On the Waterfront – March 2024

Paul Lansbergen

FCC President Elected to Chair ICFA

The president of the Fisheries Council of Canada (FCC), Paul Lansbergen, has been elected to Chair the Board of Directors for the International Coalition of Fisheries Associations (ICFA).

ICFA represents fish and seafood industry associations spanning 25 different countries, accounting for 85 per cent of fish landings worldwide. As the president of the FCC, Lansbergen previously sat on the board of ICFA as its Vice Chair before he was elected Chair.

“ICFA, as the voice of the global fisheries industry, is at the centre of several key issues and opportunities that are converging to create an interesting future for the growth of seafood,” said Lansbergen. “I look forward to working with Coalition members to increase our visibility, promote our interests and capture the opportunities that exist.”


Albacore and Yellowfin Tuna Receive MSC Certification

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), an international non-profit that provides eco-certification to fisheries worldwide, has announced that Canadian albacore and yellowfin tuna have received MSC certification through the creation of the North West Atlantic Swordfish and Tuna fishery certificate.

Previously, the certified fisheries existed as the North West Atlantic Canada harpoon and North West Atlantic Canada longline swordfish fisheries before their combination and inclusion of the tuna fisheries. The North West Atlantic Swordfish and Tuna fishery certification has also been expanded to include rod and reel, buoy gear and troll gear types.

“We congratulate the swordfish fleets for their successful re-certification which marks an impressive 10 years in the MSC program. The diversification towards new species and more selective gear types is just one more example of how MSC-certified fisheries work to continuously invest in sustainability,” said Kurtis Hayne, Program Director for the MSC. “The addition of yellowfin and albacore is a first for MSC-certified tuna in Atlantic Canada and one we anticipate could appeal to consumers interested in more artisanal, sustainable tuna options.”


Canada Invests $300,000 in Portable Marine Biotoxin Test

Mark Holland, Canada’s federal Minister of Health announced $300,000 in funding for two small companies to develop a proof-of-concept for an environmental domoic acid test. The chosen companies were Burlington, Ontario-based Cytodiagnostics Inc. and Montreal, Québec-based Sensoreal Inc.

Domoic acid is a naturally occurring biotoxin produced by algae. In shellfish with high levels of biotoxins like domoic acid, consumption can cause food poisoning and life-threatening neurological effects, including amnesic shellfish poisoning. Repeated low-level doses of domoic acid may accumulate over time and lead to cognitive disorders such as memory loss.

“By working with Canadian innovators, the Government of Canada is taking steps to improve food safety through science, while also helping small and medium businesses in Canada,” said Holland. “Research and development on a portable test for domoic acid can help advance our understanding of the relationship between this marine biotoxin and environmental conditions.”


TSB Releases Recommendations Following Sinking of Atlantic Destiny

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) has pointed to insufficient crew knowledge of fire suppression systems as the key contributor of the sinking of the fishing vessel Atlantic Destiny south of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia in 2021.

Catastrophic engine failure aboard the Atlantic Destiny led to the vessels shaft generators and associated machinery exploding, which caused a fire and flooding within the engine room. The crew of 31 aboard the vessel were evacuated by search and rescue teams, and the Atlantic Destiny sunk the next day.

While the crew was able to successfully use the room’s fixed fire suppression system, crewmembers re-entered the room to investigate the sounds of running water and to access the auxiliary generator. These actions, according to TSB, allowed for oxygen be re-introduced in the space and for the fire to be reignited.

As such, the board has expressed concern that there is a lack of knowledge surrounding pre and post-release stages of onboard fire suppression systems.


FFAW Reminds Government of its 115,000mt Cod Commitment

During a meeting with Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union (FFAW) reminded the new minister of a commitment held by consecutive fisheries ministers since 1979 to allocate the first 115,000 metric tons of Northern cod to inshore owner-operators and Indigenous groups before any offshore allocations are provided.

The union assured the minister that the inshore fleet has the capacity to harvest this cod and asked for the government to affirm this longstanding commitment.

“The 115,000mt allocation was confirmed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau upon his first election, and as we get closer and closer to commercial status, this important allocation must be reaffirmed as we see corporate interests angling to take control,” said FFAW President Greg Pretty.


NOAA and BOEM Release Final Right Whale Offshore Wind Strategy

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) have released a joint strategy to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales while developing offshore wind energy.

The strategy, which follows three main tenants of mitigation and decision-support tools, research and monitoring as well as collaboration, communication and outreach, is designed to responsibly meet the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of developing 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030.

“Right whales are endangered and climate change is impacting every aspect of their survival — from changing ocean habitat, prey availability and affecting migratory patterns — making the transition to cleaner, renewable energy critically important,” said NOAA Fisheries Assistant Administrator Janet Coit.


SubC Imaging Receives Over $50,000 in N.L. Government Funding

Andrew Parsons, the Newfoundland and Labrador Minister of Industry, Energy and Technology, announced that SubC Imaging would receive $52,800 in funding through the Business Development Support Program to help the company market its underwater imaging technology.

“Our government sees the value in supporting the growth of tech companies in our province,” said Parsons. “The foresight of SubC Imaging to develop a strategic marketing plan is important as they seek additional new customers in new locations around the world. It will also allow them to best position their business and products to stand out in the global marketplace.”


2022 Maine Pinniped Unusual Mortality Event Over, Said NOAA

A closure following the deaths of 143 harbour seals, 28 gray seals and 10 unidentified seals has finally ended, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The unusual mortality event (UME) was determined to be caused by a spillover of the avian influenza H5N1 virus. The UME was confined to Maine, with the last reported seal case of H5N1 being detected in the summer of 2022.


Newdock Awarded Contract for Judy LaMarsh Refitting for CCG

As part of the Vessel Life Extension Program, St. John’s, N.L.-based Newdock was awarded a $34 million contract to refit the light icebreaker Judy LaMarsh for service in the Canadian Coast Guard. The vessel will serve as an interim vessel as the Coast Guard revitalizes its fleet with newer vessels.

“The Judy LaMarsh will enter back into service in early 2025, and it will be replacing vessels throughout the Vessel Extension Program,” said Adam Wettges, Director of Vessel Modification Projects. “Right now, that goes out to the end of the 2030s to the early 2040s.”


CFLI Funding Project Azul to Develop Mussel Farming in Philippines

The Canadian Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) has funded a project that looks to bring mussel farming to Daram, Samar, Philippines.

The CFLI is designed to support small-scale projects in developing countries that align with Global Affairs Canada’s areas of engagement. The funded project, known as Project Azul, seeks to “catalyze the sustainable development of rural, seaside communities.”

As part of the funding, a mussel longline was installed in Betaug Village in Daram town, Philippines, to establish a micro-Blue Economy in the region.

“This project is not just a significant step for Daram but is poised to set a precedent as a pioneer in the entire country,” said Project Azul in a statement.

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