On the Waterfront – November 2022

FFAW Campaign Highlights Gaps in Safety, Healthcare Availability

FFAW-Unifor’s newest awareness campaign is looking to tackle safety issues affecting their members such as occupational disease, gaps in safety training, poor infrastructure, repetitive strain injuries and other health and safety issues affecting seafood processing plant workers. They hope highlighting these issues will bring about change from legislators and employers.

“It often takes a serious incident for politicians, government officials and employers to start taking health and safety issues seriously. Our hope is to bring focus to some of these important issues that affect working people day-to-day and pose risks for more catastrophic events,” said FFAW-Unifor president Keith Sullivan.

FFAW-Unifor is using this campaign to highlight, what they feel, has been a lack of meaningful changes made to the safety of seafood processing plants by Workplace NL. On top of this, they are trying to bring awareness to the lack of healthcare resources in rural Newfoundland and Labrador and its effect on rural workers.

“Many of our members work in processing plants that are hours away from the nearest emergency room,” said Secretary-Treasurer of FFAW-Unifor Jason Springle.

“If a serious industrial accident were to happen somewhere like Mary’s Harbour, St. Lawrence, or Harbour Breton, those workers would certainly be in dire straits due to the lack of access to emergency care — or much care at all — in our rural areas.”



China Fisheries and Seafood Expo Postponed Due to COVID-19 Restrictions

Due to a prohibition on mass gatherings enacted by Qingdao City affecting all large events from September 10 to October 31, the 26th China Fisheries and Seafood Expo (CFSE) has been postponed for two weeks from its original October 26 start date.

“It is widely anticipated that China’s current quarantine and travel policies will change at the end of October,” said Peter Redmayne, president of Sea Fare Expositions, Inc., the overseas organizer of CFSE.

“In June, the quarantine was reduced, and more reductions are anticipated. Our partners in the Ministry of Agriculture wanted to move the show back a bit to ensure as many people as possible can attend.”

According to Sea Fare Expositions, more than 1,200 companies from 30 countries have registered for CFSE. They estimate approximately 22,000 visitors from throughout China.

“We recognize that the postponement of CFSE may result in some inconveniences for our exhibitors and visitors. Please understand the decision to postpone CFSE was our best available option given the current restrictions in China,” said Yang Hong, general manager of Sea Fare (China) Ltd.



SEA-NL Calls on Government to Take Action Against Faroese Infringements

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is criticizing a lack of action taken against the Faeroese longliner, Bordoyarnes, after six separate “notices of infringement” over the last year to do with the misreporting of catches on the high seas outside 200 miles from shore.

Under Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) rules, infringements such as this are to be investigated and possibly penalized by the home country of the vessel. SEA-NL describes this enforcement as a “horrible joke.”

“That joke is on Newfoundland and Labrador when our fishing industry pays the biggest price for Ottawa’s failure to address decades of foreign overfishing,” said Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director. “It is idiotic to conserve and protect commercial stocks in our own waters when fish have tails, and once they swim outside 200 miles they’re done for.”

Canada, unlike many countries, has continental shelves extending beyond 200 miles into NAFO waters. Critics of NAFO say that this leaves migratory stocks vulnerable once they cross over that distance.



Mowi Earns Praise at Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards

Mowi ASA, a Norway-based, international salmon farming company has received a special recognition award at Compassion in World Farming (CIWF)’s Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards.

Gordon Ritchie, Group Manager of Fish Health and Welfare for Mowi, was in London to receive the award on the company’s behalf.

“Mowi and I are very proud to receive this prestigious Special Recognition Award from Compassion in World Farming, which recognizes our global standard and commitment on the humane slaughter of our fish using a bespoke percussive stunning system,” said Ritchie.

“This commitment applies to 100 per cent of our ocean-reared salmon from all of our seawater sites around the world, thereby matching CIWF’s flagship recommendation.”

The CIWF notes that fish welfare has fallen behind improvements made to the welfare of other farmed animals, because fish sentience is less recognized. CIWF lauded Mowi’s leadership in the rearing and slaughter of Atlantic salmon, whose policy also includes medicine use, stocking densities and fish handling.

“Our vision is to lead the Blue Revolution and unlock the potential of the ocean in a way that respects our planet. This drives everything we do at Mowi,” added Ritchie.



44th Annual NAFO Meeting Brings Progress in Ecosystem Approach Framework

From September 19–23, participants gathered at  the 44th annual meeting of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) that took place in Porto, Portugal.

It was the first meeting since the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic to allow in-person gathering, while still allowing for virtual attendance.

The highlight of the meeting, according to NAFO, was “significant progress” towards developing an ecosystem approach framework. They intend to adopt an ecosystem reference point, or total catch index (TCI), to accompany stock assessments and inform decisions dealing with the risk of ecosystem overfishing.

NAFO also claims that developments were made this year in the revision of its precautionary approach framework. The revision is expected to be finalized by the 2024 September meeting.

NAFO has also adopted a Management Strategy Evaluation Workplan for Greenland halibut in Divisions 2J+3KLMNO and for redfish in Division 3LN. Measures have also been taken to prohibit the landing and retention of Greenland sharks in the NAFO regulatory area. Brynhildur Benediktsdóttir has also been selected for a four-year term as Executive Secretary, beginning in January 2023.

The next annual meeting will take place in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, from September 18–22 of 2023.



SEA-NL in Favour of Electronic Auction Project For Fish Pricing

After a recent review of the provinces system of fish pricing, Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is recommending that Newfoundland and Labrador adopt an electronic auction pilot project.

Executive director Ryan Cleary said a free-market pricing system is much needed in N.L. fisheries like Northern shrimp, capelin and sea cucumber. According to SEA-NL, the pricing panel failed to set a price that enterprises would fish for, or processors would buy for.

“This province is the only jurisdiction I know of outside of China or North Korea where electronic auctions and other free-market systems are not used to set the price of fish,” said Cleary. “That alone tells you there’s a problem.”

The current system, known as final-offer selection, consists of a government-appointed panel setting the price of fish in the event the union and processors can’t agree. SEA-NL’s proposed electronic auction system would run in tandem with the final-offer selection model. This would allow the government-appointed panel to set the minimum price of fish, while allowing outside buyers to establish the highest possible price.

“An auction system would also address the high level of control processors have over some enterprise owners in that catches would be sold to the highest bidder — not the financier of the fishing operation,” said Cleary.



Partnership to Provide Green Fuel Tug Vessel to Nova Scotia by 2025

EverWind Fuels Company, a Nova Scotia-based producer of green hydrogen and ammonia, has partnered with Svitzer, a towage operator and part of A.P. Moller-Maersk.

The companies have announced a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to deploy Canada’s first green fuel powered tug vessels in Nova Scotia’s Canso Strait.

Everwind will provide green hydrogen and ammonia from its facility in Point Tupper as well as any required infrastructure at its marine terminal for fuel storage and fueling. Svizter will procure or retrofit green fueled tug vessels to operate out of the Point Tupper facility. Everwind’s facility is in the advanced stages of development and is expected to be in operation by 2025, aiming to produce approximately 1,000,000 tonnes of green ammonia by 2026.

“Our ambition to turn Point Tupper into a global green energy hub requires joint development from our partners in government, industry and Indigenous communities. With our Svitzer partnership, we are demonstrating our commitment to decarbonize Nova Scotia in real, demonstrable ways,” said Trent Vichie, CEO of EverWind.

“In addition to serving green ammonia export demand, we are focused on immediate and local opportunities to apply our green hydrogen production to Nova Scotia’s net-zero journey. Advancing marine applications of green fuels and developing local fueling infrastructure in the Canso Strait region is an exciting step.”

This collaboration comes on the heels of Svitzer’s decarbonization strategy, wherein they aim to be carbon neutral by 2040.

“As a global towage operator, we are committed to reducing our environmental footprint and developing green fuel technology for marine vessels,” said Gareth Prowse, Head of Decarbonization of Svitzer.

“Developing vessels that can run on green fuels must be done in conjunction with the development of green fuels production and related fueling infrastructure,” said Prowse. “Our partnership with EverWind is a symbiotic relationship. We are excited to deliver on advancing green pathways for marine vessels in Nova Scotia.”



RCMP Investigating Death of Man Outside St. John’s Harbour

The RCMP is investigating the death of a 61-year-old man who went overboard on a pilot boat on September 22.

The Canadian Coast Guard said in a press release that Maritime Search and Rescue Sub-Centre in St. John’s deployed a coast guard rescue craft to the scene, about 3.5 kilometres outside of the St. John’s harbour and called an ambulance. The MV Virginia Ann recovered the man from the water and took him to emergency services. The man was dead when he was pulled from the water.

The man was a crew member for Canship Ugland, a ship management company based in Paradise, N.L. The company operates pilot boats for the Atlantic Pilotage Authority in St. John’s.

“We will investigate what happened in co-operation with the authorities. At this time, we will continue to support our employees and the affected family members,” said Canship Ugland president Marco Ahrens.

“Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones,” said Sean Griffiths, the authority’s CEO in a statement. “The safety of our people remains our priority. We will do everything we can to support the efforts of the authorities as they investigate this incident and want to ensure this never happens again.”

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