Northern Shrimp Advisory Committee Meeting

April 1, 2008
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador

Attendees

List of attendees is attached at Annex 1.

Introduction and Adoption of Agenda

The Chairman welcomed everyone and asked participants for a minute of silence to remember those sealers who perished in a recent boating accident.

Following, the agenda for the meeting was accepted with the addition of catch distribution in SFA 4.

2007 Meeting Minutes

The minutes of the last NSAC meeting were accepted with changes previously submitted by CAPP.

Subsequently, there was a comment regarding the movement of the Larocque quota being moved back to the offshore fleet. Chair responded that documentation shows that the original allocation provided for science was sourced from the offshore fleet. Industry stands by their comment that other groups were not eligible for this quota

Results of the 2007-2008 Fishery

A table of allocations and catches for 2007 was reviewed.

A suggestion was made that transfers should also be indicated.

Economics Presentation

DFO (Policy / Economic Analysis and Statistics) presented an economic overview of the northern shrimp industry, noting that Canadian shrimp landings have tripled since 1996 and that shrimp exports have greatly increased, especially to European and Russian markets. However, prices have declined considerably in the last few years due mainly to increased supply and competition from aquaculture shrimp. In the 2007-08 season, there were gains made in prices, notably 10% in the European market; this may be due in part to the high value of the Canadian dollar. Short-term price gains partly due to lower global supply and strong Russian demand.

Possible US recession and consequences for world economy as well as latent supply may have negative impacts on long-term prices.

EU Tariffs and Related Trade Issues

DFO (Trade Policy) reviewed several aspects of Canadian trade including:

EU Tariffs - Canada's competitors received duty free access. Increased quota introduction of 20,000t at 6% will be introduced between 2007 and 2009.

WTO Negotiations - Non-Agricultural Market Access: Complex formula for reduction of tariffs now agreed. Canada can expect a favourable outcome overall. Exact number for developed and developing members have not been agreed upon. May mean a decrease from the current 20% to 7%. Other WTO negotiations are on-going.

Update on Free Trade Agreements - Current negotiations underway with Korea, Columbia/Peru, Dominican Republic and others.

Illegal, Unreported and Unreglated (IUU) Fishing - Concern by Canada on wording of EU proposed regulations. Catch certificates may be required from each country within the chain of custody.

Russia Update - CFIA is the lead. Russia threatened to ban fish imports if Canada does not stop Russian IUU products entering Canada. Russia is linking IUU product import to a larger audit of Canada fish inspection system. Canada believes they are two separate issues. Russia is not a member of the WTO so Canada would have no recourse if products were banned. Russia may be backing off on the issue and may move to an overall review of inspection rather than inspection of individual plants.

Industry requested that at a future NSAC meeting, a brief overview of the history of trade with Russia be examined and explained.

Northern Shrimp Science

DFO Science presented the results of the recent RAP exercise on each SFA.

Assessments on SFA 5-6 is based on information acquired through logbooks, observer data, trawl survey. Northern Shrimp Research Foundation (NSRF) signed joint projects with DFO.

SFA 6 - Average CPUE has been above the long-term means for at least the last 4 years. There has been a general increase in fishable, total, and female biomasses since 1997. Recruitment indices are at historical highs in 2006-2007 and will support the fishery over the next 4 years. Current outlook remains positive, no observed impact on the fishery, resource distributed over a broad area. Exploitation rate expected to be between 11 15% of fishable biomass. Any modest change in TAC expected to have a proportionate change in exploitation rate index.

SFA 5 - CPUE has been above the long-term mean since 1996. Fishing effort is distributed over a large area. The trawl surveys are not annual. Short-term recruitment is near the long-term area but is uncertain due to the inconsistent trawl surveys. Appears to be average but the long-term implications are unknown. Catches at 15% exploitation have had no demonstrable impact on the fishery.

SFA 4 - Fishable biomass ranged between 66,000t and 119,000t. Recruitment trends are unknown due to the short time period. Exploitation indices are between 8% and 15%. Current status is positive. Future prospects are unknown due to the short time series.

In general small vessel perspectives show that the inshore fleet landed approximately 115 million pounds (full quota landings) and an increase in CPUE, fishable biomass and recruitment. Large vessel perspective shows a constant CPUE with good recruitment.

SFA 3 - Mixed populations but dominated by P. montagui. Fishable biomass was 45,000t for P. montagui while it was only around 13,000 for borealis. Size frequencies are similar for the two species. Good recruitment over the next few years.

SFA 2 - Trawl survey information is limited to a three-year time series. 300-400 depth contours produces highest catch rates. There is a fluctuating fishable biomass for the series. A recruitment pulse is coming that should reach the fishery in two years. In the western portion, distribution is similar to the other areas but the catch has 50% P. montagui, which are usually found in slightly shallower depths where the temperature is slightly lower (1 c). Biomass levels were available only for two years and they were indirectly related between the two species.

Current exploitation rate is approximately 2% but if the full TAC was landed, rate would increase to about 12%. Decreases in P. montagui catches may be due to a fishing effect. Exploitation for borealis is estimated at 48% and P. montagui around 20%. If all quota was landed and fished in this area exploitation rate could be up to 70% for P. montagui and 52% for borealis. These high rates may be due to few trawl sites causing concern on the uncertainty around the estimates.

SFA 1 - NAFO assessment.
Catches have been increasing since the early 90s and appeared to have levelled off in 2004. Catches have always exceeded the TAC. Fishable biomass has decreased over the last 5 years as in recruitment. Science Council considers it likely that catches would have to be reduced further in 2009.

SFA 0 - No shrimp fishery due to combination of lack of favourable temperature (2-3°C) and depth ranges. Length frequencies show relatively large shrimp with little recruitment.

Nordmore Grate

Science conducted an experiment to look at the reduction in grate spacing from 28mm to 22mm. This was a twin trawl survey (joined at the center) with both grate sizes used at once. Hope was to reduce finfish by-catch without decreasing shrimp catch. Species looked at were cod, Greenland halibut, redfish, and 3 wolfish species. Studies conducted in SFA 4 and 5. Due to catch of krill only 4 studies in SFA 4 were used.

As a conclusion, there was limited difference in the total catch in the south of shrimp. In the north there was more catch of shrimp in the 28mm grate. There were fewer finfish in the 28mm grate, but the shift to a smaller grate would increase impact on the bottom due to the increase in effort required.

The Committee members accepted the results in the north. The effectiveness of the 22mm grate was not shown. Too few sets were conducted in the south to reach conclusions.

An inshore harvester stated that the 19mm grate was used until 1997 after the initial Nordmore grate experiments. At that time the grate size increased and then dropped back to 22 and there was a noticeable drop in by-catch.

SFA Boundary Issue (SFAS0, 2-3)

DFO Central & Arctic presented a variation in SFA boundaries for northern SFAs so as to be more in keeping with current land claim boundaries (Nunatsiavut, Nunavik, Nunavut). This would greatly facilitate management of these SFAs. First Nation groups would get first access to areas within land claim areas.

MSC Certification

Working group meeting was held in January to discuss outcome of process. A copy of the minutes was distributed. Certification is expected to be posted on the MSC website within the next few days. There is a 30 day period for public review.

E-Logs

Quebec is the Center of Expertise (COE) and has recently received monies to pursue the development of e-logs. Their proposal is to use 3rd party developed software that would be purchased by fishers and then transmit the information to DFO. Tests in the Gulf are underway and working well. It is requested that two vessels in the northern shrimp start for testing in this area. This is to be a voluntary project. As well as providing catch and effort data this would provide industry with information on best areas etc.

A request for proposals will be out on MERCS within a month or so to identify software companies. The cost is unknown but it is expected to be approximately $100/month.

In order to run the software used in the trial the data is sent by VMS email. This will require industry to have VMS units that will allow the sending of email with attachments. This should provide a catch reporting system that is direct entry into the CDD database and give science better and more timely information than currently available.

Industry is concerned that this could go the route of VMS (i.e., from voluntary to regulated) and significantly increase their operating costs.

Conservation and Protection

C&P reiterated that for NAFO regulated areas, licence holders will be required to get the NAFO licence condition schedule tell DFO that they are going to go into the NRA. The harvester will be briefed on Canada's requirements for entering and leaving the NRA.

Conservation and Compliance Working Group

Members of the committee have identified no issues since December 2006 and therefore there have been no meetings.

Closed Area Working Group

Did not meet in 2007 and it is not known whether a meeting is required for this year.

Industry indicated that a Funk Island deep closure needs to be discussed for the impact on snow crab stock.

Offshore fleets have been in discussion with officials regarding coral closures and whether they should be voluntary or mandatory. They also indicated that work done on the impact of shrimp trawl on snow crab does not warrant area closures.

A NSAC member was concerned that one sector could request a mandatory closure for all fisheries because that one sector wants an area closed. This could have wide ranging impact.

The Chair indicated a meeting will be scheduled for the coming year.

Management Measures for 2008

On the issue of TAC, the NSAC Chair summarized that in the north and in SFA 4 and 5, status quo would be appropriate and in the south (SFA 6), there could be an opportunity for an increase. Further discussions will have to be held on SFA 3 due to the land claim agreements.

Industry participants made the following comments:

SFA 0, 2-3 status quo

CAPP stated the SFA 4 appears to be easily supporting the current TAC of 10,300t. A modest increase of 10% might be considered either this year or next. No level was actually presented and if an increase is to be provided to the Minister it should be reviewed through the committee. Current schedule was for a decision by end of April.

Torngat identified that with any increase in SFA 4-6 they would be requesting a 5000t allocation.

SFA 6 certainly could take an increase in the TAC.

Inshore fleet suggests that the last increase was in 2004 and the fishable biomass has increased. They would be looking at an increase of approximately 20%. This would give a 2008/2009 TAC of approximately 93,000t.

Province of NFLD supports inshore recommendation.

CAPP and Northern Coalition suggest caution on too high an increase until it is clear that the recruitment is entering the fishery. Their experience is that the CPUE is not increasing in the offshore as it is in the inshore. A 20% increase in TAC would break the 15% exploitation rate model currently being followed. A level of less than 20% should be considered. Could accept a single year increase of 10% unless some agreement could be made to address a multi-year increase.

Mobile gear 65'-100' support the 20% increase.

3L Increase

The quota in SFA 7 (3L) has been increased by NAFO. 500t of the 3,000t Canadian increase will be held in reserve for future negotiations within NAFO. The Minister has identified that the increase will be shared between the inshore and offshore fleet.

PEI representative comments that historical allocations have not been provided and would they be given any of this quota. Departmental decision was that groups receiving one time allocations would not be provided with a portion. The department will check on replies to specific requests for access, which would include PEI's fall request.

Season Bridging

This pilot-project introduced by the Conservation & Compliance Working Group is working well and will be continued. However it expires in 2009.

Grate Size

Studies are inconclusive for the usefulness of changing the grate size in any areas.
Inshore fleet expressed concern that this may leave the door open for future increases of grate size. The larger grate size will increase the by-catch in the fisheries. It would be difficult to impose larger grates on foreign fleets if we do not require it on our own vessels.

DFO Science indicated that the slight differences seen between the north and south suggests that studies would not be carried from one area to another. Additional studies should be done before a final decision is made.

Catch Distribution in SFA 4

In 1998, industry requested that 2/3 of the increase should be caught south of 60N. CAPP stated that this is not supported by current information as a conservation issue and should be removed. DFO Science indicates that under current situation (biomass high and exploitation rate low) this may be correct but they reserve the right to suggest it go back in to ensure localized over fishing does not occur.

Conclusion, no longer division in SFA 4.

Closed Time Amendment Project

Started in 2007 in attempt to capture the realistic period when fisheries could be closed in Regulations. Closed times are set in regulations by the Governor in Council. Currently closures can be very short (1 day) or very long (full year) and then modified by variation orders. The Standing Joint Committee for Scrutiny of Regulations suggests that the variation is an unauthorized sub-delegation of authority. The new Fisheries Act would allow changes in the way we manage the fisheries. All closed time will be reviewed by June 2009 and to propose regulation amendments to reflect when fishing occurs. If changes not made, disallowance forms could be given by the committee which would limit the department's ability to regulate the fishery.

IFMP Objectives

The MSC process has required an improvement to this section of the IFMP by requiring more explicit short- and long-term objectives. 10 broad objectives were presented that were developed by a small working group, with inshore and offshore fleet participation.

Inshore fleet is opposed to the wording to bullet 6 which describes fair access and the need for last in first out (LIFO). They do not agree with the policy at all.

Nunavut also is concerned about future secured access.

PEI also objects to this point because it is not in line with what they have been asking (a permanent allocation).

The offshore fleet identifies that each Minister has reaffirmed that access is temporary and that the LIFO policy will be followed. In their view the inshore fleet is looking to change approved policy.

All groups, including the government of Newfoundland and Labrador, agree to maintain the comment on adjacency in the objectives.

The Chair stated that in 2007, the Minister reaffirmed that LIFO would apply even though he provided long-term licences to the temporary allocations.

Offshore Economic Study

First phase of study, which will look at economics of fleet, has been contracted out. The second phase, which includes a comprehensive analysis and recommendations, has not yet been contracted yet.

Coldwater Shrimp Conference

The CCFI representative reported on the success of their conference. Representations came from all sectors of Canada and wide international participation. Topics discussed included key market challenges such as the need to promote health benefits of shrimp; develop marketing strategies; MSC importance was discussed to position the fishery better in the market place; not enough done to tell the full story of benefits of cold water shrimp to separate us from the warm water shrimp; early success of the offshore fleet in Asia led to support for a joint marketing campaign.

Next steps include discussions with Atlantic provinces who have supported a generic marketing campaign. Potential to repeat the conference in a couple of years fall of 2009.

Wrap-Up

The Chair thanked NSAC members for their participation and will now provide recommendations to the Minister based on discussions.


NSAC Meeting in St. John's, NL
April 1-2, 2008

List of Participants
Name Organization Location
Barry Rashotte DFO HQ
Keith Pelley DFO Iqaluit
Don Stansbury DFO NL
Ron Burton DFO NL
Jen Buie DFO HQ
Frank Corbett DFO NL
Paul Cahill DFO NL
Beth Hiltz DFO, C&A, RMAA MB
Sandra Courchesne DFO, C&A, Iqaluit NL
Dave Orr DFO Science NL
Stefan Romberg DFO Iqluit
Michael Eagles DFO Maritime
Thomas Larouche DFO HQ
Tim Siferd DFO, C&A, SCI MB
Marc Allard UNAAQ Fisheries Quebec
Christine Penney Clearwater NS
Guy Bridger 3KS Shrimp Chair (FFAW) NL
Derek Fudge OCI NL
Bill Muirhead Mersey Seafoods NS
Brian Mc Namara NRL NL
Carey Bonnell CCFI NL
David Decker FFAW/CAW NL
Dwight Spence FFAW/CAW NL
Bob Johnston PEI Atlantic Shrimp Corp NS
Linde Greening Nova Scotia Fisheries NS
Sam Elliott St. Anthony Basin Resources Inc. NL
Vachon Noel North of Fifty Thirty Association Inc. (NOFTA) NL
Tom Fennelly MG 65-100 (NFLD) NL
Tom Dooley Fisheries and Aquaculture NL
Chris Montague Labrador Metis Nation NL
Jamie Snook Labrador Metis Nation NL
Shawn Frank Pikalujak Fisheries Ltd. NS
Beverley Sheppard Harbour Grace Shrimp Co. NL
Keith Coady Qikaduk Corp. (QC) NL
Jerry Ward Baffin Fisheries Coalition NS/NU
Neil Greig Makivik Corp.
Ken Fowler Labrador Shrimp Co. NL
Phil Quinlan Labrador Shrimp Co, NL
Tanya Schlossek Nunatsiavut Gov. NL
Keith Watts Torngat Fish Producers Cooperative Society Ltd. NL
R. Walsh Northern Coalition NL
Bruce Chapman Canadian Association of Prawn Producers (CAPP) ON
Jeffrey Maurice Nunavut Tungavik Inc. NL
Lorne Rose 3KN Fisher FEAW NL
Denis Tremblay MPO-QC-GPA QC
R. Gibbons/W. Lynch Fisheries and Sealing NU
Sherry Glynn FFAW NL
Grant Stonehouse Davis Strait Fisheries NS
Peter Matthews Clearwater Seafoods NS
Charlie Reardon SABRI NL
Brian Shebib M.V. Osprey Ltd. NL