This Newsletter is distributed to all Local 6 Members, with a view to inform everyone with current issues in the fisheries, and what representation is being made by your Local.
Where issues are resolved, and fishing plans are finalized, this newsletter tries to present the pertinent details to you. Currently, how-ever, we are still waiting to see the final plans for all species. Some of the major issues, such as the Fisheries Act, and the battle over property rights in the fishery, or ITQs, are also still on hold.
There are many issues in the fishery where consultation is ongoing, and the Local has representatives attending all of these meetings , and they are working hard, especially with regular Port Rep meetings, to represent our collective interest.
Your comments are always most welcome, whether about this Newsletter, or any of the issues mentioned. Questions should always be asked as well, please. You can ask any of your executive elected at the Annual General Meeting, held in Sydney, Jan. 12 or any of the Port and Committee Representatives.
Please keep in touch,
Best wishes for a safe, and successful fishing season,
The Developing Species Advisory Board for Eastern Nova Scotia has been dealing with a number of proposals. DFO is directing fishermen to first check out their proposals with the appropriate science personnel. In any case, proposals should be submitted to DFO Sydney (Alex MacIsaac). Then, if they are approved by Science, they are then presented to the DSABoard for review. The Board has also made many recommendations to DFO, but so far DFO appears to have more control than the Board does.
Various proposals that have met with approval include one for billfish; and a few for multi-species crabs ( stone crab and porcupine crab, with a by-catch of red crab).
Proposals which were denied include requests for more shrimp trap permits; requests for more sea urchin permits; and a proposal for an exploratory longline skate fishery.
There was a draw held Feb.19, to pick 10 new permit holders for toad crabs. These permits replace the same number that were inactive before. There may be a draw held later this year to replace a few inactive rock crab permits. And there should be a draw held later this summer for 3 whelk exploratory permits in LFA 27. We had asked for many more whelk permits to be issued, but DFO would only approve 3.
If you want any help with contacts, or any other advice in terms of proposals, or developing species in general, please do not hesitate to ask either of the Local 6 Reps: Kevin Nash, or Jeff Brownstein.
There have been many meetings, and workshops with DFO Scientists from St. Andrews, Dartmouth, and Moncton, to talk about all of the unknowns, with reference to the mixture of our herring stocks in 4Vn. Finally they realize that what is fished here, in Area 17 (north of Cape Dauphin), is more than "all 4T" herring. Also, the Bras D'Or Lakes herring stocks are said to be in trouble. Do we have other local 4Vn stocks, that are also less now than in years past?
Many fishermen would say so.
As we have been saying for years: we need much more, and much better, scientific research, as to what are the origins of the herring in 4Vn. In this regard, we have agreed that fishermen should have mandatory logbooks to record what herring we catch, whether for bait or anything else. We must start documenting what we catch, to compare to other years, as well as proving to DFO and the large seiners, that we do need, and we do catch, herring. Certainly we don't want the hassle and expense of dockside monitoring, so it will be in our best interest to keep these logbooks accurate and to send in the information, when it is requested.
We also need to get a better handle on the history of the inshore herring fishery in 4Vn. Any records that anyone has would be most useful. Please contact either of our Herring Reps: Kevin Nash or Jeff Brownstein.
There is a lot of interest in a commercial fixed-gear herring fishery this coming summer. Markets might be good particularly in Glace Bay and Port Morien. Hopefully, some sampling can take place.
The summer fishery for our resident 4Vn Cod remains closed. Nor is there much support for a winter fishery the lion's share of which would go to the offshore. So the moratorium continues, and the science so far is not very encouraging. Let's keep our fingers crossed that the Sentinel Fishery this coming season comes up with some pleasant surprises, and that recruitment finally starts picking up.
Meanwhile, we are left with a bit of Halibut, and possibly hake. Maybe we can develop a dogfish fishery as well, later on.
Local 6 joined forces with North of Smokey Fishermen's Association, the Northside Fishermen's Association, and the Richmond County Inshore Fishermen's Association, to form the Cape Breton Management Board. Together, plans were drawn up for 4Vs and 4Vn.
Any fishermen who wants to go longlining or handlining this year will be encouraged to sign a contract with this Board . (Or he can try his luck with DFO's Group X probably with less quota). Along with the contract, fishermen have to sign a waiver, for release of information anonymously of catch figures to the Management Board.
All fixed-gear fishing will be subject to compulsory hailing out and in, along with 20% monitoring at dockside. The monitoring company will report to the Management Board whether any fishermen is exceeding his by-catch too much or obviously directing only for cod. The Board can then have the monitoring of that individual suspended, which means he can't go fishing, for a specified period. This process is carried out by the Sanctions Committee of the Management Board.
All of this is new in this area this year, but has already been in place elsewhere throughout Scotia-Fundy. What this means is that the fishermen's organizations work together to have greater responsibility over groundfish management, and also that finally one or two irresponsible fishermen, abusing the fish and disobeying the rules, will be sanctioned individually, while the rest of the fishermen do not have to be shut-down because of one or two fishermen who break the rules.
In the past we were not able to sanction individuals who broke the rules, so to protect everyone else we had to ask for 4Vn to be divided into sub-areas. Lines were drawn so that if one area saw an excessive by-catch taken, then only that area would be shut down, leaving the rest of 4Vn open to fishing. Nobody likes more lines, but that's why it was done. Hopefully this year we can use the Management Boards, and sanction the individual, not the whole fleet.
We are still awaiting approval of the Plan from DFO, but hopefully that should be done very soon so that fishing could begin any time. Anyone planning to go fishing any time in 1997 have to pick up their Conditions, from DFO, by July 15, as well as signing a Contract with the Management Board. They must be directing for Halibut, and their by- catch of cod must not exceed either 200 lbs. per day; up to 500 lbs. per week; or 10% of their halibut catch.
More details will be released later. If you have any questions, ask either of the fixed- gear reps: Herb Nash or Eric Trimm (or Jeff)
The Communications Secretariat is staffed by Wendy Williams, at DFO Headquarters in Halifax. She is responsible to a Board of Directors, which consists of representatives of fishermen's organizations throughout the Scotia-Fundy region. Her phone number is 902-426-6409 or fax at 902-426-3118.
Over all, the Communications Secretariat has done a great deal to improve the access of information to fishermen, as well as making DFO staff more accountable. Accountable, in the sense that meetings have to be properly scheduled, and published with due notice, in the Meeting Calendar, which is faxed to all organizations each Thursday evening. Having the calendar also reduces conflict of meetings, and allows for better planning.
There is also increased accountability in the writing and accessibility of Minutes of all Advisory meetings. If the Minutes are not ready for a long time, then people notice, and pressure is put on. Also, anyone can see Minutes of any meeting, which creates a lot more public and transparent process, and deflects a lot of rumors. All Minutes of Advisory Meetings, as well as Variation Orders, and some other minutes of meetings (such as the 4Vn Sentinel Fishery) are available on Fax-on-Demand, which can be reached by anyone with a fax machine, at : 1-800-691-6623. If you don't have a fax machine, and you are looking for something in particular, just ask Jeff, or any of the executive.
This has yet to complete Second Reading in Parliament. A Spring Election would kill it.
We still have a Group Plan with Fairway Insurance, which our members have been quite satisfied with. The Plan offers better coverage at better rates, exclusively to MFU members. You can call their agent, Dan Swansburg, in Liverpool, at 902-354-7106, or call Jeff, for a quote form with a reply envelope. Don't forget to say that you're a member of MFU Local 6.
According to Clarrie MacKinnon, of the N.S. Department of Fisheries, we should be taking part in a vote for or against mandatory dues in this area, sometime in the next couple of months. The vote will take place initially in two regions: one being Gulf Nova Scotia, and the other being our region of Eastern Cape Breton: the three counties of Victoria, Cape Breton, and Richmond, taken together to form one region.
The vote will be by mail- in ballot. Each Core fisherman\woman will receive a ballot with a return envelope. In order for the vote to count, 60% of the ballots have to be returned. Then a simple majority wins. A vote for mandatory dues means that everyone in this region has to pay dues to an accredited organization of their choice.
To be accredited, an organization has to show it is accountable, registered, and has at least 100 (or 15% of core fishermen in the region perhaps as low as 90) members, who are already paying dues of at least $100.
More fishermen realize now, that we need strong organizations, and that the organizations have to work together. Every one of us has to work to win this vote !
MFU Vice-President for Nova Scotia:
Eric Trimm, (Louisbourg)..... Fixed-Gear / Groundfish
Carlo Lunn, (Louisbourg)
Albert Leahy, (Louisbourg)
Herman Wadden, (Main-A-Dieu)
John Prendergast, (False Bay)
Kerry MacLeod, (Port Morien)
Herb Nash, (Glace Bay) ..... Fixed-Gear / Ground Fish
Kevin Nash, (Glace Bay) ..... DSAB/ Herring & Mackerel
Ralph Head, (Lingan) ..... Snow Crab
Clint Fraser, (Lingan)
John Simec, (Alder Point)
Pat LeBlanc, (Point Aconi)
Anthony Hendriksen, (Big Bras d'Or)
Brian Timmins, (Big Bras D'Or) ..... Snow Crab
Kevin Squires, (Big Bras D'Or) ..... Lobster
Lloyd MacInnes, (Little River)
Dennis Smith, (Little River) ..... Lobster
Jakie Buffet, ..... Mobile Groundfish
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