On the Waterfront – May 2019

Bayfield Fishing Accident Claims Two Lives

The Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation in Nova Scotia is in mourning after an April 8 fishing accident that claimed two lives from the close-knit community.

Ozzy Clair and Niko Clair, both in their late 20s, have been identified as the victims of the incident involving a capsized 16-foot fishing boat.

Nova Scotia RCMP say that at approximately 3 p.m. on April 8, officers responded to a 911 call indicating that a boat had capsized near Bayfield, N.S. and that there were people in the water.

One of the three people in the small oyster boat managed to make it to shore. The other two individuals were recovered in the water, but were later pronounced dead in hospital.

Both the RCMP and Transportation Safety Board are investigating the tragic incident.

Avoid Harvesting Tagged Seals, DFO Requests

Dr. Garry Stenson of DFO Science’s Marine Mammals Section and colleagues from the University of St. Andrew’s, Scotland, recently tagged 12 young harp seals in the Gulf of St. Lawrence with satellite linked time-depth recorders to track the movement of the seals and determine how they respond to climate change.

DFO is seeking harvesters’ cooperation and asking sealers not to harvest these tagged seals. The tags also provide valuable data on water temperature that can be used by oceanographers to gain a better understanding of the oceans.

While satellite transmitters have been deployed on adult harp seals in the past, this is the first time they have been deployed on young seals in the North West Atlantic.

The tag is clearly visible and humanely glued on the top of the seal’s shoulders with an antenna extending over the head. The tags last for approximately 13 months and eventually fall off.

If you see a tagged seal, please report the location of the seal to Dr. Garry Stenson at garry.stenson@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

FISH-NL Needs Immediate Funds or Will Fold

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) will close by the end of April and abandon a second attempt at certification unless inshore harvesters step up to the plate and pay their dues.

“I’ll say it again, FISH-NL can do this with you, but we can’t do it for you,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL.

“The FISH-NL executive is not prepared to lead a second membership drive that’s guaranteed to fail and it will fail without the support of harvesters.”

FISH-NL was on the brink of closure early last fall after the province’s Labour Relations Board dismissed its application for certification — almost two years after it was filed. Instead, FISH-NL challenged a minimum of 500 harvesters to step forward and pay membership dues of $288 a year.

While the goal was exceeded, only roughly 300 harvesters have actually followed through and paid dues. Most of the rest are either waiting until fishing starts, or weren’t aware they would still have to pay dues to their current union.

In order to force a vote for inshore harvesters to choose between FISH-NL and their current union, half of them must sign membership cards in a card-signing campaign that would likely run between Aug. l and Oct. 31.

“Think of a membership drive the same as an election campaign. You can’t win a campaign unless it’s staffed and financed,” said Cleary. “This isn’t the first time FISH-NL has asked harvesters to step up to the plate, but it will be the last.”

FISH-NL estimates it would need a minimum of $150,000 (or the support of at least 500 more harvesters in paying dues) to follow through with a second application for certification.

N.L. Announces $2.5 Million to Support Fish Plant Workers

The Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Government recently announced $2.5 million to assist fish plant workers in the event of a downturn in processing work.

Funding will come from the Labour Market Development Agreement (LMDA).

Administered by the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment, this Budget 2019 funding supports industry and workers by helping potentially displaced workers find new employment if required and allowing them access to support to gain new skills.

Provincial government staff reach out to impacted companies, communities and residents to provide information on available supports and to determine eligibility for assistance.

The Newfoundland and Labrador fishery employs nearly 16,000 people from 400 communities.

Fourteen First Nations Announce Landmark Agreement with Clearwater on Arctic Surf Clam

A total of 14 First Nations communities in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador and Clearwater Seafoods Incorporated announced they have reached a landmark agreement to the benefit of all parties.

The agreement forges a 50-year partnership that protects existing jobs in the Arctic surf clam fishery while creating meaningful economic, employment and capacity building for the 14 First Nations that are adjacent to the clam resource.

“The strength of this agreement is the opportunity it creates for the 14 First Nations adjacent to the resource to become meaningful participants in the commercial fishery,” said Chief Terrance Paul, Chief of Membertou First Nation and Co-Chair of the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs.

“This is a business development model that has been successful for our community in other sectors and it makes sense to extend it to the seafood industry with Clearwater, as they have industry knowledge and experience.”

The voluntary agreement will be effective immediately and benefits to participating First Nations are retroactive to January 2019. The agreement will provide millions of dollars in benefits to First Nations through annual revenue sharing, training, leadership development, employment, as well as procurement of goods and services from Indigenous suppliers. The partners also commit to work together to submit an Expression of Interest in any new upcoming DFO process.

“It is historic and, in my opinion, a great example of Reconciliation,” said Chief Misel Joe (O.C.), Chief of Miawpukek First Nation.

“Fourteen First Nations communities adjacent to this resource are working collaboratively to ensure that benefits are shared among First Nations. This agreement creates meaningful employment opportunities for our community members without displacing others who have dedicated their lives to this industry and also need the jobs.”

This agreement is an example of business responding to the Call for Action (92) from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and is consistent with Clearwater’s commitment to diversity in our workplace.

“We know we can be a leader for our industry and demonstrate that Indigenous Reconciliation can unite and strengthen communities, build trust, secure existing jobs, create new ones and provide greater prosperity for all,” said Ian Smith, chief executive officer at Clearwater Seafoods.

“Clearwater supports the objectives of Reconciliation and believes business has a role in increasing Indigenous participation in the Canadian economy including the seafood industry.”

FFAW Disagrees with DFO Capelin Assessment

The FFAW-Unifor said it has significant concerns that science is not delivering an adequate picture of capelin stock health off Newfoundland and Labrador.

The union said it does not agree with the recent findings of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ (DFO) industry technical briefing on capelin, where It stated that that fishery removals are having no measurable impact on the stock.

“Current science for capelin is lacking in several key areas,” explains FFAW-Unifor President Keith Sullivan. “Important information from the fishery is not included, nor are key factors such as seal predation.”

The science assessment mainly uses a spring acoustic survey to measure the health of the stock and there is no estimate for spawning stock biomass. Information from the survey can differ widely from what fish harvesters see on the water, the union stated in a press release.

“While the spring survey showed an increase in 2018 from the previous year, there was no estimate of biomass during the fishery. Because there is no estimate of biomass during the fishery, harvesters’ observations of widespread abundance are not being captured with the existing DFO data.”

“Harvesters saw an abundance of capelin last year. The aggregations were larger and more frequent, and as a result we caught more capelin with considerably less effort during the 2018 fishery. But that information isn’t taken into account by DFO science,” says Inshore Council member Dennis Chaulk, who represented harvesters in his area at the science advisory meetings.

Moreover, DFO did not consider important information on species predation that could significantly impact the health of the stock. Additional research is needed on predation within the ecosystem and the relationship seals have on capelin and Northern cod stocks.

“DFO has dragged their feet on conducting science on the impact seal predation has on several recovering fish species, including capelin and Northern cod. We know that seals are more abundant than ever before, and we know that predation is a significant factor for the health of these fish. Yet DFO has not completed any science on seal predators in years,” says Sullivan.

“Coastal communities depend on healthy ecosystems for survival, and as groundfish recover it is of utmost importance that we have a more accurate picture of the capelin biomass,” he adds.

P.E.I. Companies Receive AFF Funding

Three Prince Edward Island businesses recently received funding through the Atlantic Fisheries Fund.

The funding — a total contribution of more than $365,000 — will see the implementation of innovative projects and new technologies in the fishing industry.

Acadian Supreme Inc. received funding for the purchase of new equipment to help improve the effectiveness of lobster processing operations. Acadian Supreme Inc. provides jobs to more than 95 people living in P.E.I.

Royal Star Foods received funding to develop new lobster products. Using an innovative process that will help ensure the quality of lobster is maintained from the time it leaves the fish plant to the consumer plate, Royal Star Foods will be better equipped to satisfy market demand. Royal Star Foods provides jobs to more than 100 people living in P.E.I.

Food Island Partnership Inc. received project funding to support seafood processors to develop and commercialize value-added seafood products and help them in seeking access to new markets and to enhance their existing markets.

$1.5 Million in FACTAP Money Handed Out

The federal government recently announced more than $1.5 million in funding from the Fisheries and Aquaculture Clean Technology Adoption Program (FACTAP) to support clean economic growth in Atlantic Canada.

The provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island together contributed more than $260,000 to these FACTAP projects.

FACTAP provides $20 million over four years to help businesses incorporate new, clean technologies into their day-to-day operations, accelerating the use of more sustainable and efficient tools, practices and techniques.

The projects announced will help fisheries and aquaculture businesses adopt greener practices that will improve energy efficiency, reduce waste and reduce climate change causing carbon dioxide emissions.

The funding will directly support:

  • Bill & Stanley Oyster in N.S. — $52,032 to support upgrading capacity containers to reduce engine hours and highway transport, as well as replacing a gasoline-powered forklift with an electric bin tripper to reduce fuel requirements and emissions.
  • Ocean Choice International in N.L. — $1,200,000 over two years to support the installation of a new electrical winch trawl system and other new devices to use cutting edge technology to make the vessel the most energy efficient “green” trawler in Newfoundland in generations.
  • L’Étang Ruisseau Bar in N.B. — $113,000 to support the purchase and installation of new energy efficient photobioreactors which will allow them to double biomass production resulting in significant energy savings and improving efficiency.
  • Clarke & Sons Fishing in N.L. — $88,177 to install Notus sensors on a fishing trawler to reduce sea floor impacts, reduce fuel consumption and maintain proper catch levels.
  • Abegweit Conservation Society in P.E.I. — $75,000 to install solar panels in an existing energy system to fully offset electricity consumption from the grid, thereby reducing the ecological footprint of its hatchery.

Cooke Aquaculture Named One of Canada’s Best Managed Companies

For the fourteenth year in a row, family-owned and operated Cooke Aquaculture Inc. is a 2019 winner of the Canada’s Best Managed Companies Platinum Club designation, having retained its Best Managed designation for seven consecutive years or more.

The 2019 Best Managed program award winners are amongst the best-in-class of Canadian owned and managed companies with revenues over $15 million demonstrating strategy, capability and commitment to achieve sustainable growth. Now in its 26th year, Canada’s Best Managed Companies is one of the country’s leading business awards programs recognizing Canadian-owned and managed companies for innovative, world-class business practices. Every year, hundreds of entrepreneurial companies compete for this designation in a rigorous and independent process that evaluates the calibre of their management abilities and practices.

Applicants are evaluated by an independent judging panel comprised of representatives from program sponsors in addition to special guest judges. 2019 Best Managed companies share commonalities that include a clear strategy and vision, investment in capability and commitment to talent.

“Serving our customers while focusing on environmental stewardship remains at the forefront of our sustainable growth strategy,” said Glenn Cooke, CEO of Cooke Aquaculture Inc. “Regardless of what country we operate in or sell to, we understand that our relationship with the environment is vital to our business and to producing top quality seafood. We view this as a significant component of our corporate social responsibility. There is always room for improvement — and we continue to try new techniques, implement new practices and test new equipment. We know the company depends on a healthy marine environment for growing and harvesting seafood.”

In Atlantic Canada alone, Cooke Aquaculture spends over $231 million annually buying from 1,269 local small and medium businesses across New Brunswick, P.E.I., Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.

Quin Sea Fisheries Launches N.L. Lobster Pot FIP

Quin Sea Fisheries recently announced that it has taken the next major step to advance Newfoundland’s lobster initiative.

The Newfoundland and Labrador Lobster Pot Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) is being led by the St. John’s-based company, a division of Royal Greenland A/S.

According to a press release from Quin Sea Fisheries, the project will “seek partnerships to align and improve the fishery’s management and science with the ultimate objective of achieving Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) fishery sustainability certification.”

Currently, Quin Sea Fisheries is working to assemble a group and develop a plan of action to address concerns that were identified in the recent MSC pre-assessment of the fishery.

“We anticipate the action plan would initiate further improvements in lobster science, harvest strategy and bycatch species data collection and management,” said the company.

Maine Lobster Council Reports Increased Landings and Value in 2018

The Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative says that on the heels of another prosperous year and strong landings, it will evolve a promotional strategy, building on past successful efforts to bring the story of Maine’s signature crustacean to more audiences around the country.

In 2018, Maine fishermen landed 119,640,379 pounds of lobster, which is an increase of nearly eight million pounds over 2017. At $484,543,633, the value of Maine’s lobster fishery climbed by more than $46 million over the previous year. The 2018 figures point to the continued strength of the industry, resulting from years of sustainability practices that have helped to maintain the health of the fishery.

In 2019, MLMC will build upon existing efforts targeting chefs, media and consumers with a more targeted focus on the distributor audience. Beginning with rigorous research, the collaborative will execute a multi-phase plan that aims to reach the critical decision makers within the supply chain — focusing on education, usage inspiration, handling and prep.

Overall, the MLMC’s marketing efforts focus on key areas including seasonality, origin and culinary versatility, as well as the industry’s proud tradition of sustainability that dates back well over 150 years. The 2019 plan will include the creation of relevant and hyper-targeted educational content, earned media campaigns that drive awareness and demand throughout the supply chain, the celebration of the fifth annual National Lobster Day and continued digital content, proactive and reactive earned efforts and issues management.

Local Company Offering MOB Tracking Device

A business in West Arichat, N.S. is offering an innovative product it hopes will help save lives in the fishing industry.

Marlin Marine is now carrying the German-made, Weatherdock easyONE-DSC, a simple to use man overboard (MOB) device.

In the event of MOB scenarios, the company says it is important that the person in the water is located and rescued as fast as possible. This can only be done with a distinct and persistent updated position report transmitted in real-time.

The easyONE-DSC has more than one watt of radiated transmission power, the unit is fully floatable without any buoyancy support and the battery lifetime will be more than 24 hours in parallel triple mode (AIS, DSC, LED flare).

The AIS MOB easyONE-DSC is developed to be used easily with any kind of automatic life jacket. In case of automatic activation when submerged into the water, the easyONE-DSC starts to transmit a DSC distress call to the stored MMSI number to trigger the VHF radio with the distress alert. Additional to the DSC distress call, a bright and strong red LED flare starts flashing which increases visibility of the victim drastically, first of all in darkness at night.

Within the first minute, an AIS MOB safety related message is sent out into the AIS (Automatic Identification System) to inform every AIS receiver within range of up to seven nautical miles around the MOB situation with current GPS position and speed/ course over ground of the victim and the DSC distress call is transmitted to VHF radios.

The MMSI number of the mothership’s VHF radio can be pre-programmed into the unit as well as up to seven other MMSI numbers e.g. during flotilla sailing.

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