Advanced Diploma in Food Safety program.

“My father had a deep desire to help those around him succeed,” explains Alberto Wareham, President and CEO of Icewater Seafoods and son of Bruce Wareham.

“It is our hope that this award can have a substantial positive impact on the life and education of a student each year. We know doing that in his honour would make him proud.”

Applicants are asked to demonstrate how they uphold some of the characteristics that Bruce Wareham himself quietly demonstrated and valued throughout his life: commitment to community, tenacity/ability to adapt to change, improving quality through innovation and treating people with respect.

Linking up with the Advanced Diploma in Food Safety program was a natural fit.

The Icewater Seafoods plant is a world-class seafood manufacturing facility. Food safety standards are taken extremely seriously by the company, employees and its international customers. Bruce Wareham was also proud of the quality of education delivered by Memorial University and the Fisheries and Marine Institute and had unwavering optimism for the future of the fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador.

“Mr. Wareham and Icewater Seafoods have been great friends and supporters of the Institute. This Award celebrates Bruce’s legacy of advancing the seafood industry in Newfoundland and Labrador and inspires our students to apply what they’ve learned at the Institute to make their own impact and contributions to the industry’s innovation in quality and leadership,” said Dr. Rob Shea, Vice-President (Marine Institute), Memorial University.

The Bruce Wareham Memorial Award in Seafood Quality is among the largest annual scholarships and awards offered to students of the Fisheries and Marine Institute. Students of Advanced Diploma programs like Food Safety have already completed an undergraduate degree so acknowledging their dedication and excellence with a significant financial contribution will go a long way.

Eligible students can apply through (https://www.mi.mun.ca/scholarshipsandawards/) and the deadline for the 2022 Award is Friday, February 18, 2022.


Offshore Alliance Calls for N.S. to End Fossil Fuel Industry

The Offshore Alliance, a coalition of 18 community, fishing and environmental organizations, is celebrating as BP and Equinor recently abandoned the last remaining oil leases in offshore Nova Scotia.

In light of the need for all new fossil fuel projects to be abandoned to protect a safe climate, the Offshore Alliance is calling on all political parties to support a new era and commit to end to new oil drilling off Nova Scotia, stop all subsidies for oil and gas, and create a lasting moratorium on oil drilling on Georges Bank.

“This welcome news affirms that there’s no future in fossil fuels and it’s time for the province to formally close the door on fossil fuel exploration in Nova Scotia,” says Robin Tress, Climate and Social Justice Campaigner with the Council of Canadians.

“There hasn’t been any new interest in our offshore in four years and now all existing projects are gone, but the province paradoxically continues to invest in offshore oil exploration with millions in research funding. With so many budgetary and environmental pressures facing our communities, it’s irresponsible to continue spending public dollars on an industry that is giving us worse than nothing — it’s giving us the climate crisis.”

“The fishing community is aware of and alarmed at the threat of climate change. And we know oil drilling directly threatens ocean life and the fishery. As the last oil companies leave the province’s offshore, it’s time for political leaders to realize there is nothing to gain from continuing to promote this industry. A good start would be committing to end the $11.8-million government subsidy to offshore oil and closing the provincial Petroleum Program in the upcoming budget,” according to John Davis of the Clean Ocean Action Committee. “The world requires high quality protein energy, we do not require more hydrocarbons for burning.”

“There is simply no place for new oil drilling projects in a safe climate world,” stated Gretchen Fitzgerald of the Sierra Club Canada Foundation.

“We are relieved to see the industry understands there is no viable path to developing projects in Nova Scotia. Now, we want political leaders to understand this too and stand up to fossil fuel industry and shift limited government resources where they are most needed: to address the climate emergency, support upskilling for workers and the move towards renewables.”


Massachusetts Breaks Annual Seafood Value Record

The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) recently announced the state’s seafood value reached an all-time high in 2021, with ex-vessel value landed sitting at over $800 million pounds by the end of the year.

Story Reed, Permitting and Statistics Program Manager for the DMF, described the record-breaking year as a “remarkable turnaround from 2020.”

Reed broke down how 2020 impacted the seafood industry leading to revenue loss as traditional markets were essentially shuttered due to lockdown measures and consumers avoiding restaurants for most of the year.

For comparison to the $800 million, the 2020 ex-vessel value was $558 million and the five-year average (2015–2019) ex-vessel value was approximately $600 million, per the DMF.

Recent history shows that sea scallops and lobster account for the majority of the ex-vessel value, around 70 per cent typically. In 2021, landings followed similar trends, but the pair of species had higher than average per unit prices throughout the year, jumping that number to 79 per cent in 2021.

“The ex-vessel value of sea scallops and lobster reached all-time highs of approximately $500 million and $120 million, respectively. These drove the dramatic increase in total ex-vessel value,” Reed wrote.

Other species did regain their footing in 2021 as well, including finfish and shellfish species. Reed noted oysters, which saw a 35 per cent drop in value with restaurant closures in 2020. In 2020, ex-vessel value dropped to approximately $17 million from nearly $30 million in 2019. The preliminary total value for 2021 bounced back to over $28 million.

The pandemic has caused many in the Massachusetts seafood industry to adjust from their typical operations to instead focus on more local seafood options for consumers in the state. Reed noted businesses opting for curbside pickup, home delivery and retail boat sales.


2021 a Big Year for Norwegian Seafood Exports

The Norwegian Seafood Council is reporting that 2021 was the best year ever for Norway’s seafood exports.

The country hit both export volume and value records during the year, reaching 3.1 million metric tonnes worth NOK 120.8 billion (US$13.6 billion).

“2021 was another exciting export year for Norwegian seafood. We are in the very favourable position of having products in high demand the world over — even in times of crisis,” said Renate Larsen, CEO of the Norwegian Seafood Council.

“This has resulted in a growth in demand, record export volumes and a total export value that Norway has never experienced before. This is impressive and shows that Norwegian seafood is one of Norway’s key industries for the future.”

Larsen went on to explain that the entire value chain has played a role in the export success of the country’s seafood business.

“We must be careful when interpreting ‘export growth’ as ‘increased profitability’ for everyone. Challenges with market access and increased costs related to operations, purchasing and distribution led to lower margins in parts of the industry last year. To be able to develop, invest and continue to be a leading seafood nation, the industry needs stable operating frameworks and good market access,” Larsen said.

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