2012 Northern Shrimp Advisory Committee Meeting

March 8, 2012 - Montreal, QC

Attendees

A list of attendees is attached at Annex 1.

Introduction and Adoption of Agenda

Adam Burns introduced himself as the Chair and welcomed the group.

The Chair addressed the Ernst & Young external review and the allocation decisions made to Total Allowable Catch (TAC) over the past few years. He reminded the committee that details are posted on DFO’s website. He reiterated the Terms of Reference, which are also posted on the website along with other details, including written submissions and transcripts which will be provided to the Minister. Certain industry members requested an extension and a second consultation meeting was scheduled by E&Y and the deadline for written submissions was extended. As a result, the Department does not have the results of the review, and therefore the review was not put on the agenda.

A round table of introductions occurred.

The agenda is attached at Annex 2.

2011 Meeting Minutes

The Chair invited the group to provide feedback on the 2011 NSAC meeting minutes, indicating there was one edit. The minutes were adopted without comment or modification.

Jennifer Buie, DFO Resource Management, Ottawa, stated that the minutes of the 2011 meeting will be posted on DFO’s website shortly.

Results of the 2011 Fishery

DFO, RM Ottawa presented the results of the 2011 fishery for each SFA.

Earle McCurdy (Fish, Food and Allied Workers) asked if there was an explanation for the offshore overrun in Shrimp Fishing Area (SFA) 6. He understood that season bridging should cover this.

DFO, RM Ottawa responded that the table includes some amounts that were bridged.

FFAW asked for clarification as to how much can be bridged per licence holder in this area.

DFO, RM Ottawa responded that there are limits in SFA 6 to a 4,000t maximum for the offshore.

The Chair added that the amount that could be bridged from 2011 to 2012 was reduced.

Bruce Chapman (Canadian Association of Prawn Producers) stated that the total amount that could be bridged was reduced roughly by half to 2012. When bridging was introduced as a pilot project the maximum amount was 250t per licence holder, but was increased to 750t per licence holder.  When it became a regular feature, it was brought to this table, discussed and accepted.

FFAW stated he didn’t recall this in any of the minutes.

CAPP clarified that the total for bridging is 750t per licence, even this year, for all areas, but Area 6 had a maximum. If someone had no quota to carry forward in Area 6, you could still use this 750t to carry forward in other SFAs.

CAPP asked if the quota reconciliation policy (for the inshore fleet) is being applied this year. Do overruns have to be reconciled?

Morley Knight, DFO - Director General, Resource Management, Ottawa responded that this is the case.

Presentations

Tim Siferd DFO – Science, Central and Arctic (C&A) region gave a presentation on the Science in SFAs 1, 2 and 3. http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/csas-sccs/Publications/SAR-AS/2013/2013_031-eng.html

Dave Orr, DFO – Science, Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) region, gave a presentation on SFAs 4 – 6. http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/csas-sccs/Publications/SAR-AS/2013/2013_012-eng.html

Additional information on SFA 7 can be found at: http://www.nafo.int/publications/frames/science.html

Robert Mercer, DFO – Economic Analysis and Statistics, Policy Sector, Ottawa gave a presentation on the economic overview of the Northern shrimp fishery.

Marine Stewardship Council Updates

Phil Barnes (Fogo Island Co-op) was not present to give an update on the status of their certification. The Chair invited Fogo to submit something to the Department at a later time for distribution to the group.

Derek Butler (Association of Seafood Producers) gave an update on their MSC status as they enter their fourth year of certification. This year will entail a full assessment and the annual site visit for their five year certification period. The work for year four requirements will go to the NSAC MSC Working Group for consideration. One outstanding condition from year two will be incorporated into the year four work, which addresses issues pertaining to the current impacts of the fishery on habitat and biological diversity. Dr. Scott Grant will add to his work on unobserved fishing mortality. If and where appropriate, new management strategies related to the detection and minimization of ecosystem impacts of the fishery may be necessary depending on the outcome of Dr. Grant’s research.

CAPP gave an update on the certification progress. They are approaching their first compliance audit in June for their three certifications, and are hoping to bundle some of the work and have the same audit schedule as ASP. Each certification has eight conditions which are virtually identical, however there is an additional consideration related to the Precautionary Approach Framework for the SFA 7 certification, which is a NAFO managed stock. In addition to the three certifications underway, the process for SFA 1 is in the final stages for public comment, and they are expecting to receive certification. CAPP stated that later in the meeting they will propose a change in wording for the Integrated Fishery Management Plan, and the creation of a project team comprised of the Department and other stakeholders to look at ecosystem and habitat issues and assemble a plan for the next four years on how this information will be assembled and evaluated.

Leigh Edgar, RM, Ottawa, provided an update on the May 2011 MSC Working Group meeting (Annex 3).

Integrated Fishery Management Plan

The Chair noted that because the Department is moving towards multi year management, IFMPs will be an evergreen document and make modifications as necessary. 

RM Ottawa explained that work to update the IFMP began internally over the past summer and still requires additional work. Once internal revisions have been completed, the revised document will be sent to stakeholders and their comments will be considered and where appropriate, incorporated. It will be sent out again for a final perusal. The objective is to have the final version available on the web by the fall.

ASP asked if the completed IFMP could include a description of what changes have occurred since the last version.

RM, Ottawa responded that the entire document will be changed but this is something that could be considered when updates occur to the finalize IFMP.

The Chair added that IFMPs are lengthy documents which involve high costs for translation, plus revising it is a significant workload issue. He agreed that ASP’s suggestion to track changes is a good one and we will address how and where this will occur.

FFAW suggested that the finalization of the IFMP may require meeting of this Committee. The process that determines which items or proposed changes were included in the current IFMP is not clear.

Resource Management, Ottawa clarified that the IFMP is being modified in accordance with the new DFO template (available on the DFO website), so this revision is actually a near complete re-write of the IFMP. The past IFMP will be available on the website for comparison.

FFAW stated that it will be time consuming to determine what changes have occurred. Changes from the 2003 IFMP to the 2007 IFMP were significant; the last draft prior to the finalized 2007 plan was significantly different in terms of items – for example the added provision that SABRI had to use offshore vessels to harvest their allocation, but also the structure had changed. FFAW will be reviewing previous drafts and will likely revisit certain points to understand the process used to determine the content of and revisions to the plan, some of which were prejudicial to their interests. The IFMP revision was supposed to be a collaboration between the Committee and the Department.

The Chair noted that the draft version under the new template will be released for stakeholder comment, which will take into account the suggestions made here. Revisions to the plan and comments received from that point will be tracked, and the origin of the comment/change will be provided. There is also a requirement to go to the co-management boards prior to it coming into effect. Depending on the circumstances and the proposed changes, a Working Group might be convened.

Sam Elliot of St. Anthony Basin resources Inc (SABRI) brought forth a discussion item related to the IFMP, namely the wording in Table 4 of the 2007 IFMP. When SABRI got its allocation in 1997 there were no accompanying stipulations; it was given to the communities to administer to bring economic benefits to the region. The wording implemented in 2007 has taken away their opportunity to do this, and they would like to see this reinstated to allow them to manage the allocation, whether it be offshore or inshore.

CAPP brought forward an issue related to the IFMP for discussion. He stated that there are various MSC conditions that need to be met to maintain certification. The IFMP Objectives need to explicitly reference use of the Precautionary Approach Framework when setting TACs for directed fisheries, and when establishing management measures for bycatch species, ecosystem function, and for habitat. These words need to be added to the existing strategy. The annual audit is approaching this summer, and there is a risk that if this isn’t discussed today, the certification condition could fail. The changes are minimal.

The Chair invited CAPP to submit proposed wording to put up on the screen for discussion later in the meeting.

FFAW asked for clarification if the invitation for submitting proposed edits was applicable to both SABRI and CAPP’s proposal.

The Chair stated that because the template for the IFMP is different, is doesn’t make sense to discuss specific edits, but in terms of the principle of SABRI’s concern, he is open to hearing perspectives from the Committee under this IFMP agenda item.

FFAW stated that the 2007 IFMP was released in 2009 and the process by which the changes occurred, including the inclusion of Table 4 is unclear; if it was included based on due process, then the inclusion is valid, but if not, we should go back to the previous version. This is a management measure that needs to be resolved for the 2012 fishery.

ASP stated that the SABRI issue was contentious and they have communicated their concerns to the Minister, who stated that the SABRI decision was for one year only. ASP supports this and the IFMP as currently worded. The decision made on SABRI was a regular decision made outside of the confines of the IFMP and they don’t support any changes to it in this regard. They would be prepared to discuss complete fisheries reform and accept some subsequent changes, but would not accept changes to the IFMP that touch on SABRI allocation issues.

Tom Dooley, Government of NL stated the initial intent of that allocation should be maintained, and questioned how changes occurred from one version to the next.

Gabe Gregory stated that this isn’t a change; the IFMP represented what was understood and communicated and the fact that it’s in the IFMP is irrelevant. He quoted a SABRI 1997/1998 publication "through consultations with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, SABRI learned that the entire quota or any portion thereof could be assigned only to companies holding an offshore shrimp harvesting licence", of which there were 17 in 1997. This issue has ramifications for all special allocations; there is a clear fleet separation policy in the province, and there are no provisions for any special allocation holder to lease or designate vessels in the inshore fleet, which is competitive.

SABRI stated that it is a special allocation holder of 3,000t for the economic benefits for communities in the Northern peninsula, and he doesn’t understand why they shouldn’t be able to manage it in the best interests of their region.

FFAW stated that in 1997 it had not yet been established that an inshore fleet was capable of successfully prosecuting a fishery in this area; the inshore fleet and SABRI’s allocation were established the same year (1997). The Minister’s news release at the time set out some principles that are in line with what SABRI has stated here. The only substantive argument as to why this flexibility should not be there is that SABRI could use this allocation to leverage supply away from other competing plants. He would not support an approach that allowed for leveraging; a means of avoiding this potential – which the Department has used in the past – is through a random draw.

ASP commented that there are rules, restrictions, transparency, stability in allocations and a management plan in place to regulate the fishery; no one has the freedom to do whatever they want with their allocation.

SABRI stated that in 1997 they had the option to use their allocation as they wanted. When Table 4 was put in place, there was no consultation with SABRI, and they had no idea what this meant until the issue arose last year.

The Chair thanked people for their perspectives.

The group looked at the wording additions to the Fishery Objectives in the IFMP brought forward by CAPP for MSC purposes.

CAPP commented that the proposed additions to the Objectives are not new; these are things the Department is already doing but at issue is that they are not explicitly referenced in the IFMP, which is problematic for MSC purposes but can be easily resolved here.

There was unanimous support for the modifications.

Management Measures and Updates for 2012

Precautionary Approach

DFO Resource Management, Ottawa presented an information piece on the Precautionary Approach, which has been in place for a few years and has always been regarded as provisional. DFO will strike up a Working Group comprised of DFO and stakeholders, which will have technical expertise and knowledge of the PA. There are issues that need to be addressed in both the short and long terms. The PAWG will need to determine if a PA framework will be required for SFA 7, as it is a NAFO managed stock. The Department will solicit participation from NSAC members on the WG in the coming weeks.

The group supported this approach.

Northern Boundary Changes

DFO Resource Management, Ottawa gave an update on the Northern boundary changes. Over the past few years DFO has worked with co-management partners and other stakeholders to look at some proposed ways to simplify management in the north and develop sustainable quotas for each species within each management unit based on sustainable TAC levels, including addressing conservation concerns related to the potential over exploitation of P. montagui in the Resolution Island area. DFO established an informal working group to look at the boundaries.  This past year the Department went to relevant Land Claims wildlife management boards, to seek their recommendations and approvals of proposed modifications to shrimp management in the north. Responses on the proposal were received from both the Nunavut and Nunavik Management Boards. NWMB will be holding a public hearing on this item in June, following which the Board will make its decisions and recommendations on the proposal. There are still some outstanding information requirements (e.g. bycatch protocol) and the Working Group will reconvene to resolve them with the hopes of having the boundary changes in place for April 1, 2013.

Jamie Snook (Torngat Joint Fisheries Board) indicated they also responded to the Department.

Fishing in Depths Less than 200 Metres

Tony Blanchard, DFO, Resource Management, Newfoundland and Labrador, stated that since 2009 the Department authorized some fishing in less than 200m in SFA 7 for exploratory purposes. In 2011 at NSAC, DFO committed to strengthening efforts to improve this data collection. Subsequently some changes were made that allowed for comparative fishing in depths less and greater than 200m at the same time of year by the same vessel. One permit was issued last year and there has not been any fishing activity in less than 200m. DFO is prepared to allow the continuation of a limited participation in this data collection under the same conditions as last year.

FFAW remarked this is an issue in particular for the 3L fishery and the Chair of 3L is not present here due to weather in Newfoundland. FFAW stated that the views of the Chair of 3L was expressed at NSAC in 2011 and requested that they be noted in the 2012 minutes, which are:

"Gerard Chidley stated the inshore fleet has recommend that this access be stopped due to concern for both crab and shrimp resource, by-catch and gear conflicts. This is a mitigation issue and was put in the IFMP... if this is a scientific protocol, it should be worded accordingly."

Hawke Channel Closed Area

DFO Resource Management Newfoundland presented a brief history of the Hawke Channel closure and stated that the Department has no plans to re-open this area to shrimp trawling at this point. 

CAPP noted that there was a recent Working Group process in 2010/11 to review this closure which was attended by DFO Science. In terms of cod conservation, DFO Science confirmed they had never endorsed the closure; rather the Minister closed the area based on a recommendation by the Fisheries Resources Conservation Council. CAPP continued that DFO Science was of the opinion that there could be other, more important areas to close. Crab harvesters believe that gillnetting and trawling were having a negative effect on their resource. Crab scientists indicated that the data they have since the initial closure indicates there is no difference in missing parts of crab inside or outside of the closed area, and that catch rates are likewise the same 10 years later. Crab scientists are ultimately of the view that trawling has no significant impact on the crab resource, and that the crab handling by crab is causing the difficulties. This is all reflected in the Working Group process of early 2011 and was tabled without debate. CAPP is not prepared to accept the status quo and requests this area be reopened.

Dave Decker, FFAW noted he was part of this Working Group and recalled that there was no consensus among members; those harvesters adjacent to the resource were unanimous that it should be closed. There has been very little science done on this area since the closure, but some comprehensive work will be done by Dr. George Rose over the next five years.

Ros Walsh (Northern Coalition) stated there are many views on whether trawling has a negative effect on crab, and even scientists within the Department don’t agree. This area holds 5% of the shrimp biomass in this SFA; crabs are damaged and not all from poor handling. NC continues to support the closure of this area.

The Government of Newfoundland noted that little work has been done since 2003, and supported the continued closure.

Conservation and Protection Presentation

Judy Dwyer, DFO - Conservation and Protection (C&P), Ottawa, gave a presentation on 2012 C&P compliance monitoring and enforcement activities in the Northern shrimp fishery. In summary, the Northern shrimp fishery is compliant with regulations with few infractions.

Jamie Snook (Torngat Joint Fisheries Board) asked if data are available by SFA.

The DG RM Ottawa stated that this might be possible, but it would be difficult. The regions would be willing to work with anyone interested to get this information if possible, at the level of detail requested.

The DG RM Ottawa informed the Committee that as of last year the Department will no longer supply logbooks. In the interim, DFO will accept paper copies of logbooks, but in the longer term, the Northern shrimp fishery will be using electronic logbooks, the template for which might change in order to incorporate other considerations.

DFO C&P, Ottawa added that C&P is trying to be more strategic in the deployment of resources, and they will try to get regions to work together and to incorporate data from all regions, not just Newfoundland and Labrador. Catch verifications and other forensic auditing will likely increase.

The question was asked to what extent does DFO have data on monitoring bycatch in this fishery, and what are the trends in this data?

DFO C&P, Ottawa replied that data C&P obtains comes from logbooks and/or observer data.

DFO – Science, NL added that all data comes from observers. Additionally, some fishers are meticulous in recording this logbook information while others are not. Comparing logbooks against observer data, it becomes apparent that most are not filling out the bycatch. As for monitoring bycatch, occasionally DFO Science does reports as well as updates.

Brian McNamara (Newfound Resources) asked if dumping is a problem, and if there is a particular area of concern.

DFO C&P, Ottawa responded that 17/24 violations are regarding either registration or reporting. About a third relates to misreporting – area, species, licence condition violation, etc.

Management Measures (Continued)

Conversion of SFA 2

DFO - Resource Management, Ottawa, informed the group that the Department is considering converting SFA 2 to entirely commercial status, which has been designated an exploratory fishery since 1999 but for all intents and purposes has been treated as a commercial opportunity. A request was put into Science to assess if there was adequate data for this fishery to be able to determine if it could be a sustainable commercial venture. The advice came back stating that this stock is in the Healthy Zone, there are elements in place to monitor it annually, and that the conversion to a commercial fishery at current harvest levels should be sustainable. Importantly, there is sufficient biological data on p. borealis abundance and distribution, and three surveys have been undertaken since 2005. This conversion is consistent with the New Emerging Fisheries Policy; the Department wanted to put this topic to NSAC for comment and consideration.

CAPP stated that it isn’t clear why the status needs to change, and noted that there’s not a regular fishery yet developed here. It’s unreliable for fishing activity, which tends to support the exploratory designation. If this designation is going to be removed, does this mean the split will also be removed dividing commercial and exploratory activity? It would be unique in that there are not any splits elsewhere. If removed, there are implications. If this is a name change, there’s no real point to do this. If it’s converting because it’s no longer exploratory, then there are other issues that come into play. If a redistribution of effort is needed, which is one of the underlying reasons this line was there originally, you don’t want the whole TAC to be caught in one part of the SFA.

The Chair noted that in many ways this is already being managed as a commercial venture, and it’s appropriate for the department to gather some feedback.

Jerry Ward (Baffin Fisheries Coalition) asked about the process used to determine if an area should be designated commercial, and if it was based on effort. There hasn’t been adequate effort going into this area in recent years. What moves it from the exploratory to commercial?

The Chair indicated that the New Emerging Fisheries Policy describes the considerations related to this. The main driver for this agenda item is that there have been discussions on moving quota between the commercial and exploratory allocation. The question of time is a factor; it’s inappropriate to have an exploratory fishery indefinitely. The basis of an exploratory fishery is to determine if a fishery is viable or not.

CAPP requested that industry be engaged in the process to convert if this is the direction taken, as opposed to announcing a decision.

Ros Walsh (Northern Coalition) agreed and stated that if the department intends to pursue this, more involvement with stakeholders needs to occur because this is a fairly significant change.

Linde Greening (Government of Nova Scotia) stated that the New Emerging Fisheries Policy governs these types of situations, a component of which includes industry involvement.

The Chair clarified that this is a DFO initiative and it is on the agenda for discussion purposes and to collect views. Further discussions will occur.

Multi-Year Management

The Chair stated that the Department will be moving towards an approach that coordinates a multi-year cycle for science activities and provides peer reviewed scientific advice to management; management will move to a process to setting multi-year TACs. Following the full scientific assessment scheduled for 2013, the Department will consult with NSAC to set the TAC for 2013 and 2014 based on the science advice. All fisheries will need to establish harvest control rules, which would identify points at which actions will be taken in the interim years if something occurs. The PA Working Group will need to look at this. NSAC would make determinations as to how to proceed if these points are reached. As this will come into play next year, the 2012 TACs are not affected.

CAPP noted that there are a few ways to address multi year TACsTACs can be set for more than one year, or by a mechanism that automatically sets/adjusts the TAC for two years. The Management Strategy Evaluation (MSE) process can do this – allows for changes in the TAC as other values change. This is already in place for some fisheries. There is work underway to develop a population assessment model for shrimp which may be ready for the 2013 assessment. We shouldn’t jump into a multi year program if the completion of the model is imminent. We should try to meet this target with the new assessment model.

FFAW stated that multi-year management isn’t an advantage. In this fishery, raising flags should go both ways; based on certain indications, you could have a precipitous decline, but you could also have a situation where more fishing opportunity presents itself within parameters (exploitation rate) in the management of this fishery. It would be better to state the quota for two years unless there are triggers for an NSAC meeting or at least a reconsideration of the numbers.

The Chair commented that risk would need to be considered when increasing the TAC or exploitation rate. This could also be a question put towards the PA Working Group – to address the harvest control rules and the flags in a multi-year assessment perspective.

Total Allowable Catches 2012

SFA 6

The Chair opened the floor for comments on SFA 6.

FFAW stated that current projections for spawning stock and fishable biomass would not have resulted in a decrease last year.  In 2010, reductions in TAC were close to 30% (despite a maximum of 15% in reduction unless a precipitous decline), most of which was absorbed by the inshore fleet. In 2011, the TAC was reduced by 15%. The debate in the 2011 minutes speaks to the exploitation rate and where it should be. A rollover in TAC for 2012 would put the exploitation rate at 13%, below the level NSAC said would be appropriate (15-20%). Unless there’s an outcome from the Ernst & Young review, an appropriate recommendation to the Minister is to revert to 2010 levels; the exploitation rate would be lower than what it was in 2010 because the current biomass level is higher.

FFAW added that an issue is the provision for offshore bridging, which is prejudicial to the inshore fleet at current levels. If the inshore could bridge 30% of their quota each year, reductions would be easier to bear.

FFAW continued that the confidence intervals for SFA 6 biomass estimates are much smaller than last year. Also, with regard to mortality, using a four year average might not reflect the reality of the stock.

CAPP stated that season bridging on a shared stock is not prejudicial to anyone. The traditional offshore fishery operates 12 months of the year; anything less has economic consequences. The timing of when it’s caught does not make it prejudicial. This adds no effect to anyone else in the fishery, but bridging is important to the bottom line of the offshore fleet’s operations.

CAPP added that with respect to setting the TAC in SFA 6, it is important to note that SFA 7 is, or appears to be, collapsing. To think that SFA 6 would not be affected is at our own peril. If there were improvements in Area 7, it might make the agreement for raising the TAC in Area 6 more compelling.

CAPP continued that we have to be careful about the point of total mortality. There’s an averaging effect, the trend is there. If we didn’t average this, the jump in total mortality would likely be even more accentuated – this enters an element of uncertainty. The recruitment trend based on the past several years of data would reveal the direction we should take in this fishery. If we had a model that included current recruitment trends, the projections would look poor for the future as opposed to a one year calculation or prediction.

CAPP commented that the offshore fishery had a good year in SFA 6 which reflects the survey results from this year. But looking longer term if this increase is due to a year effect, we’ll be worse off next year. Science can’t explain the increase in pre-recruit data or otherwise have anticipated it was coming. The only thing that suggests an increase is the exploitable biomass figure from the one survey. Everything else – such as environmental conditions and predators – suggests a negative trend for shrimp. Hopefully next year a second survey will reinforce the increase. If the TAC is rolled over an increase is confirmed next year, the worst case is a bit of lost yield. But if we increase the TAC and catch more and the stock is decreasing, we could add to the mortality which may harm the stock an unacceptable way.

Derek Bulter (Association of Seafood Producers) supported FFAW’s comments, although he shares some of CAPP’s concerns. ASP has been vocal in trying to get the exploitation rate on the lower range at 15%, not between the 15 – 20%; there’s a reference in the mini Regional Advisory Process (RAP) questioning if an exploitation rate of 14% would be sustainable. He supports a moderate increase.

Tom Dooley, Government of NL, commented that last year their position was that the decrease should have been less than it was based on the slight difference between the 2010 and 2011 biomass indices. This year with it being up again, they would be comfortable with some level of increase, in keeping with the decision rules and considering the points brought forth in the science update on SFA 6.

The Government of NS commented that it’s a situation of short term gain versus long term losses, agreeing with CAPP that if the catch isn’t taken this year, it will be available next year; one moment in time doesn’t make for a trend and we should be precautionary. The TAC should be rolled over this year, and can be revisited next year.

Ken Budden (Fogo Island Co-op) indicated his support of a reinstatement of 2010 TAC levels.

Northern Coalition stated that while there are favourable indicators to spawning stock and fishable biomass increases, there are still some grey areas, therefore it is appropriate to err on the side of caution considering there have been significant reductions over the past two years and it may be premature to increase the TAC. Recommends a rollover.

Gabe Gregory (Quinlan Bothers) commented that the trend is down over the past five or six years, and one year doesn’t change anything. We need to look at the long term, and the target rate of exploitation is averaging at about 14%. If we rollover the TAC it would be 12.8%, therefore it is appropriate to increase the exploitation rate to 14%, which Science notes may be sustainable, putting the TAC in the 56,000t range. This would not be too risky and represents a modest but meaningful improvement to industry. 

FFAW stated that last year when the biomass had decreased by about 5%, there was a big divide between the recommendations from the inshore and offshore fleets. The offshore fleet wanted to reduce the TAC to have the exploitation rate in the 15% range, which would be feasible if you are permitted to bridge some of your quota to the next year. He requested a breakdown on amounts that have been bridged in Area 6 over the years, adding that in 2011 the inshore’s quota was reduced by 6,000t while the offshore fished 3,500t in excess of their quota. In 2009, inshore left quota in the water, if that could be brought forward, there wouldn’t be a problem. CAPP pushed for a steep reduction last year in order to get the exploitation rate down for MSC purposes, but ultimately weren’t affected by the reductions because they could bridge quota. The science survey showed increases in biomass which was validated by the experience of both fleets, which were getting better catch rates over time and a widespread geographical distribution.

Vincent Dupuis (Association des Captaines Proprétaires de la Gaspésie) commented there were two consecutive years of reductions in TAC and now we are observing an increase in biomass. The science presentation suggests a high mortality rate, but predation seems to be more significant than fishing. He supports an increase to 2010 levels.

Fred Hall (Innu Development Limited Partnership (IDLP)) stated that if the exploitation rate is where it should be and the biomass has increased, an increase in TAC would be helpful to them, as they lost their quota in 2011.

DFO Science, NL noted that there was a cumulative impact from predation, changing environment as well as fishing mortality. Together, these factors – and likely others –resulted in a decrease in biomass in the past.

Guy Bridger (3KS Chair) stated that we decreased the TAC when the biomass decreased; now it’s going up and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t revert back to 2010 levels.

Karl Sullivan (Barry Group) stated they support a cautious increase in the range of 5,000t, but not reverting back to 2010 levels.

Jean-Michel Poulin (Government QC) stated that we need to ensure the sustainable longterm development of this fishery, balanced with positive socio-economic benefits. We should be consistent with what Science recommends.

DFO Science, NL reiterated that the only influence we have on the biomass is from fishing mortality; we can’t control the environment or predators. This could be a blip in time but hopefully a trend.

The Chair noted that the Science advice weighs heavily in the decision making process. All perspectives, recommendations and advice will be considered as we move forward.

The Government of NS asked if an executive summary of the science could be distributed to the Committee prior to the meeting.

The Chair responded that we will look into this.

SFA 5

Rollover

SFA 4

CAPP recommended a rollover, which was supported by the NC. Shrimp distribution is patchier in more northerly areas which increases the uncertainties.

IDLP commented that catch rates have been exceptional for many years and shows positive trends. Recommends an increase.

The TJFB commented that they see NSAC one of the processes in place for this SFA, and they can make recommendations to the Minister as per their land claim agreement because they see their settlement area as being within and adjacent to SFA 4.  In 2010 and 2011, TJFB recommended increases and is in the final stages of putting in such a recommendation for 2012. The adjacency to Nunatsiavut should be considered should an increase occur.

BFC questioned where the notion of uncertainty comes from. Catches have been extremely good in this area, and would support an increase in TAC.

CAPP noted that notwithstanding the relative conservative exploitation rates, they have peaked in 2009/10, and the two years since have been below this peak; currently there’s some stability, which may translate to some to increase the pressure. CAPP promotes stability at around Bmsy as a target, which is where this stock is hovering. There is increased uncertainty in the north because there are relatively fewer good tows. There’s a possibility this stock could actually be in the cautious zone.

DFO Science, NL noted that the sampling rate is the same in SFAs 4, 5 and 6. Catches tend to be spotty, and occasionally there will be a significant tow in SFA 4 which drives the confidence intervals.

TJFB commented that there is a range of exploitation rates in all SFAs. It would be desirable to achieve consistency in the exploitation rates, and the management plan states 15%. The management plan also states that the TAC should not change by more than 15%. The TAC could increase by 15% and the stock’s response could be monitored. 

BFC noted that there are differences in the north and the south. Higher exploitation rates occur in the south where there are more players, but in the north where those adjacent to the resource benefit the most from it, the exploitation rate tends to be kept around 8%, which doesn’t seem fair.

Neil Grieg (Makivik Corporation) commented that management boards essentially set the exploitation rates, particularly in Area 3; they have to be convinced that any increases are in the best interest of the resource, not just for the beneficiaries.

TJFB noted that the Labrador Inuit Claim defines adjacency which includes SFA 4.

SFA 3 (p. borealis)

Rollover.

Mark O’Connor (Nunavik Marine Region Wildlife Board) reiterated that setting the TAC is a decision made by the wildlife board and forwarded to the Minister.

Montagui 2/3/4

CAPP stated that the total TAC amounts to 6,300t with a potential exploitation rate of 62%. The actual exploitation rate is about 6%, and despite this, this stock could be below the limit reference point, perhaps driven by environmental conditions. The shortage of data warrants some action for MSC and for the stock itself. Until such a time that a new management system is implemented or additional data become available, a bycatch only regime for at least Areas 2 and 4 is appropriate with no additional fishing pressure. The total TAC should be between 1,000t – 1,200t.

BFC disagreed, commenting that they would recommend a rollover until this situation has been resolved through the processes in place by NWMB and NTI.

CAPP commented that the process to change the management zones has been ongoing for two years and prudent conservation decisions are required, which would not support status quo. While there are management board processes, there is also the process at NSAC.

Anna Magera (NWMB) commented that there is a request for decision to look at management zones which will result in changes to quota sharing.

CAPP noted that there is MSC compliance to deal with.  While management boards’ processes are in place and are respected, NSAC is CAPP’s only formal channel with DFO and therefore likewise warrants respect.

The Chair commented that there are a number of processes the Department needs to follow. Certainly consulting with NSAC is an important process, but it’s not the only one.

SFA 2

Rollover.

Other Business

The Chair asked if there were any agenda items to add for discussion under "Other Businesses". There were not.

DFO, RM Ottawa informed the group that the NSAC distribution list needs to be reviewed. Some people leave the Committee, others want to be kept current with NSAC distributions and as a result over time, the NSAC list has grown beyond the terms of membership as described in the IFMP. We need to work out how we contact the membership – by the organization, on an individual basis – in order to control the governance of this Committee.

TJFB commented that the terms of reference do not reflect the management boards.

DFO, RM Ottawa commented that it would be timely to have a presentation to NSAC next year on the role of the respective wildlife boards so that everyone understands the operational context, and how this impacts the processes undertaken by DFO; obligations vary by land claim.

Makivik Corporation added that it would be beneficial for some information to go to the group in advance.

DFO RM, Ottawa replied that land claims are legal documents and distributing a summary would be challenging. Reading sections of land claim agreements in isolation can add to the numerous misinterpretations that currently exist.

CAPP suggested that the presentations should occur either before or after the NSAC meeting but not during it.

ASP commented that the submissions to the Ernst & Young review are not online as was previously stated. The Terms of Reference is there, but no link to submissions.

DFO, RM Ottawa said that it’s taking some time to get the submission on line because of translation, but the transcripts from the first face to face meeting are translated and are online, and the transcripts from the second meeting are currently being translated.

The Chair stated that everything related to the review will be put on line.

Wrap Up

The Chair thanked the group for their participation and adjourned the meeting.

ANNEX 1

List of Participants

Stakeholders

DFO

ANNEX 2

AGENDA - NORTHERN SHRIMP ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEETING
Thursday, March 8, 2012
9:00am – 4:00pm
Best Western Europa
1240 Drummond Street
(Board Room Mont-Blanc)
Montréal, Québec

March 8, 2012
9:00 – 9:20 OPENING REMARKS
  • MINUTES OF 2011 MEETING
  • RESULTS OF 2011 FISHERY
9 :20 – 10 :00 SCIENCE PRESENTATIONS
10 :00 – 10 :20 C&P PRESENTATION
10 :20 – 10 :40 Health Break

10 :40 – 11 :00
11 :00 – 11 :20
Market issues:
  • ECONOMIC OVERVIEW
  • Update on MSC (industry)
11 :20 – 11 :40 Atlantic Coral and Sponge Conservation Strategy
11 :40 – 12 :00 E-log
12 :00 – 1 :00 LUNCH (ON YOUR OWN)
1 :00 – 3 :00 Management measures for 2012/13
  • Hawke Channel
  • <200 meters
  • Precautionary  Approach
  • SFA 2  Status (from EX à COM)
  • Codend bags
  • Integrated fisheries management plan
  • TACs
3 :00 – 4 :00 Other Business
NSAC list
WRAP-UP

Annex 3 MSC Working Group Meeting – May 17, 2011

Participants:

DFO:

The Chair welcomed the group and set the objectives for the meeting.

Derek Butler of the Association of Seafood Producers (ASP) provided an overview of the possibility of harmonizing the three Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) assessments for Northern shrimp in SFAs 5, 6 and 7. The three bodies currently at various stages of assessment/certification are Association of Seafood Processors (ASP), Fogo Island Coop (Fogo) and the Canadian Association of Prawn Producers (CAPP)/Northern Coalition (NC). It is possible to harmonize the three certifications so that they are on the same timelines with the same requirements. All bodies would need to be certified and use the same certifying body (ASP and CAPP/NC are using the services of Moody Marine Ltd; Fogo is using Global Trust Certification Ltd). When ASP comes up for year 5 audit in 2012, the other bodies will be certified and can get on the same timelines. This would mean that there would still be three separate clients with three separate (yet identical) Action Plans under three distinct certificates; cost sharing agreements will need to be negotiated among the three bodies.

Ros Walsh stated that the final offshore action plan was submitted in April, 2011 and they are expecting a report by early July.

Phil Barnes from Fogo agreed that it was in the best interests of all to harmonize the certification process to the extent possible in order to reduce costs and relieve DFO from any unnecessary workload burden. Fogo will have their action plan available for public comment by June 1, 2011 and should be ready to submit their action plan by August.

The group discussed Client Action Plans and the MSC requirements, noting quite a bit of work is required to fulfill the ‘ecological impact’ conditions.

The fishery is being held accountable by MSC to ensure that the objectives in the Integrated Fishery Management Plan (IFMP) are met; failure to do so could jeopardize attaining MSC certification. DFO had previously revised the objectives of the IFMP however the MSC assessment team advised that the ecological role of shrimp needs to be more explicitly referenced, and short and long term goals had to be distinguished. The group focused on incorporating these considerations into the wording of the objectives, strategies and management measures (where applicable). These changes will be brought to NSAC for approval.

In the meantime, stakeholders and co-management partners will be notified that the objectives have changed.

Dr. Scott Grant (Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Resources) gave a presentation on his report on bycatch and unobserved mortality in SFAs 5, 6, 7 and 13-15. It was agreed that the report would be reviewed by the MSC Working Group; his findings are important and should be incorporated into this fishery. Dr. Grant was contracted by ASP to help meet the conditions related to the ecological impacts of the fishery.

It was agreed that Dr. Grant's report on unobserved mortality would be reviewed by Dave Orr to explore the potential for publication. Due to the nature of the research, there may be too much speculation inherent in the report to be included in the primary literature. However, there may be other publication options, such as the Marine Institute. Dave Orr also noted a few worthwhile projects that graduate students could complete that may be publishable.

Next Steps: