Dorian Packed a Punch but No Major Damage Reported
Fish harvesters in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island were taking no chances and secured their gear and vessels prior to Hurricane Dorian’s arrival on Sept. 7.
And Dorian did not disappoint. Packing high waves, massive storm surges and winds in excess of 100km/h, the first major storm of the season really packed a punch. But the precautions taken by most fishermen appeared to pay off, as there were reports of only minor damage to fishing industry infrastructure across the region.
Dorian’s damage was far less than Hurricane Juan that blasted through the Maritimes in 2003, causing millions of dollars of damage to the fishing industry.
FISH-NL Continues Second Membership Drive
The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) began the second wave of its membership on September 9 with the launch of a province-wide tour.
“We’ll be going from wharf to wharf and stage to stage so harvesters can finally break free of the FFAW-Unifor — and the inshore fishery can start moving forward,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL.
The first wave of FISH-NL’s drive began on Aug. 12 when thousands of membership cards began circulating around the province — including to more than 170 card captains. The second wave — which will begin on the Great Northern Peninsula — is to speak directly to harvesters, and to collect their cards.
The membership drive will conclude on Nov. 8 when FISH-NL will submit the membership cards as part of an application for certification to the province’s Labour Relations Board.
The membership drive is required by provincial labour legislation to trigger a secret-ballot vote for harvesters to choose their union representation. To trigger a vote, at least 40 per cent of harvesters must sign FISH-NL membership cards, which can be signed no more than 90 days prior to the submission of the application.
To be eligible to sign a FISH-NL card, a person must have a fish sale in their name during 2018 or 2019, with union dues collected and remitted by a fish processor/buyer. A harvester can also have an up-to-date registration with the Professional Fish Harvesters Certification Board.
Wilkinson Meets with Tangier Fishermen
On August 15, Federal Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson was in Tangier, Nova Scotia to meet with fish harvesters and other invested Nova Scotians to discuss ideas regarding conservation of the unique ecosystem on the Eastern Shore.
Recent discussions relating to the potential establishment of a Marine Protected Area (MPA) in this region has generated questions and concerns on the part of many who live in the area.
During an initial visit to Tangier on May 8, 2019, Wilkinson indicated that no timeline existed for completing discussions and that options existed with regard to if and how best to move forward. The Minister also committed that he would return for additional discussions once the lobster season was completed and has now done so.
During discussions, Wilkinson committed to a broad and inclusive process focused on conservation — one that would ensure that the voices of all impacted local parties are heard and are integrated into any decision-making process.
The Minister announced the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ (DFO) commitment to two important next steps:
DFO will be appointing a community facilitator. This person will be mandated to meet with, discuss and carefully consider the priorities of local community members and organizations. A key part of this facilitator’s mandate will be that they work to ensure that the conservation priorities of local community members are reflected in any eventual outcomes. This could include community involvement in the management of any conservation areas — if in fact one were to go forward.
There is no defined timeline for the completion of these conservation-related conversations. The Minister indicated that, in his view, conservation measures can only likely be successful if substantial support exists from local communities. He further underlined his commitment to working with all key stakeholders to develop a common vision.
In addition to discussing next steps regarding conservation, the Minister also indicated that DFO has recently completed initial drafts of a number of ecological risk assessments for the Eastern Shore, including ones for aquaculture and marine transportation. The results of these assessments are relevant to future considerations regarding conservation priorities and will be the subject of discussion with local stakeholders before they are finalized.
N.S. Projects Receive AFF Funding
The federal government recently announced a contribution of more than $1 million under the Atlantic Fisheries Fund (AFF) for 14 businesses with projects focused on the adoption of new technology and partnerships that will improve the effectiveness and sustainability of the fish and seafood sectors.
Among the approved projects are:
The Herring Science Council to conduct an extensive tagging study of major spawning populations of herring in the Bay of Fundy, which will help to support the efforts to rebuild the stock.
North Nova Seafoods Limited to acquire equipment and training to enhance seafood testing methods to ensure high-quality, safe products for export.
- K. Marine Services Limited and Victoria Co-operative Fisheries Limited to each upgrade their current in-house paper data entry system into one integrated entry system that would facilitate enhanced traceability and ensure supply chain transparency.
The contribution derives from the $400 million Atlantic Fisheries Fund, jointly funded by the Government of Canada and provincial governments. The Fund focuses on increasing opportunities and market value for sustainably sourced, high-quality fish and seafood products from Atlantic Canada.
The Atlantic Fisheries Fund will continue to invest in projects over the current seven-year life of the program. The commercial fisheries and aquaculture industry, Indigenous groups, universities and academia and industry associations and organizations, including research institutions, may apply.
Mowi Ranked Most Sustainable Protein Producer
Mowi is on top of the Coller FAIRR Protein Index, which ranks the world’s largest listed protein producers on sustainability.
The Coller FAIRR Index ranks the largest global meat, dairy and fish producers by looking at risk factors from use of antibiotics to deforestation and labour abuses. The Index is the world’s only benchmark dedicated to profiling animal protein producers and showcasing critical gaps and areas of best practice in the sector.
Mowi is ranked as overall best performer, and there are three salmon producers in the top five.
“This is a great recognition of the work we at Mowi do on sustainability and animal welfare. I am extremely proud of the work my colleagues do everyday to reduce our footprint and continue improving the way we operate,” says Mowi’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Catarina Martins.
The primary purpose of the Index is to enable and support investor decision-making on the protein sector.
“We hope investors will integrate the data and analysis on the performance of these global listed assets into their stewardship and investment decisions. The Index is also a benchmark to help animal protein companies assess themselves against their peers in the sector and improve their management and reporting of risks,” the report says.
Other salmon producers are also ranked high, with six companies included in the top 10.
Catarina continues “This shows the power of salmon farming. Aquaculture and salmon farming makes both a responsible investment case and is highly necessary to reduce the climate gas emissions going forward. We simply must produce and eat more seafood.”
Work Begins on Halifax Airport’s New Logistics Centre
Work has started on a new logistics centre at Halifax Stanfield Airport (HIAA), which is due to open in early 2021 and aims to cater for a range of goods — from Nova Scotia lobster to aeronautical components.
The new centre is being built on 25 acres of vacant land at Halifax Stanfield and will include a new cargo apron area, buildings for cargo handling, an aircraft de-icing facility and associated operational areas both airside and groundside.
Cargo exports out of Halifax Stanfield have seen five consecutive years of record growth. Overall, air cargo exports created a total economic output of $514.1 million for the provincial economy, the airport claimed.
Canada Enforces Full Protections Under Fisheries Act
Improved fish and fish habitat protection provisions under the Fisheries Act officially came into effect on Augst 28.
The changes focus on the “protection for all fish and fish habitats; restoring the previous prohibition against the “harmful alteration, disruption or destruction of fish habitat” and restoring a prohibition against causing “the death of fish by means other than fishing,” the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has said.
The Act was passed in June and will now be officially enforced. The Act is expected to improve the sustainability of Canada’s fisheries as environmental groups and activists have claimed it was lagging due to past administrations.
Many of the changes were in response to the 2012 Act which loosened measures and disregarded protections for fish habitats.
Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard Jonathan Wilkinson announced the modifications that will help ensure the conservation of fish in Canada.
“Canada is home to the world’s longest coastline and our countless lakes, rivers, streams and wetlands hold one-fifth of the world’s freshwater,” Wilkinson said. “With a modernized Fisheries Act, we now have the right tools in place to fully protect our fish and fish habitat from coast to coast to coast.”
Funding for N.B. Lobster Research and Oyster Aquaculture
The federal government recently announced funding support to 21 New Brunswick projects through the Atlantic Fisheries Fund.
The funding — a total contribution of more than $8.1 million — will see the implementation of innovative and sustainable growing methods, new automation technologies and world-class applied research in the fishing and aquaculture industry.
Homarus Inc., a subsidiary organization of the Maritime Fishermen’s Union (MFU), receives $2 million in funding from the Atlantic Fisheries Fund for a new marine laboratory as part of the new Homarus Centre. The Homarus Centre is a multi-million project that will provide lobster fishery industry awareness, education and research capabilities in a new modern facility. An additional $2 million of funding for this project was announced from the Government of Canada, through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s (ACOA) Innovative Communities Fund (ICF).
The Regional Development Corporation (RDC) receives funding for the delivery of the Oyster Farm Development Program (OFDP) to New Brunswick commercial oyster producers. It supports eligible commercial oyster aquaculturists to adopt innovative and sustainable methods and equipment to grow oysters.
The Acadian Hatchery Inc. is establishing a new oyster hatchery operation in Cocagne, N.B. and receives support to purchase and implement new equipment and technologies. The hatchery will help by predictably providing spats for the oyster aquaculture sector.
L’Étang du Ruisseau Bar Limitée is specializing in the culture of the American oyster. It receives support to develop and produce the first Canadian strain of selectively bred Eastern Oyster for the Atlantic aquaculture industry.
Seventeen other businesses will also adopt innovative technology to count and grade oysters automatically and store oysters. The automatic vision-based oyster grading systems will increase the oyster grading capacity while improving efficiency and productivity of operators and the wet storage facilities will help provide a consistent supply of oysters to market.
FACTAP Funding for Quebec Fisheries and Aquaculture Businesses
Ottawa recently announced nearly $620,000 in federal funding from the Fisheries and Aquaculture Clean Technology Adoption Program (FACTAP) to support clean economic growth in the Gaspe Peninsula and Magdalen Islands.
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 investment will support five projects in the Gaspe Peninsula and the Magdalen Islands:
Pêcheries Oneil Bond will receive $336,803 to install a system that will reduce the incidental catch of juvenile groundfish in the Northern shrimp fishery;
Fermes Marines du Québec will receive $120,947 to install new high-efficiency geothermal heat pumps, allowing the company to reduce carbon emissions and its ecological footprint by disposing of propane boilers;
Pêcheries Vincent Dupuis will receive $65,876 to purchase eight-sided trawl nets which will help to reduce fuel use and associated carbon emissions;
Pêcheries Dan Cotton will receive $52,810 to install sonar on a pelagic trawl to improve fuel economy and reduce sea-floor impacts from redfish fishing in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and
Les Huîtres Old Harry Inc. of Grosse-Île will receive $42,977 to replace a gas-powered barge-style craft with an electric one that aims to operate with zero per cent carbon emissions.
The projects receiving funding will help fisheries and aquaculture businesses adopt greener practices to improve their energy efficiency and reduce bycatch and carbon emissions.
DFO Enhances Services in Labrador
In recognition of Labrador’s important contribution to the ocean-based economy, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) announced in August it is enhancing its presence in Labrador to better serve its clients.
By re-profiling the existing DFO office in Happy Valley-Goose Bay into an area office and establishing a new area director position as well as a number of other new positions, the department will increase its service capacity to the Big Land and its people.
The area office will be responsible for field operations of the Small Craft Harbours Program, Fisheries Resource Management and Indigenous Engagement and enhance the services already available in Labrador.
The Government of Canada is also investing in Labrador through the new Northern Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative. Under the program, the Innu Nation is receiving a $500,000 contribution to upgrade its commercial fishing vessel MV Atlantic Optimist. Repairs include decking replacement and upgrades to the vessel’s electronics and communications systems. Maintaining this vessel is key to ensuring Innu participation in the commercial fishery, and the upgrades will extend the life of the vessel by 15 years or more.
P.E.I. Announces Two New Programs to Support Fisheries and Aquaculture
The Prince Edward Island Department of Fisheries and Communities recently rolled out two new programs, the Research, Innovation and Growth Program and the P.E.I. Fisheries and Aquaculture Clean Technology Adoption Program.
These programs have been established to support the sustainable growth and meet current needs of P.E.I.’s fishery and aquaculture sectors.
“Our seafood sector is key to the rural areas of Prince Edward Island, providing jobs for Islanders and contributing to the economy,” said Jamie Fox, Minister of Fisheries and Communities.
“Government is pleased to be able to provide support to these sectors through incentives for research, innovation and adoption of clean technologies to reduce the potential environmental impact of day-to-day activities.”
The Research, Innovation and Growth Program will provide support for small, short-term and industry-led applied research and development projects with the goal to overcome industry challenges.
The P.E.I. Fisheries and Aquaculture Clean Technology Adoption Program will provide an incentive for industry to adopt technologies or equipment that have been proven to reduce emissions or potential environmental impacts.
New Ghost Fishing Gear Retrieval Program Unveiled
The federal government recently announced a contribution program that will provide up to $8.3 million to assist in finding and retrieving harmful ghost gear from the ocean.
The funds will assist various stakeholders including fish harvesters, environmental groups, the aquaculture industry and coastal communities.
According to Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 640,000 tonnes of ghost gear enter oceans. It can stay there for centuries and entangle species and impact our environment and economy.
Dubbed the Sustainable Fisheries Solutions and Retrieval Support Contribution Program, it will help fish harvesters acquire modern equipment to limit gear loss.