On the Waterfront – November 2017

DFO collaborating with National Indigenous Fisheries Institute for Program Review

Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard Minister Dominic LeBlanc announced October 4 that DFO is working together with the National Indigenous Fisheries Institute to review Indigenous programs and develop a joint vision for the future of these programs that support Indigenous participation in fisheries, aquaculture and the management of aquatic habitat and resources.

The National Indigenous Fisheries Institute is a technical organization that works with communities, regional organizations, and government agencies to promote program consistency and standards across DFO’s Indigenous programs. The Institute is led by Indigenous fisheries and aquaculture executives from across the country.

The Program Review will be guided by a panel composed of the Institute’s board and representatives of DFO.

The review process will include broad engagement of Indigenous fisheries sectors and communities across Canada. Indigenous groups can participate in this co-development process by visiting http://indigenousfisheries.ca.

DFO’s Indigenous programs support 4,400 jobs every year in Indigenous communities and the commercial programs also generate about $120 million in revenue annually.

FISH-NL Says Proposed Tax Changes Will Hurt Inshore Harvesters

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) says proposed federal tax changes will negatively impact many inshore harvesters when they sell out.

“Harvesters do not have pension plans so the money from the sale of their licence is their retirement plan,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “The changes to capital gains will mean many inshore harvesters will have less to live on in their retirement years, which may actually drive up the cost of fishing licences.”

The proposed Liberal tax changes will impact small businesses, which obviously includes inshore harvesters/enterprise owners, but mostly those in higher income brackets earning more than $150,000 a year.

“Most inshore harvesters don’t make that much, but with the average age of fishermen close to 60, many of them will be looking at selling out in the next few years, and the changes to capital gains — as part of proposed Liberal tax changes — will impact them then.”

“Accountants say there’s concern that the changes to capital gains could actually drive up the price of a fishing licence as harvesters try to offset the bigger hit they’ll take on their taxes,” said Cleary, who’s calling on the federal Liberals to revisit changes to capital gains.

DFO Taking Action on Controlling Agreements

A recent media report out of Nova Scotia stated that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans is starting to crack down on so-called controlling agreements between harvesters and processors.

In a court decision earlier this year, it was ruled that the owner-operator, fleet separation and PIIFCAF (Policy for Preserving the Independence of the Inshore Fleet in Canada’s Atlantic Fisheries) policies were within the authority of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and could be enforced.

In May, Justice Cecily Strickland ruled the federal fisheries minister was entitled to strip fishing licences from Cartwright, Labrador fisherman Kirby Elson.

CBC reported that DFO officials have contacted fishermen it feels are involved in controlling agreements and told them their licences are forfeit.

“There are a number of cases that we’ve told the individuals that we believe they are in a controlling agreement. We’ve told them we believe their licences are not eligible for renewal,” Morley Knight, assistant deputy minister for DFO, told the CBC.

Clearwater’s Chinese Sales up 500 Per Cent

Clearwater’s sales have ballooned by five times in the Chinese market, much of it due to the T-mall e-commerce platform, Seafoodnews.com is reporting.

The T-mall platform of Alibaba has become the first choice of Canadian companies while entering this new market.

As statistics show, Chinese online shoppers buy 83 per cent of their fresh food from the Alibaba T-mall platform. And the platform has been increasing its fresh food imports to maintain market status within the past few years. It has become the first choice of many Canadian companies such as Clearwater in their development of the Chinese market.

Recently, Clearwater made an announcement in Shanghai that it designed small boxes of Arctic surf clams with net content of 150 grams specifically for Chinese consumers, available in T-mall. The company also hosted a seafood promotion event and invited Chinese consumers to taste high-end seafood from Canada.

On May 18, Clearwater signed a cooperation agreement with T-mall. The company mainly sells Arctic surf clams and lobsters on its online store. It has successfully entered the Chinese e-commerce market and finished its upgrade. Its sales volume in China has skyrocketed by five times within the past five years.

Mi’kmaq Communities Teaming up on Arctic Surf Clam License Bid

Some of Nova Scotia’s Mi’kmaq communities have decided to join forces on submitting a proposal for a recently announced Arctic surf clam licence, The Chronicle Herald recently reported.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is introducing a fourth licence for Arctic surf clams representing 25 per cent of the existing total allowable catch (TAC) for 2018.

The new entrant to the Arctic surf clam fishery will be identified via an expression of interest. Interested parties wishing to participate in this fishery must send a written proposal, to be received by DFO by 5 p.m. (EST) November 2, 2017. This licence will be issued to a new participant in 2018.

Applicants, regardless of configuration, must be majority owned by Canadians, must demonstrate an ability to comply with all the measures set out in the existing conditions of the licence, and must be an Indigenous entity located in one of the four Atlantic provinces or Quebec.

Membertou Chief Terry Paul said in an interview that the Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq communities have decided to work together. “We are going to pursue access to that as a group,” Paul said. “There’s a number of groups that are very interested in that and we have been talking to them and we most certainly will select what we feel is the best partner for us,” he told The Herald.

The most recent stock assessment of the Grand Banks was 2010 and serves as the basis for the current TAC.

Scientific work for the Grand Banks stock area is planned and an updated stock assessment will be completed once scientific work is finalized. The Grand Banks assessment was based on a survey that took three years to complete between 2007 and 2009.

An assessment of Banquereau Bank took place in April 2017 and it is expected the results will be used as the basis for any future TAC decision or changes to management measures.

Price Setting Panel Sides with Processors on Fall Shrimp Price

After siding with the FFAW’s proposal on the summer price of Northern shrimp, the Newfoundland and Labrador Standing Fish Price Setting Panel has accepted the processors’ price for the fall.

The Panel announced it has accepted the Association of Seafood Processor’s (ASP) proposal of $1.30 per pound for this fall. The FFAW had submitted a price of $1.36 per pound.

Earlier this year, the Panel chose the FFAW price of $1.25 per pound. The ASP had proposed a summer price of $1.04.

Satellite Trackers Could be Attached to Tasmanian Seals

Satellite trackers could be stuck on rogue seals relocated from southern fish farms to northern Tasmania, where fishers say they are plundering fish stocks and damaging nets, according to Seafoodnews.com.

Salmon company Tassal intends to fund research into the problematic predators as it pledges to ultimately scrap its controversial South-North seal relocations and roll out seal-proof pens at all its fish farms.

If the project is approved, about 50 seals from Tassal’s southern leases will have GPS tags glued on to them and their behaviour tracked at as yet undisclosed locations in northern Tasmania.

The company has come under fire for its seal relocations, which included 400 dumped in the state’s North-West in the space of a month.

An Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies spokesman said the northern Tasmanian relocation research sites were yet to be determined.

Morgére Launches New Trawl Door

Morgére has launched a new semi-pelagic trawl door called Osprey that offers excellent gear stability and reduced fuel consumption when fishing.

The steel Osprey trawl doors have been specially designed so that they provide excellent performance when fishing both on and just above the seabed. The V-profile provides good stability, which ensures the doors can be fished with a low angle of attack so as reduce drag and fuel consumption.

Osprey is ideally suited for the challenging fishing conditions found in the North Atlantic and much interest in the new door was shown by Icelandic skippers at the recent IceFish exhibition in Reykjavik, Iceland.

Already, two sets of Osprey doors have been sold to Icelandic operators with further sets now also being used by Canadian and French skippers.

New Brunswick Chinese Seafood Exports Skyrocket by 238 Per Cent

The export value of New Brunswick seafood to China has reached $15.66 million (CAD) in 2016, which is 23 per cent of the Canadian total seafood value, Seafoodnews.com is reporting.

The province’s seafood export has ballooned by 238 per cent from 2015 to 2016 and it is still working hard to promote seafood in this huge market.

On Sept. 8, a small-scale meeting was held in the Consulate General of Canada (Guangzhou). New Brunswick’s governmental officials, along with representatives for its three leading seafood companies, promoted the country’s high-quality marine resources during the event. And more than 30 seafood companies in Guangzhou also attended the meeting.

Roughly 85 per cent of frozen Canadian lobsters in the Chinese market are from New Brunswick and 65 per cent of Canadian snow crab is also supplied by the province.

Lowest Level of Bering Sea Snow Crab Since 1971

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game recently announced snow crab quotas for 2017-18 and the news was not good for that region. The total allowable catch will be 18.961 million pounds. This is the lowest snow crab TAC in Alaska since the crab rationalization program was put in place in 2005.

In fact, it is the lowest level of harvest since 1971.In the past four years, snow or opilio crab TACs have declined precipitously, from near 70 million pounds in 2014-15 to 21.57 million pounds in 2016-17. This year, although recruitment has improved, the TAC remains low.

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