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THURSDAY, SEPT. 28TH, 2023

Late-season EI changes increase risk
for inshore harvesters: SEA-NL 

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is calling on Ottawa to revisit late-season changes to Employment Insurance eligibility requirements on the grounds they expose the inshore fleet to greater risk at sea.

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 6th, 2023

SEA-NL questions what Furey government has against fishermen; digging deeper into fishery crisis 

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) says for the second year in a row the Andrew Furey government has announced a review of the fish price-setting system that does not include direct consultations with the inshore fleet.

TUESDAY, AUGUST 29th, 2023

Licence holders encouraged to step forward if not in control of boat/licences; DFO investigating 

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) encourages inshore owner-operators who have lost control of their commercial licences or fishing enterprise to contact Fisheries and Oceans, which is actively investigating several cases 

THURSDAY, JUNE 15th, 2023

Conservation must trump profit; SEA-NL calls on DFO to close window on high-grading in crab fishery 

Seaward Enterprises Associations of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) has called on the federal minister of Fisheries and Oceans to take immediate action to close a window that’s been opened by processors/buyers to allow for high-grading in the snow crab fishery. 

MONDAY, MAY 29th, 2023

Trouble brewing if Royal Greenland doesn’t start buying crab from under 40: SEA-NL

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) says enterprise owners in the under 40’ fleet warn there will be trouble if Quin-Sea/Royal Greenland doesn’t start buying snow crab from them, and processing companies are not reined in.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 24th, 2023

SEA-NL relaunches Pot to Plate; public encouraged to buy snow crab from inshore boats at the wharf

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) has relaunched its Pot to Plate program to connect inshore boats directly with the public interested in buying snow crab for personal consumption.

THURSDAY, MAY 18th, 2023

Pretty over his head; FFAW leader unaware inshore fishery excluded from federal Competition Act

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) accuses the president of the FFAW- Unifor of being in over his head in calling for the Competition Bureau of Canada to investigate the inshore fishery when much of it is excluded from the federal act.

Tuesday, May 9th, 2023

Dedicated search and rescue air base
for Labrador one step closer: SEA-NL 

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) congratulates board member Merv Wiseman for spearheading a resolution approved this past weekend by the Liberal Party of Canada to designate a search and rescue (SAR) air base for Labrador.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, May 5th, 2023

SEA-NL demands province intervene
in northern shrimp ‘hostage situation’

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) demands the provincial government immediately intervene in the case of two shrimp boats from Port au Choix that are being denied ice from local supplies because they plan to sell their catches in New Brunswick.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 3rd, 2023

SEA-NL demands province order ‘serious’, sweeping review of fish-price setting system

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) demands the provincial government order a “serious” and sweeping investigation into the broken fish price-setting system after last year’s token review failed to fix it.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 19th, 2023

More cracks appear in government-controlled fish-pricing system; SEA-NL demands review of lobster-pricing formula

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) demands the province review the way lobster is priced to the inshore fleet to determine whether enterprise owners are getting fair market return.

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Frustration to embarrassment to shame, patience lost with DFO science: SEA-NL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, Feb. 10, 2023

Frustration to embarrassment to shame, patience lost with DFO science: SEA-NL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, Feb. 10, 2023

Frustration to embarrassment to shame, patience lost with DFO science: SEA-NL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, Feb. 10, 2023

Frustration to embarrassment to shame, patience lost with DFO science: SEA-NL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, Feb. 10, 2023

SEA-NL calls on DFO to delay mandatory introduction of electronic logbooks

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, March 3rd, 2023

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is calling on Fisheries and Oceans to delay the mandatory introduction of electronic logbooks (ELOGS) until concerns are addressed about the security of personal information and commercial catch data.

 

“Red flags have been raised over the security of highly valuable catch data and personal information,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director. “The federal government must ensure Canadians that the country’s food supply is secure, commercial sensitive catch data will remain with owner-operators and fleets, and that individual privacy is protected.”

 

The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has said ELOGs — an application downloaded to an enterprise owner’s cellphone or computer device — will be mandatory starting in 2024, and will allow the department to collect more timely and accurate catch data.

 

Instead of writing catch information into a more traditional paper logbook — which must be submitted to DFO at the end of a season, and the data manually inputted — owner-operators, for example, would type data into the ELOG on their cell while at sea.

 

The information would be sent directly to DFO when the device is within range.

 

The ELOGS, which are available now on a voluntary basis, currently collect catch data on lobster and snow crab at a cost of between $60-$65 a year per species. That cost will rise, however, as more species are added — including cod as early as this summer.

 

DFO did not develop the ELOG technology, but farmed it out to third-party developers as a “tremendous opportunity” given the market of 80,000 commercial fishing licenses across Canada.

 

Concerns have been raised with SEA-NL about how DFO will use the information collected, as well as over the security of commercial sensitive catch data collected by private companies on commercial fisheries.

 

“It’s not good enough that DFO has left it to the private companies selling ELOGS to answer questions,” said Cleary.

 

“Equally as concerning is that DFO is ramming the technology down the throats of enterprise owners and expecting them to pay the full cost, and who knows that will be when all is said and done,” said Pam Patten, President of SEA-NL.

 

DFO has certified two companies — Jobel, a Quebec-based non-profit company owned by a fishermen's organization there, and Vericatch, a British Columbia-based private-sector company — to sell the applications.

 

Jobel's software application is for lobster only, while Vericatch's software is for lobster and snow crab.

 

While Jobel has been endorsed by the FFAW-Unifor, Vericatch’s senior manager of business development is Robert Keenan, the union's former secretary-treasurer.

 

Keenan has been holding meetings around the province, and was in Gander last weekend, Feb. 25th, to give a presentation to SEA-NL's AGM.

 

DFO was asked to send a representative to speak on ELOGS, but the department declined.

 

-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

Frustration to embarrassment to shame, patience lost with DFO science: SEA-NL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, Feb. 10, 2023

Frustration to embarrassment to shame, patience lost with DFO science: SEA-NL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, Feb. 10, 2023

Frustration to embarrassment to shame, patience lost with DFO science: SEA-NL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, Feb. 10, 2023

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) says continued cancellations and delays of critical assessments that survey the health of major fish stocks like northern cod have turned Fisheries and Oceans science into a Canadian shame.

“We’re past the point of frustration and embarrassment with DFO science; it’s now Canada’s shame,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director.

DFO’s science director for the province released a letter Thursday afternoon informing fishing industry representatives that the Canadian Coast Guard science ship Alfred Needler has been deemed “beyond repair” and decommissioned.

That’s only five months earlier than planned, but the impact on DFO’s science program is huge because the aging ship was needed to help bring two new science vessels into service.

That happens through comparative fishing, when an older vessel trawls alongside a new one — a critical step to calibrate differences between ships in trawl performance and ensure the continuity of DFO data.

“That continuity has been broken with the early loss of the Needler,” said Cleary. “DFO must clearly explain the consequences for its science program and future stock assessments.”

DFO also revealed Thursday there would be no 2023 assessment of northern cod for the second year (this is year 31 of the moratorium). The shrimp stock off southern Labrador and northeastern Newfoundland, the stock primarily fished by the inshore fleet in shrimp fishing areas 5 and 6, also won’t be assessed this year.

Frustration to embarrassment to shame, patience lost with DFO science: SEA-NL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, Feb. 10, 2023

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) says continued cancellations and delays of critical assessments that survey the health of major fish stocks like northern cod have turned Fisheries and Oceans science into a Canadian shame.

“We’re past the point of frustration and embarrassment with DFO science; it’s now Canada’s shame,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director.

DFO’s science director for the province released a letter Thursday afternoon informing fishing industry representatives that the Canadian Coast Guard science ship Alfred Needler has been deemed “beyond repair” and decommissioned.

That’s only five months earlier than planned, but the impact on DFO’s science program is huge because the aging ship was needed to help bring two new science vessels into service.

That happens through comparative fishing, when an older vessel trawls alongside a new one — a critical step to calibrate differences between ships in trawl performance and ensure the continuity of DFO data.

“That continuity has been broken with the early loss of the Needler,” said Cleary. “DFO must clearly explain the consequences for its science program and future stock assessments.”

DFO also revealed Thursday there would be no 2023 assessment of northern cod for the second year (this is year 31 of the moratorium). The shrimp stock off southern Labrador and northeastern

Frustration to embarrassment to shame, patience lost with DFO science: SEA-NL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, Feb. 10, 2023

SEA-NL elects new President, first woman leader of fisheries organization in province’s history

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Monday, Feb. 27th, 2023

Fortune-based inshore enterprise owner Pamela Patten has been elected President of Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL), believed to be the first woman to lead a fisheries organization in the province’s history.

 

“As a woman I will obviously bring a slightly different perspective to the table, but my role will be to unite owner-operators around the province regardless of fleet or gender,” says Patten, who runs the Bradley Venture, a 39’11 longliner that primarily fishes snow crab and lobster. 

 

Patten, a mother of four, has been an enterprise owner for 11 years, and a fisher person for 22. She was elected President during SEA-NL’s AGM this past Saturday, Feb. 25th in Gander, and replaces Bay Bulls enterprise owner Jason Sullivan.

 

During the AGM SEA-NL passed five policy resolutions, including a call for Ottawa to lift the moratorium on Atlantic mackerel in 2023, and set a quota at least equal to the U.S. quota for the same stock; for the feds to provide a detailed action plan within six months to deal with seal populations throughout Canada; for the Prime Minister to take a stronger stand against foreign overfishing; and for the Government of Canada  to order an independent external review of DFO science/management in the NL Region.

 

SEA-NL is a professional, non-profit association that serves as the distinct voice of licensed, independent, inshore owner-operator fish harvesters in the province. 

 

-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 mackerel moratorium; at least match U.S. quota for 2023 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday, Feb. 2nd, 2022 

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is calling on Fisheries and Oceans to lift the moratorium on Atlantic mackerel in 2023, and set a quota at least equal to the total allowable catch (TAC) set this week by the United States.

 

“It’s a senseless sacrifice for Canadian mackerel fishermen to remain under a moratorium when their U.S. cousins have never stopped fishing,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director.

 

The CBC reports that earlier this week the United States set the 2023 TAC for Atlantic mackerel at 3,639 tonnes,  a 27% decrease from that country's 2022 quota of 4,963 tonnes. 

 

Meanwhile, Canada slapped a moratorium on the same Atlantic mackerel stock last year, and Ottawa has yet to announced whether there will be a commercial fishery this year. 

 

SEA-NL first called on Ottawa in late December to lift the moratorium on Atlantic mackerel for 2023, and set a quota to at least match what U.S. fishermen are allowed to fish. 

 

DFO's science on Atlantic mackerel has been relatively weak, with even less data without fishermen on the water.

 

Fishermen reported unprecedented schools of mackerel along Newfoundland’s northeast coast right up to January, with pictures posted all over social media of dead or dying fish washed up on beaches.

 

Enterprise owners speculate cold water temperatures killed the mackerel. DFO would not allow the fish to be collected for bait.

 

SEA-NL has also called on DFO to allow enterprise owners to renew the licenses regardless of whether there's a moratorium or not. Ottawa has refused. 

 

-30-

Frustration to embarrassment to shame, patience lost with DFO science: SEA-NL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, Feb. 10, 2023

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) says continued cancellations and delays of critical assessments that survey the health of major fish stocks like northern cod have turned Fisheries and Oceans science into a Canadian shame.

“We’re past the point of frustration and embarrassment with DFO science; it’s now Canada’s shame,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director.

DFO’s science director for the province released a letter Thursday afternoon informing fishing industry representatives that the Canadian Coast Guard science ship Alfred Needler has been deemed “beyond repair” and decommissioned.

That’s only five months earlier than planned, but the impact on DFO’s science program is huge because the aging ship was needed to help bring two new science vessels into service.

That happens through comparative fishing, when an older vessel trawls alongside a new one — a critical step to calibrate differences between ships in trawl performance and ensure the continuity of DFO data.

“That continuity has been broken with the early loss of the Needler,” said Cleary. “DFO must clearly explain the consequences for its science program and future stock assessments.”

DFO also revealed Thursday there would be no 2023 assessment of northern cod for the second year (this is year 31 of the moratorium). The shrimp stock off southern Labrador and northeastern Newfoundland, the stock primarily fished by the inshore fleet in shrimp fishing areas 5 and 6, also won’t be assessed this year.

Breakdowns, unplanned maintenance and refits on both new and old fisheries science vessels — on top of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic — have led to the cancellation of numerous stock assessments going back to 2020.

“Poor science translates into bad management, and that’s exactly where we are right now,” 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

Frustration to embarrassment to shame, patience lost with DFO science: SEA-NL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, Feb. 10, 2023

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) says continued cancellations and delays of critical assessments that survey the health of major fish stocks like northern cod have turned Fisheries and Oceans science into a Canadian shame.

“We’re past the point of frustration and embarrassment with DFO science; it’s now Canada’s shame,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director.

DFO’s science director for the province released a letter Thursday afternoon informing fishing industry representatives that the Canadian Coast Guard science ship Alfred Needler has been deemed “beyond repair” and decommissioned.

That’s only five months earlier than planned, but the impact on DFO’s science program is huge because the aging ship was needed to help bring two new science vessels into service.

That happens through comparative fishing, when an older vessel trawls alongside a new one — a critical step to calibrate differences between ships in trawl performance and ensure the continuity of DFO data.

“That continuity has been broken with the early loss of the Needler,” said Cleary. “DFO must clearly explain the consequences for its science program and future stock assessments.”

DFO also revealed Thursday there would be no 2023 assessment of northern cod for the second year (this is year 31 of the moratorium). The shrimp stock off southern Labrador and northeastern Newfoundland, the stock primarily fished by the inshore fleet in shrimp fishing areas 5 and 6, also won’t be assessed this year.

Breakdowns, unplanned maintenance and refits on both new and old fisheries science vessels — on top of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic — have led to the cancellation of numerous stock assessments going back to 2020.

“Poor science translates into bad management, and that’s exactly where we are right now,” said Cleary.

-30-

Frustration to embarrassment to shame, patience lost with DFO science: SEA-NL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, Feb. 10, 2023

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) says continued cancellations and delays of critical assessments that survey the health of major fish stocks like northern cod have turned Fisheries and Oceans science into a Canadian shame.

“We’re past the point of frustration and embarrassment with DFO science; it’s now Canada’s shame,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director.

DFO’s science director for the province released a letter Thursday afternoon informing fishing industry representatives that the Canadian Coast Guard science ship Alfred Needler has been deemed “beyond repair” and decommissioned.

That’s only five months earlier than planned, but the impact on DFO’s science program is huge because the aging ship was needed to help bring two new science vessels into service.

That happens through comparative fishing, when an older vessel trawls alongside a new one — a critical step to calibrate differences between ships in trawl performance and ensure the continuity of DFO data.

“That continuity has been broken with the early loss of the Needler,” said Cleary. “DFO must clearly explain the consequences for its science program and future stock assessments.”

DFO also revealed Thursday there would be no 2023 assessment of northern cod for the second year (this is year 31 of the moratorium). The shrimp stock off southern Labrador and northeastern Newfoundland, the stock primarily fished by the inshore fleet in shrimp fishing areas 5 and 6, also won’t be assessed this year.

Breakdowns, unplanned maintenance and refits on both new and old fisheries science vessels — on top of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic — have led to the cancellation of numerous stock assessments going back to 2020.

“Poor science translates into bad management, and that’s exactly where we are right now,” said Cleary.

-30-

Frustration to embarrassment to shame, patience lost with DFO science: SEA-NL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, Feb. 10, 2023

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) says continued cancellations and delays of critical assessments that survey the health of major fish stocks like northern cod have turned Fisheries and Oceans science into a Canadian shame.

“We’re past the point of frustration and embarrassment with DFO science; it’s now Canada’s shame,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director.

DFO’s science director for the province released a letter Thursday afternoon informing fishing industry representatives that the Canadian Coast Guard science ship Alfred Needler has been deemed “beyond repair” and decommissioned.

That’s only five months earlier than planned, but the impact on DFO’s science program is huge because the aging ship was needed to help bring two new science vessels into service.

That happens through comparative fishing, when an older vessel trawls alongside a new one — a critical step to calibrate differences between ships in trawl performance and ensure the continuity of DFO data.

“That continuity has been broken with the early loss of the Needler,” said Cleary. “DFO must clearly explain the consequences for its science program and future stock assessments.”

DFO also revealed Thursday there would be no 2023 assessment of northern cod for the second year (this is year 31 of the moratorium). The shrimp stock off southern Labrador and northeastern Newfoundland, the stock primarily fished by the inshore fleet in shrimp fishing areas 5 and 6, also won’t be assessed this year.

Breakdowns, unplanned maintenance and refits on both new and old fisheries science vessels — on top of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic — have led to the cancellation of numerous stock assessments going back to 2020.

“Poor science translates into bad management, and that’s exactly where we are right now,” said Cleary.

-30-

Frustration to embarrassment to shame, patience lost with DFO science: SEA-NL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, Feb. 10, 2023

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) says continued cancellations and delays of critical assessments that survey the health of major fish stocks like northern cod have turned Fisheries and Oceans science into a Canadian shame.

“We’re past the point of frustration and embarrassment with DFO science; it’s now Canada’s shame,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director.

DFO’s science director for the province released a letter Thursday afternoon informing fishing industry representatives that the Canadian Coast Guard science ship Alfred Needler has been deemed “beyond repair” and decommissioned.

That’s only five months earlier than planned, but the impact on DFO’s science program is huge because the aging ship was needed to help bring two new science vessels into service.

That happens through comparative fishing, when an older vessel trawls alongside a new one — a critical step to calibrate differences between ships in trawl performance and ensure the continuity of DFO data.

“That continuity has been broken with the early loss of the Needler,” said Cleary. “DFO must clearly explain the consequences for its science program and future stock assessments.”

DFO also revealed Thursday there would be no 2023 assessment of northern cod for the second year (this is year 31 of the moratorium). The shrimp stock off southern Labrador and northeastern Newfoundland, the stock primarily fished by the inshore fleet in shrimp fishing areas 5 and 6, also won’t be assessed this year.

Breakdowns, unplanned maintenance and refits on both new and old fisheries science vessels — on top of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic — have led to the cancellation of numerous stock assessments going back to 2020.

“Poor science translates into bad management, and that’s exactly where we are right now,” said Cleary.

-30-

Frustration to embarrassment to shame, patience lost with DFO science: SEA-NL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, Feb. 10, 2023

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) says continued cancellations and delays of critical assessments that survey the health of major fish stocks like northern cod have turned Fisheries and Oceans science into a Canadian shame.

“We’re past the point of frustration and embarrassment with DFO science; it’s now Canada’s shame,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director.

DFO’s science director for the province released a letter Thursday afternoon informing fishing industry representatives that the Canadian Coast Guard science ship Alfred Needler has been deemed “beyond repair” and decommissioned.

That’s only five months earlier than planned, but the impact on DFO’s science program is huge because the aging ship was needed to help bring two new science vessels into service.

That happens through comparative fishing, when an older vessel trawls alongside a new one — a critical step to calibrate differences between ships in trawl performance and ensure the continuity of DFO data.

“That continuity has been broken with the early loss of the Needler,” said Cleary. “DFO must clearly explain the consequences for its science program and future stock assessments.”

DFO also revealed Thursday there would be no 2023 assessment of northern cod for the second year (this is year 31 of the moratorium). The shrimp stock off southern Labrador and northeastern Newfoundland, the stock primarily fished by the inshore fleet in shrimp fishing areas 5 and 6, also won’t be assessed this year.

Breakdowns, unplanned maintenance and refits on both new and old fisheries science vessels — on top of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic — have led to the cancellation of numerous stock assessments going back to 2020.

“Poor science translates into bad management, and that’s exactly where we are right now,” said Cleary.

-30-

Frustration to embarrassment to shame, patience lost with DFO science: SEA-NL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, Feb. 10, 2023

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) says continued cancellations and delays of critical assessments that survey the health of major fish stocks like northern cod have turned Fisheries and Oceans science into a Canadian shame.

“We’re past the point of frustration and embarrassment with DFO science; it’s now Canada’s shame,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director.

DFO’s science director for the province released a letter Thursday afternoon informing fishing industry representatives that the Canadian Coast Guard science ship Alfred Needler has been deemed “beyond repair” and decommissioned.

That’s only five months earlier than planned, but the impact on DFO’s science program is huge because the aging ship was needed to help bring two new science vessels into service.

That happens through comparative fishing, when an older vessel trawls alongside a new one — a critical step to calibrate differences between ships in trawl performance and ensure the continuity of DFO data.

“That continuity has been broken with the early loss of the Needler,” said Cleary. “DFO must clearly explain the consequences for its science program and future stock assessments.”

DFO also revealed Thursday there would be no 2023 assessment of northern cod for the second year (this is year 31 of the moratorium). The shrimp stock off southern Labrador and northeastern Newfoundland, the stock primarily fished by the inshore fleet in shrimp fishing areas 5 and 6, also won’t be assessed this year.

Breakdowns, unplanned maintenance and refits on both new and old fisheries science vessels — on top of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic — have led to the cancellation of numerous stock assessments going back to 2020.

“Poor science translates into bad management, and that’s exactly where we are right now,” 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

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.  

 

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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.”

 

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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. 

 

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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.”

 

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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.

 

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