top of page
IMG_2418.jpg

SEA-NL calls for elimination of province’s farcical system of fish pricing before fisheries lost

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Friday, July 15, 2022

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is calling for the elimination of the provincial government's final-offer system of fish pricing in favour of direct negotiations between the union and processors until contracts are hammered out that both sides respect.

 

“There is no point in government being involved in negotiating the price of fish when its appointed panel does not have the power to enforce one price or the other, and its decisions do not result in commercial fisheries,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director.

 

“The existing system has collapsed with processors refusing to buy for the prices that are set, and inshore fleets remaining tied to the wharf,” he added. “Both sides must stick it out at the negotiating table until a contract is hammered out like with any other collective agreement.”

 

Under the final-offer selection system of fish pricing, a provincial government-appointed panel steps in when the FFAW-Unifor, and Association of Seafood Producers can’t reach a deal on the price of a particular species.

 

The panel must choose one price or the other, with its final decision “binding” on both sides. However, most prices set by the panel to date this year have not resulted in fisheries, as is the case with northern shrimp, sea cucumber, east coast capelin, and likely squid.

 

In the case of snow crab, processors have attempted to pay far less than the panel price of $6.15/lb by charging owner-operators for services like transportation that in precious years were covered by the negotiated price.

 

Speculation is processors haven't made a killing at snow crab this year like they did in 2021, and are squeezing every last cent from every other price.

 

“Government must move immediately or a number of fisheries may not happen this year, which will be devastating to the inshore fleet and our rural communities,” Cleary said. “In the longer term government must be open to outside buyers.”

 

-30-

FFAW-Unifor election ‘democratic farce’: SEA-NL 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Friday, Aug. 19th, 2022

Elections and electronic logbooks; SEA-NL AGM set for Feb. 25th

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, Jan. 27th, 2022

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) has scheduled its first annual general meeting (AGM) for Saturday, Feb. 25th, at the Albatross Hotel in Gander, and will feature an election for a new president and regional reps.

“Nominations open today for enterprise owners willing to step up for their fleets and the future of the inshore fishery,” says Ryan Cleary, Executive Director of SEA-NL. “The leaders we need must not be bought and paid for or out for themselves, but focused on the overall health and direction of the inshore as a whole.”

The election of a new SEA-NL president was trigged earlier this month with the resignation of Jason Sullivan, SEA-NL’s first president elected at the 2022 founding convention.

Sullivan initially took a leave of absence from SEA-NL to run for the FFAW presidency, but later resigned as part of a legal challenge of the election process.

All SEA-NL members in good standing are eligible to nominate a candidate, or to throw their hat in the ring.

During the AGM SEA-NL will also hold elections for regional representatives in the fishing zones adjacent to the province — including 2J off Labrador, 3K off the northeast coast, 3L off the east coast, 3Ps off the south coast, and 4R/3Pn off the west/southwest coasts.

Candidates are encouraged to declare their intention to run ahead of the AGM.

Besides elections, SEA-NL will hold sessions on electronic logbooks that DFO intends to make mandatory in 2024, and the ever-growing seal herds decimating commercial fish stock. A number of policy resolutions will also be debated.

A more detailed agenda will be released prior to the AGM.

SEA-NL is a professional association representing the distinct voice of the province’s more than 3,200 inshore enterprise owners.

-30-

SEA-NL calls for elimination of province’s farcical system of fish pricing before fisheries lost

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Friday, July 15, 2022

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is calling for the elimination of the provincial government's final-offer system of fish pricing in favour of direct negotiations between the union and processors until contracts are hammered out that both sides respect.

 

“There is no point in government being involved in negotiating the price of fish when its appointed panel does not have the power to enforce one price or the other, and its decisions do not result in commercial fisheries,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director.

 

“The existing system has collapsed with processors refusing to buy for the prices that are set, and inshore fleets remaining tied to the wharf,” he added. “Both sides must stick it out at the negotiating table until a contract is hammered out like with any other collective agreement.”

 

Under the final-offer selection system of fish pricing, a provincial government-appointed panel steps in when the FFAW-Unifor, and Association of Seafood Producers can’t reach a deal on the price of a particular species.

 

The panel must choose one price or the other, with its final decision “binding” on both sides. However, most prices set by the panel to date this year have not resulted in fisheries, as is the case with northern shrimp, sea cucumber, east coast capelin, and likely squid.

 

In the case of snow crab, processors have attempted to pay far less than the panel price of $6.15/lb by charging owner-operators for services like transportation that in precious years were covered by the negotiated price.

 

Speculation is processors haven't made a killing at snow crab this year like they did in 2021, and are squeezing every last cent from every other price.

 

“Government must move immediately or a number of fisheries may not happen this year, which will be devastating to the inshore fleet and our rural communities,” Cleary said. “In the longer term government must be open to outside buyers.”

 

-30-

FFAW-Unifor election ‘democratic farce’: SEA-NL 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Friday, Aug. 19th, 2022

SEA-NL condemns FFAW-Unifor election; union credibility spent

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, Jan. 6th, 2023

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) condemns the election Thursday of FFAW-Unifor president Greg Pretty, saying the corrupt process undermines faith in democracy, and the union’s ability to hold governments to account.

“The election reeked of hypocrisy, and the FFAW’s credibility in this province has been spent,” says Merv Wiseman, a local expert on organizational governance and a member of SEA-NL’s board of directors.

“The FFAW cannot hold the federal or provincial governments to account for fisheries management when the union’s own governance is a joke to the very industry it represents.”

On Thursday, Greg Pretty was elected president of the FFAW-Unifor — the province’s largest private-sector union with 15,000 members, including workers in all sectors of the commercial fishing industry.

Pretty, who’s been with the FFAW since 1979, was endorsed for president by the union’s executive board on Dec. 1st, within hours of former president Keith Sullivan’s surprise resignation.

 

The union’s election committee, chaired by Pretty’s ex-wife Tina Pretty, only informed the other two candidates — Dave Callahan, and Jason Sullivan — of their eligibly status two days before the election.

 

Sullivan’s candidacy was rejected because of his affiliation with FISH-NL, a rival union to the FFAW that closed more than three years ago. While Callahan’s candidacy was approved, he wasn’t supplied voter contact information.

Only a few dozen members of the FFAW-Unifor’s joint council — made up of the union’s inshore and offshore/industrial councils — were eligible to vote in the election. Pretty won the vote 43 to 11.

 

As a professional association representing licensed inshore enterprise owners, most of SEA-NL’s membership are also members of the FFAW-Unifor, which negotiates fish prices on behalf of the inshore fleet.

 

“SEA-NL had an interest in the FFAW election as much as any fisherman,” said Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director.

Over the coming days SEA-NL will lay out the process for electing a president to replace Jason Sullivan, who initially took a leave of absence from his position to run in the FFAW-Unior election, but later resigned.

-30-

SEA-NL calls for elimination of province’s farcical system of fish pricing before fisheries lost

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Friday, July 15, 2022

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is calling for the elimination of the provincial government's final-offer system of fish pricing in favour of direct negotiations between the union and processors until contracts are hammered out that both sides respect.

 

“There is no point in government being involved in negotiating the price of fish when its appointed panel does not have the power to enforce one price or the other, and its decisions do not result in commercial fisheries,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director.

 

“The existing system has collapsed with processors refusing to buy for the prices that are set, and inshore fleets remaining tied to the wharf,” he added. “Both sides must stick it out at the negotiating table until a contract is hammered out like with any other collective agreement.”

 

Under the final-offer selection system of fish pricing, a provincial government-appointed panel steps in when the FFAW-Unifor, and Association of Seafood Producers can’t reach a deal on the price of a particular species.

 

The panel must choose one price or the other, with its final decision “binding” on both sides. However, most prices set by the panel to date this year have not resulted in fisheries, as is the case with northern shrimp, sea cucumber, east coast capelin, and likely squid.

 

In the case of snow crab, processors have attempted to pay far less than the panel price of $6.15/lb by charging owner-operators for services like transportation that in precious years were covered by the negotiated price.

 

Speculation is processors haven't made a killing at snow crab this year like they did in 2021, and are squeezing every last cent from every other price.

 

“Government must move immediately or a number of fisheries may not happen this year, which will be devastating to the inshore fleet and our rural communities,” Cleary said. “In the longer term government must be open to outside buyers.”

 

-30-

FFAW-Unifor election ‘democratic farce’: SEA-NL 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Friday, Aug. 19th, 2022

SEA-NL calls on Ottawa to lift moratorium on Atlantic mackerel

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tuesday, Dec. 27th, 2022

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is calling on Fisheries and Oceans Canada to lift the moratorium on Atlantic mackerel in 2023, and establish a quota at least equal to the United States.

“DFO’s decision earlier this year to slap a moratorium on the Atlantic mackerel fishery while American fishermen continued to fish the same stock — combined with relatively weak science, and then even less data without fishermen on the water — was wrong from the get-go,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s executive director.

“Fishermen also reported unprecedented amounts of mackerel from various year classes in waters around Newfoundland and Labrador this fall — reflecting a strong, healthy stock,” added Cleary. “DFO must correct its mistake, and reopen the Atlantic mackerel fishery in 2023.”

In March, federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister Joyce Murray ordered a moratorium on the Atlantic mackerel commercial/bait fisheries in Atlantic Canada and Quebec, even as the U.S. continued fishing the same stock with a 4,963-tonne quota.

The American quota for 2023 has been set at 3,629 tonnes.

Murray has yet to say whether the Canadian moratorium will be extended, but she has reportedly been trying to land a joint management agreement with the United States to manage the mackerel stock. Formal talks between Canada and the U.S. are scheduled for February.

DFO has also denied inshore enterprise owners the right to renew their mackerel licenses, with department officials explaining the move as administrative in light of this year's moratorium.

“The issue comes down to trust between mackerel fishermen and DFO, and the fact there is none,” said Cleary.

-30-

SEA-NL calls for elimination of province’s farcical system of fish pricing before fisheries lost

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Friday, July 15, 2022

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is calling for the elimination of the provincial government's final-offer system of fish pricing in favour of direct negotiations between the union and processors until contracts are hammered out that both sides respect.

 

“There is no point in government being involved in negotiating the price of fish when its appointed panel does not have the power to enforce one price or the other, and its decisions do not result in commercial fisheries,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director.

 

“The existing system has collapsed with processors refusing to buy for the prices that are set, and inshore fleets remaining tied to the wharf,” he added. “Both sides must stick it out at the negotiating table until a contract is hammered out like with any other collective agreement.”

 

Under the final-offer selection system of fish pricing, a provincial government-appointed panel steps in when the FFAW-Unifor, and Association of Seafood Producers can’t reach a deal on the price of a particular species.

 

The panel must choose one price or the other, with its final decision “binding” on both sides. However, most prices set by the panel to date this year have not resulted in fisheries, as is the case with northern shrimp, sea cucumber, east coast capelin, and likely squid.

 

In the case of snow crab, processors have attempted to pay far less than the panel price of $6.15/lb by charging owner-operators for services like transportation that in precious years were covered by the negotiated price.

 

Speculation is processors haven't made a killing at snow crab this year like they did in 2021, and are squeezing every last cent from every other price.

 

“Government must move immediately or a number of fisheries may not happen this year, which will be devastating to the inshore fleet and our rural communities,” Cleary said. “In the longer term government must be open to outside buyers.”

 

-30-

FFAW-Unifor election ‘democratic farce’: SEA-NL 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Friday, Aug. 19th, 2022

SEA-NL congratulates provincial Liberal Party on World Fisheries Day 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Monday, Nov. 21st, 2022

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) congratulates the provincial Liberal Party on World Fisheries Day for passing resolutions to have cod declared a heritage fish, a call for search and rescue resources for Labrador, and a review of the rules to become an inshore skipper.

 

“It’s great to see the wild commercial fisheries on the political agenda of the ruling party,” says Ryan Cleary, Executive Director of SEA-NL. “The wild fisheries are what brought us here, and the wild fisheries will keep us here. That must never be forgotten.”

 

The provincial Liberal Party passed the three fishery-related resolutions during its weekend convention in Gander. The resolutions urge the Liberal government of Premier Andrew Furey to take action, but they’re not binding on his administration. 

 

The resolution to declare cod as a provincial heritage fish is meant to instil pride, and speed up stock rebuilding efforts as a means to address food security. 

 

The resolution involving search and rescue resources for Labrador specifically asks for 5-Wing Goose Bay to be designated a primary search and rescue (SAR) base. Labrador represents one of the largest regions in Canada without dedicated surface or aeronautical SAR resources.

 

The final resolution calls for a review of the Processional Fish Harvesters Act (1997), which governs the Professional Fish Harvesters Certification Board, the governing body for fish harvester certification in this province.

 

The resolution says harvesters are subject to “exceptionally stringent certification criteria,” with new entrants reaching crisis proportions, and calls on government to undertake an immediate public review. 

 

“The wild fisheries deserve priority attention from all sectors, and in passing these three resolutions the Liberal party deserves to be commended — especially on World Fisheries Day,” said Cleary. "Well done."

 

-30-

SEA-NL calls for elimination of province’s farcical system of fish pricing before fisheries lost

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Friday, July 15, 2022

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is calling for the elimination of the provincial government's final-offer system of fish pricing in favour of direct negotiations between the union and processors until contracts are hammered out that both sides respect.

 

“There is no point in government being involved in negotiating the price of fish when its appointed panel does not have the power to enforce one price or the other, and its decisions do not result in commercial fisheries,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director.

 

“The existing system has collapsed with processors refusing to buy for the prices that are set, and inshore fleets remaining tied to the wharf,” he added. “Both sides must stick it out at the negotiating table until a contract is hammered out like with any other collective agreement.”

 

Under the final-offer selection system of fish pricing, a provincial government-appointed panel steps in when the FFAW-Unifor, and Association of Seafood Producers can’t reach a deal on the price of a particular species.

 

The panel must choose one price or the other, with its final decision “binding” on both sides. However, most prices set by the panel to date this year have not resulted in fisheries, as is the case with northern shrimp, sea cucumber, east coast capelin, and likely squid.

 

In the case of snow crab, processors have attempted to pay far less than the panel price of $6.15/lb by charging owner-operators for services like transportation that in precious years were covered by the negotiated price.

 

Speculation is processors haven't made a killing at snow crab this year like they did in 2021, and are squeezing every last cent from every other price.

 

“Government must move immediately or a number of fisheries may not happen this year, which will be devastating to the inshore fleet and our rural communities,” Cleary said. “In the longer term government must be open to outside buyers.”

 

-30-

FFAW-Unifor election ‘democratic farce’: SEA-NL 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Friday, Aug. 19th, 2022

Seal summit fails to produce action plan: SEA-NL 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Wednesday, Nov. 9th, 2022

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) says while federal officials maintain Ottawa has changed its tune regarding the negative impact of seals on East Coast fish stocks, there is still no plan to address the problem. 


“A change in tone remains just talk without a plan to back it up,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director. “Until Ottawa produces a game plan with clear objectives and timelines to deal with the rising seal population, events like this week’s Seal Summit in St. John’s must be seen as window-dressing.” 


A two-day seal summit wrapped up Wednesday in St. John’s with an open call by federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister Joyce Murray for proposals to study seals in the marine ecosystem. 


Murray first announced the summit this past May following the release of an independent report that recommended a forum to overcome gaps in seal science for commercial fisheries, and to improve the use of seal data gathered by the inshore fleet. 


The seal science presented at the summit was alarming, and clearly incomplete. 


Of the six species of seal in Atlantic Canadian waters, DFO only has recent population estimates for two — harp and grey seals. 


The number of harps in the northwest Atlantic was pegged at 7.6 million in 2019 (up from 5.5 million in 2001), with indications the herd is increasing due to an exploding pregnancy rate. 


The grey seal population off the East Coast in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and off southern Newfoundland numbered 366,400 in 2021, a huge jump from 15,000 in the 1960s. 


The last survey of hooded seals in 2006 put the number of animals at 593,500, although the species is considered “data-poor.” DFO science also considers itself data-poor for bearded, harbour, and ringed seals. 


DFO says there appear to be new "colonies" of grey seals — which are threatening groundfish stocks such as cod in the Gulf of St. Lawrence— as well as “river seals” or animals that take up year-round residence in some rivers


“The irony wasn’t lost on anyone at the summit that seals are a DFO success story in terms of fisheries management at the same time that roughly nine million of them are eating the East Coast fishery out of salt-box house and home,” said Cleary.


DFO’s leading seal scientist, Dr. Garry Stenson, said as late as last year the seal population is not a major factor in declining fish stocks. 


However, the department provided information this week that stated seals at current population levels are impacting the recovery of groundfish and pelagic stocks, despite the fact there’s been no fundamental change in seal science.


“Contradictory statements like these leave little wonder people are skeptical of DFO and its seal science,” said Cleary.

 

-30- 

SEA-NL calls for elimination of province’s farcical system of fish pricing before fisheries lost

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Friday, July 15, 2022

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is calling for the elimination of the provincial government's final-offer system of fish pricing in favour of direct negotiations between the union and processors until contracts are hammered out that both sides respect.

 

“There is no point in government being involved in negotiating the price of fish when its appointed panel does not have the power to enforce one price or the other, and its decisions do not result in commercial fisheries,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director.

 

“The existing system has collapsed with processors refusing to buy for the prices that are set, and inshore fleets remaining tied to the wharf,” he added. “Both sides must stick it out at the negotiating table until a contract is hammered out like with any other collective agreement.”

 

Under the final-offer selection system of fish pricing, a provincial government-appointed panel steps in when the FFAW-Unifor, and Association of Seafood Producers can’t reach a deal on the price of a particular species.

 

The panel must choose one price or the other, with its final decision “binding” on both sides. However, most prices set by the panel to date this year have not resulted in fisheries, as is the case with northern shrimp, sea cucumber, east coast capelin, and likely squid.

 

In the case of snow crab, processors have attempted to pay far less than the panel price of $6.15/lb by charging owner-operators for services like transportation that in precious years were covered by the negotiated price.

 

Speculation is processors haven't made a killing at snow crab this year like they did in 2021, and are squeezing every last cent from every other price.

 

“Government must move immediately or a number of fisheries may not happen this year, which will be devastating to the inshore fleet and our rural communities,” Cleary said. “In the longer term government must be open to outside buyers.”

 

-30-

FFAW-Unifor election ‘democratic farce’: SEA-NL 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Friday, Aug. 19th, 2022

Summit or same-old, jury out on DFO’s latest move on seals: SEA-NL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Monday, Nov. 7th, 2022

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) will be represented at this week’s Seal Summit in St. John’s, and is eager to learn whether the event will lead to clear objectives and an action plan.

 

“DFO Minister Joyce Murray took a monumental step earlier this year by acknowledging seals eat fish, and skippers now want to hear what Ottawa is prepared to do about it?” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director.

 

“The next two days will reveal whether the federal government will put words to actions, and we’re going in with a positive attitude,” added Cleary, who will attend the summit with board member Merv Wiseman.

 

The summit is by invitation only, and is scheduled for Nov. 8th and 9th in St. John’s.

 

In April, a federal seal task team recommended a science forum to overcome gaps in seal science for commercial fisheries, and to improve the use of seal data gathered by the inshore fleet. Murray announced the seal summit in May,

 

The task team also recommended transparency, although the seal summit’s agenda had not been released as of Monday afternoon.

 

DFO scientists have said that almost eight million harp seals have little or no direct impact on stocks like northern cod. But they also appear to minimize the indirect impact that millions of seals consuming millions of tonnes of seafood a year have on commercial fish stocks.

 

In 2017, the entire NL fishery, inshore and offshore, landed just under 200,000 tonnes of all species.

 

-30-

SEA-NL calls for elimination of province’s farcical system of fish pricing before fisheries lost

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Friday, July 15, 2022

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is calling for the elimination of the provincial government's final-offer system of fish pricing in favour of direct negotiations between the union and processors until contracts are hammered out that both sides respect.

 

“There is no point in government being involved in negotiating the price of fish when its appointed panel does not have the power to enforce one price or the other, and its decisions do not result in commercial fisheries,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director.

 

“The existing system has collapsed with processors refusing to buy for the prices that are set, and inshore fleets remaining tied to the wharf,” he added. “Both sides must stick it out at the negotiating table until a contract is hammered out like with any other collective agreement.”

 

Under the final-offer selection system of fish pricing, a provincial government-appointed panel steps in when the FFAW-Unifor, and Association of Seafood Producers can’t reach a deal on the price of a particular species.

 

The panel must choose one price or the other, with its final decision “binding” on both sides. However, most prices set by the panel to date this year have not resulted in fisheries, as is the case with northern shrimp, sea cucumber, east coast capelin, and likely squid.

 

In the case of snow crab, processors have attempted to pay far less than the panel price of $6.15/lb by charging owner-operators for services like transportation that in precious years were covered by the negotiated price.

 

Speculation is processors haven't made a killing at snow crab this year like they did in 2021, and are squeezing every last cent from every other price.

 

“Government must move immediately or a number of fisheries may not happen this year, which will be devastating to the inshore fleet and our rural communities,” Cleary said. “In the longer term government must be open to outside buyers.”

 

-30-

FFAW-Unifor election ‘democratic farce’: SEA-NL 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Friday, Aug. 19th, 2022

SEA-NL renews call for improved search and rescue for Labrador; federal inquiry into fishing vessel safety 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday Nov. 4th, 2022 

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) joins in the renewed call for more search and rescue resources for Labrador and a federal inquiry into fishing vessel safety — encouraging other stakeholders like the FFAW-Unifor to do the same.

 

“Safety at sea is a life-and-death issue that demands all hands on deck,” says Merv Wiseman, a member of SEA-NL’s board of directors, and an outspoken advocate for search and rescue/fishing vessel safety. 

 

“The lives of mariners off Labrador are as important as the lives of mariners off Newfoundland, and search and rescue resources must reflect that.”

 

This past May SEA-NL wrote Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to formally request a commission of inquiry into fishing vessel safety, and search and rescue response in this province. 

 

The same call was echoed again this week by Janette Russell, the mother of a Marc Russell, who disappeared in the waters off Mary's Harbour with crew mate Joey Jenkins in September 2021 aboard the 28-foot boat Island Lady. 

 

In a keynote address to a symposium organized by the NL Fish Harvesters Safety Association in St. John’s, Russell called for a federal inquiry into fishing vessel safety, and for the Canadian military to air resources to 5 Wing Goose Bay.

 

“All hands connected to the fishery in any way must come together for this to happen,” said Wiseman, who was initially invited to the symposium, but the invitation was later rescinded by the FFAW. 

 

In response to SEA-NL’s letter to the Prime Minister, Julie Gascon, Transport Canada’s Director General, Marine Safety and Security, replied in July to say there are currently no plans and no need for an inquiry. 

 

Given studies into DFO policy and maritime search and rescue already carried out by parliamentary committees, Gascon wrote “… it is felt another full inquiry, focused solely on Newfoundland and Labrador is unnecessary at this time.”

 

Said Wiseman, “The bureaucratic response does not reflect the live-and-death need for search and rescue. We await the Prime Minister’s response.”

 

-30-

SEA-NL calls for elimination of province’s farcical system of fish pricing before fisheries lost

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Friday, July 15, 2022

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is calling for the elimination of the provincial government's final-offer system of fish pricing in favour of direct negotiations between the union and processors until contracts are hammered out that both sides respect.

 

“There is no point in government being involved in negotiating the price of fish when its appointed panel does not have the power to enforce one price or the other, and its decisions do not result in commercial fisheries,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director.

 

“The existing system has collapsed with processors refusing to buy for the prices that are set, and inshore fleets remaining tied to the wharf,” he added. “Both sides must stick it out at the negotiating table until a contract is hammered out like with any other collective agreement.”

 

Under the final-offer selection system of fish pricing, a provincial government-appointed panel steps in when the FFAW-Unifor, and Association of Seafood Producers can’t reach a deal on the price of a particular species.

 

The panel must choose one price or the other, with its final decision “binding” on both sides. However, most prices set by the panel to date this year have not resulted in fisheries, as is the case with northern shrimp, sea cucumber, east coast capelin, and likely squid.

 

In the case of snow crab, processors have attempted to pay far less than the panel price of $6.15/lb by charging owner-operators for services like transportation that in precious years were covered by the negotiated price.

 

Speculation is processors haven't made a killing at snow crab this year like they did in 2021, and are squeezing every last cent from every other price.

 

“Government must move immediately or a number of fisheries may not happen this year, which will be devastating to the inshore fleet and our rural communities,” Cleary said. “In the longer term government must be open to outside buyers.”

 

-30-

FFAW-Unifor election ‘democratic farce’: SEA-NL 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Friday, Aug. 19th, 2022

Provincial report into foreign control of fishery misses boat completely: SEA-NL 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Thursday, Oct. 27th, 2022 

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) says a provincial government review of foreign investment in the fish processing sector misses the boat entirely in terms of addressing the extent of foreign control and corporate concentration. 

 

“The report certainly has nice pictures,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director. “Beyond that the takeaway about foreign control and corporate concentration in the fishing industry is that Minister Derrick Bragg missed his calling as a window-dresser.”

 

The report of foreign investment in the processing sector comes more than two years after the province approved Royal Greenland’s takeover of Quinlan Brothers and St. Anthony Seafoods in September 2020 upon recommendation of the Fish Processing Licensing Board earlier that month.

 

In recommending approval of the purchase, the board warned the level of foreign investment by companies that are normally Newfoundland and Labrador’s competitors in the world market was getting to be “significant.”

 

The provincial government ordered a review of foreign investment a year later in September 2021 — two weeks after SEA-NL wrote the premier asking for one to coincide with an ongoing federal review of foreign ownership of offshore fishing licenses.

 

But the provincial government report highlighted that the province’s historic experience with foreign investment in the processing sector has been positive, praising Royal Greenland’s “beneficial contributions” to competition and productivity within the sector.

 

Moving forward, the report recommends processors be made to submit annual information on shareholder and corporate structure, as well as data on beneficial ownership, which refers to who actually benefits from a fishing/processing license.

 

“SEA-NL’s message was for complete transparency, for the province to consult as broadly as possible, and for no stone to be left unturned to reveal the true extent of foreign control/corporate concentration within our commercial fisheries,” said Cleary.  “That message was ignored.”

 

 Royal Greenland — along with Ocean Choice International, and the Barry Group — controls most of all fish (and shellfish) processing in the province.

 

The companies are also widely believed to control an unknown number of inshore fishing licences through so-called controlling agreements “whereby a person or corporation other than the named license-holder controls, influences and benefits from the license.”


Those controlling agreements are said to be rampant in Newfoundland and Labrador’s inshore fishery, which should set off alarm bells regarding food security, and the province's ability to economically capitalize on the inshore fishery. 

 

The province released another review recently of the province’s fish price-setting model, which also didn’t address the impact that corporate concentration and foreign-control has over prices or hold public meetings.  

 

-30-

SEA-NL calls for elimination of province’s farcical system of fish pricing before fisheries lost

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Friday, July 15, 2022

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is calling for the elimination of the provincial government's final-offer system of fish pricing in favour of direct negotiations between the union and processors until contracts are hammered out that both sides respect.

 

“There is no point in government being involved in negotiating the price of fish when its appointed panel does not have the power to enforce one price or the other, and its decisions do not result in commercial fisheries,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director.

 

“The existing system has collapsed with processors refusing to buy for the prices that are set, and inshore fleets remaining tied to the wharf,” he added. “Both sides must stick it out at the negotiating table until a contract is hammered out like with any other collective agreement.”

 

Under the final-offer selection system of fish pricing, a provincial government-appointed panel steps in when the FFAW-Unifor, and Association of Seafood Producers can’t reach a deal on the price of a particular species.

 

The panel must choose one price or the other, with its final decision “binding” on both sides. However, most prices set by the panel to date this year have not resulted in fisheries, as is the case with northern shrimp, sea cucumber, east coast capelin, and likely squid.

 

In the case of snow crab, processors have attempted to pay far less than the panel price of $6.15/lb by charging owner-operators for services like transportation that in precious years were covered by the negotiated price.

 

Speculation is processors haven't made a killing at snow crab this year like they did in 2021, and are squeezing every last cent from every other price.

 

“Government must move immediately or a number of fisheries may not happen this year, which will be devastating to the inshore fleet and our rural communities,” Cleary said. “In the longer term government must be open to outside buyers.”

 

-30-

FFAW-Unifor election ‘democratic farce’: SEA-NL 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Friday, Aug. 19th, 2022

Science fishery or FFAW quota, DFO refusal to release catch data from sentinel fisheries raises conflict of interest concerns 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Wednesday, Oct. 19th, 2022

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) accuses Fisheries and Oceans of treating the FFAW-run, science-based sentinel cod fisheries like a commercial quota in refusing to release catch data — raises serious conflict of interest concerns. 

 

“DFO says on one hand the sentinel fisheries are for science, but on the other hand refuses to release details under federal Treasury Board guidelines for the release of commercial catch information,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director.

 

“DFO seems to be saying the FFAW has a cod quota, which raises serious questions of conflict of interest between the union and inshore owner-operators.”

 

The sentinel or test cod fisheries in waters around the province have been run by the FFAW-Unifor under contract to Ottawa since the mid-1990s as a means for fishermen to keep an eye on adjacent cod stocks in the absence of commercial fisheries. 

 

But DFO has refused to release the amount of cod caught in this year’s sentinel fisheries under a federal policy known as the the “rule of 5”, which states there must be a minimum of five enterprise owners and five buyers involved for catch information to be released.

 

While dozens of inshore enterprises take part in the sentinel cod fisheries every year, DFO says there are fewer than five buyers for sentinel-caught cod in 2022, the first year the department has refused to release the sentinel catch.

 

In 2021, 70 tonnes of cod were caught in the sentinel fisheries, although the tonnage reached as high as 263 tonnes in 2015.

 

Sentinel fisheries contracts were worth more than $1.1 million in 2017 to the FFAW, which also keeps the money from the sale of the cod. 

 

Conflict of interest concerns have been raised about where the union sells the cod, the price per pound, and how the price is negotiated considering the FFAW’s role as bargaining agent for the inshore fleet, unionized plant workers where cod is processed, and workers aboard offshore trawlers that fish cod off the south coast. 

 

-30- 

SEA-NL calls for elimination of province’s farcical system of fish pricing before fisheries lost

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Friday, July 15, 2022

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is calling for the elimination of the provincial government's final-offer system of fish pricing in favour of direct negotiations between the union and processors until contracts are hammered out that both sides respect.

 

“There is no point in government being involved in negotiating the price of fish when its appointed panel does not have the power to enforce one price or the other, and its decisions do not result in commercial fisheries,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director.

 

“The existing system has collapsed with processors refusing to buy for the prices that are set, and inshore fleets remaining tied to the wharf,” he added. “Both sides must stick it out at the negotiating table until a contract is hammered out like with any other collective agreement.”

 

Under the final-offer selection system of fish pricing, a provincial government-appointed panel steps in when the FFAW-Unifor, and Association of Seafood Producers can’t reach a deal on the price of a particular species.

 

The panel must choose one price or the other, with its final decision “binding” on both sides. However, most prices set by the panel to date this year have not resulted in fisheries, as is the case with northern shrimp, sea cucumber, east coast capelin, and likely squid.

 

In the case of snow crab, processors have attempted to pay far less than the panel price of $6.15/lb by charging owner-operators for services like transportation that in precious years were covered by the negotiated price.

 

Speculation is processors haven't made a killing at snow crab this year like they did in 2021, and are squeezing every last cent from every other price.

 

“Government must move immediately or a number of fisheries may not happen this year, which will be devastating to the inshore fleet and our rural communities,” Cleary said. “In the longer term government must be open to outside buyers.”

 

-30-

FFAW-Unifor election ‘democratic farce’: SEA-NL 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Friday, Aug. 19th, 2022

SEA-NL questions legitimacy of fish pricing review; skippers not involved, study wasn’t broad enough

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Monday, Oct. 17th, 2022

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) questions the legitimacy of the review of the province’s broken fish price-setting system when the consultant didn’t consult inshore skippers.

 

“The consultant didn't hold a single meeting with the more than 3,200 licensed inshore enterprise owners in this province when their livelihoods hang on the price of fish,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director.

 

“Usually when government considers changing laws they consult people, but that didn’t happen with the fish pricing review and the inshore fleet, which raises the question whether this government sees fishermen as people. That sounds as ludicrous as not including owner operators in the review of fish pricing.”

 

The report of the review of this province's legislated fish price-setting system recommends tweaking the existing final offer-selection model, as well as continuing with the ban on strikes and lockouts.

 

The report also recommends negotiations begin this fall towards developing a formula to determine the 2023 price of snow crab, similar to the formulas that determine lobster and halibut prices.

 

The consultant rejected the idea of an electronic auction pilot project, and didn’t entertain the suggestion of outside buyers, which apparently fell outside the review’s mandate. So too did the control that some processors (foreign and domestic) have over inshore boats, as well as the exclusion of fish pricing from the federal Competition Act.

 

“Price is irrelevant if there's no buyer, which is the other piece of the collective-bargaining puzzle, and government didn’t even go down that road,” Cleary said.

 

-30-

SEA-NL calls for elimination of province’s farcical system of fish pricing before fisheries lost

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Friday, July 15, 2022

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is calling for the elimination of the provincial government's final-offer system of fish pricing in favour of direct negotiations between the union and processors until contracts are hammered out that both sides respect.

 

“There is no point in government being involved in negotiating the price of fish when its appointed panel does not have the power to enforce one price or the other, and its decisions do not result in commercial fisheries,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director.

 

“The existing system has collapsed with processors refusing to buy for the prices that are set, and inshore fleets remaining tied to the wharf,” he added. “Both sides must stick it out at the negotiating table until a contract is hammered out like with any other collective agreement.”

 

Under the final-offer selection system of fish pricing, a provincial government-appointed panel steps in when the FFAW-Unifor, and Association of Seafood Producers can’t reach a deal on the price of a particular species.

 

The panel must choose one price or the other, with its final decision “binding” on both sides. However, most prices set by the panel to date this year have not resulted in fisheries, as is the case with northern shrimp, sea cucumber, east coast capelin, and likely squid.

 

In the case of snow crab, processors have attempted to pay far less than the panel price of $6.15/lb by charging owner-operators for services like transportation that in precious years were covered by the negotiated price.

 

Speculation is processors haven't made a killing at snow crab this year like they did in 2021, and are squeezing every last cent from every other price.

 

“Government must move immediately or a number of fisheries may not happen this year, which will be devastating to the inshore fleet and our rural communities,” Cleary said. “In the longer term government must be open to outside buyers.”

 

-30-

FFAW-Unifor election ‘democratic farce’: SEA-NL 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Friday, Aug. 19th, 2022

SEA-NL applauds former fisherman’s appointment as Opposition critic for Fisheries and Oceans

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday, Oct. 13th, 2022

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) says Conservative MP Clifford Small’s appointment as Opposition critic for Fisheries and Oceans/the Canadian Coast Guard is good news for the province’s wild fisheries.

 

“As the son of an inshore fisherman, and a former skipper himself, Clifford Small understands the wild commercial fisheries better than any politician of any political stripe,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director.

 

“What better MP to hold the Government of Canada to account for better fishery policy, science, and search and rescue than a former fisherman who can relate from the deck of a boat.”

 

Newly elected federal Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre unveiled his shadow cabinet Wednesday, with Small assigned critic for Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard. Small will face off in the Commons against DFO Minister Joyce Murray, a British Columbia MP.

 

Originally from Wild Cove, White Bay, Small fished snow crab, northern shrimp, and seals.

 

Small was elected Conservative MP for the central Newfoundland riding of Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame in the September 2021 federal election, and serves on the House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans.

 

-30-

SEA-NL recommends electronic fish auction pilot project for 2023 season

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, Sept. 23rd, 2022

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) questions FFAW-Unifor accountability in light of the union executive’s election earlier today of long-time west coast staff-rep Jason Spingle to the position of secretary-treasurer.

 

“Where is the accountability when the FFAW executive elects a new secretary-treasurer who was a key figure in an unprecedented court case in which the union was shown to have deceived its members?” questions Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director.

 

The FFAW executive — including executive board, and inshore and industrial-retail councils — met this morning in St. John’s, and elected Jason Spingle, a 24-year union staff-rep for the province’s west coast, as the new secretary-treasurer.

 

Spingle replaces Robert Keenan, who unexpectedly resigned in July.

 

In 2016, the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador ruled in favour of 71 scallop fishermen who took their union, the FFAW-Unifor, to court over a $2.6-million compensation fund for lost fishing grounds. The decision was later upheld on appeal.

 

Nalcor set up the fund to compensate fishermen for an under-sea cable laid across the Strait of Bell Isle to bring Muskrat Falls hydroelectricity to the island.

 

The fishermen argued the money should be shared through lump sum payments among everyone who held a scallop licence. The union said the money should be paid out over 30 years to active fishers who could demonstrate annual losses.

 

During the trial Spingle admitted the union was a year into negotiations with Nalcor before it asked fishermen to sign consent forms.

 

“Jason Spingle’s election does little to instil confidence in such an important position,” says Merv Wiseman, a member of SEA-NL’s executive board with extensive knowledge in organizational governance.

 

Wiseman has described the FFAW election as a “democratic farce.”

 

The roughly 2,400 FFAW members who signed membership cards in 2019 in support of FISH-NL, a rival union at the time, were deemed ineligible by the union to nominate candidates or to run for secretary-treasurer. 

SEA-NL calls for elimination of province’s farcical system of fish pricing before fisheries lost

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Friday, July 15, 2022

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is calling for the elimination of the provincial government's final-offer system of fish pricing in favour of direct negotiations between the union and processors until contracts are hammered out that both sides respect.

 

“There is no point in government being involved in negotiating the price of fish when its appointed panel does not have the power to enforce one price or the other, and its decisions do not result in commercial fisheries,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director.

 

“The existing system has collapsed with processors refusing to buy for the prices that are set, and inshore fleets remaining tied to the wharf,” he added. “Both sides must stick it out at the negotiating table until a contract is hammered out like with any other collective agreement.”

 

Under the final-offer selection system of fish pricing, a provincial government-appointed panel steps in when the FFAW-Unifor, and Association of Seafood Producers can’t reach a deal on the price of a particular species.

 

The panel must choose one price or the other, with its final decision “binding” on both sides. However, most prices set by the panel to date this year have not resulted in fisheries, as is the case with northern shrimp, sea cucumber, east coast capelin, and likely squid.

 

In the case of snow crab, processors have attempted to pay far less than the panel price of $6.15/lb by charging owner-operators for services like transportation that in precious years were covered by the negotiated price.

 

Speculation is processors haven't made a killing at snow crab this year like they did in 2021, and are squeezing every last cent from every other price.

 

“Government must move immediately or a number of fisheries may not happen this year, which will be devastating to the inshore fleet and our rural communities,” Cleary said. “In the longer term government must be open to outside buyers.”

 

-30-

FFAW-Unifor election ‘democratic farce’: SEA-NL 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Friday, Aug. 19th, 2022

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) calls the election process followed by the FFAW-Unifor to select a new secretary-treasurer a democratic farce, with thousands of members blocked from taking part in the vote.


“The FFAW election is an attack on democracy in terms of a free, open, and transparent election given the absolute corruption of what should be the union’s prized democratic process,” says Merv Wiseman, a member of SEA-NL’s executive board with extensive experience in organizational governance. 


“The broader public should be concerned anytime we see democratic rights and freedoms usurped,” he added. “The FFAW’s voting practice is a decline in democracy, and should be condemned by all those who value the democratic process.”


The FFAW called an election for a new secretary-treasurer, the union’s second-in-command, following the unexpected July 29th resignation of Robert Keenan, who had been in the position since 2020.


However, the roughly 2,400 FFAW members who signed membership cards in 2019 in support of FISH-NL, a rival union at the time, are deemed ineligible by the union to nominate candidates or to run for secretary-treasurer. 


Nominations close Aug. 26th, and to date the only candidates to step forward are two FFAW paid employees. 


The actual election will be held Aug. 31st, and only members of the union’s executive board, and inshore and industrial-retail-offshore councils are eligible to vote. 


“SEA-NL has a vested interest in the FFAW election because the union also represents our enterprise-owner members on fundamental issues like non-core groundfish licenses, and the right of fishermen to sell them or pass them on,” Wiseman said. “It’s in the best interests of SEA-NL members that enterprise owners are well represented."


Formed in 2016, FISH-NL was a recognized union until its disbandment in December 2019. SEA-NL was formed in the spring of 2021 as a professional association to serve as the distinct voice of the province’s 3,200 licensed inshore enterprise owners in all fleets.

-30-

SEA-NL recommends electronic fish auction pilot project for 2023 season

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, Sept. 23rd, 2022

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) recommends the introduction of an electronic auction pilot project for the 2023 fishing season to address the industry chaos of recent months, and help achieve fair market share for the inshore fleet.

 

“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,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director. “That alone tells you there’s a problem.”

 

SEA-NL recommended an electronic auction pilot project in its recent submission to a review of the province’s legislated system of fish pricing. That system is known as final-offer selection, and involves a government-appointed panel setting the price of fish when the union and processors can’t agree.

 

The province called the review in late July after prices set by the panel failed to kick-start fisheries like northern shrimp, sea cucumber, and capelin. Enterprise owners either wouldn’t fish for the panel price, or processors wouldn’t buy for it.

 

Under SEA-NL’s proposal, a modified final-offer selection bargaining model would continue to set the minimum price for fish based on average quality, while an electronic auction — involving outside buyers — would establish the highest possible price by allowing for the interplay of full market forces.

 

“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.

 

A 1998 provincial task force report by local economist David Vardy first recommended the final-offer selection method of fish pricing as a pilot project to run parallel with an electronic auction pilot project. Only the auction didn’t get off the ground for almost 10 years, and was later deemed a failure after processors wouldn’t take part.

 

Vardy was also a member of Premier Andrew Furey’s 2021 economic recovery team whose report highlighted the “rejection” of the electronic auction system.

 

“Premier Furey might even consider hiring David Vardy again to put together the electronic auction pilot project considering he’s been over the same ground before,” Cleary said.

 

-30-

SEA-NL calls for elimination of province’s farcical system of fish pricing before fisheries lost

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Friday, July 15, 2022

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is calling for the elimination of the provincial government's final-offer system of fish pricing in favour of direct negotiations between the union and processors until contracts are hammered out that both sides respect.

 

“There is no point in government being involved in negotiating the price of fish when its appointed panel does not have the power to enforce one price or the other, and its decisions do not result in commercial fisheries,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director.

 

“The existing system has collapsed with processors refusing to buy for the prices that are set, and inshore fleets remaining tied to the wharf,” he added. “Both sides must stick it out at the negotiating table until a contract is hammered out like with any other collective agreement.”

 

Under the final-offer selection system of fish pricing, a provincial government-appointed panel steps in when the FFAW-Unifor, and Association of Seafood Producers can’t reach a deal on the price of a particular species.

 

The panel must choose one price or the other, with its final decision “binding” on both sides. However, most prices set by the panel to date this year have not resulted in fisheries, as is the case with northern shrimp, sea cucumber, east coast capelin, and likely squid.

 

In the case of snow crab, processors have attempted to pay far less than the panel price of $6.15/lb by charging owner-operators for services like transportation that in precious years were covered by the negotiated price.

 

Speculation is processors haven't made a killing at snow crab this year like they did in 2021, and are squeezing every last cent from every other price.

 

“Government must move immediately or a number of fisheries may not happen this year, which will be devastating to the inshore fleet and our rural communities,” Cleary said. “In the longer term government must be open to outside buyers.”

 

-30-

FFAW-Unifor election ‘democratic farce’: SEA-NL 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Friday, Aug. 19th, 2022

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) calls the election process followed by the FFAW-Unifor to select a new secretary-treasurer a democratic farce, with thousands of members blocked from taking part in the vote.


“The FFAW election is an attack on democracy in terms of a free, open, and transparent election given the absolute corruption of what should be the union’s prized democratic process,” says Merv Wiseman, a member of SEA-NL’s executive board with extensive experience in organizational governance. 


“The broader public should be concerned anytime we see democratic rights and freedoms usurped,” he added. “The FFAW’s voting practice is a decline in democracy, and should be condemned by all those who value the democratic process.”


The FFAW called an election for a new secretary-treasurer, the union’s second-in-command, following the unexpected July 29th resignation of Robert Keenan, who had been in the position since 2020.


However, the roughly 2,400 FFAW members who signed membership cards in 2019 in support of FISH-NL, a rival union at the time, are deemed ineligible by the union to nominate candidates or to run for secretary-treasurer. 


Nominations close Aug. 26th, and to date the only candidates to step forward are two FFAW paid employees. 


The actual election will be held Aug. 31st, and only members of the union’s executive board, and inshore and industrial-retail-offshore councils are eligible to vote. 


“SEA-NL has a vested interest in the FFAW election because the union also represents our enterprise-owner members on fundamental issues like non-core groundfish licenses, and the right of fishermen to sell them or pass them on,” Wiseman said. “It’s in the best interests of SEA-NL members that enterprise owners are well represented."


Formed in 2016, FISH-NL was a recognized union until its disbandment in December 2019. SEA-NL was formed in the spring of 2021 as a professional association to serve as the distinct voice of the province’s 3,200 licensed inshore enterprise owners in all fleets.

-30-

FFAW’s new sec-treasurer key figure in court case union lost to members; SEA-NL questions accountability

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Wednesday, Aug. 31st, 2022

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) questions FFAW-Unifor accountability in light of the union executive’s election earlier today of long-time west coast staff-rep Jason Spingle to the position of secretary-treasurer.

 

“Where is the accountability when the FFAW executive elects a new secretary-treasurer who was a key figure in an unprecedented court case in which the union was shown to have deceived its members?” questions Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director.

 

The FFAW executive — including executive board, and inshore and industrial-retail councils — met this morning in St. John’s, and elected Jason Spingle, a 24-year union staff-rep for the province’s west coast, as the new secretary-treasurer.

 

Spingle replaces Robert Keenan, who unexpectedly resigned in July.

 

In 2016, the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador ruled in favour of 71 scallop fishermen who took their union, the FFAW-Unifor, to court over a $2.6-million compensation fund for lost fishing grounds. The decision was later upheld on appeal.

 

Nalcor set up the fund to compensate fishermen for an under-sea cable laid across the Strait of Bell Isle to bring Muskrat Falls hydroelectricity to the island.

 

The fishermen argued the money should be shared through lump sum payments among everyone who held a scallop licence. The union said the money should be paid out over 30 years to active fishers who could demonstrate annual losses.

 

During the trial Spingle admitted the union was a year into negotiations with Nalcor before it asked fishermen to sign consent forms.

 

“Jason Spingle’s election does little to instil confidence in such an important position,” says Merv Wiseman, a member of SEA-NL’s executive board with extensive knowledge in organizational governance.

 

Wiseman has described the FFAW election as a “democratic farce.”

 

The roughly 2,400 FFAW members who signed membership cards in 2019 in support of FISH-NL, a rival union at the time, were deemed ineligible by the union to nominate candidates or to run for secretary-treasurer.

 

As well, only members of the union’s executive board, and inshore and industrial-retail-offshore councils, actually voted for the new secretary-treasurer.

 

SEA-NL also had a a vested interest in the FFAW election because the union represents enterprise-owner members on fundamental issues like non-core groundfish licenses, and the right of fishermen to sell them or pass them on.

 

-30-

SEA-NL calls for elimination of province’s farcical system of fish pricing before fisheries lost

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Friday, July 15, 2022

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is calling for the elimination of the provincial government's final-offer system of fish pricing in favour of direct negotiations between the union and processors until contracts are hammered out that both sides respect.

 

“There is no point in government being involved in negotiating the price of fish when its appointed panel does not have the power to enforce one price or the other, and its decisions do not result in commercial fisheries,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director.

 

“The existing system has collapsed with processors refusing to buy for the prices that are set, and inshore fleets remaining tied to the wharf,” he added. “Both sides must stick it out at the negotiating table until a contract is hammered out like with any other collective agreement.”

 

Under the final-offer selection system of fish pricing, a provincial government-appointed panel steps in when the FFAW-Unifor, and Association of Seafood Producers can’t reach a deal on the price of a particular species.

 

The panel must choose one price or the other, with its final decision “binding” on both sides. However, most prices set by the panel to date this year have not resulted in fisheries, as is the case with northern shrimp, sea cucumber, east coast capelin, and likely squid.

 

In the case of snow crab, processors have attempted to pay far less than the panel price of $6.15/lb by charging owner-operators for services like transportation that in precious years were covered by the negotiated price.

 

Speculation is processors haven't made a killing at snow crab this year like they did in 2021, and are squeezing every last cent from every other price.

 

“Government must move immediately or a number of fisheries may not happen this year, which will be devastating to the inshore fleet and our rural communities,” Cleary said. “In the longer term government must be open to outside buyers.”

 

-30-

FFAW-Unifor election ‘democratic farce’: SEA-NL 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Friday, Aug. 19th, 2022

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) calls the election process followed by the FFAW-Unifor to select a new secretary-treasurer a democratic farce, with thousands of members blocked from taking part in the vote.


“The FFAW election is an attack on democracy in terms of a free, open, and transparent election given the absolute corruption of what should be the union’s prized democratic process,” says Merv Wiseman, a member of SEA-NL’s executive board with extensive experience in organizational governance. 


“The broader public should be concerned anytime we see democratic rights and freedoms usurped,” he added. “The FFAW’s voting practice is a decline in democracy, and should be condemned by all those who value the democratic process.”


The FFAW called an election for a new secretary-treasurer, the union’s second-in-command, following the unexpected July 29th resignation of Robert Keenan, who had been in the position since 2020.


However, the roughly 2,400 FFAW members who signed membership cards in 2019 in support of FISH-NL, a rival union at the time, are deemed ineligible by the union to nominate candidates or to run for secretary-treasurer. 


Nominations close Aug. 26th, and to date the only candidates to step forward are two FFAW paid employees. 


The actual election will be held Aug. 31st, and only members of the union’s executive board, and inshore and industrial-retail-offshore councils are eligible to vote. 


“SEA-NL has a vested interest in the FFAW election because the union also represents our enterprise-owner members on fundamental issues like non-core groundfish licenses, and the right of fishermen to sell them or pass them on,” Wiseman said. “It’s in the best interests of SEA-NL members that enterprise owners are well represented."


Formed in 2016, FISH-NL was a recognized union until its disbandment in December 2019. SEA-NL was formed in the spring of 2021 as a professional association to serve as the distinct voice of the province’s 3,200 licensed inshore enterprise owners in all fleets.

-30-

Search and rescue services must top Ottawa’s Labrador agenda: SEA-NL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, Aug. 26th, 2022

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL)  joins Indigenous leaders in expressing disappointment that search and rescue (SAR) services for Labrador are not Ottawa’s highest priority.

 

“For as long as the entire Labrador coastline is void of a dedicated Canadian Coast Guard ship, and a dedicated Cormorant helicopter to carry out primary SAR missions, the issue must top all agendas,” says Merv Wiseman, a member of SEA-NL’s executive, and outspoken advocate for stronger SAR services.

 

Defence Minister Anita Anand visited Canadian Forces base 5 Wing Goose Bay Wednesday to reiterate Ottawa’s $38.6-million funding commitment over 20 years to improve the country’s military bases.

 

Infrastructure at 5 Wing Goose will reportedly be upgraded, including new surveillance and air weapons systems.

 

Indigenous leaders representing the NunatuKavut community council, and the Nunatsiavut government expressed disappointment following the minister’s visit at the lack of federal commitment to improved SAR services for Labrador.

 

SEA-NL passed at resolution at its founding convention earlier this year that Fisheries and Oceans Canada dedicate a primary Canadian Coast Guard vessel to Labrador; and that National Defence assign a dedicated Cormorant helicopter to 5 Wing Goose Bay.

 

“SEA-NL will be calling on the Defence Minister to seize the opportunity that still exists to establish 5 Wing Goose as a legitimate search and rescue base for Labrador,” Wiseman said.

 

Labrador represents one of the largest geographical areas in Canada without a dedicated SAR air or maritime resource stationed in its region.

 

-30-

SEA-NL calls for elimination of province’s farcical system of fish pricing before fisheries lost

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Friday, July 15, 2022

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is calling for the elimination of the provincial government's final-offer system of fish pricing in favour of direct negotiations between the union and processors until contracts are hammered out that both sides respect.

 

“There is no point in government being involved in negotiating the price of fish when its appointed panel does not have the power to enforce one price or the other, and its decisions do not result in commercial fisheries,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director.

 

“The existing system has collapsed with processors refusing to buy for the prices that are set, and inshore fleets remaining tied to the wharf,” he added. “Both sides must stick it out at the negotiating table until a contract is hammered out like with any other collective agreement.”

 

Under the final-offer selection system of fish pricing, a provincial government-appointed panel steps in when the FFAW-Unifor, and Association of Seafood Producers can’t reach a deal on the price of a particular species.

 

The panel must choose one price or the other, with its final decision “binding” on both sides. However, most prices set by the panel to date this year have not resulted in fisheries, as is the case with northern shrimp, sea cucumber, east coast capelin, and likely squid.

 

In the case of snow crab, processors have attempted to pay far less than the panel price of $6.15/lb by charging owner-operators for services like transportation that in precious years were covered by the negotiated price.

 

Speculation is processors haven't made a killing at snow crab this year like they did in 2021, and are squeezing every last cent from every other price.

 

“Government must move immediately or a number of fisheries may not happen this year, which will be devastating to the inshore fleet and our rural communities,” Cleary said. “In the longer term government must be open to outside buyers.”

 

-30-

Foreign longliner accused six times within year of illegal fishing proves NAFO useless: SEA-NL 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, Aug. 12, 2022

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) says the fact a Faroese longliner was allowed to return fishing after being accused on six separate occasions within the past year of serious violations proves, yet again, the enforcement regime outside Canadian waters is 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,” says 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.”

 

The captain of the Faroe Islands longliner Bordoyarnes was issued six “notices of infringement” between September, 2021 and July of this year for violations while fishing halibut on the tail of the Grand Banks just outside Canadian waters. 

 

Find the breakdown of the notices on this DFO webpage: https://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/international/mcs-citations-eng.htm

 

The term “notices of infringement” is used because under rules of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO), which oversees fishing on the high seas outside 200 miles, it is up to the home country of an accused vessel to follow through with an investigation, and possible penalties.

 

All six notices were categorized as serious as they relate to the misreporting of catches, and were issued by DFO Fishery Officers during separate inspections — once at sea, and the remainder when the ship unloaded halibut in Bay Roberts. 

 

Unlike most countries, the continental shelf off eastern Canada extends beyond 200 miles, leaving migratory stocks vulnerable once they cross over to international or NAFO waters. NAFO as toothless, unable to enforce the quotes it sets. 

 

Christian Mathisen, captain of the Bordoyarnes, contacted SEA-NL last September after a post was published about the initial two notices of infraction against him. 

 

He described those notices as the result of a misunderstanding, and accused “pirate” offshore factory-freezer trawlers of destroying the Grand Banks by directing for moratorium species such as cod and other illegal fishing activities.

 

Mathisen said Canadian enforcement officers were aware of what was happening, but told him their hands are tied during the pandemic because Covid-19 protocols prevent at-sea boardings and inspections.

 

This summer a source aboard a Canadian Coast Guard patrol ship confirmed foreign draggers were denying boarding requests by declaring there was Covid aboard ship. The source said the patrol ship went weeks without a single boarding.

 

SEA-NL filed a formal request under the federal Access to Information Act for the number of successful/unsuccessful boardings/inspections of foreign trawlers outside the 200-mile limit between March 2020, when the pandemic began, and this past April.

 

DFO denied the request under sections of the Act that state information may be withheld if its release may be “injurious” to international relations. or contains information confidentially supplied by a third party. 

 

“Newfoundland and Labrador obviously play second fiddle to Ottawa's relations with other countries,” Cleary said. “Our fishery must become priority 1.”

 

-30-

 

Contact: Ryan Cleary 682 4862

SEA-NL calls for elimination of province’s farcical system of fish pricing before fisheries lost

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Friday, July 15, 2022

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is calling for the elimination of the provincial government's final-offer system of fish pricing in favour of direct negotiations between the union and processors until contracts are hammered out that both sides respect.

 

“There is no point in government being involved in negotiating the price of fish when its appointed panel does not have the power to enforce one price or the other, and its decisions do not result in commercial fisheries,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director.

 

“The existing system has collapsed with processors refusing to buy for the prices that are set, and inshore fleets remaining tied to the wharf,” he added. “Both sides must stick it out at the negotiating table until a contract is hammered out like with any other collective agreement.”

 

Under the final-offer selection system of fish pricing, a provincial government-appointed panel steps in when the FFAW-Unifor, and Association of Seafood Producers can’t reach a deal on the price of a particular species.

 

The panel must choose one price or the other, with its final decision “binding” on both sides. However, most prices set by the panel to date this year have not resulted in fisheries, as is the case with northern shrimp, sea cucumber, east coast capelin, and likely squid.

 

In the case of snow crab, processors have attempted to pay far less than the panel price of $6.15/lb by charging owner-operators for services like transportation that in precious years were covered by the negotiated price.

 

Speculation is processors haven't made a killing at snow crab this year like they did in 2021, and are squeezing every last cent from every other price.

 

“Government must move immediately or a number of fisheries may not happen this year, which will be devastating to the inshore fleet and our rural communities,” Cleary said. “In the longer term government must be open to outside buyers.”

 

-30-

SEA-NL welcomes review of government-controlled fish pricing system  

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday, July 21st, 2022

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) welcomes a review of the province’s collective bargaining model for fish pricing in light of the chaos in this year’s industry with prices that have failed to kick-start commercial fisheries. 

 

“It's welcome news the fish-pricing model will be reviewed and overhauled to ensure consistent, fair-market return to the inshore fleet,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director. “Just as important is that the wild commercial fisheries have finally caught the attention of the Premier Andrew Furey administration.”

 

The news of a review of the collective bargaining model for fish pricing in this province comes days after SEA-NL called for the elimination of the “farcical system” before entire fisheries are lost. 

 

Under the final-offer selection system of fish pricing — which is unique to this province — a government-appointed panel steps in when the union and processors/buyers fail to reach a deal on the price to be paid to the inshore fleet for a particular species.

 

Legislation dictates the panel must choose one price or the other, with its final decision “binding” on both sides. However, some prices set by the panel this year have resulted in delayed fisheries (sea cucumber), while others (northern shrimp, east coast capelin) have yet to start.

 

In the case of northern shrimp, processors wouldn’t buy for the panel’s spring price of $1.42/lb, and then the inshore fleet wouldn’t fish for the panel’s summer price of 90¢/lb. 

 

Government has reportedly appointed a mediator to meet today with the union and processors over the shrimp price. Meanwhile, the shrimp fleet is expected to head to sea today after Ocean Choice International agreed to an interim price of $1.20/lb. 

 

In the case of snow crab, in recent weeks at least one processor has attempted to pay less than the latest “binding” panel price of $6.15/lb by charging owner-operators for services like trucking that in precious years were covered by the negotiated price.

 

David Conway, chair of the province’s Labour Relations Board, will carry out the review of the collective bargaining model, which was introduced in 2006. Under the model, strikes or lockouts are prohibited, and panel decisions on prices are binding, meaning prices are not voted on by the fleets. 

 

-30-

Panel-system of fish pricing has collapsed: SEA-NL 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Monday, July 4th, 2022

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) says the panel system of fish pricing in this province has collapsed, with the panel either setting prices that will not result in a fishery, or processors ignoring prices and unilaterally setting their own.

 

SEA-NL is calling on the provincial government to immediately step in and restore confidence in fish pricing.

 

“The panel system has become a joke not only here in Newfoundland and Labrador, but with fishermen right around Eastern Canada laughing at us,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s executive director.

 

In mid-May the provincial government-appointed price-setting panel set the latest price for snow crab paid to the inshore fleet at $6.15/lb. 

 

Processors refused to buy crab for that price, but then last week Green’s Seafood Ltd. — a buyer whose crab is processed at Quinlan’s Bay de Verde operation — began charging inshore boats for services such as ice, offloading, discharging, freight and logistics that were always included in the price paid to fishermen for their catch.

 

Owner-operators figure the new charges would drive down the snow crab price to $3.70/lb from $6.15/lb.

 

Green’s has told owner-operators they must sign a paper agreeing to the news costs or the company will not buy from them.

 

The information has been forwarded to provincial Fisheries Minister Derek Bragg.

 

“That's a bold-faced violation of the collective agreement between the FFAW and Association of Seafood Producers, and a clear sign that the province's panel system of fish pricing has collapsed,” Cleary said. 

 

“The panel is now officially useless. Paying one cent less than $6.15/lb for crab is a breach of the binding price or collective agreement that the panel imposed on May 16th.”

 

In its written decision last week that set the summer shrimp price at 90¢/lb, the panel said the final price may not result in a fishery — and it hasn’t. 

 

“The panel members should have resigned when they wrote that given the impossibility of the challenge they faced,” Cleary added. “The panel system of fish pricing in this province is unravelling on the watch of Fisheries Minister Derek Bragg, and so far he and his government aren’t doing a tap about it.”

 

-30-

Make-or-break moment for province’s Liberal MPs; seal vote goes before Parliament on Wednesday 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Monday, June 13th, 2022

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is calling on the province’s six Liberal Members of Parliament to vote for a bill before Parliament Wednesday (July 15th) that would force Fisheries and Oceans to implement seal management plans.

 

“This is one of those make-or-break moments for our Members of Parliament when they must decide whether they represent Newfoundland and Labrador in Ottawa or the other way around,” says Ryan Cleary, Executive Director of SEA-NL, and a former NDP MP.  “Seals eat fish just as surely as MPs need votes.”

 

Bill C-251 calls on the federal minister of Fisheries and Oceans to develop management plans for pinnipeds — including seals, sea lions, and walruses on the East and West coasts and Northern Canada. 


The province’s lone Opposition MP, Conservative Clifford Small (Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame), is behind the private members’ bill — support for which from the province’s six Liberal MPs (including cabinet ministers Seamus O’Regan, and Gudie Hutchings) is reportedly “questionable.”


That’s despite the fact Small has said publicly he’s open to amendments to the legislation, which also includes yearly pinniped censuses, addressing trade barriers to the sale of seal products, and the use of anti-predator mechanisms around fishing grounds.


In May, the report of a federal seal science task force recommended that fish stock rebuilding plans in Atlantic Canada include the impact of seals, a recommendation first made 32 years ago by the Leslie Harris report on the state of the northern cod stock.


In response to the task team report, federal Fisheries and Oceans Minster Joyce Murray acknowledged that “seals eat fish,” with DFO planning a seal summit in St. John’s for this coming fall.


The harp seal population alone off Eastern Canada increased to an estimated 7.6 million in 2019 — the largest North Atlantic harp seal population in recorded history — from about two million animals in the 1970s.


SEA-NL is a non-profit organization that represents the province’s licensed, independent, inshore owner-operator fish harvesters. 


-30-

SEA-NL demands province allow inshore fleet to truck snow crab out of province

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Saturday, June 11, 2022

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) demands the provincial government allow owner-operators to truck snow crab out of province given some local processors have stopped buying.

“If processors will not buy crab then fishermen who can find mainland buyers must be able to truck out their crab or the entire industry will shut down,” says Jason Sullivan, President of SEA-NL and a Bay Bulls fisherman. “There are no jobs left to protect.”

At least two processing companies, Notre Dame Seafoods and Quinlan’s, reportedly stopped buying crab on Friday (June 10th).

The news follows a May 30th press release in which the Association of Seafood Producers, which represents most of the province’s fish processors/buyers, said plants would be limiting or stopping snow crab production because the market is “not operating as usual.”

According to DFO’s most recent statistics, 27% or almost 14,000 tonnes of the province’s 50,000-tonne 2022 snow crab quota remains in the water.

Snow crab is the province’s most lucrative fishery, with a 2021 landed value of $623 million that was projected to grow to more than $800 million this year given the price, and 32% quota increase. 

The price per pound paid to the inshore fleet began the 2022 season at $7.60, the same as last year, but dropped to $6.15 in mid May.

Processors have also refused to pay the currency provision that takes into account the US-Canada exchange rate, which should have increased the price of crab to the inshore fleet to $6.22/lb for three weeks in May.

-30-

Fisherman who vowed to dump shrimp if no buyer found suffers vessel breakdown; threat stands

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Wednesday, June 8th, 2022

The La Scie fisherman who vowed to dump his first load of northern shrimp for the season if no buyer steps forward returned to port today without any catch after his fishing boat suffered mechanical problems at sea.

 

But Terry Ryan says he expects the Atlantic Bluefin Too will be repaired as early as Friday, and he plans to follow through with his pledge.

“Full-steam ahead,” says Ryan, who operates the enterprise with his son, Josh, the skipper and licence-holder.

Terry Ryan threatened to dump the shrimp at an estimated loss of $100,000 if there’s no buyer as a protest over the province’s panel system of fish pricing.

Under the panel system, when the FFAW and processors can’t reach agreement on the price of a particular species to be paid to the inshore fleet, the decision goes to a provincial government-appointed, three-person panel.

Both sides put forward a price, and by law the panel must choose one or the other — nowhere in between.

In the case of shrimp, on April 24th the panel choose the $1.42/lb offered by the FFAW over the 90¢/lb put forward by the Association of Seafood Producers.

Only processors have been refusing to buy for that amount (even though the best fishing is in the spring), and boats in the Gulf and off the northeast coast and southern Labrador remain tied up despite the fishery opening on May 29th.

A market report prepared for the panel on this year’s northern shrimp fishery predicted “good demand, low inventories, and higher prices.”

The Ryan’s estimated $100,000 loss is based on a shrimp catch of 50,000 pounds, plus wages for the crew, supplies, and the cost of fuel.

 

While prices for species such as cod, northern shrimp, and snow crab are decided by the price-setting panel if the union and processors fail to agree, other species such as halibut have their own pricing system based on actual market returns.

-30-

Shrimp fisherman vows to dump catch if buyer doesn’t step forward; price-setting panel not working: SEA-NL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tuesday, May 24th, 2022

La Scie fisherman Terry Ryan threatens to dump his first load of northern shrimp for the season at an estimated loss of $100,000 if there’s no buyer when the catch lands at the wharf early next week.

 

“The panel system of fish pricing in this province is not working, and that point must be hammered home,” says Ryan, who together with son Josh operate the Atlantic Bluefin Too. “The fishery needs a good shake, and that’s what we plan to give it.”

 

While the minimum price paid to the inshore fleet for northern shrimp was set on April 24th — and the inshore fishery off southern Labrador and northeaster Newfoundland (shrimp fishing area 6) opened on May 29th — owner-operators have yet to leave the wharf.

 

Processors reportedly aren’t prepared to pay the minimum price of $1.42/lb as set by the province’s fish price-setting panel, despite the fact a market report prepared for the panel on this year’s shrimp fishery predicts  “good demand, low inventories, and higher prices.”

 

The panel also recommended the inshore fleet catch more shrimp in spring when yields are at their best, which hasn’t happened in recent years.

 

“The price-setting panel clearly isn’t working when its prices and recommendations are not respected, and fleet remain tied up at the wharf,” says Ryan Cleary, Executive Director of SEA-NL. “

 

Terry Ryan said his son hopes to start fishing shrimp on Sunday, and if there's no buyer for the 50,000/lbs they expect to have aboard by late Monday/early Tuesday when the vessel lands, the catch will be dumped. The estimated $100,000 loss includes the value of the catch, wages for the crew, supplies, and the cost of fuel.

 

“The initial reason for establishing the panel was a good one  — to avoid buyers not buying, and fishermen not fishing,” said Ryan. “but that’s exactly where we find ourselves again today.”

 

-30-

SEA-NL supports province's move to increase snow crab processing capacity

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tuesday, May 24th, 2022

A week after Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL)

recommended an increase in snow crab processing capacity as a means to reduce pressure on the inshore fleet to fish in potentially unsafe conditions, and the provincial government has done just that.

 

“More competition in the processing sector should mean more opportunity for inshore boats to land crab quotas faster, with less expense, and safer for all hands,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director.

 

The province’s Fish Processing Licensing Board today approved two of four applications for fish processing licenses — including a new primary processing license for groundfish, whelk, and snow crab (2.5 million/lbs) for St. Mary’s Bay Fisheries Ltd., and doubling the amount of crab Dandy Dan’s Fish Market of Argentia can purchase to two million pounds per year.

 

Workers at some crab processing operations around the province including St. Lawrence, Bonavista, and Brigus protested against the issuance of more licenses, arguing the move will mean less work at existing plants.

 

However, the limited amount of processing capacity in the province resulted in processors imposing trip limits and fishing schedules on the inshore fleet — pressuring enterprise owners to fish in questionable weather or to catch their quotas before soft shell or moulting crab shuts down a fishery and the quotas are lost.

 

“More crab processing capacity will take pressure off the inshore fleet, and that’s what SEA-NL was after,” said Cleary.

 

The snow crab quota has been on the rise in waters around the province for several years. The 2022 total allowable catch for snow crab is just over 50,000 tonnes, only 6,000 tonnes less than 2010. However, 11 years ago there were 36 snow crab processing licenses in the province, compared to 25 today.

 

-30-

SEA-NL calls for public inquiry into fishing vessel safety, search and rescue

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, May 20th, 2022

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is calling for a joint, federal/provincial commission of inquiry into fishing vessel safety, and search and rescue response in this province to investigate why incidents and deaths at sea are on the rise.


“There is no greater indictment of serious, systemic problems with fishing vessel safety and search and rescue than the rise in mariner deaths,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director. 


“Fishing is already one of the most dangerous occupations in the world without lax government oversight increasing those risks.”

 

SEA-NL recommends that an inquiry into fishing vessel safety and search and rescue in the province investigate from four fronts — fisheries management, Transport Canada regulations, safety at sea, and search and rescue.


“The Transportation Safety board has been reporting on commercial fishing deficiencies for the last three decades and it’s been on their watchlist for 12 years, and every year the same safety deficiencies aboard fishing vessels continue to put the lives of thousands of harvesters at risk,” says Merv Wiseman, a member of SEA-NL’s executive board, and advocate for vessel safety and search and rescue.


The Transportation Safety Board released an investigative report this week into the 2020 sinking of the fishing vessel Sarah Anne in Placentia Bay, which claimed the lives of four south coast fishermen.


The report found that the vessel hadn’t been inspected since its construction in 1980, 40 years before. The investigation also found that the boat had been operating outside its safe operating limits, which the skipper and crew had no way of knowing.


“The fact that more than 4,000 small boats from the under 35’ fleet are registered with Fisheries and Oceans than with Transport Canada screams that fishery management regulations have taken precedence over fishing safety,” said Wiseman. “The Government of Canada has lost its way in that regard.”


SEA-NL has warned that trip limits and fishing schedules in the ongoing snow crab fishery can pressure owner-operators to fish in dangerous conditions, and are an accident waiting to happen.


“Owner-operators often find themselves fishing in dangerous conditions,” said Wiseman. “They should never be pressured into those dangerous conditions.”


SEA-NL will make a formal written request to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Andrew Furey for a commission of inquiry with the power to subpoena witnesses, take evidence under oath, and request documents.


Between 2018 and 2020 there were 45 harvester fatalities on fishing vessels of all sizes and all types of occurrences — the highest fatality count in a three-year period in more than 20 years.


-30-

SEA-NL supports province issuing new snow crab processing licenses

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tuesday, May 17th, 2022

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) supports the issuance of new snow crab processing licenses as the quickest way to increase industry capacity, and reduce pressure on the inshore fleet to fish in potentially unsafe conditions.

 

“We see more processing licenses as the quickest way to take pressure off the inshore fleet,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s executive director. “More competition in the processing sector should mean more opportunity for inshore boats to land crab quotas faster, with less expense, and safer for all hands.”

 

The province’s Fish Processing Licensing Board is reportedly considering four applications for snow crab processing licenses around the province, including one for St. Mary’s.


The licensing board has made a recommendation regarding the St. Mary’s application, but provincial Fisheries Minister Derek Bragg is said to be meeting with the board today before making a final decision.


Workers at some crab processing operations around the province including St. Lawrence, Bonavista, and Brigus have protested against the issuance of more licenses, arguing the move will mean less work at existing plants.


At the same time, the limited amount of processing capacity in the province has resulted in processors imposing trip limits and fishing schedules on the inshore fleet, which lost millions of dollars when they weren’t able to catch their quotas before Monday when the price dropped to $6.15/lb from $7.60/lb.


But the even bigger concern is the pressure that trip limits and fishing schedules put on enterprise owners to fish in questionable weather or to catch their quotas before soft shell or moulting crab shut down a fishery and the quotas are lost.


“More crab processing capacity will take pressure off the inshore fleet, and that’s the bottom line for SEA-NL,” said Cleary. 


He added that over the longer term the province must correct the incredible power imbalance between owner-operators and processors by allowing in outside buyers, considering an auction system for fish pricing, and lobbying Ottawa to include fish pricing with amendments to the federal Competition Act.


“It’s critical the power imbalance be corrected so the inshore fleet is on the same footing as the processing sector,” Cleary said. “Anything less is unacceptable.”

 

-30-

Impact of foreign overfishing as bad as seals; must also be addressed: SEA-NL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, May 13th, 2022

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) congratulates the Government of Canada for finally recognizing that seals eat fish, but reminds Ottawa that foreign overfishing on/off the Grand Banks is as destructive as ever to commercial stocks.

 

“Seals aren’t the only killer of fish stocks,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director. “It’s still the wild west outside the 200-mile limit in terms of overfishing by foreign factory-freezer draggers.”

 

Federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister Joyce Murray said Thursday more research is needed on the impact of seals on dwindling East Coast fish stocks in response to a report that said DFO’s science doesn't go far enough.

 

DFO, however, must consider all factors — including foreign overfishing — on the health of battered East Coast fish stocks. 

 

Unlike most countries, Canada’s continental shelf off eastern Newfoundland and Labrador extends beyond 200 miles, leaving migratory stocks such as northern cod exposed to foreign overfishing once they swim to the high seas.

 

High seas fishing on the nose and tail of the Grand Banks, and rich nearby fishing grounds like the Flemish Cap, are regulated by the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO), which is seen as toothless, unable to enforce the quotas it sets.

 

Under NAFO rules, Canada cannot charge a foreign dragger with illegal fishing. Rather, it is left to the vessel’s home country to investigate a complaint or “notice of infringement” issued by Canadian enforcement officers, and follow up with possible penalties/court action, which amount to a slap on the wrist. 

 

This past March, the Portuguese offshore factory-freezer trawler Nova Virgem Da Barca was issued the fifth “notice of infringement” in six years for fishing violations that include misreporting catches, use of undersized mesh, and observer intimidation.

 

“It’s obvious that Canadian enforcement actions are not cutting it as a deterrent to foreign overfishing,” Cleary said. 

 

Last October the captain of a Faroe Islands longliner accused "pirate trawlers" of destroying the Grand Banks under the nose of Fisheries and Oceans by directing for moratorium species such as cod and other illegal fishing activities.

 

“The impact of foreign overfishing on our domestic fisheries may be as big or bigger than that of seals, and Ottawa must act on both fronts,” said Cleary. 

 

-30-

Trip limits must be addressed in crab fishery or Furey government may have blood on its hands: SEA-NL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tuesday, May 3rd, 2022

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is demanding Premier Andrew Furey address trip limits in the snow crab fishery or his government may have blood on its hands before the end of the fishing season.

“The inshore fleet has one of the most dangerous jobs without trip limits adding to the risk, and then owner-operators being told when to fish, and when not to fish,” says Ryan Cleary, Executive Director of SEA-NL.

“Trip limits put pressure on enterprise owners — who are also dealing with the threat of a price drop, and fishery closures in the case of molting or soft-shell crab — to fish in weather they would not ordinarily fish in,” he said. “If government stands idly by and lives are lost this crab fishing season the province will have to answer for them directly.”

Snow crab buyers brought in trip limits last week on the inshore fleet to slow down the amount landed. Many boats were tied to the wharf this past weekend when the weather was good, only to be told today they can head to sea on Wednesday.

Larger inshore boats have weekly trip limits of 20,000/lbs and up, while some smaller boats in the fleet are capped at 3,000/lb. With trip limits, a crab quota that could be landed in a week could take a month or longer to bring in.

Enterprise owners are forced to make more trips to sea in weather that’s worsening with climate change, and driving up fishing costs by thousands of dollars for fuel alone.

“Trip limits and being told when to fish are an accident waiting to happen,” says Merv Wiseman, an outspoken advocate for fishing vessel safety who also sits on SEA-NL’s executive board. “The economic pressure on fish harvesters to meet trip limits imposed by processors means they will go to sea in unsafe conditions.”

While trip limits are forced on the inshore fleet, snow crab is reportedly being trucked into the province for processing at local plants from the Maritimes and Quebec, as well as from the French islands of St-Pierre-Miquelon.

“It is unacceptable that local buyers are allowed to bring in crab for processing while the inshore fleet is held hostage, and it is illegal for them to truck out their crab,” said Cleary.

The FFAW-Unifor has been quiet on the issue of trip limits, but then the union is in a conflict of interest in representing workers at unionized crab plants like those owned by Ocean Choice International (which brought in trip limits) while also representing the inshore fleet.

SEA-NL takes the stand that the provincial government should immediately allow out-of-province buyers to operate here on a level playing field with local processors/buyers.

SEA-NL also called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last week to include fish price negotiations under the federal Competition Act, which is under active review.

To date, 29% of this year’s 50,470-tonne snow crab quota for Newfoundland and Labrador has been landed.

-30-

SEA-NL calls on Trudeau government to include fish pricing in Competition Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, April 26th, 2022

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to include fish pricing in the federal Competition Act with planned amendments to the legislation.


“The only industry in Canada excluded from the federal Competition Act is the Newfoundland and Labrador fishery, and the inshore fleet pays the price in terms of less money for their fish,” says Ryan Cleary, Executive Director of SEA-NL.


In the federal budget released earlier this month, the Trudeau government revealed plans to make amendments to toughen Canadian competition laws. As part of those changes, government pledged to tackle anti-competitive conspiracies between competitors that hurt workers.


Fish price negotiations in this province — the structure of which was described last year by the premier’s economy recovery team as “anti-competitive by nature” — are excluded from the federal Competition Act (Section 4). 


“In Newfoundland and Labrador processors can import snow crab from the Maritimes and Quebec for processing at local plants, while those same processors can order the inshore fleet — which can’t access outside buyers — tied to the wharf on trip limits,” Cleary said. 


“How is that fair in terms of competition?” asked Cleary, who will put the formal request in writng to the Prime Minister. “Fish prices paid to our owner-operators are too often much less than the prices paid to fleets across the Gulf, and that fundamental unfairness can only end when the playing field is levelled in terms of fair competition.”


Owner-operators in this province often complain they cannot move freely between buyers/processors, and processing companies have been accused of working together as a cartel to keep fish fish prices down.


Cleary said that the panel system of fish pricing — which is exclusive to Newfoundland and Labrador, and enshrined in provincial government legislation — often does not result in the inshore fleet getting a fair market share from the sale of fish.


-30-


Contact Ryan Cleary: 709 682 4862

Website: sea-nl.ca

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to include fish pricing in the federal Competition Act with planned amendments to the legislation.


“The only industry in Canada excluded from the federal Competition Act is the Newfoundland and Labrador fishery, and the inshore fleet pays the price in terms of less money for their fish,” says Ryan Cleary, Executive Director of SEA-NL.


In the federal budget released earlier this month, the Trudeau government revealed plans to make amendments to toughen Canadian competition laws. As part of those changes, government pledged to tackle anti-competitive conspiracies between competitors that hurt workers.


Fish price negotiations in this province — the structure of which was described last year by the premier’s economy recovery team as “anti-competitive by nature” — are excluded from the federal Competition Act (Section 4). 


“In Newfoundland and Labrador processors can import snow crab from the Maritimes and Quebec for processing at local plants, while those same processors can order the inshore fleet — which can’t access outside buyers — tied to the wharf on trip limits,” Cleary said. 


“How is that fair in terms of competition?” asked Cleary, who will put the formal request in writng to the Prime Minister. “Fish prices paid to our owner-operators are too often much less than the prices paid to fleets across the Gulf, and that fundamental unfairness can only end when the playing field is levelled in terms of fair competition.”


Owner-operators in this province often complain they cannot move freely between buyers/processors, and processing companies have been accused of working together as a cartel to keep fish fish prices down.


Cleary said that the panel system of fish pricing — which is exclusive to Newfoundland and Labrador, and enshrined in provincial government legislation — often does not result in the inshore fleet getting a fair market share from the sale of fish.


-30-


Contact Ryan Cleary: 709 682 4862

Website: sea-nl.ca

Mackerel fishery closed, but inshore fleet still want their licenses: SEA-NL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, April 22, 2022

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is calling on Fisheries and Oceans to continue issuing mackerel licenses to existing license holders in the inshore fleet even though the fishery is closed.

 

“Owner-operators want to know their mackerel licenses are safe, and will be there for them when the fishery reopens,” says Ryan Cleary, Executive Director of SEA-NL. “Many of them do not trust DFO, there’s no other way to put it.”

 

“A mackerel license represents a major investment of many thousands of dollars — not just for the license itself — but in terms of the fishing enterprise and gear, and owner-operators want to keep their licenses even if it is just for the privilege of not fishing them.”

 

Ottawa closed the East Coast mackerel fishery at the end of March, and shut down directed fishing for spring herring in the southern Gulf.

 

Shortly after, DFO stopped posting mackerel licenses for renewal on its National Online Licensing System (NOLS), which generated immediate reaction from mackerel fishermen around the province.

 

Boyd Lavers of Port Saunders on the Great Northern Peninsula has fished millions of pounds of mackerel over the 18 years he’s been at it, and insists on continuing to renew his license, and pay the annual fee even though the fishery is closed.

 

“We want the mackerel licenses put back on NOLS so we can pay our fees, and we’ll know then that we’ll have our licenses for when the fishery reopens,” said Lavers. “We may never be able to fish mackerel again, but for a fee I'll take my chances."

 

A DFO official has told SEA-NL that members of the inshore fleet are not required to renew their mackerel licenses to maintain eligibility as long as the fishery remains closed for conservation reasons, “as provided by the current commercial fisheries licensing policy for eastern Canada.”

 

“Only federal fishery policy can change at the whim of the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans of the day,” said Cleary.

 

While the Canadian mackerel fishery is closed, the United States continues fishing the same migratory stock with a 4,963-tonne mackerel quota this year.

 

-30-

Not enough Russian head of NAFO has stepped down; country must be expelled/fish quotas transferred to Ukraine: SEA-NL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tuesday, April 5th, 2022

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) says it’s not enough that the Russian president and chair of the international organization that manages fish stock inside and outside Canada’s 200-mile limit has stepped down.

 

The Russian Federation itself must be expelled from the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization, with the country’s thousands of tonnes of quotas transferred to the Ukraine — another member of the 13-country organization.


“Russia has violated every protocol on the face of the earth with its war on Ukraine, and its membership in NAFO should be cancelled outright, and its fish quotas transferred,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director.


“Russian seafood is banned around the world, so it stands to reason that its offshore dragger fleet should not be permitted to fish as a NAFO-member country.”


Russian quotas in NAFO waters include thousands of tonnes of redfish, skate, turbot, cod, flounder, hake and squid.


On Feb. 28th, SEA-NL first questioned publicly whether Russia should be kicked out of NAFO, and its offshore dragger fleet banned from fishing outside Canadian waters as another message to President Vladimir Putin that his invasion of the Ukraine is unacceptable.


The CBC reported today (April 5th) that Temur Tairov of the Russian Federation — who was elected President of NAFO and Chair of the Commission in September 2021 — had resigned on March 2th.


While the resignation was reportedly for health reasons, there’s speculation Tairov would have been asked to step aside. American Deirdre Warner-Kramer has taken over as acting chair of NAFO.


In March, Canada and six other countries left the Arctic Council over Russia’s war in Ukraine. Russia was also suspended last month from the International Council from the Exploration of the Seas.

 

A spokesperson for federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister Joyce Murray said Russia would be better in than out of NAFO, given that country would no longer be bound by any quota or enforcement measure.


SEA-NL and other NAFO critics take the stand that NAFO is a toothless organization, powerless to enforce the quotas it sets. That said, the frequency of non-member NAFO countries pirating fish stocks on the high seas has severely tapered off in recent years. 


-30-

SEA-NL calls for Derek Butler’s resignation from Association of Seafood Producers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Wednesday, March 30th, 2022

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador, representing owner-operators in the inshore fleet, is calling for the resignation of the executive director of the association representing buyers/processors after publicly criticizing the province’s snow crab resource.

 

“Derek Butler said on NTV News Tuesday that our snow crab is second-rate compared to product from the Maritimes, worth 30% less,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director. “For the spokesman for seafood companies in this province to say that publicly shows poor judgement, and reflects poorly on what is the best snow crab in the world. He must no longer speak for industry.”

 

Butler told NTV that snow crab caught in the Maritimes is a better product than snow crab from this province, worth up to $3/lb more because it’s a “different product” — “no barnacles, redder crab, bigger crab, better yields, and closer to markets.”

 

In fact, snow crab from other East Coast provinces is often shipped into Newfoundland and Labrador for processing with locally caught crab.

 

Butler also said that in “given years” the province’s inshore fleet takes 70% or more of the market value. SEA-NL challenged Butler to release all financial information on snow crab sales.

 

“Derek Butler can cherry pick numbers till the cows come home, but he can’t explain why the processors he represents, who have exclusive buying rights to Newfoundland and Labrador seafood, are prepared to pay our inshore fleet up to $4.40/lb less than on the wharf in Nova Scotia,” said Jason Sullivan, President of SEA-NL.

 

The province’s price-setting panel was scheduled to meet Tuesday to hear a motion by the Association of Seafood Producers to remove Earle McCurdy, with another hearing scheduled for today (March 30) on the snow crab price.

 

As collective bargaining agent, the FFAW-Unifor has laid $9.05/lb on the table to start the 2022 season, compared to the ASP’s $7.60/lb, a rollover of last years’ price.

 

At the same time, the price paid last week on a wharf in Nova Scotia for snow crab there was $12/lb.

 

-30-

SEA-NL launches petition urging Ottawa to change status of non-core licenses 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, March 4th, 2022

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) has launched a petition urging the House of Commons to change the status of non-core groundfish licenses so they can be sold or handed down.

 

“Non-core license holders are treated like second-class fishermen,” says Jason Sullivan, President of SEA-NL, the distinct voice of the province’s licensed owner-operators. “That must end based on safety-at-sea, and fairness.”

 

DFO’s licensing policy for Newfoundland and Labrador states that non-core groundfish licenses are not eligible for reissuance, meaning they die with the inshore owner-operators who hold them.

 

DFO brought in the non-core policy in the 1990s after the collapse of the commercial cod fisheries to reduce the number of fishermen.

 

The policy has been effective: the 3,311 licensed fishermen in the province at the end of 2020 (including 492 non-core) represented an 83% decline from 1992 when there were more than 20,000 licensed harvesters in the province.

 

However, the non-core policy unfairly targeted many fishermen who — despite having a historical attachment to the fishery — held other jobs, and did not/could not depend on the fishery as their primary or sole source of income.

 

Many worked on fishing boats whereby money from a fish sale was put in a single fisherman’s name, and so they couldn’t prove attachment to the fishery, with little support, financial or otherwise, to appeal their non-core designation.

Inshore harvesters don't have pension plans, and often use money from the sale of their licenses to fund their retirement. That can't happen with non-core licence holders, many of whom have deteriorating health, but continue to work despite the risks. 

 

Those risks are amplified by the fact their non-core status restricts their boat length to 28 feet at a time when the East Coast climate is becoming increasingly unpredictable in fisheries that extend later into the fall.

The federal court recently ordered the federal minister of Fisheries and Oceans to reconsider a decision not to allow certain lobster licenses in the Maritimes to be sold or handed down.

SEA-NL wrote the minister in January to ask that she reconsider similar non-core groundfish licenses in this province at the same time.

The petition can be found on the Parliament of Canada website, and is based on a resolution passed in early February at SEA-NL’s founding convention. The petition is open to all Canadians to sign, and will be presented by Coast of Bays-Central-Notre Dame Conservative MP Clifford Small.

 

Find the petition here: https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-3862

 

-30-

Overwhelming support for extending length of inshore fishing boats: SEA-NL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, March 3rd, 2022

The province’s inshore owner-operator fish harvesters overwhelmingly support extending the maximum length of fishing boats in their fleet for safety reasons, and to fall in line with the rest of Atlantic Canada.

 

“The message from the inshore fleet is clear that the days of chopping off boats are over,” says Jason Sullivan, President of Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador, the distinct voice of the province’s licensed, owner-operators. “Fisheries and Oceans has gotten the message loud and clear that the policy must change.”

 

DFO recently held a string of seven virtual outreach meetings around the province to hear directly from inshore harvesters about issues impacting their fleets, with the question of fishing-vessel length front-and-centre on the agenda.

 

The vast majority of the owner-operators spoke in favour of extending the maximum length of inshore boats to 49’11 from 39’11 to fall in line with inshore fleets in the rest of Atlantic Canada. Vessel lengths range from less than 50’ in DFO’s Maritime and Quebec regions to less than 45’ in the Gulf region.

 

Owner-operators in this province who purchase used, over 40’ fishing vessels from elsewhere in Atlantic Canada are forced to cut them in length at huge expense, often giving the vessels an “ugly” snub-nose appearance, and making them square to the water. The practice doesn’t impact a vessel’s carrying capacity, and often raises stability questions.

 

Owner-operators said their No. 1 reason for wanting the change is safety at sea in light of changing climatic conditions.

 

“Transport Canada and DFO preach safety, so now please let us practice safety,” said Sullivan, echoing sentiments expressed at the meetings.

 

Restricting inshore boats to less than 40’ also doesn’t  make sense in that while DFO regulates vessel length, the department doesn't regulate vessel width — and vessels that were built 16-feet wide in the early 1990s are built up to 28-feet wide today. Newer under 40' vessels today have greater capacity than older 65 footers.

 

DFO officials said surveys will be e-mailed in the coming days to the province’s roughly 2,800 owner-operators (including 600 in the over 40’ fleet) for their final word on vessel length, but an official acknowledged the message from owner-operators was clear that change is necessary.

 

-30-

SEA-NL up and running as ‘distinct voice’ of skippers, licensed inshore owner-operators

SEA-NL up and running as ‘distinct voice’ of skippers, licensed inshore owner-operators

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tuesday, Feb. 22nd, 2022

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) elected its first executive during a founding convention earlier this month, and the Board’s first order of business was to hire an Executive Director.

“Licensed inshore harvesters finally have an organization to serve as their distinct voice, and their voice alone,” says Jason Sullivan, a Bay Bulls fisherman who was elected SEA-NL President during the virtual convention.

Other members of the SEA-NL executive include: Bruce Layman of Carbonear, Secretary-Treasurer; Preston Grandy of Garnish, Captain Under 40’ Fleet; and Kenneth Courtney of Francois, Captain Over 40’ Fleet.

As well, Merv Wiseman, an outspoken advocate for fishing vessel safety/search and rescue, will serve on the board in an ex-officio capacity.

SEA-NL’s new Board met recently, and its first order of business was to hire Ryan Cleary to serve as Executive Director. Cleary, who along with Wiseman spent months organizing SEA-NL, also led the FISH-NL union movement, served as a Member of Parliament, and is a career journalist.

During SEA-NL’s convention eight resolutions were passed by the membership to help guide the organization in terms of policy.

Resolutions included: changing DFO policy so that non-core groundfish licenses can be sold/transferred; increased search and rescue for Labrador; allowing for more price reconsiderations under the province’s panel system of fish pricing; a ban on bottom-trawling for cod in 3Ps; the adoption of the adjacency principle; a standard fishing vessel-length policy for Atlantic Canada; a no-discard policy for this province’s herring fishery; and a change to allow for hook and line in marine protected areas.

Find the resolutions here: https://www.sea-nl.ca/convention2021

-30-


Contact: Ryan Cleary
sea-nl@outlook.com

SEA-NL calls for independent investigation of DFO operations in province

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tuesday, Jan. 25th, 2022

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to order an independent investigation of the operations of the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans in the province amid alarming allegations of political interference raised by the CBC.

 

“DFO’s last shred of credibility in this province is on the line,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s interim Executive Director.

 

“The allegations by the union representing DFO scientists not only call into question the department’s faith in itself, but what little faith inshore harvesters and all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have left in DFO to manage the wild commercial fisheries.”

 

The allegations by the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, the union representing DFO scientists in the province, are reportedly outlined in a November letter to the federal deputy minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

 

Cleary notes that CBC NL has not released the letter, but has reported extensively on allegations said to be outlined in the document. The allegations include that scientific advice was altered, and that DFO “exhibited a pattern where interference with scientific work is commonplace.”

 

The allegations accuse lobbyists, industry — including the FFAW-Unifor, and Atlantic Groundfish Council (representing the offshore dragger sector), senior b