2007 Northern Shrimp Advisory Committee (NSAC) Meeting

Minutes

April 3, 2007
Montreal, PQ

Attendees

List of attendees is attached at Annex 1.

Introduction and Adoption of Agenda

The Chairman welcomed everyone and the agenda for the meeting was accepted as follows:

2005 Meeting Minutes

The minutes of the last NSAC meeting (held in December 2005) were distributed and accepted with a minor correction that should be made on page 10 of the French version.

Some concern was expressed that the minutes of the last meeting had not been mailed out prior to the meeting.

Action: Meeting minutes to be included in package of background/info provided prior to each scheduled meeting.

Results of the 2005-2006 Fishery

Tables of allocations and catches for 2005 and 2006/2007 were distributed along with the profile of access to the northern shrimp by area for 2007. The tables are attached at Annex 2.

The Chair noted that there may still be inconsistencies in some data and that the Department is continuing to work on improving the current system.

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 the European market, in recent years. However, prices have declined considerably in the last few years due mainly to increased supply and competition from aquaculture shrimp. Industry noted that the landed price presented for Offshore shrimp should be the same for Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.

The Economic Overview of the Northern Shrimp Industry presentation (Updated version) is attached at Annex 3.

Action: DFO (Policy / Economic Analysis and Statistics) to harmonize its methodology for estimating offshore prices across DFO regions and circulate an updated version of the economic overview to meeting participants.

Sensitive Areas Presentation

DFO (FAM) provided an overview of DFO policy and the status of the current policy initiative to manage the impact of fishing on sensitive benthic habitats.

DFO is planning consultations for the fall in order to develop a Fisheries Sustainable Development Framework and implement it in 2008. There are many demands for this kind of initiative for the management of fisheries and there are some real deadlines that have to be met. It is very important to consult those who are affected.

The Sensitive Areas presentation is attached at Annex 4.

It was noted that a paper will be presented at the September NAFO meeting on sensitive areas. This will help us to progress towards the 2008 deadline.

The Chair added that the Department is developing a domestic policy on benthic habitats and gear impacts.

Industry hopes that DFO continues to work with them to make sure that the data collected, policies, definitions and historical fishing areas are accurate so that the Canadian presentation to NAFO correctly outlines what we have to do to protect sensitive area by September.

The Chair noted that the Seamount closed areas initiative was industry-driven and was very well received internationally, and that a NSAC Working Group on closed areas has been established.

The FFAW representative reported that closed areas have been a big issue in the past few years and although most industry is supportive of such initiatives it has been difficult to formalize the process and that a consensus to stay out of Funk Island Deep needs to be formalized. He mentioned that in 3K dragging for shrimp affects the crab resource and that it's important to resolve this issue.

The CAPP representative suggested that the industry should be looking to ways and means and reasons to identify some areas that are good candidates for closure to move forward in a prudent way. He added that where there is no science available, or where science does not support a closure we have to have consensus of industry to move forward. All groups agree that we need to move forward and on the Funk Island Deep, the offshore industry is prepared to look at this area as a possible candidate for closure. More discussion is needed to identify the right area for closure and we need to formalize with all parties to have the area or part of the area closed. It was announced that the offshore will soon announce a voluntary closure in the north for coral protection.

The BFC representative added that it is much more difficult to identify areas for closure in the north as the science is lacking and that DFO should make funds available for research.

The Chair offered to call a meeting of the NSAC Working Group on Closed Areas if the industry wishes to move forward. There was general agreement to this.

Eco-Labelling Workshop

DFO advised that it would be convening a workshop at the end of May 2007 in Montreal to bring industry and government together to discuss this issue. Several industry members advised that they were interested in attending the workshop.

Action: Names of the interested parties to be forwarded to Dave Conley.

Different parties presented their views on eco-labelling, some indicating support while others questioned programs expressing concern and apprehension.

DFO gave a brief update on the Newfoundland inshore shrimp fishery's initiative with respect to certification. In October 2006, the Canadian Northern Prawn Fishery announced that it was the first shrimp fishery in the Atlantic to engage with the world's leading independent environmental certification and eco-labelling programme.

The news release is attached at Annex 5.

It was noted that there is no research program on habitat north of SFA 5 and that a coherent support plan from DFO is needed.

Grate Spacings

DFO provided an update on the issue of grate spacing.

The current requirements for 2007 were outlined:

  1. 22mm max. - <65' All SFAs
  2. 22mm max. - >100' SFA7/NRA
  3. 28mm max. - >100' SFA 0-6

At the 2006 NSAC it had been decided to postpone the phase-in of the 22mm maximum until 2007 allowing for the normal replacement of grates with 28mm with 22mm.

Further discussions were held in December 2006 at the Working Group level and it was decided to permit the use of the 28mm grate in SFA 0-5 pending receipt of the results of industry study in 2007.

CAPP reiterated the points made at the December meeting and added that we have 25mm spacings in other areas in the Gulf and in the Scotian shelf. He mentioned that the offshore fleet uses 22mm in SFA 7 and are prepared to go to 22mm in SFA 6 in the interim to be consistent with inshore fishery. But in areas north of SFA 6 there are no recent studies. He mentioned that with a smaller spacing, where you have a relative proportion of large shrimp may have an unacceptable economic effect. They are prepared to work with DFO and cooperate but until that happens, the reasonable course of action was to suspend the requirement for 22mm north of SFA 6.

Both CAPP and the Northern Coalition reiterated that they are not prepared to move to 22mm spacing. They also mentioned that they were not comfortable with the additional cost of undertaking a study as the DFO design was more sophisticated than that conducted for the inshore fishery.

The IFAW representative stated that the inshore fleet has been using 22mm for a long time and expressed concern that the offshore fleet is still asking to postpone the move to 22mm.

DFO reported that this issue need to be resolved and it is imperative to find a way of getting a study done.

The FFAW noted that it was agreed that the grate spacing for SFA 6 would be 22mm for 2007.

Report on Working Group on Conservation and Compliance

DFO provided a summary report on the Working Group on Conservation and Compliance.

The Working Group met twice in 2006 in April and in December.

Two issues of note addressed by the Working Group were the permissible spacing in the Nordmore grates and dockside monitoring requirements. The issue with respect to grates was dealt with above.

The absence of DMP in the >100' sector was the subject of some discussion. It is the only quota fishery in Atlantic Canada that does not have DMP. Industry representatives of the >100' fleet presented their view on the issue and noted their severe economic conditions. Discussion had included the point that there are no serious allegations or any evidence of there being a problem, with a suggestion being made that DFO can conduct periodic audits to satisfy themselves whether a problem actually exists, after which other options to address any such problem could be considered. The Working Group concluded that the issue of DMP be set aside for the time being. Industry representatives pointed out that they do have 100% at sea observer coverage and that is a significant cost for them.

DFO noted that the Working Group also discussed the issue of cleaning of nets in closed areas. Procedures/process is being put in place to deal with this issue.

E-Logs

DFO reported that in December 2006 there was some discussion on E-logs.

He reported that the E-logs project has been a success. E-logs were tried on one vessel and the system worked very well. The system was acceptable to all parties.

The pilot project was a success but there is concern about the implementation. This is a DFO issue. There is a Centre of Expertise in Quebec and the issues around software development and maintenance are beyond what the pilot project was meant to do.

This project was a success but at this time it is not ready to move to a more widespread use. The issue is currently being discussed with the Centre of Expertise.

CAPP reported that they asked the Centre of Expertise for a memo to outlining their plan for E-logs. The understanding is that the plan is to proceed with E-logs in the same fashion as was done with VMS. The department would review suppliers' products and there may be six that DFO would accept and then industry may make arrangements to deal with any of the 6 suppliers.

Management Measures for 2007

The Chair noted that there is no new science therefore all the TACS have been rolled over in all areas for 2007.

When the Minister announced his decision last year about the 3L fishery, he also said he was stabilizing all access in all areas until 2010. Since TACs have been set, the Department is not entertaining any new access requests.

The FFAW representative noted that he wanted to have a discussion about TACs. He mentioned that the circumstances have changed and that there are market opportunities that need to be tapped.

He mentioned that the exploitation rate in the northern shrimp fishery is 12% but rates elsewhere are much higher - for example, they are 20% in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

He feels that the exploitation rate can be increase and that his fleet would be looking at a 10-15% TAC increase in SFA 6.

It was noted by the Lower North Shore representative, Zone 13 is closed for the 5th consecutive year and that his organization would be submitting a proposal for a shrimp allocation increase of 500t in SFA6.

The 3K representative mentioned that the fishery is not having any impact on the biomass and there are lots of market opportunities given decreased catches by Iceland and Norway. On behalf of the 3K fleet, he supported the request for an increase.

CAPP noted that the Committee had been informed that there would not be any changes in TAC levels for 2007.

He noted that if a change is contemplated, the offshore fleet could also use more shrimp. However, TACs cannot be increased without scientific advice. He highlighted the need to think of the future. In fact, in SFA 1 there have been four successful years of recruitment failure. In 3M there are now recruitment problems and both these stocks are very likely to see TACs decline in 2008.

CAPP suggested that the Committee meet with scientists to discuss this issue along with risk management and the industry requests for more quotas. He also indicated that CAPP reserves the option to ask for an increase at a later date.

It was noted that the Nunatsiavut Government did not come to the meeting with a proposal but noted that it would be requesting 1,500t in Areas 4 and 1,500t in Area 5.

The NC noted that it would also be reserving the right to submit a proposal for increase.

The 3K representative expressed the need for another meeting with Science being present.

DFO Science commented that the Science presentation did not happen because there was no new science that had been vetted through a RAP process.

He noted that NSAC should be scheduled after the RAP meeting.

The Chair noted that his position remained unchanged, there had been no new Science advice and as in the past no new TAC increases warranted. However, he would provide request to Minister for decision. If the Minister agrees to a TAC increase then another NSAC meeting would be convened to discuss.

Larocque Decision

The Chair noted that as a result of the Laroque decision, the Science quota has now been eliminated from the shrimp plan. The allocation has now been returned to the offshore fleet from where it was originally sourced. There will not be a Science quota in the next management plan.

Enforcement Issues

DFO noted that there has been a recent change in the NAFO conservation measures and outlined what it would mean for Canadian vessels fishing in the NRA.

Industry was asked if they wanted to see any issues that should be addressed from a C&P perspective. Industry can bring forward any C&P issues to the Working Group on Conservation and Compliance for next year.

It was noted that the new conditions require labelling and dating of shrimp when fishing in the NRA in order that inspectors can accurately determine from where the shrimp originated.

The committee was advised that it is important for any vessel planning to go out to the NRA to contact NL C&P for a briefing.

Enterprise Rationalization (Licence Conversion)

DFO (NL) spoke about the issue of enterprise rationalization in the Newfoundland and Labrador Region.

The Chair noted that a proposal for changing the name from temporary licences to regular licences was being explored.

The Province of Newfoundland and Labrador support the conversion of these temporary licences to regular. They have been part of the fishery for 10 years, they are a major quota holder in the fishery, and employ 3-4,000 people in Newfoundland.

The LNS representative said that his group supports this change and would also request that their temporary status be converted to regular.

The province of New Brunswick is in favour of sharing the resource, but noted that temporary licences are issued when there is surplus. When the resource declines last-in first-out (LIFO) principle comes into play. It is important to address how LIFO will be implemented.

The Chair noted that the conversion of temporary to regular would not affect allocations, i.e., LIFO principles are not being changed. All we are talking about is a name change so that people can rationalize. The allocation shares are not being suggested for change at this time.

The Province of Quebec did not favour moving ahead with this initiative as they have not had the time to study it. It was noted that converting now may complicate matters later.

The PEI Shrimp Corporation renewed its request that their 1,500t allocation become permanent. It was also noted that the PEI allocation was never increased when there were subsequent increases to other provinces.

CAPP made a presentation on behalf of CAPP of the Northern Shrimp Temporary Access & Allocation Policy. (see Annex 6 for the full presentation)

There was substantial discussion between interests representing the inshore fleet in favour of conversion of temporary licences to regular and offshore sector representatives asking for a delay. The issue of LIFO was discussed at length along with the issue of viability, the definition of viability and the challenges currently being faced by the different fleets.

The Province of Nova Scotia was not in favour of conversion at this time. Trends are going down, and expenses are going up. In the Gulf, conversion of temporary has been put on hold.

BFC stated that the participants from Nunavut also want to put forward the proposal to convert their allocations to permanent.

The Chair spoke about the proposed initiative to look at the viability of the offshore shrimp fishery. He informed the committee that there were draft terms of reference for this initiative. One of the reasons for undertaking this study is because a study of the economic viability of the inshore fleet sector had just been completed.

ACTION: The draft terms of reference of the proposed study would be circulated to the Committee for comments.

The Chair summarized the discussion by noting that all holders of temporary licences and special allocations requested a conversion to permanent.

Three provinces are concerned with the process of the conversion: Nova Scotia, Quebec and New Brunswick, while PEI support conversion of temporary to regular for both inshore and special allocations. Newfoundland supports only conversion of temporary inshore.

The ones with temporary permits and temporary allocations all support conversion. The offshore sector does not support it at this time pending an economic review.

New Integrated Fisheries Management Plan

The Chair noted that a first draft of the new management plan has been completed. All NSAC members were asked to provide any comments and/or input by the end of April, at which time the plan would be finalized incorporating the latest decisions.

Transfers

DFO raised the issue of requests for fishing different licences with different vessels. DFO had a few issues with this last year. DFO received last-minute requests that could not be accommodated. In some cases, it is not possible to do the transfer with only a couple of hours notice. The vessel cannot be named on two licences at the same time, therefore, if the vessel is going to be taken out of one licence we need written notification from licence holders.

It was noted that this situation had also caused a problem in Nunavut. It was noted that the DFO office tries to accommodate all the requests but under certain circumstances the late notice causes a big problem.

CAPP requested that, if possible, a notice of vessel change should be sent to the associations as well, not just the licence holders.

ACTION: A protocol on procedures and process is needed and will be drafted by the NL region.

Nunatsiavut Land Claims Agreement

Roland Andrews stated that they reviewed the land claims document as it applies to them. He informed the Committee that there is a process that DFO and the Nunatsiavut government would have to follow in case there was an increase in quotas.

He also noted that there are some references in the IFMP to LIA and that they should be changed to Nunatsiavut government.

ACTION: Change references in new IFMP.

Shrimp Framework Rap

CAPP noted that there is a planned meeting to discuss a new "Assessment Framework for Northern Shrimp off Labrador and the northeastern coast of Newfoundland" scheduled for late May 2007.

The intent is to have a traffic light framework for risk assessment and TAC settings etc. for SFAs 5 and 6. CAPP expressed surprise at the notice of this meeting. This is a significant issue and he felt that NSAC should have consulted with and notified well in advance.

CAPP is looking forward to have an opportunity to provide input on this.

The FFAW requested that if there is going to be a science meeting at the end of May, there is also an opportunity to raise the issue of TAC increases.

The meeting was adjourned by the Chair after thanking all participants.

Annex 1

List of Participants
Name Organization Phone Number
Barry Rashotte DFO 613-990-0087
Ken Jones DFO 613-990-5227
Tony Blanchard DFO 709-772-4680
Lewis Clancey NSDFA 902-424-0366
Grace Mellano DFO 613-990-0128
Thomas Larouche DFO 613-993-4160
Paul Nadeau LNSFA 418-773-2234
Bob Johnston PEI Atlantic Shrimp Corp. 902-367-4896
Tom Dooley DFA NL 709-729-0335
Dave MacEwen PEI Dept. AFA 902-368-5244
Annie Ferguson Prov. NB 506-726-2400
Beverley Sheppard HG Shrimp Co. 709-596-8000
Jerry Ward BFC 709-726-6328
Roland Andrews Nuntsiavut Gov't. 709-786-7614
Vachon Noel NOFTA 709-861-4240
Tom Elliott Sabri 709-454-3484
Joe Justus NWMB 867-975-7300
Tim Siferd DFO C&A 204-984-4509
Keith Pelley DFO C&A 867-979-8024
Peter Matthews Clearway Peche Nordique 902-634-2692
Christine Penney Clearwater Atlantic Shrimp 902-457-2348
Rex Simmonds Inshore Freezing at Sea Assoc. 709-895-2816
Jeff Simms Newfound Resources 709-579-7676
Brian McNamara Newfound Resources 709-579-7676
Michael Eagles DFO - Halifax 902-426-7239
Guy Bridger 3KS Shrimp Chair FFAW 709-255-4551
Gerard Chidley 3L Shrimp FFAW 709-363-2900
David Decker FFAW / CAW 709-576-7276
Frank Corbett DFO NL Region 709-772-6935
Vincent Dupuis ACPG Quebec
Brian Shebib MV. Osprey Ltd. 902-794-1600
Ulf S. Snarby MV. Osprey Ltd. 902-794-1600
Gilbert Linstead Labrador Shrimp Company 709-927-5812
Phil Quinlan Labrador Shrimp Company 709-754-3913
Rosalind Perry Northern Coalition 709-722-4454
Neil Greig Makivik Corp. 819-964-2925
Keith Watts Torngat Fish Producers Cooperative Society Ltd. 709-896-3992
Bruce Chapman CAPP 613-692-8249
Morley Knight DFO 709-772-4494
Stefan Romberg DFO - Iqualuit 867-979-8002
Sam Stephenson DFO - C&A 204-984-0577
Karen Hurst DFO - C&A 204-983-5230
Brett Gilchrist DFO 613-990-0192
Dave Conley DFO 613-991-6122
François Montminy-Munyan MAPAQ 418-380-2100 x3770

Annex 2

Annex 3

Annex 4