2009 Northern Shrimp Advisory Committee Meeting

March 12, 2009
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador

Attendees

List of attendees is attached at Annex 1.

Introduction and Adoption of Agenda

The Chair welcomed everyone and a round of introductions was made. The Chair formally presented Jennifer Buie as DFO-HQ's Shrimp officer.

Following, the agenda (Annex 2) for the meeting was accepted with the addition of the topic of Stable Sharing Arrangements, as proposed by FFAW.

2008 Meeting Minutes

The minutes of the last NSAC meeting were accepted with one change on page 12 (to specify province) as suggested by the representative from the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador (NL).

There was also a suggestion to the Chair that the minutes be sent out in a more timely manner. The Chair agreed.

CAPP (Bruce Chapman) also requested that when indicating "industry", that more details are provided to specify which representative.

Any further comments to the minutes were to be sent to DFO-HQ.

Results of the 2008 Fishery

A table of allocations and catches for 2008 was reviewed.

A suggestion was made not to include the NAFO Regulatory Area in the table. In addition, the Conne River name should be changed to the Miawpukek First Nation.

Economics Presentation

DFO (Policy / Economic Analysis and Statistics) presented an economic overview of the northern shrimp industry. The key message was that the outlook for the northern shrimp fishery is the same as many other industries in Canada and around the world - it is expected to be a challenging year ahead. It is very likely that the effects from the financial crisis in 2008 will continue on into 2009. These will most likely be felt by industry by declining consumer demand and a continuation of the credit freeze. Nonetheless, this recession could alleviate some operating costs, most notably oil.

Some of the key points for the presentation included: preliminary data suggests that the landings for cooked and peeled shrimp will be similar as compared to past years, however there is a noticeable decline in the offshore landings; in terms of exports, the Canadian dollar has been gaining value as compared to the British pound but we have been losing ground in comparison to the U.S. dollar and the Euro; and, there is a substantial increase in aquaculture shrimp in the marketplace. Other information can be found in the documentation circulated.

CAPP commented that there were several factors at play which affected offshore landings: lost two vessels from the fleet; age of fleet was leading to mechanical issues; market access issues with respect to Denmark/Russia; and, the SFA 1 biomass contracting into Greenland territory.

FFAW indicated that the 2007 and 2008 data on the cooked and peeled industry in NL were not correct.

EU Tarifs and Related Trade Issues

DFO (Trade Policy) reviewed several aspects of Canadian trade including: EU tariffs; WTO negotiations; Free Trade Agreements; and, Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.

Presentation included discussion on the status of Canada's bilateral trade initiatives, the main focus being the possible launch of negotiations between Canada and the EU in 2009, as well as overviews of multilateral negotiations at the WTO, the EU regulation to address IUU fishing which will be in force in 2010, and the EU shrimp Autonomous Tariff Rate Quota (ATRQ) (focusing on the ATRQ renewal process for 2010).

DFO encouraged participants to visit a DFAIT web-page link on the Canada-EU Joint Report Towards a Comprehensive Trade Agreement.

Brian McNamara from Newfound Resources suggested that he would like a more detailed discussion on the shell-on shrimp global opportunities, specifically Ukraine, Russia and China, at the next NSAC meeting.

FFAW questioned international subsidies -skeptical of benefits for CAN fishery sector.

Province of NS commented on the issue of traceability with links to international agreements.

Fishery Checklist

Presentation by DFO RM on the mechanics of DFO's checklist including the issues of who completes questions and how the data is captured and used. Examples of the spider graphs were given of the each of the Shrimp Fishing Areas.

The Chair pointed out that DFO will finalize draft checklists and then send the drafts to industry for validation at either the Working Group or NSAC level.

CAPP pointed out that checklists are a good and bad thing. DFO has an internal audit process for their checklists and DFO will be harder on itself than outsiders since they will be measuring against a perfect world. How DFO presents output is important. MSC showed well over 80% rating in some areas. We need to be consistent. Our spider graphs are close to MSC rating.

The representative from Makivik asked if it would be possible to see the questions and answers from the checklist as the checklists have only been an internal DFO exercise at this point. The Chair replied that the appropriate person to ask is not present therefore he could not say.

A question was asked about the intent of the checklists and if they are in competition with MSC.

The Chair replied that the checklists are a way of measuring our own management and will be useful to industry as a first step towards certification. The checklists will help industry in MSC Certification but there is no direct link.

There were also questions on the role of reference points and harvest control rules -those questions will be answered in the following presentation.

NSAC Working Groups

The Chair explained that the MSC WG has been the only active WG this past year given the certification of northern shrimp.

MSC Working Group

Presentation was made by Chair on activities of WG to work out provisional reference points and decision rules based on DFO's Precautionary Approach (PA) Framework as a result of Condition One of the MSC certification. The presentation provided an overview of the PA and the provisional reference points and harvest control rules for SFA 6 as developed by the WG.

The Chair further explained that this provisional framework will eventually be validated and finalized at NSAC once a Management Strategy Evaluation (MSE) modeling exercise has been completed.

The representative from the Province of New Brunswick supports these measures and the efforts of the WG to go forward with MSC.

FFAW has concerns with the MSC conditions that need to be addressed; these will be raised at the next MSC WG meeting.

It was also mentioned that in order to better deal with Condition Two of the MSC assessment, NSAC's Closed Area Working Group's mandate should be expanded to include eco-system and habitat issues. There were no objections.

Management Measures for 2009

Total Allowable Catches (TACs)

The Chair opened the floor for comments on TAC. It was noted that science advice is based upon 2007 data when biomass remained strong since there was no assessment in 2008.

FFAW asked for clarification on whether a further 10% was to be expected in 2009 for SFA 6 as the TAC for SFA 6 in 2008 was understood to be able to increase by 20% but only went to 10% due to market considerations. DFO Science (NL) responded that according to data, the biomass and fishable biomass has declined since 2006 and an increase would not be prudent for 2009. He added the caveat that this "analysis" had not been peer reviewed but has been discussed with industry (fishers and FFAW).

CAPP stated that in the absence of new science, TAC should be rolled over until another scientific assessment has been completed.

Keith Sullivan commented that his input to DFO Science was limited to isolated incidents where catches had fallen off.

G. Bridger stated that it was a good fishery in 2008 with a few incidents where poor weather reduced landings.

FFAW indicated that after Boston Seafood Show there would be a better understanding of markets for 2009.

The Chair summarized by stating that the TAC would remain at status quo.

NAFO 3L Increase

The PEI Atlantic Shrimp Corp. Inc. presented a letter to the Chair requesting a 30% (or 1223t) permanent increase to their share of quota in SFA 7. The Province of PEI supports this request.

FFAW raised the issue of implications to other special allocation holders in SFA 7. Also brought up the stable sharing arrangements which were introduced in 2006 by the former Minister to extend to 2010. Questioning how stable this would be if the arrangement keeps changing as the Minister accommodates different constituents.

Province of NL was opposed to the special allocation provided to PEI since they are not adjacent to the resource. Strongly opposed to any proposal to increase PEI's share.

Opposition expressed by 3L fishers and FFAW. Furthermore, FFAW pointed out that a large investment has already been made by fishers in this industry to support rationalization and to take away access/allocation would be difficult to justify.

CAPP indicated that the traditional fishery (the offshore fishery) is no longer as viable as it once was as per the problems he identified earlier (Economics presentation). The fishery in SFA1 no longer appears viable, and it is unknown how long this situation may continue. This fleet feels that it should be considered first in the allocation of the SFA 7 increase and objects to the proposed increased allocation to special interest groups. How is one special interest group to be treated differently than the others. What is the legality around the application of any permanent access to a non-licence holder as proposed by the PEI group? CAPP requested that 50% of the increase should go to the offshore fleet as SFA 7 is the most viable area for this fleet.

Northern Coalition also opposed to any new access to the fishery. The sharing arrangement should be maintained (divided between offshore/inshore licence holders) and not include an increase to special allocations to interest groups. Agrees with CAPP that the increase should be applied 50%/50%.

FFAW does not support the 50%/50% split; instead allocations should be made according to the standard sharing formula.

Province of New Brunswick is opposed to an increased allocation for PEI and agrees that the offshore fleet should receive 50% of any increase in SFA 7.

The Chair noted that the Minister's stability statement in 2006 dealt with access - it stated that there would be no new entrants to the shrimp fishery; not the stability of allocations.

Newfound Resources asked about licences vs. allocations - clarification needs to be made. An 18th offshore licence would be detrimental from a banking perspective.

PEI Shrimp Corp. clarified that they are not requesting a new licence. Also stated that there are 20 processing plants in PEI, they are not 'new' coming to this table. They have not just started looking for access.

South Central Labrador communities' shrimp stocks are also experiencing overexploitation. They too request a portion of the increased allocation.

CAPP pointed out that viability is one of the main principles of allocation sharing and as such the economic viability of the offshore fleet is in jeopardy. If the declining biomass continues, we will be facing decreases to TACs. Banks will also have a negative reaction to any changes in allocation.

Province of NL stated that adjacency to the resource should be a main consideration - support the sharing arrangement that is already in place.

Season Bridging

DFO-RM explained that the policy has been amended and was extended to the 2009-10 season; it will be re-evaluated mid-season.

FFAW asked whether the department has plans to extend this policy to other fisheries. The Chair suggested that the inshore industry approach the region on the possible application of season bridging for the inshore fleet as long as there are no conservation or monitoring issues.

CAPP appreciates the flexibility demonstrated by the Department as bridging allows the fleet to balance capacity with the resource.

Province of NS likes the flexibility season bridging affords to the fleet and suggests that a similar program be established for the Scotian Shelf shrimp fishery.

SFA 1

The Chair indicated that a memo was before the Minister on SFA 1 TAC. Greenland has reduced their TAC and the question is should Canada follow suit? The memo provides several options for the Minister.

There was some debate as to the conclusion of the conference call held earlier in the year with industry on TAC levels for SFA 1 as NAFO's Scientific Council has recommended a reduced to 110,000t TAC. The question is status quo or reduction?

Baffin Fisheries Coalition (BFC) supports status quo as any reduction would affect the future of the North. BFC feels that they have not been treated fairly in the past and that the Last In First Out (LIFO) policy should not apply in this case.

Newfound Resources feels that Canada needs to be responsible when it comes to setting quotas. NSAC should discuss how reduction should be handled domestically.

Northern Coalition supports the reduction and suggests that the Minister must accept NAFO's Scientific Council's advice and respect conservation. Furthermore, in terms of a reduction, DFO must apply LIFO.

CAPP suggests amending the Memo to Minister to reflect the possible Canadian MSC certification process in SFA 1. CAPP supports LIFO and that the offshore should take a 30% reduction while the other two stakeholders (Nunavut and Makivik) should take a 70% reduction. There are no land claim obligations that would supersede LIFO.

Government of Nunavut echoed BFC's sentiments that they do not want to see adjacent stakeholder's share reduced. It would be too great a percentage loss to Nunavut interests if LIFO was to be applied in that area.

Government of NS supports application of LIFO as offshore has given concessions in the past.

NWMB stated that over harvest by Greenland is the larger issue and that Canada must exercise due diligence. However, Canada's actions may not have any effect.

FFAW stated that even though they do not fish in SFA 1, they want to be included in debate as it is precedent setting in terms of possible application of LIFO. Minister must look at the total picture when making her decision.

Peter Keenainak (Qikiqtaaluk Corporation) supports LIFO.

After hearing comments from NSAC members, BFC supports SC advice for a reduction but does not want a change to the proportional sharing arrangement.

The Chair summarized by saying that as a result of discussion, most stakeholders support a reduction but differ on how to apply reduction in TAC. The Memo to Minister will be amended to reflect this and other new information on MSC presented at meeting.

Stable Sharing Arrangements

FFAW stated this issue was discussed in other agenda items.

Miscellaneous

The Executive Director of the Association of Seafood Producers gave a brief update on their MSC certification and the associated conditions.

Wrap Up

The meeting adjourned by the Chair thanking participants for their contributions. He also invited any interested parties to the Closed Area WG to be held the following day.

Annex 1

Northern Shrimp Advisory Committee Meeting

Annex 2

Agenda - Northern Shrimp Advisory Committee Meeting

Thursday, March 12, 2009, Delta St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador
09:00 - 09:15 Opening Remparks
  • Minutes of April 2008 Meeting
  • Results of 2008 fishery
09:15 - 09:45 Economic Overview
09:45 - 10:15 International Trade
10:15 - 10:30 Break
10:30 - 11 :00 Fishery Checklist
11:00 - 12:15 NSAC Working Groups
12:15 - 13:30 Lunch
13:30 - 14:30 Management Measures for 2009
  • TAC
  • 3L Increase
  • Season Bridging
  • SFA 1
14:30 - 15:30 Miscellaneous
15:30 - 16:00 Wrap-Up