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Faroese longliner cited twice in Bay Roberts in September for misreporting halibut catches

What boils my blood as a NLer is that on both separate occasions DFO Officers released the Bordoyarnes, which flies under the flag of the Faroe Islands whose fleet has been banned in the past from Canadian ports. No court charges were laid, the catches weren't seized, and the longliner returned to the fishing grounds.

Sailing under the flag of the Faroe Islands, the 118-foot Bordoyarnes was built in 1976.


On Sept. 3rd, DFO Fishery Officers boarded and inspected the Bordoyarnes when the vessel tied up in Bay Roberts. The longliner had been fishing halibut in fishing zone 3N on the tail of the Grand Banks.


The officers issued a "notice of infringement" to the captain for failing to report discards in daily catch reports. The infringement is considered "serious" as it relates to misreporting catches.


Then — less than two weeks later on Sept. 16th the Bordoyarnes returned to Bay Roberts with another load of halibut from the tail of the Banks.


The longliner was again boarded and inspected by DFO Fishery Officers, who issued another "notice of infringement" against the captain for the exact same "serious" offence.


In both cases the vessel was allowed to leave Bay Roberts because she had been fishing in international waters outside Canada's 200-mile limit. Those waters are managed by the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO).


Not Canada, which lowers the hammer on its own fishermen for illegal fishing.


But NAFO, whose rules dictate it's up to a vessel's home country (in this case the Faroe Islands) to follow though with an investigation of the infraction, and any possible follow up (fines/penalties).


A DFO official confirmed that the Bordoyarnes had previous landings this year in Bay Roberts, which has a cold-storage facility where frozen fish can be stored before being shipped to markets.


On one particular occasion the Bordoyarnes is said to have landed 11 tonnes of halibut, and 400 kgs of cod.


FAROESE TRAWLERS BANNED BEFORE

In 2002, Canada banned trawlers from the Faroe Island/Greenland, which sail under the Danish flag, from its ports to crack down on foreign overfishing.


The ban meant trawlers flying the Danish flag were not be permitted to use Canadian ports such as Bay Roberts and Harbour Grace for supply and rest stopovers, or to sell their catch between fishing trips outside the 200-mile limit.


The ban was lifted soon after, but was reintroduced again in 2004.


That ban was lifted in March 2008, supposedly as a sign of good faith ahead of talks between NAFO-member countries on shrimp quotas.


Two years later, in 2010, Canada instituted another ban of ships flying the Danish flag from local ports for overfishing shrimp.


Then in 2017 Canada quietly lifted the ban after "DFG (Denmark, Faroe Islands, and Greenland) finally stopped fishing shrimp.


HALIBUT IN NL WATERS


Inshore harvesters off the province's south coast in fishing zone 3Ps are restricted to a 3% bycatch or 200 pounds of halibut a day.


Indeed, NL's inshore fleet has access to only 2.5% of the entire halibut quota off the south coast.


Once the bycatch is caught, inshore boats have to dump all their halibut overboard — dead or alive.


At the same time, foreign trawlers operating outside the 200-mile limit can keep whatever halibut they encounter as a bycatch while directing for other groundfish species.


HALIBUT IN 4R

When it comes to fishing halibut in the Gulf (fishing zone 4R), NL's inshore harvesters were entitled to a 1,700-lb quota this past season.


Harvesters had to choose in the spring when to fish their halibut within a two-week window in the summer, and any harvesters who weren't able to catch their fish because of poor weather lost their quota.


The FFAW-Unifor itself has a halibut quota.


The union is permitted a bycatch of up to 10% with its experimental redfish quota in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.


Considering the FFAW has been allotted 2,080 tonnes of redfish since 2018, that works to just over 200 tonnes of halibut (440,800 lbs).


The FFAW also charges NL harvesters $200 for their halibut tags, while fishermen in the Maritimes/Quebec aren’t charged such fees.


Ryan Cleary,

SEA-NL


Independent licensed owner-operators are encouraged to join SEA-NL here. These blog posts will be public for a limited time, before becoming exclusive to the membership.

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