Northern Shrimp Advisory Committee Meeting

Part 1 - St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador - March 3, 2016

Sylvie Lapointe, DFO Ottawa, Chair, welcomed the group and a round of introductions was made. (Participant list at Annex 1). She asked if there were any additional agenda items.

She indicated the Minister announced that an external review of the Last In, First Out (LIFO) policy will be undertaken. The Department will gather stakeholder views on the overall approach to the review, what the Terms of Reference (TOR) should look like and who should conduct the process. Additionally, as a result of the Science update that showed significant declines in Shrimp Fishing Areas (SFAs) 4 and 6, the Minister ordered a full stock assessment be undertaken in SFAs 4 – 6. Total Allowable Catches (TACs) will not be set until the results of the stock assessment are available and the Minister has made a decision on LIFO. The Department will be asking for the Committee’s views on interim measures for the opening of the fishery on April 1.

The Chair asked if there were any comments on the 2015 NSAC minutes that were previously circulated. There were not. The minutes were adopted.

Leigh Edgar, DFO, Resource Management (RM) gave a snapshot on quotas and catches to date for 2015 compared to roughly the same time period in 2014. These catch numbers haven’t been verified, and the fishery is still ongoing.  

Keith Sullivan, Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW) Union indicated that it is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain catch information from the Department.

The Chair responded that there are some privacy issues that we have to be aware of, but we are trying to seek clarification on a way forward to share information more freely with stakeholders.

David Dekker, FFAW, asked how much shrimp is left to be caught in SFA 6 this year? Do the catches for SFA 6 include bridged quota? He noted season bridging adds too much confusion and increases the exploitation rate (ER). FFAW opposes any borrowing from the 2016/17 quota in SFA 6 pending the decisions on LIFO.

DFO, RM, responded that these numbers presented are from February 25 and do not include transfers or bridged quota. She stated that there are season bridging flexibilities to borrow from next year’s quota, or to carry forward this year’s uncaught quota to next year, each with time limits on when catches need to occur. She indicated the numbers presented were a snapshot of 2015 quotas and catches, but the actual amount can be verified.

Lloyd Slaney, DFO Conservation and Protection (C&P), gave a presentation on enforcement activities in the Northern shrimp fishery describing the ongoing daily monitoring of fishing activity, catches and reporting, observer reports and other monitoring tools used to support enforcement activities.

Negotiations with Greenland – SFA 1

The Chair gave an update on the negotiations with Greenland with regard to the shared shrimp stock in Division 0A east of 60°30°W (ANNEX 2), which in Canadian waters is SFA 1. With regard to the 2016 TAC, the Scientific Council recommended a TAC of 90,000t. Greenland accepted a TAC of 85,000t, a significant increase from last year’s TAC of 60,000t. Canada has not yet made a decision for 2016/17.

 Last In, First Out (LIFO)

The Chair stated that the Minister and the Government of Canada has committed to an external review of LIFO. The Department is seeking views on how this review should occur, and on the Terms of Reference (TOR). Stakeholder views will expedite this process so that a decision can be made on the continuation, modification or abolishment of LIFO in this fishery moving forward. The review will be external, independent, transparent and in full consultation with stakeholders. How and where consultations occur will likely be up to the reviewer.

This review differs from the narrower TOR for the 2012 Ernst & Young (E&Y) review, which looked at if the Department appropriately implemented the LIFO policy. The goal is to start the current review as soon as possible to ideally be completed by the end of June. Final 2016 TACs will be set once a decision has been made.

FFAW suggested the review look beyond LIFO, and called for a balance between having a thorough review and good consultation with the need to have it completed as soon as possible so the 2016 fishery can begin.

FFAW gave a presentation on their perspectives on the LIFO review. Broad discussions and consultations are critically important, and the locations of these meetings in shrimp communities are equally important to understand the consequences of the LIFO decision. Underpinning the review should be the need for the maximum benefit for the people and communities that rely on the resource. There are huge social costs to this decision, and bankruptcy is a reality for many people. People can't live with uncertainty and their jobs are on the line. The need for a decision is urgent and we have to get this right. TOR should be finalized by March 15. The Panel should be assembled quickly with a report deadline of mid-May, which is aggressive but necessary. This is not a legal argument for a judge; it is about adjacency and coastal communities. FFAW acknowledged the people who traveled to St. John's today to communicate their position. The reviewer must have in depth knowledge on this fishery, the communities and issues affecting the fishery.

Vincent Dupuis, ACPG agreed with FFAW's approach.

Jamie Snook, Torngat Joint Fisheries Board (TJFB) thanked the Chair for the Land Claims session yesterday. He requested to see the TOR as it is being developed to ensure an open and transparent process. The review would need to fully consider land claims to provide clarity on a go forward basis. They hope that the review would look at the past applications of LIFO since signing of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement in 2005.

Tom Dooley, Gov Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) indicated that he sees this as a broader look at the LIFO policy compared to the E&Y review, and will pronounce on the appropriateness of LIFO as a management tool moving forward, or may consider alternatives. The review should be undertaken by three people who will complete their work as soon as possible. The All Party Committee may wish to make comments on the TOR.

Todd Broomfield, Nunatsiavut Government (NG), stated that there are constitutionally recognized rights for land claims, and these rights come before a LIFO policy. The reviewer needs to be aware of the importance of these signed agreements, which will be raised during the consultations.

Derek Butler, Association of Seafood Producers (ASP), asked that economic data be provided to show impacts to the fleets.

Mario Gaudet, Government New Brunswick (NB), indicated that they are in favour of LIFO and a judge to lead the review, which should be objective, impartial and include consultation with stakeholders. The reviewer must understand there are implications to provinces outside of NL. All policies should be looked at, the reviewer should be experienced and consider aboriginal implications.

Jonathon Lowe, Government of Nova Scotia (NS), indicated that the review should be impartial, and support a judge in the process.

Carl McLean, (NG), indicated that reviewer should have the skill set and qualities required to undertake the review.

Jean Michel Poulin, Government of Quebec (QC), said the review needs to be transparent and factually based. The reviewer should have access to economic data and statistics to fully understand the situation. It's also important to look at the history of the fishery.

Bruce Chapman, Canadian Association of Prawn Producers (CAPP), indicated that consultations for the review should include a cross section of stakeholders. He questioned the possibility of having a knowledgeable and impartial panel of experts. An impartial judge makes sense and there’s precedence for this on the west coast and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. There are land claims considerations, and social and economic impacts. There is a need to do this correctly, balanced with the need to have it completed quickly. Consultations in communities will take time and he expressed concern that a decision wouldn't be taken until September. He is not implying this is a legal argument, but a judge assumes a fair, balanced approach according to the TOR.

FFAW stated that the inshore should have exclusive access to SFA 6 pending the final decision. They do not support a judge making a decision that affects their communities. They need people with knowledge of the issues to conduct this review.

Fred Hall, Innu Nation, asked if the LIFO review would look at possible increases?

The Chair responded that there was a part of LIFO that addressed both increases and decreases, so the inshore received 90% of both when they occurred in SFA 6. Without prejudging the TOR, there will likely be a focus on an allocation regime for addressing increases and decreases moving forward.

Phil Barnes, Fogo Island Co-Op, stated that the review should look at where and when the offshore fleet can and should fish. He suggested shutting SFA 6 down one year for reprieve. He supports that indigenous considerations need to be part of this review.

NG indicated that final TACs in SFAs 4 - 6 require the full science, which is expected shortly. Allocations of 2016 TACs would require a decision on LIFO, which is why the results of the review are urgent. He asked for confirmation that setting final TACs for 2016 will occur after the science is completed, and a decision has been made on LIFO?

The Chair noted the science will be available in April, which will provide us the basis for setting TACs. The allocation of final TACs will occur after a decision has been made on LIFO, hence the need to do the review as quickly as possible.

Todd Russell, NunatuKavut Community Council (NCC), reminded the Committee that there is a separate legal duty to consult aboriginal people. Reviewer should be knowledgeable on aboriginal rights; if a panel is established, an aboriginal person should be part of it. Adjacency will be a key principle. The report should be delivered in 90 - 120 days, and all information should be made public. Panel selection and TOR are very important.

TJFB indicated support for a small panel, with at least one individual with knowledge of land claims. There have been cuts in the fishery in areas where there are Land Claims.

The NG stated this is a Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fishery, and science is showing further declines. He noted the number of key players and the length of time this review will take. We need long-term stability and the results of the review will get us there.

Jeff Maurice, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc (NTI), indicated support for the NG's comments, and having a focus on complex land claims in this review is important. He didn't offer a preference for a judge or a panel.

The Chair summarized that all agree this is a complex issue with significant impacts on communities, fleets and plants. She is hearing that the review needs to be impartial, independent fair and transparent. It should be done quickly, with extensive consultations to aboriginal, offshore, inshore and coastal communities, and a focused consideration to economic analysis. She noted there is significant disagreement among NSAC on what the review will look like, with calls for a judge and a panel undertake the review. If a panel, how many people? These different views will be taken to the Minister. She offered for members to submit views after the meeting in writing.

Science Presentations

Don Stansbury, DFO Science, gave a presentation on shrimp reproduction. He said there is considerable confusion in the media on the life cycle of shrimp.

FFAW said that you wouldn't buy a lobster with eggs, so why is DFO allowing shrimp to be fished when they have eggs? They should be able to release the eggs first.

DFO Science responded that the biomass looks at spawning stock biomass - the females.

CAPP noted the shrimp spawn in August, carry the eggs for 10 months. From a harvesting perspective, is there a good or bad time to harvest shrimp?

DFO, Science said there's no real difference to reproductive potential if you harvest a female in the spring or the fall because of the cycle. Spawning period occurs in August.

NG noted that exploitation rates (ERs) control removals from fishing. If you're removing a certain percentage of the biomass, it doesn't matter whether it's it the fall, or the summer, but any science concerns should be addressed.

Katherine Skanes, DFO Science, gave a presentation on the ecosystem factors affecting Northern shrimp based on 2014 data mostly in the 2J3KL area and discussed trends relating to temperature, plankton data, bottom temperatures, predators, food consumption and mortality.

DFO Science, gave a presentation on the science update for SFA 4 – 6 Borealis and SFA 4 Montagui. SFAs 4 and 6 declined by 42% and 41% respectively and a 3% increase in SFA 5. SFA 6 is in the Cautious Zone, approaching the critical zone. The group also discussed modelling, survey design and the presence of groundfish. She noted that there will be a full science assessment of SFAs 4 – 6 because of the significant declines.

Full stock assessments (note, not the update results):
http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/csas-sccs/Publications/SAR-AS/2016/2016_028-eng.html

Science Discussion SFA 4 - 6

The Chair reminded the group that TACs will not be discussed today but the Department is seeking views on the amount of interim TAC required until final decisions are made.

The group discussed the proposed Use of Fish 1,700t allocation to the Northern Shrimp Research Foundation (NSRF). No decision has been made. Science needs to know by June of this survey will proceed.

TJFB asked if more money will be available through the Use of Fish for science work. If so, DFO should apply so they can do the science in SFA 4 for consistency in the south. He is interested in receiving a copy of the NSRF proposal.

DFO Science NL indicated that the NSRF survey is a collaborative process where DFO trains the technicians and provides them with the survey points. DFO tests their hydrography equipment which is the same used by DFO. The trawl design is the same. DFO does quality control on the data they get. The only thing that is different is the vessel.

The Chair informed the group that anyone can apply for Use of Fish funding, for either science or management projects.

NCC asked if the project requires the full 1,700t. He asked about the process for submitting a proposal.

Adam Burns, DFO, responded that the Use of Fish is a draft but operational policy. Under this policy, it's up to the proponent to bring forward a proposal to the Committee with support from affected stakeholders. Following this, it would be discussed at NSAC. There is no limit on the number of proposals.

Innu Nation indicated that if the proponent has 66% of the support, the project goes ahead. This is harder to achieve for smaller groups.

DFO responded that the policy guides the Minister's authority to allocate fish, but it's not a binding policy that fetters the Minister's authority. Even if there was 100% support, he could refuse it.

FFAW noted that there are other science allocations in SFAs 4 and 5 that are now competitive.

The Chair indicated that NSRF Use of Fish funds science surveys in SFA 4, the Eastern Assessment Zone (EAZ) and Western Assessment Zone (WAZ) and some sets in SFA 0. Science in SFAs 5 and 6 is done by the Department.

Government NL asked if the full science assessment this year will impact the full assessment for next year. Are we moving to a two year assessment?

The Chair responded that she couldn’t answer that question, although there are discussions ongoing on how to best monitor the stock given the recent declines.

Interim Management Measures

The Chair opened the floor to views on interim quotas in each area pending the completion of the full assessment and the LIFO review.

FFAW stated that it is irresponsible to set interim quotas before the science assessment specifically for SFA 6 because this may prejudge the outcome of the review. He called for a decision on the review by May which would negate the need for interim quotas.

CAPP asked DFO to what extent the Research Vessel (RV) Survey data would change due to the full science assessment. The harvest decision rules for TAC setting are based on the RV Survey data.

DFO Science responded that the numbers that feed into the Precautionary Approach (PA) will be the same. Additional information will be included in the stock advisory report.

CAPP responded that we know the inputs and we have the harvest decision rules which allow interim TACs to be set now. The offshore fleet’s main time to fish SFA 6 is now, but the inshore doesn’t fish there until July or August. This would be distressing to the offshore fleet and their normal activity is being impacted.

CAPP stated the offshore fleet requires a minimum of 6,000t in SFA 6 that might be sufficient until the end of June. RV survey applied to the harvest decision rules would allow for a TAC that would give the offshore fleet at least 6,000t. It is reasonable that they should be able to carry out normal operations during the LIFO review. There is no cost to the inshore fleet to wait for quota until the results of the review are available.

FFAW stated that more information is needed and the full stock assessment can help provide this. There are changes in the ecosystem. They had great catch rates. FFAW wants the LIFO review done by May and agreed there’s no need to wait until September to fish. Inshore harvesters may have to wait as well but all information needs to be taken into account. For interim quotas, all inshore plants and harvesters also require 6,000t. The outcome of the review is too important to prejudge.

Fogo Island Co-Op stated SFA 6 is in trouble, and asked CAPP if MSC would be jeopardized if fishing occurred now.

CAPP said that not following the rules jeopardizes MSC certification. It’s hypocritical for the FFAW to call for a fishery in SFA 7 in the critical zone as they did last year, while calling for the Department not to release any interim quota to one group in SFA 6 in the Cautious zone.

FFAW indicated that their argument to fish in SFA 7 recognizes the ecosystem changes that have occurred, and the healthy zone in the 1980s would not be the same as today. Reference points would be much different. For SFA 6 they know cuts are coming. We can’t make snap decisions and if that means the offshore has to wait, that’s what’s going to have to happen.

Ron Johnson, Torngat Fish Producers Co-op, indicated that interim measures have been released before to get the fishery going for April 1. The offshore is only asking for 40% of their full 2015 quota. We can’t prejudge that LIFO is going to be abolished.

FFAW stated no one should assume anything for the review. Offshore has the flexibility to fish in other areas than SFA 6, but the inshore does not.

The Chair asked for views on interim TACs in other areas.

NG stated that they have 300t in SFA 4, which should be higher. There are opportunities within existing allocations to increase their quota using the NSRF quota, the inshore SFA 4 quota and the offshore competitive quota. For this year for SFA 4 they support a rollover in TAC.

The Chair noted the NG’s position but indicated DFO will not be recommending any final TACs to the Minister.

CAPP stated that they support interim TACs in SFA 4 and 5 to all groups at 50% of last year’s quotas, without prejudice to the final TACs

TJFB stated that given that the Use of Fish policy is in draft form, and pending the full science assessment, the Board would recommend that no interim quota be released until there is further discussion.

Kevin Hedges, DFO Science, gave presentations on the science updates for the Eastern and Western Assessment Zones, which can be found at:

http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/csas-sccs/publications/sar-as/2015/2015_017-eng.html

DFO RM said that the WAZ is entirely within the Nunavut and Nunavik settlement areas and the Boards have a decision making role on TACs, whereas in the EAZ which is both within and adjacent to the settlement areas the Boards offer recommendations on TAC. Before the science advice was available and to expedite the process, the Boards had indicated a two year rollover for Borealis and Montagui in both the EAZ and WAZ that included 2016. However, because the biomass of both species in both zones changed by more than 25% up or down (considered a precipitous change in biomass), the Department returned to the Boards for reconsideration of their previous recommendations and decisions.

The WAZ is managed at an exploitation rate of roughly 10%. This is a fairly new survey and science advises additional data points before modifying the TAC.

The Department engages with the Boards in a separate process to seek their recommendations on TACs in the EAZ, and also consults with the offshore industry at NSAC. The Boards are reconsidering their initial recommendation because of the precipitous change in biomass.

The NG indicated that as a result of the boundary changes in the north that occurred a few years ago, a portion of the EAZ at the tip of Labrador falls within the Labrador Inuit Settlement Area. Would the TJFB thus have a role to play in assisting the other Boards with making a recommendation in this zone?

DFO RM indicated that the TJFB plays an advisory role in the setting of the EAZ at NSAC. If the TJFB has an interest to participate in the Boards’ processes, they may wish to engage with the other Boards.

Brian McNamara, Newfound Resources Ltd (NRL), indicated that fishing in Ungava Bay is a mixed fishery, and recent lower catches reflect market forces at play over the last few years, including the Russian ban. In the EAZ, Borealis is caught more easily with low catches of Montagui.

TJFB responded that it is clear that the EAZ is within and adjacent to the LISA. They are requesting that discussions regarding this area that the Board be involved to make recommendations to the Minister. They are not of the view that the NSAC table is their only avenue to make recommendations. This is an area where the three Boards could work together.

NTI indicated that with regard to the TJFB’s interest in the EAZ, the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement (Article 40 considerations) indicate that Makivik is to be involved in the management process, hence the development of a sharing arrangement. Without speaking for the Board, it’s the Board’s prerogative as to who is involved in this process.

DFO RM asked if there were views to bring to the Minister on TACs on Borealis in the EAZ. This is the only area where we will be collecting views. Borealis increased by 56%. A rollover of the current TAC of 8,250t is an ER of 10.4%. Of note, the Montagui resource decreased by 63%. A rollover of 840t would be 13.7%.

Greg Simpson, Mersey Seafoods, indicated that it would be prudent to have a rollover for borealis and montagui.

NTI indicated that they support a rollover for borealis. For montagui, he would leave that to industry, however he reiterated this is the Boards’ process.

Jerry Ward, Qikiqtaaluk Corporation (QC), indicated a rollover for montagui and borealis.

Mark O’Connor, Makivik, indicated they would provide their position once they have been briefed by the Board.

The Chair thanked the group for productive and cooperative discussions during these challenging times for Northern shrimp.

DFO, RM gave an overview of two information items related to access to US markets:

US Presidential Task Force on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing and a specific traceability requirement will come into effect as early as the fall for access to the US market for certain species, including shrimp. This will initially apply to ‘at risk’ species but the intent is to apply to all species over time. The process will put a requirement on the importer keep specific records and to enter specific information (eg harvester information, where and when the fish was harvested) into a specific database every time they import through an online system. The proposed rule is intended to come into effect in September with actual compliance required within 90 days - 12 months. He provided the group with a website to make comments until April 5.

The longer term rule that the US government is consulting on relates to the Marine Mammal Protection Act. They want to ensure that any fish products imported to the United States would be coming from fisheries with equivalent protections for marine mammals as those that exist for American fisheries. This rule establishes conditions for the US government to evaluate the comparability of protections for marine mammals in fisheries that are being imported. They are looking at fisheries with known associated marine mammal mortality, irrespective of the status of the marine mammal in question is irrelevant. The full rule is expected to be published in August. The following year will be used to identify fisheries where there is the need for comparability findings and the full rule would come into effect in 2021. He invited the group to contact the Department on this.

DFO, RM, on behalf of the Chair, invited the group to provide the Department with written comments on the LIFO review and interim management measures as soon as possible. He thanked the Committee for their input and the meeting was adjourned.

Part 2 - Montreal, Quebec - July 7, 2016

The Chair welcomed the group and introductions were made. She thanked people for their continued participation and patience.

FFAW requested that interim quotas be added to the agenda.

The Chair read the News Release on the Minister’s decision on LIFO (ANNEX 3).

Views on the Ministerial Advisory Panel (MAP) Report:

The NG was unable to attend the meeting due to flight cancellations and asked the Chair to read their statement to NSAC:

  • With regards to the LIFO panel report, it appears the panel did a reasonably good job in capturing what they heard in the presentations and consultation. The committee [panel] spoke to land claims in the main report but in our opinion they have not reflected these obligations very well in the options and recommendations. They seem to indicate they were deferring the land claims obligations back to the department to address. In the options and recommendations they speak to proportional sharing in SFA 4 and 5 based on 2015 levels. In SFA 4 we are presently at around 2% of the TAC and with proportional sharing we would continue to be at around 2%. This is unacceptable to us. In SFA 5 because of the recommendation to remove the cod affected fishers our percentage would increase from 5.4% to about 8.4% which is an improvement but still not to the level of 11%, at minimum we should rightfully be at as per our land claim agreement. We were pleased to see in Minister Leblanc's statement yesterday that "Sharing arrangements must also respect land claim agreements and the interests of Indigenous groups." The Minister now has the opportunity to allocate to the Nunatsiavut Government a minimum of 11% of the TAC in the waters within and adjacent to our land claim area, a commitment and right negotiated in our land claim agreement.
  • TJFB supported the report but noted both the lack of recommendations for the North and the NG’s opposition to proportional sharing in SFAs 4 and 5.
  • Government NL supported the report but said discussion on interim TACs is needed – there seems to be no basis for the numbers. Has asked about the process to provide views.
    • The Chair reminded the group that the report has indicated that TAC decisions will be made shortly, and the report was only received a short time ago. Views will be gathered here but people can send written comments to the Department. LIFO is a complex decision and time to reflect on the range of impacts is required. The interim quotas were intended to get people out fishing, but the Department is open to views.
  • Dwight Russell, 2J Fisher, stated that the inshore fleet from Labrador will be wiped out if the Minister accepts the details of the report before he can submit information.
  • Sam Elliot, St. Anthony Basin Resources Inc (SABRI) indicated that their proportional share in SFA 6 is low because their special allocation never increased. They asked to maintain their full 3,000t quota until the TAC goes down to 11,050t.
  • Gilbert Linstead, Labrador Fishermen’s Union Shrimp Company (LFUSC), provided information on the Inshore Affected Cod Harvesters (IACF) in SFA 5 and called for the Minister to maintain their participation in the fishery.
  • Danica Crystal, Nunavut Wildlife Management Board (NWMB), shared TJFB concerns regarding permanent proportional shares. She asked if the Integrated Fisheries Management Plan (IFMP) will be amended and if it would go to the Boards for consultation?
    • The Chair responded the IFMP will be updated and sent to the Boards.
  • FFAW indicated that anything less than what the MAP recommended in SFA 6 would be detrimental to the inshore fleet. He noted it is inconsistent to remove the IACF from SFA 5 and redistribute their quota to the non-adjacent offshore fleet, which diminishes the value of shrimp to individuals and communities. The Department needs to reconsider the need for a transition plan to groundfish, especially for the people of Labrador.
  • The NCC applauded the MAP’s report and their understanding of the need for more Aboriginal participation, noting the recommendation to ‘amortize historic attachment in favour of adjacency’. The Minister needs to look at reallocating shares from one fleet to another.
  • FFAW stated that amortizing is a continuous process consistent with ensuring the focus on adjacency. The MAP’s recommendation on the repatriation of industrial shrimp is an opportunity for coastal and Indigenous people. This should start soon.
  • NTI indicated that abolishing LIFO is a good first step. Proportional sharing is a problem. They would like to engage with DFO on moving towards increasing Nunavut’s share in this fishery, which currently stands at 37%, over the next 5 – 10 years.
  • CAPP stated that most Canadian fisheries have percentage shares, but LIFO was created because of special circumstances. Permanent shares include considerations for historic attachment. CAPP stated you can’t have permanent shares and amortize at the same time.  

The Chair responded that this will be addressed in time, but not now, as will other recommendations such as industrial shrimp, catch monitoring and spawning shrimp. For now, the Minister has accepted the principles and the abolishment of LIFO. We are seeking advice on sharing, and on the impacts of the recommendations on adjacent communities, fleets and aboriginal groups above and beyond what the MAP heard.

FFAW indicated this is problematic – they already provided their views to the MAP, and the uncertainty this creates is worrisome.

Science and TAC Discussions

DFO Science, NL provided a recap of the results for SFA 6 which confirmed a 41% decline in fishable biomass.

The Committee discussed the information that goes into the assessment, the survey, as well as the timing of the assessment and the correlation between the presence of groundfish and shrimp. FFAW indicated that the survey does not occur when the inshore is getting their highest catch rates.

CAPP suggested that a working group be formed to deal with broader management and science questions. DFO agreed with the establishment of a DFO / Stakeholder working group to come up with ideas and move forward. The Chair indicated that TOR will be developed and a preliminary meeting to discuss priorities will occur in the fall. There are questions that could be asked about catchability, revisiting the PA, and the possibility of a rebuilding plan for SFA 6. The working group will report back to NSAC in 2017 and continue their work.

FFAW indicated that rebuilding plans exist in isolation. The environment is changing and we can’t have high levels of Groundfish and shrimp simultaneously. There’s a disconnect between survey results and harvester experience. Cod move through shrimp grounds in the spring which is when shrimp catches are lowest. The working group could look at advancing the policies of the Sustainable Fisheries Framework, as well as transitioning from shrimp to groundfish.

SFA 6 – TAC Discussion

FFAW indicated that the inshore had good catch rates. Because of ecosystem uncertainty and the pain associated with steep cuts, they propose spreading the reductions over 2 years at 20% per year. This was supported by various groups (AMP Fisheries, LFUSC, 3K south Shrimp Committee).

Government of NL supported a two year approach but suggested a 15% ER in the second year given the stock is in the cautious zone.

CAPP stated that there are too many negative stock indicators and there are fewer smaller shrimp in the water. This stock is low in the cautious zone. This is not a year effect and reductions can’t occur over two years. He questioned what would happen if further steep declines in fishable biomass occur next year. There is a downward trajectory which needs to be addressed. He suggested using a two year average of fishable biomass at 15% ER, which is reasonable for MSC.

A 2J fisher said he has confidence in the RV survey, and questioned if cuts should be less conservative.

DFO Science stated that catch rates aren’t indicative of the biomass. Catch rates vary without trend. While the survey isn’t infallible, it’s the best tool available. The working group shouldn’t undermine the survey.

FFAW acknowledged the RV survey but catch rates could provide additional information. The return of groundfish has created a divergence. The presence of cod affects the behaviour of shrimp. The survey occurs when cod is present.

ASP stated that the IFMP provides guidance, and there is precedence for using a 2 year average of fishable biomass in setting the TAC, which he supports. He suggested that the reference points be revisited considering the ecosystem changes. He noted the high prices for shrimp will lessen the impacts of cuts.

NCC stated we can’t make a decision now for next year without data. The question now is if a 20% reduction (i.e. a 27.9% ER) this year is acceptable. He noted we have data from the past two years and supported CAPP’s recommendation.

Government NB supported a TAC between 20,000t – 22,000t because of its positioning in the cautious zone. The Government of NS rejected FFAW’s approach, instead calling for a maximum TAC in the high 20,000s. The Government of QC suggested an ER of 15%.

The group discussed the potential high ER and the approach to the reductions, the placement of the stock near the critical zone, and possible MSC implications. Other approaches were discussed. The group eliminated the possible options of setting the TAC using a 15% ER (37,100t), FFAW’s proposal, and of applying a 20% reduction over the next two years. The Chair recapped the three main recommendations to reduce the TAC in SFA 6:

Option 1: set the TAC at 15% ER (27,825t) using the two year average of fishable biomass.  
Option 2: set the TAC at 20% ER (37,100t) using the two year average of fishable biomass.
Option 3: Set the TAC in the range of 20,000t to 22,000t (14.5% and 15.9% ER respectively).

FFAW and the Northern Coalition (NC) supported Option 2, which CAPP indicated could jeopardize MSC. Others reiterated their preferred approaches. The Chair noted there was no consensus.

Interim Management Measures – SFA 6

The Committee discussed the 4,500t interim quota that was recently allocated to both the inshore and offshore fleets in SFA 6. The FFAW indicated that they require three times that amount to get harvesters and plants operational.

CAPP noted that FFAW indicated at the last NSAC that they would not accept any fishing in SFA 6 until the final TAC was set. The offshore fleet is running out of quota. DFO can provide additional interim quota should a fleet need it. He noted that everyone’s business is disrupted, and one group should not be penalized more than another.

FFAW stated they did not want fishing to occur within the initial timelines for a decision on TAC. It is prime time for fishing in SFA 6 and there is significant dependence on shrimp at this time. The inshore requires more interim quota, which trickles down to individual boats. The amount made available now is not enough for harvesters to go out.

NRL noted that in the absence of a decision, we should assume the TAC will be set at 15% ER (20,700t). Less than half has been allocated. Can allocate more.  

FFAW indicated they want 13,500t, and the offshore fleet should get less. The group discussed the need for interim quota for both fleets. The Chair indicated that the release of interim quotas was intended to be helpful to business operations. The Department will bring these perspectives to the Minister for decision.

SFA 5

CAPP, Government of NL, NCC, Independent 2J Harvester, FFAW, LFUSC, and Torngat Fish Producers called for a 10% increase in TAC (25,630t, ER of 17.3%), noting the stock is in the healthy zone. TJFB called for a rollover. FFAW noted that the increase should consider the adjacency of the inshore fleet.

SFA 4 Borealis

Fishable biomass declined by 13% from last year. A rollover of the current TAC of 14,971t) would be an ER of 16.5%. There was consensus for a rollover.

SFA 4 Montagui

This is a bycatch fishery (4,033t). There is no PA for the stock.

CAPP recommended a rollover. Qikiqtaaluk Corporation noted the fishable biomass increased by 52%, and the ER is less than 10%. He recommended an increase of 20%. There were no other views.

EAZ Borealis

DFO, RM Ottawa reminded the group that the fishable biomass increased by 56%, and described the processes to consult on TAC with the Boards and with NSAC. The Department returned to the Boards to reconsider their initial recommendation for a rollover on TAC because of the precipitous change in biomass. The Nunavut and Nunavik Boards recommended a 15% TAC increase. CAPP recommended a rollover.

EAZ Montagui

Fishable biomass decreased by 63%. This stock is midway through the cautious zone. The Boards recommended a rollover. CAPP recommended a 15% decrease.

The Chair recapped what is on the table:

SFA 4 Borealis - rollover
SFA 4 Montagui - call for a rollover and a 20% increase
SFA 5 – Calls for a 10% increase and one call for a rollover
SFA 6 – no consensus on three options
EAZ Borealis - calls for a rollover and a 15% increase.
EAZ Montagui - calls for a rollover and a 15% decrease.

Other MAP Recommendations / Discussions

The Chair noted the MAP made a recommendation on fishery monitoring. The Department is currently developing of a fishery monitoring framework to ensure that adequate monitoring frameworks are in place and the right tools are being used. There will likely be more on this is the future.

FFAW noted the MAP recommendation on industrial shrimp.

The Chair indicated this is something that requires further thought. It's unclear if this is something that the Department should undertake.

CAPP indicated that the offshore fleet harvests the industrial shrimp and then resells it. 'Repatriation' is a MAP term and inappropriate in this context.

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Certification

DFO, RM Ottawa gave an update on MSC activities. At the 2015 NSAC meeting, the committee provisionally adopted the draft document “Partial Habitat and Ecosystem Strategy for the Northern Shrimp Fishery.” Following the meeting, the document was circulated for comment and was accepted with the provision that the content and concepts outlined in the document, including the resulting closures will be in place until DFO has conducted the steps required to move forward with the implementation of the Sensitive Benthic Areas policy.

Consequently, Ecosystems and Fisheries Management asked for science advice to further refine the delineation of aggregations of coral and sponges in the Atlantic and Eastern Arctic waters. The resulting advice may affect the locations and or boundaries of the voluntary closed area in SFA 4. This advice will be available in 2016 and will be used to greatly enhance our ability to protect sensitive benthic areas.

CAPP indicated that they went through a recertification process recently. There is one year until the next audit and their success depends on the Minister's decisions for this year, however they do expect to be recertified.

Other Items

FFAW indicated that the MAP had made the recommendation that inshore harvesters have the opportunity to fish special allocations in SFA 6 specifically. This flexibility to choose the offshore or inshore fleets is advantageous not only to the special allocation holder, but when it’s harvested by the inshore fleet there are benefits to adjacent communities. This has been discussed at other NSAC meetings. The Chair noted that the MAP recommended that special allocation holders can choose the inshore or offshore fleet to harvest their quotas in area 6. There is already flexibility in SFAs 4 and 5.

CAPP indicated the reason the offshore fleet harvest the special allocations in SFA 6 is related to sharing and LIFO. The offshore fleet’s increases were low in the past which was offset by opportunity to harvest special allocations. Consensus on harvesting special allocations will not be achieved at this table. The Minister's decision on this is related to sharing.

The Chair indicated the harvesting of special allocations is related to sharing views will be brought to the Minister.

ASP indicated that changes to special allocations would have impacts on the fishery overall with respect to the vessel replacement rules and procedures on the Atlantic Coast, fleet separation, and leveraging. This has long been recognized.

Fogo Island Co-op indicated that, should they get back into the SFA 6 fishery, they would like the ability to choose if the inshore or the offshore fleet will harvest their special allocation.

TJFB suggested that a working group be formed to address the MAP's recommendations that pertain to tilting the imbalances to Indigenous people. This needs to be addressed in keeping with the Government of Canada's commitment for a renewed relationship with Indigenous peoples of Canada. The Chair responded that the Department will follow up.

2J Independent fish harvester indicated that the loss of IACF special allocations in SFA 5 is hugely detrimental to them.

The Chair raised an issue for consideration to the committee. The timing of NSAC is problematic due to when the science is received and the short window to have the NSAC meeting followed very shortly by the April 1 opening of the fishery.

The Department is considering changing the date of the April 1 opening to give extra time for the decision-making process. The timing of the science survey cannot change. Moving the opening date of the fishery would give more time to reflect on issues and approaches discussed at NSAC. Once Science has their data they analyze it immediately to be ready for NSAC. As it is currently, the Minister has a small window of time in which to make very important decisions. The intense timelines make it challenging for everyone involved.  

With no other discussion items, the Chair recapped the next steps:

  1. Interim quotas are a priority
  2. The Minister will make a decision on proportional sharing, and will include the TAC decisions in SFAs 4-6 and the EAZ
  3. A DFO (RM and Science) and Industry Working Group will be established
  4. Minutes of both NSAC meetings will be made available
  5. The IFMP will be updated
  6. The Department will follow up with Indigenous groups on a potential working group

She thanked the Committee and the meeting was adjourned.

ANNEX 1 - List of Participants (One or Both Meetings)

Industry / Stakeholder Participants

  • Jason Akearok, Nunavut Wildlife Management Board (NWMB)
  • Danica Crystal, NWMB
  • Raymond Andrews, NWMB
  • Morris Anstey, NL Independent Fish Harvesters
  • Philip Barnes, Fogo Island Co-op
  • Glen Best, Newfoundland and Labrador Independent Fish Harvesters Association (NLIFHA)
  • Michelle Blinn, Government Nova Scotia (NS) Fisheries and Aquaculture
  • Catherin Boyd, Clearwater Seafoods
  • Kaitlin Breton-Honeyman, Nunavik Marine Region Wildlife Board (NMRWB)
  • Todd Broomfield, Nunatsiavut Government (NG)
  • Tom Brown, Marine Institute
  • Ken Budden, Fogo Island Co-Op
  • Derek Butler, Association of Seafood Producers (ASP)
  • Erin Carruthers, Food, Fish and Allied Workers Union (FFAW)
  • Bruce Chapman, Canadian Association of Prawn Producers (CAPP)
  • Keith Coady, NatFish
  • Dennis Coates, Clearwater Seafoods
  • Edgar Coffey, Quinsea Fisheries
  • David Decker, FFAW
  • Lisa Dempster, MHA Cartwright / L’Anse au Clair
  • Tom Dooley, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Vincent Dupuis, Association des Capitaines Propriétaire de Gaspésie (ACPG)
  • Shelly Dwyer, Government of NL
  • Patrice Element, AMP Fisheries
  • Sam Elliott, St. Anthony Basin Resources Inc (SABRI)
  • Ken Fowler, Labrador Fishermen’s Union Shrimp Co. (LFUSC)
  • Shawn Frank, Pikalujak Fisheries
  • Mario Gaudet, Government of New Brunswick
  • Randell Grange, FFAW
  • Robbie Green, FFAW
  • Neil Grieg, Northern Coalition
  • Fred Hall, Innu Nation
  • Bonnie Hicks
  • Ron Johnson, Torngat Fish Producers Co-op
  • Yvonne Jones, MP Labrador
  • Janelle Kennedy, Government of Nunavut
  • Johnathon Lowe, Government of Nova Scotia
  • Patrick Martin, Baffin Fisheries Coalition (BFC)
  • Jeffrey Maurice, Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI)
  • Carl McLean, NG
  • Brent McNamara, Newfound Resources Ltd (NRL)
  • Brian McNamara, (NRL)
  • Robin Morris, Torngat Secretariat
  • Bobby Noble, FFAW
  • Wayne Noel, SABRI
  • Mark O’Connor, Makivik Corporation
  • Phonse Pittman, Torngat Joint Fisheries Board (TJFB)
  • Jean-Michael Poulin, Government of Quebec
  • Phil Quinlan, Quinlan Taylor
  • Chris Rose, FFAW
  • Peter Rose, Makivik Corporation
  • Dwight Russell, 2J Independent Fish Harvester
  • Todd Russell, NunatuKavut Community Council
  • Wayne Russell, FFAW
  • Bev Sheppard, Harbour Grace Shrimp Co.
  • Greg Simpson, Mersey Seafoods
  • Lindsey Small, NL Independent Fish Harvesters Association
  • Lyndon Small, 3K Fishers
  • Jamie Snook, TJFB
  • Sakiasie Sowdlooapik, Cumberland Sound Fisheries Ltd
  • Dwight Spence, FFAW
  • Jason Spence, FFAW
  • Heather Starks, FFAW
  • Karl Sullivan, Barry Group
  • Keith Sullivan, FFAW
  • Loyola Sullivan, Ocean Choice International (OCI)
  • Trevor Taylor, Oceans North Canada
  • Ros Walsh, FFAW
  • Jerry Ward, Qikiqtaaluk Corporation
  • Keith Watts, Torngat Fish Co-Op
  • Julie Whalen, TJFB
  • Gilbert Linstead, LFUSC
  • Edgar Coffey, Quinlan Sea Fisheries Ltd
  • Martin Sullivan, OCI
  • G.M. Stonehouse, Davis Strait Fisheries
  • Scott Nicols, MV Osprey Ltd
  • Rex Simmonds, Ueushuk Fisheries
  • Simon Osmond, Innu Nation
  • Nelson Bussey, Inshore 3L Shrimp Committee Chair
  • Gerard Chidley, 3L Fisher, FFAW

DFO Participants

  • Sylvie Lapointe, Resource Management (RM), Ottawa, Chair
  • Kevin Anderson, RM, NL
  • Tony Blanchard, RM, NL
  • Jennifer Buie, RM Ottawa
  • Adam Burns, RM, Ottawa
  • Leigh Edgar, RM, Ottawa
  • Paul Glavine, Policy and Economics, NL
  • Frank Corbett, P&E, NL
  • Kevin Hedges, Science, Central and Arctic (C&A)
  • Tyler Jivan RM, C&A
  • Charlotte Sharkey, RM, Iqaluit
  • Jane Kelsey, RM, Newfoundland (NL)
  • Annette Rumbolt, RM, NL
  • Katherine Skanes, Science, NL
  • Don Stansbury, Science, NL
  • Lloyd Slaney, Conservation and Protection, NL
  • Sam Whiffen, RM, NL
  • Keldi Forbes, Economics, Ottawa
  • Brittany Beauchamp, Science, Ottawa
  • Wojciech Walkusz, Science, C&A
  • Sylvie Leger, RM, Gulf
  • Kimberly Vardon, Policy, Ottawa
  • Barry McCallum, Science, NL

ANNEX 2 – Greenland Negotiations

Bilateral Discussions with Greenland on Northern Shrimp

Canada and Greenland take unilateral management measures since there is no bilateral arrangement for either stock. For Northern shrimp, Greenland has historically claimed 97% to 100% of the stock and Canada claims 14.2% (or 17% of 5/6ths). Biomass distribution, based on annual surveys dating to 1988, is approximately 97% in Greenlandic waters and 3% in Canadian waters.

In recent years, both Canada and Greenland have made steps to enhance cooperation to improve management of shared stocks and respond to market pressures related to eco-certification of relevant stocks through Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). Greenland initiated the process to enhance cooperation in 2012 by indicating its desire to develop a bilateral treaty on shared commercial fish stocks. Over the last two or so years, this issue has been repeatedly discussed at the officials’ and Ministerial levels.

In July 2014, during regular annual bilateral fisheries consultations with Greenland in Iqaluit, a framework for negotiating a potential conservation and management agreement was informally discussed that would include cooperation of setting a joint annual TAC, access for Canadian fishing vessels to Greenland’s waters and allocation of quota shares for each country.

DFO officials engaged Aboriginal groups, co-management partners and industry and acquired their support for exploratory discussions with Greenland on a formal treaty for Northern shrimp. Their support was contingent that discussions would include access to Greenlandic waters for Canadian fishing vessels.

The Department’s negotiating mandate, informed by the views of the industry and Aboriginal groups, was approved in December 2014. The first round of the bilateral negotiations with Greenland occurred February 6-7, 2015 in Copenhagen.

During the meeting in Copenhagen progress was made on the following aspects:

  • Canadian vessels to have access to Greenland’s waters to fish the allocated quota share under same conditions as Greenland’s offshore vessels (i.e., outside 12 nautical miles from the coastline; Greenland has an inshore and offshore fishery and the large offshore vessels are not allowed to fish within 12 nautical miles from the coastline).
  • To continue working collaboratively on a mechanism for joint TAC setting including harmonizing the harvest control rules; submitting a joint request to NAFO for science advice on the status of the stock; and, building on bilateral enforcement related work that is currently undertaken with Greenland.

However, no agreement was reached on the allocation of quota shares. Greenland initially offered a quota share of 2.67% based on the estimated biomass located on the Canadian side. In the last 10 years Canadian industry has not been able to fish the full quota due to economic and fishing conditions, and actual fishing has averaged to less than 3,000t. Based on historical catches, our share should be in the range of 6 to 8 percent.

Greenland indicated to Canada recently that they wish to continue negotiations but did not outline what their counterproposal would be. During the annual bilateral fisheries consultations on December 2, 2015 in Copenhagen, it was agreed that we could have informal discussions about a potential future framework

During the annual bilateral fisheries consultations in December 2015, shared fish stocks (e.g. Atlantic salmon and Northern shrimp), were discussed. This meeting provided an opportunity for Canada to informally discuss with Greenland whether and how to complete negotiations on the allocation of quota shares for the shared transboundary stock of Northern shrimp.

Greenland confirmed that their TAC for 2016 will be 85,000t, and the set-aside for Canada 2,199t. During the informal discussion about negotiations Greenland suggested that they may be prepared to consider offering a bigger share than the initial 2.67%, likely in the range of 3 to 4%. However, that would have to be confirmed with their domestic stakeholders and could likely take some time.

Next Steps

Based on the feedback that both Canada and Greenland receive upon consulting with domestic stakeholders a recommendation will be made on further engaging in negotiations with Greenland.

ANNEX 3 - Statement on Last In, First Out (LIFO)

Minister LeBlanc Accepts Key Recommendation of Advisory Panel on LIFO

OTTAWA – Today, the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, issued the following statement:

“After a thorough review of the Ministerial Advisory Panel Report on the Northern Shrimp fishery’s Last in, First Out (LIFO) policy, I wish to confirm acceptance of its fundamental recommendation. The panel determined that after being in place for about 20 years, “LIFO is not a sustainable instrument of public policy,” and should be replaced by a system of proportional sharing for the future.

Proportional Sharing is consistent with the approach used in most other Canadian fisheries with respect to stock and allocation management. Applying this principled approach of Proportional Sharing means that the inshore and offshore fleets as well as Indigenous Peoples will continue to share in the economic benefits of this precious resource. Sharing arrangements must also respect land claims agreements and the interests of Indigenous groups as well as the interests of adjacent coastal communities.

I have asked departmental officials to provide advice in the specific application of this way forward in keeping with our precautionary approach as well as the sustainability and long term conservation of the fishery given the declines in the stock. This input will be received in the coming weeks and it will include consideration of community impacts and Indigenous commitments and obligations.

At the same time, I look forward to receiving the Northern Shrimp Advisory Committee recommendations for the fishery following its meeting on July 7.

In the meantime, I am announcing an interim quota for the Shrimp Fishing Area (SFA) 6, which will enable fishing to start. The offshore harvesters will be allocated 4,500 tonnes; inshore harvesters will be allocated 4,500 tonnes, and there is an allocation of 500 tonnes for an existing special allocation holder.

In closing, I want to once again express my gratitude to the Panel - Chair Paul Sprout and members Barbara Crann, Wayne Follett and Trevor Taylor - for their hard work and dedication in delivering on their mandate to conduct an independent, open and fair review of the LIFO Policy. More than a thousand harvesters, Indigenous Peoples and industry representatives participated in the Panel’s review, which brought home to me the vital importance of the northern shrimp fishery to all concerned. All of these diverse views were considered and I thank everyone who contributed their valuable insights.”