On the Waterfront – May 2022

Windsor Junction Fisherman Dies in Waters Off Eastern N.S.

The Canadian Press reported that a fisherman had died after spending five hours in the waters off Canso, Nova Scotia on March 13.

35-year-old Jeremy Hart of Windsor Junction, N.S., was identified as the victim of the fishing accident. He died at 3:30 p.m. on March 13 after being found by a search and rescue team.

The Canadian Press said that Hart had only joined the crew of the halibut fishing vessel Mucktown Girl on March 10.

According to the Coast Guard, the fishing boat had requested assistance because of engine problems early Saturday, March 12, when it was more than 160 kilometres southeast of Canso, N.S.

An attempt by the vessel Jean Goodwill to tow the boat to Mulgrave, N.S., failed on Saturday night, leaving the Mucktown Girl adrift. The captain of the Jean Goodwill deemed it unsafe to try to re-establish the tow because of the weather and decided the safest thing was to remain by the vessel until the weather improved. But when the Mucktown Girl began taking on water the next morning, the crew boarded a life raft.

The coast guard said Hart ended up in the water during the transfer of the fishing boat’s crew from a liferaft to a coast guard vessel at around 6:30 a.m. Sunday. The four other crew members were successfully rescued.

A Canadian Coast Guard spokesperson told the Canadian Press that Hart was wearing an immersion suit but had spent close to five hours in the water before a helicopter rescued him at around 11:30 a.m. Sunday.

At this time, seas were estimated to be eight to 10 metres, with winds of 83 to 92 kilometres per hour.


Lobster Price Drops From Record High

Lobster prices were record setting in lobster fishing areas (LFA) 33 and 34 in March, peaking at a whopping $17.50/pound wharf side.

“It’s the highest we’ve ever paid for lobster since I’ve been in it,” said Mike Cotter of Cotter’s Ocean Products in Lockeport, whose been in the business for 41 years.

As March was coming to an end, talk was the price was dropping to $15 to $15.25/pound. “It’s that time of year. In a couple of weeks you’ve got the other seasons opening up,” said Cotter.

While the weather limited the fishing days in March for the southwestern Nova Scotia fleet, “down here the little inside boats have been able to watch the weather. Sometimes they go out at dinner time and come in after supper and sometimes they go out after supper. It’s been all crazy hours for us the last month,” said Cotter.

The strategy worked with fishermen picking up several crates a trip. Two or three crates at $17.50, you don’t need a lot of lobsters,” said Cotter.

Market-wise, “everything is up in arms right now,” said Cotter, with China shut down due to COVID-19 and very little lobster going to Europe because of the Russia-Ukraine war.

The LFA 33 and 34 commercial fisheries close on May 31.


SEA-NL Reports Support for Extending Length of Inshore Fishing Boats

The organization representing Newfoundland and Labrador’s inshore owner-operator fish harvesters say there is overwhelming support to extend the maximum length of fishing boats in their fleet for safety reasons and to fall in line with the rest of Atlantic Canada.

“The message from the inshore fleet is clear that the days of chopping off boats are over,” says Jason Sullivan, President of Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL).

“Fisheries and Oceans has gotten the message loud and clear that the policy must change.”

DFO recently held a string of seven virtual outreach meetings around the province to hear directly from inshore harvesters about issues impacting their fleets, with the question of fishing vessel length front and centre on the agenda.

SEA-NL said the vast majority of the owner-operators spoke in favour of extending the maximum length of inshore boats to 49’11” from 39’11” to fall in line with inshore fleets in the rest of Atlantic Canada. Vessel lengths range from less than 50-feet in DFO’s Maritime and Quebec regions to less than 45-feet in the Gulf region.

“Owner-operators in this province who purchase used, over 40-foot fishing vessels from elsewhere in Atlantic Canada are forced to cut them in length at huge expense, often giving the vessels an ugly, snub-nose appearance and making them square to the water. The practice doesn’t impact a vessel’s carrying capacity, and often raises stability questions. Owner-operators said their number one reason for wanting the change is safety at sea in light of changing climatic conditions,” stated SEA-NL in a press release.

“Transport Canada and DFO preach safety, so now please let us practice safety,” said Sullivan, echoing sentiments expressed at the meetings.

“Restricting inshore boats to less than 40-feet also doesn’t make sense in that while DFO regulates vessel length, the department doesn’t regulate vessel width — and vessels that were built 16-feet wide in the early 1990s are built up to 28-feet wide today. Newer, under 40-feet vessels today have greater capacity than older 65-footers. DFO officials said surveys will be e-mailed in the coming days to the province’s roughly 2,800 owner-operators (including 600 in the over 40-foot fleet) for their final word on vessel length, but an official acknowledged the message from owner-operators was clear that change is necessary.”


Funding Announced for First Nations Seafood Processor

The New Brunswick and federal governments are investing more than $1 million in McGraw Seafood (2008) Inc., a processing facility in Tracadie owned by Elsipogtog First Nation.

The funding will help the company add the equipment required to achieve the highest level of certification from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and to improve productivity.

In 2021, the company completed a major expansion and modernization of its processing facility which allowed it to obtain an intermediate BRC certification. It had been supported by a previous investment of $3.5 million from the Atlantic Fisheries Fund. This latest project will bring the last incremental investments required to help attain full certification. It will also enhance productivity in areas where significant labour is required to handle raw and finished products.


MI Signs MOU with Norwegian University

A marine memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed virtually on March 21 between the Fisheries and Marine Institute (MI) of Memorial University and the Department of Marine Technology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

The objective is to work together in applying new marine technologies for remote operations and autonomous vehicles.

Both sides will share best practices and explore collaborative opportunities in applied research and development in ocean technologies, remote operations, educational exchanges for students, faculty and staff, partnerships with industry and leveraging financial support to advance mutual objectives.

One of the first collaborative activities will be a series of graduate student seminars later this spring, enabling students to make transatlantic connections and present research to their peers.

Plans are also underway for researchers and technical personnel to hold a virtual workshop to identify potential collaborative opportunities in remote operations, autonomous technology and human factors in ocean safety.

Both sides will work together through their research units and facilities, including the Centre of Excellence for Autonomous Marine Operations and Systems at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU AMOS) and The Launch at the Marine Institute.

NTNU AMOS is a world-leading centre for research to develop intelligent ships and ocean structures, autonomous marine vehicles and robots for high-precision and safety-critical operations for harsh environments.

The Launch is the Marine Institute’s cold ocean innovation centre and Memorial University’s portal to the ocean, designed as a “one-stop shop” to support a comprehensive approach to ocean research and development through access to a suite of vessels, technology, technical expertise and collaborative partnerships to advance new technologies, approaches and practices.


FCC Launches New Consumer Guide

The Fisheries Council of Canada (FCC) believes seafood is the next big superfood, which is why it has launched a new Seafood, A Sustainable Superfood guide to buying and cooking healthy, quality and sustainable Canadian seafood.

The guide is a complete one-stop shop to demystify the process of buying and cooking sustainable Canadian seafood.

“Part of building public trust in the Canadian seafood industry comes from arming consumers with the knowledge they need to source it, buy it and cook it at home,” said Paul Lansbergen, President, FCC.

“By increasing consumer confidence in purchasing sustainable seafood, we can open the door for a surge of realization about how easy, delicious and nutritious it can be.”

Regardless of how familiar consumers are with seafood, FCC’s new consumer guide answers all of the questions someone might have about shopping for sustainable seafood, including sections on:

  • Sustainability in Canadian seafood
  • Sustainability certifications and labels to look for
  • Wild vs. farmed seafood
  • The domestic market for Canadian seafood
  • The difference between product origin labels
  • Fish fraud in Canadian retail locations
  • Species and common names of Canadian seafood
  • Indicators of quality and freshness in live, fresh, frozen and shelf-stable products
  • Portion sizes and cost per serving
  • Recipe ideas

The guide and marketing materials are available for free on the Fisheries Council of Canada website and can be used to help promote the purchase of sustainable Canadian seafood in any market.


N.B. Releases Finfish Aquaculture Growth Strategy

A multi-year strategy to guide continued responsible development in New Brunswick’s finfish aquaculture sector was released in March.

“The aquaculture industry provides food for our tables, contributes to our exports and creates jobs in rural, coastal and Indigenous communities across the province,” said Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries Minister Margaret Johnson.

“In New Brunswick, salmon aquaculture has been contributing to the economy for more than 40 years and represents more than 90 per cent of the finfish sector. Through this strategy and its actions, we will continue to focus on utilizing scientific innovations, particularly as it relates to aquatic animal health and protection of the environment. This benefits everyone.”

The New Brunswick Finfish Aquaculture Growth Strategy 2022–2030 will focus on opportunities that promote sustainable and responsible growth. The strategy highlights the challenges and opportunities facing the sector and seeks to address industry needs while recognizing the importance of environmental and socio-economic sustainability and coexistence with other aquatic resource user groups and interests.

The strategy focuses on land-based production through the implementation of new technological advancements, more efficient use of current leases and producing different species, including Arctic char and sturgeon.

The strategy is one component of the overall Aquaculture Growth Agenda for New Brunswick and highlights the interconnection of ongoing initiatives in aquaculture.

The other components are:

  • Strengthening relationships with First Nations, the commercial fishing industry and environmental organizations through ongoing engagement on topics of mutual interest.
  • Updating the legislative and regulatory framework to modernize the department’s approach and implement a robust framework that provides increased transparency, regulatory certainty for industry and an enabling environment for responsible growth.
  • Completing the last year of the New Brunswick Shellfish Aquaculture Development Strategy.

Johnson said the agenda signals the government’s continued interest in the growth of the finfish aquaculture sector and contributes to its strategic initiatives to improve food self-sufficiency.

The strategy will be reviewed annually to ensure relevancy.

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