2014 Northern Shrimp Advisory Committee Minutes

March 12, 2014 - Ottawa, Ontario



  • Bev Sheppard, Grace Harbour Shrimp Co.
  • Brian McNamara, Newfound Resources Ltd
  • Loyola Sullivan, Ocean Choice International (OCI)
  • Martin Sullivan, OCI
  • Bruce Chapman, Canadian Association of Prawn Producers
  • Keith Watts, Torngat Fish Producers Co-op
  • Todd Broomfield, Nunatsiavut Government (NG)
  • Peter Keenainak, Qikiktauluk Corporation
  • Derek Butler, Association of Seafood Producers (ASP)
  • Edgar Coffey, QuinSea Fisheries Ltd
  • Ros Walsh, Northern Coalition (NC)
  • Phil Quinlan, Labrador Fishermen's Union Shrimp Co. Ltd (LFUS)
  • Ken Fowler, LFUS
  • Dwight Russell, Labrador 2J fisher
  • Wade Dyson, Cartwright fisher
  • Todd Russell, NunatuKavut Community Council (NCC)
  • Greg Simpson, Mersey Seafoods
  • Christine Penney, Clearwater Seafoods
  • Dennis Coates, Clearwater Seafoods
  • Jamie Snook, Torngat Joint Fisheries Board (TJFB)
  • Sam Elliott, St. Anthony Basin Resources Inc (SABRI)
  • Guy Bridger, 3Ks Shrimp Chair
  • Gerard Chidley, 3L Shrimp Chair
  • Rendell Genge, 4R Shrimp Chair
  • Earle McCurdy, Food, Fish and Allied Workers (FFAW)
  • Phil Barnes, Fogo Island Co-op
  • Jerry Ward, Baffin Fisheries Coalition
  • Jean-Michel Poulin, Government of Quebec
  • Vincent Dupuis, l'Association des capitaines propriétaires de la Gaspésie (ACPG)
  • Tom Dooley, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador (NL)
  • Joseph Labelle  (via teleconference)
  • Derek Silpat  (via teleconference)
  • Ed Heard, Cartwright Fishers (via teleconference)
  • Claude Rumbolt, Cartwright Fishers (via teleconference)
  • Daisy Bromley, St. Anthony Seafoods (via teleconference)
  • Gabe Gregory, independent (via teleconference)
  • Derrick Philpott, Quin-Sea Fisheries (via teleconference)
  • Shawn Frank, Pikalujak Fisheries


  • Sylvie Lapointe (Chair), Fisheries Management Plans (FMP), Ottawa
  • Kevin Stringer, Assistant Deputy Minister, Ecosystems and Fisheries Management, Ottawa
  • Mike Alexander, Regional Director General, NL
  • Leigh Edgar, FMP, Ottawa
  • Rob Mercer, Policy and Economics, Ottawa
  • Estelle Couture, Science, Ottawa
  • Jean Landry, Science, Ottawa
  • Sandra Courchesne, FMP, Ottawa
  • Jeremiah Young, RM, Iqaluit (via teleconference)
  • Katherine Skanes, Science, NL
  • Annette Rumbolt, RM, NL
  • Beth Hiltz, RM, C&A, (via teleconference)
  • Tim Siferd, Science, Central and Arctic (C&A)
  • Charlotte Sharkey, RM, Iqaluit, (via teleconference)
  • Don Stansbury, Science, NL

Northern Shrimp Advisory Committee Meeting
Minto Suites Hotel (185 Lyon St N, Ottawa)
Salon Stanley - March 12, 2014 - 9am - 4pm

  • Welcome and introductions – Sylvie Lapointe
  • Review of Agenda
  • Update from Science/Total Allowable Catch Discussion by SFA
    1. SFA 6
    2. SFA 5
    3. SFA 4 Borealis
    4. SFA 4 Montagui
    5. Eastern Assessment Zone – Borealis
    6. Eastern Assessment Zone - Montagui
    7. Western Assessment Zone Science Borealis and Montagui– For Information Only
  • Other Business
  • Wrap Up/Adjournment

Kevin Stringer, Assistant Deputy Minister, Ecosystem and Fisheries Management, Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), welcomed the Northern Shrimp Advisory Committee (NSAC) and thanked them for travelling to Ottawa for this meeting, which was requested on an emergency basis by some industry members who are very concerned with the results of the 2014 Science updates that show declines in fishable biomass (FB) in Shrimp Fishing Areas (SFAs) 4, 5 and 6.

He noted that this fishery is very important to many groups, including the >100' shrimp sector and inshore fleets, aboriginal groups, land claimants and communities. Stakeholders in this fishery saw significant growth in this stock in the last ten years and consequent high TACs. Now we're seeing a seemingly retrenchment of the stock, which is occurring at a time when there is a need for a Precautionary Approach (PA) Framework. We need to consider how to set TACs and manage for the long term in a multiyear management regime at a time when there are significant changes occurring in the ecosystem.

He stated there's a lot going on in the shrimp fishery right now. At this meeting, issues that are likely to be raised include concerns with the way science does it surveys, and if results are being complicated by the return of cod. We're expecting to hear that Northern shrimp may be one genetic stock which could have management implications. There are concerns with the Last In, First Out (LIFO) policy. The Minister is aware of these issues; following this meeting, she will hear from both the Department and stakeholders on the way forward and in setting the 2014 Total Allowable Catches (TACs). We plan to provide fulsome and complete advice to her from all perspectives shared at this meeting.

Sylvie Lapointe (Chair), DFO, Fishery Management Plans (FMP), Ottawa reminded the group that this meeting will focus on setting the TACs for SFAs 4 – 6. Additionally, science advice has been provided for the first time on Montagui in SFA 4 to determine how to move forward to manage this stock. She asked if anyone wanted to add anything to the agenda.

Earl McCurdy, Food, Fish and Allied Workers (FFAW) asked that allocations and sharing be added.

The Chair stated allocations could be discussed when individual TACs are discussed.  She suggested the Science be presented first followed by a management discussion.  She reminded the group that the TAC decisions for SFAs 0 and 7 have been communicated to NSAC.  A science update for the western and eastern assessments zones will be provided to the Committee, but noted there is a separate process underway to recommend TACs in these zones that involve the management boards.

Don Stansbury, DFO Science, Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) offered to give two presentations for discussion purposes. One on how this year's survey of Northern shrimp compared to other surveys, and another on the current knowledge on the genetics of the stock.

DFO Science, NL gave a presentation on surveys. He stated that this year, while crab and shrimp biomass shows declines, this is not true of all species negating the possibility of a year effect.  They are seeing both cod and shrimp in the surveys; cod is not influencing shrimp to move away.

FFAW said that you can get cod and shrimp in the same tow. He asked if there have been comparisons on trends and catch rates, and if the presence of groundfish could be driving shrimp up in the water column, which could not only represent a bycatch problem, but more importantly could be influencing the catch rate of shrimp. DFO Science, NL responded that both shrimp and cod are being consistently measured in the surveys.

Bruce Chapman, Canadian Association of Prawn Producers, (CAPP) asked if survey was measuring presence or absence, or abundance?

DFO Science, NL responded that it measures kilograms of animals per catch.

Gerard Chidley, 3L Shrimp Chair questioned if all the shrimp are being captured in these surveys.

DFO Science, NL responded the surveys are random. The suggestion seems to be that groundfish are driving animals off the bottom higher into the water column where they wouldn't be captured in the surveys. The trend over the years is they always catch both species in the survey, and the relationship between these shrimp and cod is consistent.

Guy Bridger, 3KS Shrimp Fleet noted that fishers spend months on the water and their experience is that when they see an abundance of cod, there's usually a lower abundance of shrimp. This would likely be true for the survey and muddy the results.

Brian McNamara, Newfound Resources Ltd (NRL) noted that they've seen the worst weather in 20 years, and asked about the extent to which weather impacts surveys. He noted that shrimp react differently after severe storms, and asked if this could affect catchability. DFO Science, NL responded that the force and direction of the wind has been relatively consistent over the years. If it had an effect, it would be true for the last decade not just this year.

CAPP asked if cod are uniformly spread out or concentrated spatially. DFO Science, NL responded a spatial analysis has not been done.

3KS Shrimp Fleet asked if there have been any differences in the timing of the tows and catching cod. DFO Science, NL responded that they switched the timing of the surveys in 1995.

Todd Russell, Nunatukavut Community Council (NCC) noted that the survey results came as a surprise to many, and asked if there have been trends, especially in SFA 5 and 6, or if the methodology changed.

DFO Science, NL responded they've been using the same methodology since 1995, which involves 700 to 800 tows. The results for SFA 6 were not a surprise as they've seen declines in the past few years. Seeing a 48% reduction in fishable biomass in SFA 5 was a bit of a surprise. However they have seen a gradual decline in spawning stock biomass, which translates to a few years of poor recruitment.

FFAW noted that the trends in science and the commercial harvester experience are not the same, and questioned how science accounts for these differences. We have to ask if other factors are having an influence, such as the presence of groundfish, which coincides with the decline of shrimp.  He noted this makes Science's task more difficult. DFO Science, NL noted that they always struggle with catch per unit of effort (CPUE) versus the survey results. The survey follows protocols consistently and will get certain signals. Harvesters fish in the same areas and may get other signals. Tim Siferd, DFO Science, Central and Artic region (C&A) noted that in the north, the CPUE is related to biomass in that when the survey results show a decline the CPUE increases, and vice versa.

DFO Science, NL gave a presentation on the genetic work being done on Northern shrimp stocks. He noted that there is enough evidence to say that shrimp in 3M and the Gulf of Maine are genetically different. At the present time, it cannot be stated that that the stocks in SFAs 1 – 6 are genetically distinct.

DFO Science, C&A noted that there have been no samples taken from SFA 1 only a few samples from Hudson Strait. DFO Science NL's work on genetics is being done in SFA's 4 to 6. Samples will be taken from 0A and 0B this year because Greenland has requested samples from here to have a fuller picture of the genetics.

The Chair asked what the next steps are. DFO Science, NL noted that there is a workshop August 11 – 13 which will look at appropriate spatial scales for assessment purposes. The genetics of the stock will play only a small role. CAPP noted that the workshop will be important for future planning. Genetic similarity exists in cod geographically, and in crab for most of Newfoundland. So the issue of genetic similarity doesn't bear on management units. DFO Science, C&A noted that it's more important for science assessments.


Katherine Skanes, DFO Science, NL gave a presentation on the update for SFA 6.

The group discussed how the proposed PA approach would be applied to the biomass.

FFAW questioned the conservation objective of any measures that are taken, asking if they are attainable and realistic. The current PA framework was put in place when the stock was high, and now we are seeing a lower biomass. What would the framework look like using a different time series? The goal posts would be different, and perhaps the stock would be in the Healthy Zone.

The Chair mentioned the work of the Precautionary Approach Working Group (PAWG). Their proposed approach was presented to NSAC on a January conference call. At that time the group unanimously preferred to wait for the science results to see what the actual TAC would be under both the proposed and current rules. She described that there are problems with the proposed PA which will need to be addressed moving forward.  She informed the group that the Department will take the advice and perspectives of stakeholders to the Minister.

Leigh Edgar, DFO, FMP, Ottawa, recapped the results for SFA 6.  FB has declined by 33% (precipitous), which under the current PA means that the change in TAC can exceed 15%. The stock has declined further in the lower half of the Cautious Zone. She presented the TACs under the proposed PA using both a two year average and single year scenario rolling over the exploitation rate of 16.6%, which resulted in a TAC range of 43,846t (27% decrease in TAC)  to 33,070t (45% decrease in TAC).  

CAPP stated his calculations using a two year average resulted in a TAC of roughly 41,000t.

DFO, FMP, Ottawa replied that a fundamental problem with the proposed PA is related to interpretation.

The FFAW noted that the range of reduction in TAC is from 27% to 45%, and asked if the Department is expecting to turn the stock around. The impact of such drastic decreases would be very bad on inshore harvesters. He also questioned the current approach to quota reduction, namely LIFO, which will result in the erosion of the inshore fleet's share and could bankrupt harvesters. The FFAW continued that a 27% reduction would result in huge losses overall for the inshore fleet, and will not occur without strong opposition. He took issue with the absence of fishery dependent data in determining the stock biomass. He stated that 2013 was a good year for harvesters, which conflicts with what science is suggesting

Todd Broomfield, Nunatsiavut Government (NG) asked if there was something that could explain the decline in FB and spawning stock biomass (SSB). He stated there's a big difference if the decline is a result of changing oceanic conditions or from overfishing. Here he asked how this could be addressed.

DFO Science, NL replied that oceanic regime is changing and likely has some effect, the extent of which is unknown.

NCC asked if there is any flexibility in choosing other options for TAC or if it's only what's being presented by DFO.

The Chair noted we have an existing PA framework which allows for a 15% change in TAC unless the decline is precipitous. The Department worked to refine this PA approach via the establishment of a working group. The intention was to build Harvest Decision Rules (HCRs) that would automate the TAC, and precipitous was defined. The intent was to put this proposed PA in place this year but because of the decline shown by the science surveys, the Committee felt that a face-to-face meeting to discuss with the TAC is more appropriate. The numbers presented are for illustrative purposes. At the NSAC call in January, we agreed to show the resulting TACs using both the proposed and current PAs.

Tom Dooley, Province of NL supported additional discussions on the PA framework. For this year he suggested considering the original 15% change in TAC rule until the PA is finalized.

3L Shrimp Chair noted that the proposed PA is a guidance document. It's based only on numbers and doesn't consider other factors.

CAPP noted that this fishery has had abnormally high abundance in past years. The Integrated Fisheries Management Plan (IFMP) reflects that there is only data available for a specific timeframe, and that no model exists.  Despite these limitations, we still need to do something in the meantime. In SFA 6 there's been a clear declining trend. In 2011 when there was an increase most NSAC members were of the view that the TAC should increase, while others, including CAPP, did not support an increase. He noted the FB is lower today than it was when the TAC was 52,000 in 2011. He stated there is no reason why the TAC should be anywhere near this level, noting the lack of information on the interaction between fishing mortality and environmental conditions. He noted we need to decrease both the level and rate of fishing mortality. He recommends a  reduction from 52,000t to a level around 40,000t.  If no rationale can be provided as to why the TAC is so high and the biomass is so low, MSC certification will be revoked which will result in lower prices which affects everyone's business. He noted that we don't have to accept the proposed HCRHCR but suggested that we be guided by them.

Phil Quinlan, (LFUS) noted the importance of adhering to science advice, which he believes translates into a reduction in TAC. Edgar Coffey, QuinSea Fisheries, supported this view.

Ed Heard, Cartwright Fishers, noted that discussion on TAC ranges from 50,000t to as low as 33,000t. He noted we should focus on a number that everyone is comfortable with. A reduction of this magnitude will impact communities, plants and inshore fisheries. If LIFO is applied consistent with past years, then two special allocation holders will be removed and the inshore fleet will take the bulk of the reductions. He agreed a reduction is necessary but questioned how much.

Jean Michel Poulin, Province of Quebec noted that people are concerned with the long-term sustainability of this fishery, but financial losses in the short-term are important. He noted we need to understand what the science is saying but need to balance this with the views of stakeholders and harvester experience.

Dennis Coates, Clearwater Seafoods asked if NSAC is to accept the proposed harvest control rules today else the current PA will apply.

The Chair replied that the current PA of plus or minus 15% change would apply. At issue is that the current PA does not define precipitous, and SFA 6 may be in a precipitous decline situation.

The 3L Shrimp Chair noted that the fishery performance has tracked well. The issue around a decrease in TAC is how the reductions will be shared. The impacts of a decline will result in potential losses of two processing plants and several bankruptcies. He agreed that a reduction is necessary. He asked if LIFO applies to permanent licenses, noting that the inshore fleet has made significant investments in this fishery. The inshore fleet took the majority when TACs were increasing, however they only have access to SFAs 6 and 7. He suggested that LIFO be reconsidered.

CAPP asked for clarification if the discussion was centred on TAC or LIFO.

The Chair replied that the preference would be to discuss TAC but the issue is linked. She noted that there seems to be an agreement that a TAC reduction is required.

The FFAW noted that the consideration is that a continued decline will result in severe consequences, including bankruptcies for inshore license holders. Permanent inshore licenses provide stability and allow for financing. Shellfish species seem to be declining while groundfish species are increasing. The question is how we manage the decline of shrimp.

Gabe Gregory (independent) suggested focusing on science and the TAC because they're linked. He noted a clear declining trend in SFA 6. His view is that it is appropriate to follow the proposed plan and adjust the TAC using the two-year average rolling over the ER. He supports a TAC in the low 40s, and stated that the fishery needs to consider the long term management which will be more complicated and consequential if the science advice is ignored.

CAPP supported Gabe Gregory's position and noted 2011 was also a serious decline situation, and the marketplace was in a worse situation than today.  In 2011, the NSAC discussion on the sharing of the reductions was also the contentious issue, and he is of the view that there will never be agreement on this. NSAC is here to discuss TAC.

The Chair noted that there are concerns with allocations. She reminded the Committee that NSAC is mandated to recommend TAC levels to the Minister recognizing that there are long-term issues that need to be addressed. The Chair suggested return to SFA 6 TAC discussions after the other SFAs have been discussed.


DFO Science, NL gave a presentation on the update for SFA 5. FB in SFA 5 has declined by 48%.

The NG asked if science knows what is causing the decline.

DFO, Science NL they don't know if it's the environment, mortality or movement.

DFO FMP Ottawa presented a range of TACs for discussion purposes. Using a two-year average rolling over of the exploitation rate of 15.8% gives a TAC of 17,626t. A single point rollover gives a TAC of 11,994t. The stock remains in the Healthy Zone with a 33% probability of being in the Cautious Zone.

CAPP noted that a precipitous decline situation is not applicable in SFA 5 because it's in the Healthy Zone. He also noted that a 15% decrease in TAC would be 19,805t and the ER would be 17.75%. DFO, FMP Ottawa stated that precipitous is defined in the current PA for this stock when in the Healthy Zone.

The group discussed ERs based on rollovers using a two-year average and a single year average.

NCC recommended to rollover the TAC if it's just on the cusp.

DFO, FMP Ottawa stated that if we rolled over the TAC using a two-year average the ER would be 20.9%. A 15% reduction would result in an ER of 17.75%.

CAPP noted that when there is a recruitment problem one year, there will be additional biomass problems the next. The ER needs to remain below 20% and a small reduction in TAC would achieve this. We shouldn't deviate too much from the proposed rules.

NCC noted that the TAC needs to be reduced now to avoid significant problems in the future. A 5% reduction would be appropriate.

Jerry Ward, Baffin Fisheries Coalition (BFC) supported NCC's views, stating that up to a 15% reduction would be appropriate. He noted they had a good year in SFA 5, and had no indication of any problems. His view is that the stock is in the Healthy Zone.

LFUS noted he is concerned with the disconnect between fishing effort and what science surveys. He questioned whether we reduce the TAC because of the science?

The NG recommended a 10% reduction because the stock is still in the Healthy Zone. NCC supports this. CAPP recommended a 15% reduction. LFUS recommended a 10% decrease noting allocations are a separate issue. Wade Dyson, Cartwright Fishers supports a 10% reduction. Ros Walsh, Northern Coalition (NC) indicated support for a 10% reduction. Claude Rumbolt recommended a 10% reduction.

The Chair noted there is a consensus for reduction but not on how much. She noted several people spoke of the need to be precautions or else there will be more significant concerns next year. The views of the Committee range from a 5% reduction to 15% with calls for a 10% and 15% reduction. All of this will be communicated to the Minister.

SFA 4 Borealis

DFO Science NL gave a presentation on the update for SFA 4. The FB in this area has declined by 21%. There's a 10% chance it is in the Cautious Zone.

DFO FMP, Ottawa described that using a two-year average to set the ER at 7.8% would result in TAC of 13,362t. Using a single point the TAC would be 11,759t. The stock remains in the Healthy Zone.

NG asked how the shrimp in SFA 4 is related to adjacent areas.

DFO science NL stated that there is some exchange with SFA 4 and the eastern assessment zone (EAZ) and the western assessment zone (WAZ).

Jamie Snook, Torngat Joint Fisheries Board (TJFB) referred to the Nunatsiavut Land Claim chapter 13, noting SFA 4 is both in and adjacent to their settlement area. They recommend a 15% increase with 75% going to the NG. He noted this will be their recommendation until the ER in SFA 4 reaches 15%.

He continued that the TJFB is concerned that allocations in SFA 4 don't seem to consider aboriginal groups. The Board is concerned that the spirit and intent of the Labrador Inuit Land Claim Agreement is not being followed like it is in Nunavut.  Regarding the Use of Fish policy he noted that last year 1,700 t was allocated to the Northern Shrimp Research Foundation (NSRF) survey in the absence of an implemented policy or a proposal. Now consultations are occurring for this Use of Fish policy. He noted the Minister's decision last year on the 1,700t Use of Fish was for one year only. The TJFB objected. SFA 4 allocation holders basically paid for science in SFAs 2, 3 and 4, which directly removes the opportunity for increased aboriginal participation in SFA 4. This needs to be reconsidered. He noted that the TJFB disagrees with LIFO, and stated that aboriginal interests, especially the NG, should not be subject to LIFO in SFAs 4 – 6.

CAPP noted that the PAWG invested significant time in developing the proposed HCR's, and suggested NSAC consider the TAC through these rules. He noted there is no clear trend in SFA 4, and recommends a rollover. Increasing the TAC when the biomass has declined is not part of the proposed rules.

NG noted that nothing has changed in SFA 4. He cautioned that if SFAs 5 and 6 aren't seeing positive recruitment, increasing the TAC in SFA 4 could create extra pressure, noting that it is unknown if the stock could withstand an increase.

NC recommended a rollover. NCC noted irrespective of TAC, allocations and the 1,700t competitive quota need to be discussed. The Chair reminded the group that the Department's role is to solicit views on TAC, however views on allocations are welcome.

NCC asked about the Use of Fish, and what could happen with the 1,700t. He recommended this be reallocated.

The Chair noted projects were approved last year under Use of Fish, including the 1,700t in SFA 4. Consultations on Use of Fish are currently underway. The Department is in receipt of a proposal to continue the project in SFA 4. Where there's an interest these projects should be rolled over. The Chair opened the floor.

NCC stated they have discussed the Use of Fish with the NG, and they are concerned with the implications for SFA 4. The increase in TAC last year was 1,953t with 1,700t going to science. The NG's land claim areas is both within and adjacent to SFA 4. They take issue with the Use of Fish using SFA 4 quota to fund science activities in other areas, and not in SFA 5 or 6, especially considering they have argued for an increase for many years.

TJFB noted that SFA 4 quota is being used for science for multiple zones which has implications if this is one genetic stock. The NG's fair share should be in SFA 4.

CAPP noted that the NSRF is made up of the 17 licenses for the >100' shrimp sector. DFO does not have science surveys for shrimp north of SFA 5 and the NSRF fulfills this role. Their proposal was adopted last year. The NSRF purchased survey trawls identical to those used by DFO in the south. They conducted random surveys in the north under the general supervision of DFO science.

Jean Landry, DFO Science, Ottawa noted that last year when they launched the first phase of the Use of Fish, it was for previously funded activities under Larocque. Once the Use of Fish policy is implemented, new projects could be funded, however this year only previously funded projects are eligible. DFO is open to hearing the views on this project in SFA 4 to make the best use of limited resources. A certain level of support (two thirds) is required for it to proceed.

TJFB noted a concern is the lost opportunity of the 1,700t increase in TAC last year to Land Claimants, similar to Nunavut in past years which resulted in court cases. He asked if the Use of Fish trumps land claims, noting this will become a big issue.

NCC noted that some groups aren't getting increases despite legal obligations. He supported the TJFB in that aboriginal access is an adopted policy; however it is not always entrenched in modern treaties which need to be a consideration going forward. He cautioned that the Use of Fish should not lead to a rigid precedent that can't be undone, like what happened with LIFO. He stated that DFO cannot protect one interest at the expense of another and that Use of Fish is being used to shield obligations and the Department cannot support this.

DFO Science, Ottawa noted that regarding track one last year, it was clear that these were interim guidelines. He noted that the absence of the information collected from this survey would substantially increase the uncertainty about the resource in this area in the future science advice to management.

NC indicated that they participate in the NSRF. The summer of 2013 saw the completion of NSRF's ninth survey of SFAs 2 and 4, which DFO hadn't surveyed in many years. These surveys benefit others, as evidenced by the allocations in SFA 4 and northward. She added the Use of Fish is not a means of shielding allocations to aboriginal groups.

NG noted that SFA 4 is harvested almost 100% by the >100' shrimp sector and asked why a national policy only applies to that fleet.

BFC noted that the North benefits from these surveys, which justifies their continued contribution to it. He noted that adjacency matters and some of any increase should be given to Labrador interests.

The Chair invited those interested in the Use of Fish consultations to contact the Department.

SFA 4 Montagui

DFO Science, NL gave a presentation on the science update for SFA 4 Montagui.

The Chair asked for views on moving forward, and reminded the committee a bycatch quota was put in place last year. There is no directed Montagui fishery in SFA 4.

CAPP suggested that HCRs be developed for this stock over the next year and be assimilated into the bigger PA. In the interim, he recommends a rollover of 4,033t bycatch. If the full bycatch quota is caught this year, the ER would be 11%; bycatch amounts can vary. He noted a directed TAC could be considered for 2015.

BFC concurred with CAPP's position and agreed to a rollover of the bycatch TAC.

NG asked if there is anything that science can do to increase their understanding of the species and how it moves.

DFO Science, C&A responded that they're adjusting the surveys in the north to include the EAZ and the WAZ. They're interested in looking at movement across the different SFAs, not just Montagui in SFA 4. They're considering a modeling project for larval drift based on what currents they know are occurring. A PA for this stock couldn't be determined because SSB couldn't be defined.

The Chair noted there is consensus to rollover the bycatch. The PAWG will be tasked with proposing a way forward for SFA 4 Montagui. The working group may also want to draft new terms of reference.

Eastern Assessment Zone – Montagui

DFO Science C&A region gave a presentation on Montagui in the EAZ. FB has declined by 54%, and it is the Cautious Zone near the LRP with a 32% chance of being in the Critical Zone. 2012 data was considered anomalous and not used in the time series. A rebuilding plan is recommended.

DFO, FMP Ottawa stated that the current TAC of 2,250t was based on a 2008 and 2009 mean biomass estimates with an ER of 15%. Since this time the biomass has declined, but the TAC has not been adjusted to accommodate the land claim decision-making processes on the shrimp management changes. Under the proposed PA and HCRs, the maximum removal reference based on the two-year average is 13.4%.

Applying the maximum removal reference of 13.4% to the two-year average biomass signal results in a TAC of 750t. Applying the maximum removal reference of 13.4% to the single year biomass results in a TAC of 459t.

BFC concurred with DFO Science C&A's comments and agreed a rebuilding plan needs to be developed. He noted that both boards are meeting on this issue this week.

The Chair asked for the views on the TAC from those most affected.

The NG asked if the rebuilding plan would be brought to NSAC. The Chair stated that the PAWG would be mandated to develop the rebuilding plan and it would come to NSAC.

CAPP noted now that the new management regime is in place in the North, the existing concerns with Montagui need to be addressed. This stock shows a declining biomass except for last year and is now close to the LRP. There's no basis to have a directed and bycatch Montagui fishery, and suggested the directed Montagui fishery be closed, but the Borealis 250t bycatch quota remain in place. He indicated his support for a rebuilding plan, but questioned if we have enough information.

BFC disagreed with closing the fishery. The north needs to be treated the same as the south.

CAPP stated that the >100' shrimp sector requires Montagui bycatch in order to prosecute their borealis fishery. He stated that if you start dividing very small numbers then the Borealis fisheries will be shut down. The traditional fleet indicated they would forgo a directed Borealis fishery as long as they had adequate bycatch.

BFC stated that he had just agreed to a rollover of Montagui bycatch of 4,033t but now it's on the table to close the Montagui fishery in the north. He noted in 2013 less than 2,000t of Montagui was harvested in SFA 4.

CAPP stated he was concerned that the recommended level will be exceeded if we have both a direct and indirect fishery for Montagui, and that the >100' shrimp sector will not have enough Montagui to successfully prosecute the Borealis fishery.

The Chair noted that the Department is waiting for input from the boards.

Eastern Assessment Zone – Borealis

DFO Science, C&A gave a presentation on Borealis in the EAZ. FB has declined by 18%.

DFO FMP, Ottawa stated that applying last year's 14.9% ER using a two-year average would result in a TAC of 8,195t. A single year rollover of the ER would result in a TAC of 7,390t. If the 9,000t TAC is rolled over, assuming the biomass remains at current levels, the potential ER is 18%.

CAPP noted that under the proposed HCR the TAC would be reduced to 8,105t, but a rollover would be acceptable.

SFA 6 (Continued)

The Chair recapped that a variety of views have been expressed including on the need for a decrease in TAC, questions on science versus the CPUE, how TACs are allocated, the need to be precautionary and to consider MSC. The Committee agreed that a reduction in SFA 6 is required.

Association of Seafood Producers (ASP) noted the current IFMP doesn't speak to using two-year signals.

CAPP noted that the IFMP doesn't say not to use two-year average.

The Chair stated we have the current PA and the proposed PA. We need to land on an interim approach.

Government NL stated that the maximum 15% change rule is in both the old and the proposed PA. The Committee could consider applying it for this year.

The FFAW supported the position of the Government of NL and agreed we need to work on the PA. We need to address thresholds and LIFO.

CAPP stated that reducing the TAC by 15% to 51,208t results in an ER of 19.3%, which in his view is irresponsible considering the science.

QuinSea Fisheries agreed to a 15% reduction, noting that the inshore fleet only has TAC in SFAs 6 and 7.

ACPG supports a 15% reduction.

Province of Quebec stated there is no choice but to reduce the TAC. More work needs to be done on the PA. He noted that science results and the fishery experience are different. He recommends a 15% reduction.

ASP noted Northern shrimp was the first MSC certified fishery. ASP doesn't support a larger reduction because of the economic implications but there are significant MSC implications.

Phil Barnes, Fogo Island Co-Op stated MSC is important to their business, but they need to be responsible to coastal communities and the people. If there's no fishery, MSC is useless. He supports a 15% reduction.

Province of Quebec asked how MSC is threatened. What is an acceptable ER?

CAPP responded that MSC wants to see adherence to implementing decisions related to a strategy. He stated it will be difficult to explain to MSC that at the lowest point in the science survey in SFA 6 we are increasing our ER to that seen in the Healthy Zone.

The Chair recapped the discussion, noting a number of groups say 15% reduction in TAC is acceptable recognizing the importance of this fishery to communities. One group is in opposition to a 15% reduction calling for larger cuts for responsible management and to protect MSC certification. There is consensus that the PA needs more work. There are also calls for science to be able to more accurately reflect what harvesters are seeing on the water. The Chair gave the Committee the opportunity to express views on LIFO. She noted that NSAC has no mandate to change the existing rules, however perspectives will be communicated to the Minister.

Claude Rumbolt stated that LIFO is a problem in Labrador. They're concerned about coastal communities and aboriginal groups, as they were among the last to enter this fishery. He will push the Department to focus on adjacency.

The NG stated that LIFO and its implications affect those adjacent to the resource. If the Department believes retrenchment of the stock is occurring then Labrador is part of the core area for shrimp. He stated that people from Labrador came into the fishery later and being removed first will be significant. He stated that DFO has obligations to land claims, and the NG is not even eligible for increases, accepting decreases will be a problem.

The FFAW stated they never agreed to and were not a part of the LIFO policy. They take issue with the IFMP, specifically the changes in wording from the 2003 to the 2007 versions related to 'adjacency' and 'LIFO'. LIFO is not defined anywhere else. In 1997 Minister Mifflin's announcement did not mention LIFO. He asked how these wording changes occurred when the FFAW didn't agree to them or the application of LIFO.

Government of NL stated their position is that the Department needs to establish permanent shares between the inshore and >100' shrimp sectors. If it's not possible for this year they want the original sharing principles (1997) in place.

NCC stated that the exploitation of resources adjacent to Labrador by other groups is unfair to the people of Labrador. Their 750t quota represents less than 1% considering the TACs in and SFA's 5 and 6. He stressed the importance of adjacency. SFAs 4-6 are adjacent to Labrador. The people of Labrador are dependent on natural resources, and the LIFO policy is discriminatory. He stated that LIFO protects only one group of harvesters, and the Department can't discriminate against the people of Labrador by not letting them participate until later in the development of the fishery, and then double discriminate by kicking them out first. It is difficult to accept the cuts when they weren't included in all the increases.

Province Quebec requested that if DFO reviews sharing, that Quebec's share should be respected.

Dwight Russell, Labrador 2J Fisher noted that the inshore fleet doesn't have quotas everywhere in this fishery. They've been building up their enterprises over the past 12 years. They need quotas and SFA 6 or they are in a very desperate situation.

CAPP said that regarding the IFMP, there was significant reference to LIFO in the 1997 version but at that time it wasn't called LIFO. At this time Northern shrimp was started as an >100' shrimp sector, large vessel fishery. 17 offshore license holders are entities adjacent to the resource, some are in communities in Labrador, Quebec, and Newfoundland, some are aboriginal communities, most of whom employee local people year-round. He said there an equivalent number of jobs are generated by the >100' shrimp sector as in the entire inshore fishery.

CAPP stated that increases under LIFO were distributed to others to share in the benefits of an increasing resource with the understanding that when it went down they would leave. At the time the new entrants wanted 90% of in the increase. Now they have temporary licenses and argue they need permanent access.

He stated that reductions don't only affect the inshore fleet. In 2011 when LIFO was applied and the TAC was 52,000t, the price of shrimp was much lower than it is now. Stating that a reduction in TAC will kill the inshore fleet is a gross exaggeration.

FFAW stated that a 15,000t reduction for the inshore fleet compared to a 1000t reduction for the >100' shrimp sector is unfair and asked again how the IFMP documents were modified. The threshold laid out in 1997 was 37,600t, and noted the TAC for the fishery is well above this. Becoming a permanent licence holder must mean something.  

CAPP stated that the >100' shrimp sector is down by 7,000 tons. The >100' shrimp sector relies on special allocations, and to lose 7,000t is significant to them.

The Chair thanked the Committee for their perspectives, which will be provided to the Minister, and for convening on such short notice.

The meeting was adjourned.