HomeIndustryIndustry Briefs - September 2019

Industry Briefs – September 2019

Preserving the Independence of the Inshore Fleet

The federal government recently announced that new measures that will ensure that key policies relating to owner-operator and fleet-separation policies are being enshrined in regulation under the revised Fisheries Act.

The owner-operator policy requires fish harvesters to fish their licences personally, so that those who actively fish receive the benefits from their licences. The fleet-separation policy maintains a separation between the fishing and fish processing sectors.

Maintaining the independence of small-boat owner-operators and implementing a fair licensing regime will help protect middle-class jobs and ensure the long-term sustainability of the fishery.

In addition to providing enhanced protection for the inshore fleet, the new Fisheries Act will provide enhanced protection of fish and fish habitat and will assist in fostering a more sustainable fishery. Inshore refers to the fishing sector where fish harvesters are restricted to using vessels less than 19.8m (65’) Length Over All (LOA) or less than 27.4m (90’) LOA in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Prior to the 1960s, fisheries on Canada’s East Coast were open to anyone who wished to fish, with no restrictions on who could hold a license.

In the late 1970s, concerns from inshore harvesters began to arise in response to the proliferation of fish processing plants that were acquiring vessels and registering them for the inshore fishery, which had the effect of increasing the overall concentration of inshore licenses into corporate hands and forcing the individual independent license holder out of the fishery.

On June 21, 2019 the new Fisheries Act received royal assent and became law.

Resqunit Opens Nova Scotia Location

Resqunit recently opened its Canadian home at Dartmouth’s Centre for Ocean Venture & Entrepreneurship’s (COVE) Start-Up Yard.

A venture founded in Norway in November 2017, Resqunit is a floatation device that secures fishing gear, such as lobster traps and crab pots. When a trap gets lost, and remains under water for a period of time, the Resqunit is released, floating to the surface — saving expensive gear, hard sought-after fish stocks and protecting marine life that are often stuck inside these ghost traps.

“Resqunit was developed in order to reduce the significant economic losses that can occur for both hobby and professional fishermen when they lose their valuable gear,” says Helge Tretto Olsen, Resqunit’s CEO who was in Dartmouth for the launch.

“The bigger picture is that it also protects our ocean floors and marine life by reducing the number of ghost traps and fishing gear that threaten fish, crab and lobster stocks along global coastlines. Knowing Canada’s global position as a fishing leader, we are confident that Resqunit will be embraced by the industry here.”

Erik Nobbe, a well-known business leader in Halifax, will lead Resqunit’s Canadian operations as Canadian CEO, overseeing the headquarters in Dartmouth.

“Fishing is such a huge part of our past and current history, not just in Nova Scotia but Atlantic Canada wide and beyond”, says Nobbe. “The support from government, industry and investment pillars within the region has been unbelievable to date which was of no surprise to me after working in the space for more than a quarter of a century.”

Nobbe notes that the launch of Resqunit in Canada comes at a time when many are focusing on the oceans, and the precious resources at stake — between the North Atlantic right whale entanglements to protecting the ocean floors from further ‘ghost gear’ occurrences. He believes that the increased awareness around these issues, in combination with the simplicity, functionality and low price point of the device to rescue lost gear, will appeal to fishers in both the lobster and crab industries.