On the Waterfront – September 2023

Nova Scotia Vessel Sinks off N.L.

The Addie N’ Ainslie, a vessel based out of Sambro, N.S., sank on July 11 while fishing for halibut off the Grand Banks of Newfoundland.

After a split shaft punched a hole in the hull, the boat containing seven fish harvesters began to rapidly take on water.

The crew was able to signal first responders and cram into a lifeboat before being taken aboard a container ship. The next morning, the crew was picked up by the Canadian Coast Guard and dropped off in St. John’s, N.L.


DFO Announces $11 Million in Funding for Conservation Projects

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) announced funding for 10 projects as part of the Oceans Management Contribution Program, which seeks to support projects in the realms of outreach, monitoring, stewardship and increased capacity to achieve Canada’s marine conservation targets.

The Oceans Management Contribution Program will award $145 million to selected projects over its five-year lifespan, with $11 million being contributed for selected proposals submitted in late 2022. Of the selected projects, five were for non-profits, three were Indigenous organizations and two were from academic institutions.

Of the contributions, the largest share of the $11 million went to the Canadian Ocean Literacy Coalition and Ocean Networks Canada Society in British Columbia, which received $5,325,099 over three years. The recipient aims to use this grant to increase public awareness of Canada’s coastlines, oceans and waterways.

Among other funded projects is Nova Scotia’s Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, which received $879,750 over three years to collect scientific data from potential nearshore marine protected areas. Shorefast Foundation, a Newfoundland and Labrador non-profit, received $389,300 over three years to facilitate community science programs in rural and remote communities.


NOAA Wants to Test “Ropeless” Gear in Maine, to Some Resistance

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has piloted “ropeless” or “on-demand” fishing gear in Massachusetts, which operates via a pop-up buoy and avoids the traditional vertical line in order to reduce entanglements by whales and other sea life.

The government administration is now seeking to trial this gear for lobster harvesters in Maine to allow them to fish in closure areas.

Some, like the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, aren’t happy with this NOAA proposal that would see a fraction of the roughly 100 harvesters that normally fish these closed areas pared down to a select few with on-demand gear.

“To give just a handful of guys an opportunity to fish in there in the wintertime, get paid to test that gear and get to land those lobsters when nobody else has a shot at them is simply not fair, and we do strongly oppose that,” said Patrice McCarron, a representative of the association.


CCFAM Gathers to Discuss Invasive Species, Aquaculture

The Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers (CCFAM) met recently to discuss invasive aquatic species and supporting Canadian aquaculture in their latest meeting, co-chaired by the Minister of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Joyce Murray, and Ontario’s Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, Graydon Smith.

Among other topics, Murray assured that the transition away from salmon farming in British Columbia would not be mirrored in Atlantic Canada.

“Canada’s vast aquatic resources, climate and biodiversity are interconnected,” said Murray. “Meeting with ministers from coast to coast to coast, to discuss matters relating to both oceans and freshwater bodies, provides the Government of Canada an excellent opportunity to listen to and learn from different perspectives, and to align our priorities. Thank you to the Government of Ontario for hosting this very productive meeting.”


Marine Institute Joins Seabed 2030 Project

Seabed 2030, a shared project between The Nippon Foundation, a Japanese non-profit grant organization, and General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO) to completely map the world’s oceans by 2030 has teamed up with Memorial University of Newfoundland’s (MUN) Fisheries and Marine Institute to achieve their goals.

“The Marine Institute’s world-class expertise and research capabilities will greatly support our mission here at Seabed 2030,” said Jamie McMichael-Phillips, project director of Seabed 2030.

“We look forward to working collaboratively with colleagues at the Marine Institute towards a more comprehensive understanding of the ocean floor, in order to ensure its sustainable use and management.”

Memorial University, with over 40 per cent of its research being ocean-based, “aligns perfectly” with the Seabed 2030 cause, according to Paul Brett, vice president of MUN.

“We are delighted to partner with Seabed 2030 in this groundbreaking initiative,” said Brett.“Our institution has long been dedicated to advancing marine science and technology. This collaboration aligns perfectly with our vision of fostering a sustainable ocean through knowledge and innovation.”


N.L. MP Claims Prime Minister Continues to “Mismanage the Fishing Industry”

Clifford Small, the Conservative Party shadow minister for Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, released a statement saying that choosing to roll over fish quotas and extend the mackerel moratorium has dealt a “blow to fishers and harvesters.”

“The Trudeau government has failed to live up to its commitments on fisheries science and they are punishing working people without a second thought as a result,” said Small. “This arbitrary decision was made because Trudeau’s Minister failed to complete stock surveys in 2022, which would have gathered vital evidence for making a sensible decision for cod stocks. The Trudeau Government continues to ignore harvester data; harvesters I have spoken to consistently report catch rates many times higher than traditional levels.”

Small said that despite the suggestions by the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans to match the American mackerel quota for 2023, the current government made a decision that points to “another season of frustration and economic loss…” Small posits that his party would better manage the fishery, were they elected.

“Once again, the Trudeau government are showing Atlantic Canadians and our fishermen and the fish processors what they truly think of them, by allowing our fishing industry to suffer thanks to Liberal neglect,” said Small. “Common sense Conservatives will remove the gatekeepers and bring home more powerful paycheques for Canadians from coast to coast to coast. We will bring home a common sense approach and stand with families that make a living from the fishing industry in Atlantic Canada.”


Maine Fish Harvesters Succeed in Prolonging the Status Quo

In what was seen as a major victory for lobster harvesters in Maine, a federal appeals court has ruled that the regulations used to protect North Atlantic right whales went too far — originally asking the industry for a 98 per cent risk reduction to whales.

“The gear markings, weak links and other steps the fishery has taken in attempt to reduce entanglement risks will stay in place for the foreseeable future,” said Patrice McCarron of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association.

McCarron hopes that the federal government will come back in the future with more “realistic” risk reduction targets in the future to protect right whales, which currently number just over 400 individuals.

“And if it’s more realistic, we’re going to have a lot more buy-in from the fishing industry,” said McCarron. “Because it’s going to make sense to people, and it’s going to match their experience. And they can feel like the efforts they’re doing really, really are helping.”


N.L. Invests $10 Million in Lewisporte Infrastructure

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey announced in Lewisporte, N.L. that the town will receive $10 million in funding — $5 million of which will go towards the future transfer of the Lewisporte wharf and associated lands.

The remaining money will be used for projects that support local economic development, which is yet to be finalized. The funding will be overseen by the Department of Industry, Energy and Technology.

“In Newfoundland and Labrador, we know that where there are challenges, there are new opportunities, and the Town of Lewisporte is showing its commitment to navigating economic changes it faces,” said Furey. “Our government is here to support Lewisporte and other communities across the province, and the investment we are providing today is aimed at new economic development opportunities that will help the Town of Lewisporte chart a new path forward.”


Port of Argentia to Receive $38-Million Upgrade

Canadian Minister of Transport, Omar Alghabra, announced funding of up to $38 million to improve cargo movement at the port of Argentia, Newfoundland and Labrador. The improvements are intended to quadruple the capacity for trade in the port of Argentia as well as stimulate economic growth.

Among the upgrades planned are three new berths to accommodate larger vessels, a roll-on roll-off ramp to ease the transportation of cargo and 100,000 new square metres of dockside space.

“This project will strengthen our supply chain, making the flow of goods to and from Canada more efficient,” said Alghabra. “Through this investment, the Port of Argentia will be able to handle greater trade volumes and enhance its operations. The project will also contribute to regional economic growth and sustainable business opportunities in Newfoundland and Labrador.”


Changes Announced for 2 and 3K Over 65-foot Fixed Gear Turbot Fishery

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has announced a number of changes for the 2 and 3K fixed gear Greenland halibut fishery for the over 65-foot fleet. The turbot fishery will now be administered by trip limits, with limits being increased to 50,000 pounds round weight. The number of nets permitted has also increased by 40 per depth zone.


Seafood Expo Asia is Back and Bigger than Ever

The eleventh edition of Seafood Expo Asia will be back for its second year in Singapore from September 11–13, 2023, at the Sand Expo and Convention Centre. The event will feature more exhibitors than ever, with over 280 exhibiting companies from 37 countries and an exhibit floor 84 per cent larger than the previous year.

“This is very exciting to see such an exponential growth for the event’s second installment in Singapore,” said Iris Kwan, the Event Director of Diversified Communications, the organizer of Seafood Expo Asia. “There is a strong interest from European suppliers looking to tap into and expand their business in the Asian market. The increased presence of companies from China is also contributing to this year’s growth as well as a noticeable increase of exhibit space from returning exhibitors and pavilions.”

The expo is set to welcome over 27 regional and country pavilions, with the addition of Australia, China, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Poland and the Republic of Korea since last year. In addition to the updated exhibition floor, Seafood Expo Asia will feature sessions, workshops and discussions led by industry experts covering topics like seafood trends, AI and seafood processing, seafood sustainability, aquaculture and seafood consumption trends.

Participating suppliers will also be able to take part in the expo’s business matchmaking program, which matches suppliers and buyers to facilitate meetings for future business relations.

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