On the Waterfront – October 2023

New Commercial Whelk Fishery Launching in Nova Scotia

Diane Lebouthillier, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, announced that a new whelk fishery will be opened off of eastern Cape Breton in spring 2024.

After monitoring the exploratory whelk fishery in NAFO area 4Vs, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) determined that a commercial fishery would now be “commercially and biologically sustainable.” Whelks are edible molluscs that are predominantly exported to Asian markets.

“I am proud to announce the development of a new commercial whelk fishery in Nova Scotia,” said Lebouthillier. “This fishery is particularly important to my community in Québec, and I am pleased to see that it will now foster the Nova Scotia economy while increasing the availability of our quality seafood in international markets.”



Canada Announces Four New Vessels for Atlantic Canadian Fisheries Officers

Mike Kelloway, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, announced that four new 44-foot vessels will be built for Atlantic Canadian fisheries officers, with the first delivery scheduled for the fall of 2023.

The vessels, which are meant to replace aging vessels in the current fleet, are designed to increase the ability of fisheries officers to conduct enforcement operations on the water. They will be built by Cape Breton’s Samson Enterprises Ltd., who were awarded a $5.4 million contract through an open process.

Two vessels bound for New Brunswick and Nova Scotia are scheduled for completion in fall 2023, with the remaining two scheduled for delivery to the Conservation and Protection team in spring 2024.



Canada’s First Offshore Wind Farm to Be Built Off Nova Scotia

Nova East Wind Inc., a joint venture from SBM Offshore and DP Energy, is slated to develop Canada’s first offshore wind farm 20–30 kilometres offshore from Goldboro, Nova Scotia.

The wind farm, with a generation capacity of 300–400 megawatts, is part of the province’s goal of generating 80 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources. The team responsible has been engaging with Indigenous groups, governments, commercial harvesters, environmental groups and regulators to determine ecological, regulatory, supply chain and construction best practices, as well as the precise location of the wind farm as the project develops.

“We are delighted to announce our new floating offshore wind project with partner SBM Offshore, the first of its kind in Canada,” said Simon De Pietro, CEO of DP Energy. “Nova East Wind’s project off Goldboro is an important step in Nova Scotia’s renewable energy journey which we are incredibly excited to be a part of. Our local team has been actively engaging with communities and stakeholders in Nova Scotia since 2021 and these groups will continue to be at the core of this project going forward.”



President and CEO of High Liner Foods Resigns

Rod Hepponstall, the President and CEO of High Liner Foods since 2018, will resign from his position on or before January 2, 2024.

The company has announced that it will begin an internal and external search for the position of President and CEO. Hepponstall has agreed to aid in the transition plan in the meantime.



Nova Scotia to Conduct Economic Impact Study on Yarmouth Ferry

The CAT, which ferries passengers between Yarmouth, Nova Scotia and Bar Harbor, Maine, will soon be under scrutiny according to the provincial government. Nova Scotia put forth a request for proposals to conduct a broad economic impact study to assess whether taxpayers are getting enough bang for their buck with the ferry service, which received $17.9 million in funding during the 2022 sailing season.

“We need to know that this service is providing good value to Nova Scotian taxpayers,” said Public Works Minister Kim Masland. “We collected input from municipalities, chambers of commerce, the tourism industry and so many others to make sure we get the level of detail we need. A study of this depth has not been done before, and it is essential to have if we are going to make an informed decision over the long term.”

The study will collect data over two sailing seasons to account for fluctuations in passenger numbers over the next couple of years, with a final report scheduled for late 2024. The contract for the ferry, which transported 36,151 passengers and 14,972 vehicles in 2022, will conclude after the 2025 sailing season.



Wanchese Argentina to Acquire New Scallop Vessel

Wanchese Fish Company has christened a new scallop vessel, the Erin Bruce II, at a ceremony in Vigo, Spain for use in its subsidiary company, Wanchese Argentina.

The Erin Bruce II, named after the first vessel in the Argentine scallop fleet, the Erin Bruce, is set to sail to Argentina in time for the 2024 scallop season. The vessel, sitting at 50.5 metres long and 12 metres wide, has a carrying capacity of 400 cubic metres. It can accommodate 37 crew members and features grading machines, processing electronics, radars, echo sounders, door and net trawling sensors as well as electronic winches and autotrawl.

“This new vessel is designed to be fuel efficient, offer modern accommodations for the crew, and leverage new technology and equipment to find new efficiencies in our harvesting and processing,” said Ross Butler, CEO of Cooke Seafood USA. “We are excited to welcome the Erin Bruce II to our fleet and we will continue to replace and modify vessels in the coming years as part of our ongoing renewal plan.”



NOAA Fisheries Facing Budgetary Cuts

The National Marine Fisheries Service, also known as NOAA Fisheries, is facing up to $42 million in budgetary cuts in light of the debt ceiling facing the United States in the 2024 fiscal year.

These cuts, however, are not sitting right with lawmakers like Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski.

“I understand that negotiations on the debt limit have forced reductions in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s budget, but I have very real concerns about the impacts these cuts will have on Alaska’s fisheries,” said Murkowski. “We have the well-deserved reputation across the world as the gold standard of fisheries, and keeping that reputation requires strategic investments in things like stock assessment surveys, data collection and other resources essential to sustainable resource management. I’m committed to making sure Alaska’s fisheries have the resources to remain a world leader.”

The Senate’s proposed reductions include $27.7 million from fisheries and ecosystem science and services, $16.6 million from fisheries data collection and $11.6 million from fisheries management programs and services.



Federal Government to Replace One of P.E.I. to N.S. Ferries

The MV Holiday Island, one of two ferries servicing Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, was taken out of service. In looking for a short-term fix to keep these services operating as expected, the Canadian government intends to purchase the MV Fanafjord until the new successor for the MV Holiday Island is completed by as early as 2028.

Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) has put forth an Advance Contract Award Notice (ACAN) for the government’s intention to purchase the MV Fanafjord. The ACAN also allows other suppliers that meet Transport Canada’s minimum operational requirements 15 days to apply before the contract is awarded to the owner of the MV Fanafjord.

The permanent successor to the MV Holiday Island will be designed at Chantier Davie Canada Inc., along with a second ferry.

“The Wood Islands-Caribou ferry service connects two provinces, connects families, connects tourists, connects workers and connects businesses,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “Reliable, upgraded ferry service is a crucial lifeline, and this new vessel, the MV Fanafjord, will help Northumberland Ferries continue to safely, and efficiently, serve the economies and communities here on the East Coast.”



CMFC Releases New Educational Materials Package

The Canadian Marine Careers Foundation (CMFC) has released a set of educational materials aimed at middle to high schoolers as well as second-career seekers to raise awareness of opportunities in Canada’s marine sector.

The material, which includes brochures, infographics, posters, an animated video, an interactive quiz and “personas” that represent different ship and shore roles across Canada, was designed to address the current and forecasted labour shortage in the marine sector going forward.

“Our new educational materials outreach package represents a significant milestone in our mission to create awareness and attract a diverse cohort of individuals who are passionate about marine careers. This is something that we’ve identified as a major need for stakeholders across the country,” said Julia Fields, Executive Director of the Canadian Marine Careers Foundation.



Canada Invests Nearly $1 Million in Nova Scotia Ocean Tech

Gudie Hutchings, the Minister of Rural Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, announced $996,802 in funding for three technology and innovation projects in Nova Scotia.

The first contribution of $536,802 will be to help Lunenburg’s ABCO Industries Inc. to create and stage a hybrid vessel in order for the company to lay the groundwork for developing an all-electric pleasure craft.

The second investment of $250,000 will fund ReelData Inc. to develop a camera system that works in tandem with monitoring software commonly used in aquaculture. ReelData’s AI uses footage to make recommendations based on the amount of food in the water to determine how much more should be dispensed to help businesses reduce waste.

Lastly, Dartmouth Ocean Technologies Inc. will receive $210,000 to bring their suite of technologies to the market. This technology suite, focused around environmental sensors and environmental DNA samplers, is meant to benefit a wide range of markets from aquaculture, to naval defence to ocean surveying.



Canada Invests in Shipbuilding Infrastructure for Canadian Surface Combatant

In an effort to revitalize the Royal Canadian Navy’s fleet of ships, the government of Canada is constructing a new warship known as the Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC). In an effort to accelerate the construction of this modernized fleet, Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Public Services and Procurement, announced further investment in shipbuilding infrastructure.

An additional $463 million in funding has been awarded to Irving Shipbuilding Inc. to expand and modify the facilities at the Halifax Shipyard, as well as the supporting facilities at Woodside Industries and Marine Fabricators in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

“Our government is committed to renewing the Royal Canadian Navy’s fleets, while maximizing economic benefits for the country as part of the National Shipbuilding Strategy,” said Duclos. “This investment will further ensure that the Canadian Surface Combatant vessels are built efficiently and on time for Royal Canadian Navy members.”



Nova Scotia Awards $10,000 to Three Ocean Cleanup Groups

Atlantic Coastal Action Program Cape Breton, Fishing Gear Coalition of Atlantic Canada and Scotian Shores have each received $10,000 in funding from the government of Nova Scotia to help keep the province’s oceans and shoreline free from litter.

The three organizations will develop programs alongside the province to address marine debris issues, as well as produce educational material to spread awareness in communities along Nova Scotia’s 13,000 kilometres of coastline.

“Marine litter has a negative impact on the environment, marine and mammal life and the beauty of our coastal communities,” said Nova Scotia’s Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Steve Craig. “We all have a role as Nova Scotians in addressing the issue, and this investment will support activities and build capacity for more people to get involved.”



Tassal Group Ltd. Acquires Australia’s Only Ocean-Based Barramundi Farm

Tassal Group, a subsidiary of Cooke Aquaculture, has completed an acquisition of Australia’s only at-sea barramundi farm, which employs 50 people in Cone Bay, Western Australia. The barramundi facility currently produces 1,600 tonnes of product annually.

“Tassal has turned around both the salmon and prawn industries in Australia before and has the skills and capabilities to apply the same learnings and intellectual capital to do this for the MPA companies and the wider barramundi industry in Australia,” said Tassal’s Managing Director and CEO Mark Ryan.

Tassal-branded barramundi is destined to hit Australian markets in November 2023.



Cooke Aquaculture’s Salmon Suffer Seal Attack

Cooke Aquaculture USA in Maine recently lost 50,000 juvenile salmon after being attacked by seals when two damaged nets allowed the seals entrance to their sea cages.

In assessing how the seals managed to gain access to the cages, Cooke noted that the nets were properly tied and that a second layer of predator netting was in place at both sites. The company has noted an increase in the seal population around Machias Bay along with an increase in “unusually aggressive behaviour.”

Going forward, Cooke is exploring enhanced netting options and safety measures for their remaining cages in the area.

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