Category Archives: Canada

Federal Court of Canada – Legal challenge threatening autonomy of inshore fishery opens today

The Federal Court of Canada will begin hearing a test case today in Ottawa that could overturn a decades-old policy that prevents a corporate takeover of inshore fishing licences in Atlantic Canada. The seafood processing industry, inshore fishermen’s groups and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) are all watching the case closely, albeit with very different expectations. “The stakes are important because we have seen other fisheries be taken over by corporations and it leaves less money in the hands of individuals and communities,” said Melanie Sonnenberg, president of the Canadian Independent Fish Harvesters Federation. The Federal Court case centres on Kirby Elson, a fisherman from the Labrador community of Cartwright, N.L. Elson was stripped by DFO of his snow crab licence in 2015 when he refused to exit a controlling agreement with fish processor Quinlan Brothers and a related company. Under the 2003 agreement, the company controlled the licence and the wealth it generated. Quinlan Brothers paid the licence fee, provided the vessel and crew, and paid for the insurance and maintenance. continue reading the story here 09:10

Lobster thieves are back at work in Nova Scotia — two fishing boats were hit a week apart.

RCMP Const. Rob James says the first cache of crustaceans was taken from a boat tied up alongside the wharf in Port Mouton on Feb. 12. Another 135 kilograms was taken in a similar fashion at the same wharf on Feb. 18, bringing the total amount of stolen lobster up to 270 kilograms, worth about $6,000. James says it’s not clear if there’s a connection between the two thefts, and it’s not unusual to see people try to make off with the pricey delicacies. In an incident last January, police say 48 crates of live lobster were stolen from an outdoor pound at a business on Cape Sable Island. The theft followed a similar incident in late 2015, when 14 crates of lobster were stolen from a secure compound on Morris Island near Yarmouth, N.S. Link 15:54

Memorializing a fishing tragedy helps complete a family puzzle — 50 years later

About 200 Islanders gathered in Souris, P.E.I., on Saturday to remember the 10 fishermen who died when their boat Iceland II was grounded in a storm off Cape Breton 50 years ago. For one family, it completed a family puzzle that had been missing a piece all those years. “Out of tragedy, comes some good news today,” said Sandra Hodder Acorn, who was only two months old when her father, Capt. Tom Hodder, went down with the boat. “We’re remembering all the men that went down today and we’re making new connections and finding new family members.” The story goes like this: After the tragedy, Hodder’s mother got remarried to a man named Buddy O’Hanley. He had a son, David, a crewmember who was also killed that day. continue reading the story here 09:46

Cod an option in face of looming shrimp cuts, says FFAW

The Fish, Food and Allied Workers union says expansion into commercial cod fishing is a possibility for harvesters, as another cut to overall shrimp quotas looms for next season. Following revelations by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans this week that the shrimp stock in the crucial Zone 6 area off of Newfoundland has fallen again, FFAW president Keith Sullivan says it looks like another quota cut is coming — but there may be alternatives. According to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the landed value of shrimp in Newfoundland and Labrador in 2016 dropped to $276 million. Read the story here 08:29

Farmed Salmon on the loose! Storm damages an aquaculture pen at the mouth of Shelburne Harbour

Provincial fisheries inspectors are investigating the escape of possibly hundreds of market-ready salmon from an aquaculture pen at the mouth of Shelburne Harbour. Employees at Cooke Aquaculture noticed a breach in one of the company’s enclosures last Wednesday and notified the province. They discovered some fish had escaped two days later, said Krista Higdon, a spokeswoman for the Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture. Cooke spokeswoman Nell Halse said it appeared wind and waves associated with recent winter storms knocked over one of the moorings and that created a breach in one of the enclosures. She said the company was still trying to determine how many fish might have slipped free. continue reading here 17:34

FISH-NL wins first battle against salt-water mafia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday, Feb. 23rd, 2017 The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) has won the first battle in its bid to represent the province’s inshore fish harvesters. The province’s Labour Relations Board issued a ruling Thursday afternoon rejecting an application by the FFAW that FISH-NL is not an association under the Fishing Industry Collective Bargaining Act. “If you were listening closely Thursday afternoon you would have heard the collective cheer of thousands of fish harvesters around the province,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “The ruling by the Labour Relations Board legitimizes our movement. FISH-NL has now been legally recognized as an official organization of fish harvesters, despite the best efforts of the salt-water mafia.” The FFAW has made another application to the Labour Relations Board that the membership list of inshore fish harvesters not be released to FISH-NL. “We’re hopeful the Labour Relations Board will schedule a hearing on that application as soon as possible,” says Cleary. It’s expected that once the Labour Relations Board rules on the release of the membership list to FISH-NL, an investigator with the Board will begin the review of FISH-NL’s application and membership cards. On Dec. 30th, FISH-NL presented an application to the Labour Relations Board to represent the province’s inshore fish harvesters, breaking them away from the FFAW. The application included 2,352 membership cards signed by inshore harvesters around Newfoundland and Labrador. FISH-NL argues that number represents more than 50 per cent of all inshore harvesters, the amount required to force a vote by the Labour Relations Board to ultimately decide which union will represent harvesters.

Ottawa to invest in ‘fisheries innovation’ for Atlantic Canada following EU trade deal

With Canada’s trade deal with the European Union on track to come into force provisionally within weeks, the federal government is set to announce a new fisheries innovation fund. But don’t portray this new money as a way to compensate Atlantic Canada, Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc told CBC News last week. “I didn’t say compensation. That was your word,” LeBlanc said after an announcement in Vancouver last week. “What I said is that we’re prepared to work with provinces to look for a way to make our fishing industry the most innovative, productive, sustainable and globally competitive that we can.” Compensation was what Newfoundland and Labrador was looking for in the face of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which will prevent Canadian provinces from placing any export restrictions on raw fish. Continue reading the story here 08:58

Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Keith Colwell confirms Chinese firm eyeing other N.S. seafood products

Sumo-sized online retailer Alibaba is hungry to sell other Nova Scotia seafood products in addition to lobster, says provincial Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Keith Colwell. After inking a quality assurance agreement last week with the Chinese online retailer who is planning to sell Nova Scotia lobsters on its Tmall website, Colwell flew back from Shanghai. In an interview, he strongly suggested negotiations are already underway between the province and Alibaba to work out quality assurance agreements for other Nova Scotia seafood products. But the fisheries minister was tight-lipped about the details, refusing to divulge which products might be under consideration and when other quality assurance programs might be rolled out. Continue reading the story here 12:14

Northern shrimp stocks still ‘critical’ – no improvement in spawning biomass

It’s the season to talk about the prospects for the shrimp fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador and the initial information for the new season does not look promising. In a media briefing this morning, Katherine Kanes, mathematician/stock-assessment biologist with Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) outlined the current picture from the most recent stock assessments, for northern shrimp in fishing areas 6, 5 and 4 — off the Northern Peninsula and the coast of Labrador. Data collected from the fall multi-species trawl survey by DFO, as well as information from fishers shows there’s not been much improvement from last year. In SFA 6 — the area that most inshore commercial fishers from this province depend on for their shrimp catches — the biomass of female shrimp is still in the critical zone, she said. Continue reading the story here 09:26

DMC researchers test technique to determine lobster’s age

Research professor Rick Wahle and graduate student Carl Huntsberger are testing a technique at the University of Maine Darling Marine Center to determine the age of lobsters. Unlike fish, mollusks and trees, Wahle says lobsters and other crustaceans molt—or cast off their skeletons thereby discarding external signs of growth. That means a lobster’s age is estimated on size, but it’s a rough determination because ocean conditions affect the crustacean’s growth rate. Not knowing a lobster’s age is problematic for scientists and fishery managers seeking to measure the health of the fishery and the sustainability of the stock. Continue reading the story here 10:06

The Five Trillion Dollar Plan to Save the Arctic Ice

Just in case you thought the climate community had run out of absurd ideas to waste taxpayer’s money, here is an academic plan to rebuild Arctic ice, by deploying 100 million wind turbines into the Arctic Ocean. Save the Arctic with $5 trillion of floating, wind-powered ice machines, researchers recommend With the Arctic warming faster than anywhere else on Earth, a new scientific paper is proposing a radical scheme to thicken the ice cap: millions upon millions of autonomous ice machines. Specifically, between 10 and 100 million floating, wind-powered pumps designed to spray water over sea ice during the winter. In the most ambitious version of the plan, 100 million devices would be deployed across the Arctic,,, Continue to read the absurdity here! 12:33

Update – Sweden’s Request to Ban American Lobster in the EU Risks Violating the Rules of the WTO

In July 2016, we reported that the Swedish Government had requested that the European Union impose a ban on imports of U.S./Canadian live lobster (Homarus americanus). Sweden argues that Homarus americanus should be designated an “alien invasive species” under EU law because it is not native to the EU, it poses serious risks to European lobsters through the spreading of disease, and because once the American lobster is established, it will be impossible to eradicate. An expert group of the European Commission’s Directorate of Environment, the Scientific Forum on Invasive Alien Species, has assessed Sweden’s request in terms of the sufficiency of the scientific evidence presented. In September 2016, it confirmed the validity of the risk assessment and found there was enough evidence to move forward with a full scientific review of Sweden’s request. This broader review of the request to ban live American lobster in the EU is expected to be completed by spring 2017, at the earliest. If that review approves the request, the motion would go to the full European Commission for a final vote. Continue reading the article here 10:25

Furuno’s Multi-Beam Sonar reaches new depths

The DFF3D Multi-Beam Sonar brings you the ability to see the underwater world all around your vessel in real time. Fish targets are shown in 3D within the water column, allowing you to pinpoint fishing hot spots and mark them as waypoints for later. Amazingly, the waypoint contains the depth data, so you’ll know right where to drop your line! With the triple beam sounder, you can even watch the fish swim from one side of the boat to the other. With the addition of the DFF3D, Furuno’s NavNet TZtouch and TZtouch2 MFD’s have just become your most valuable tool for finding and catching more fish! Read the article here 09:02

Team examines the evolution of wooden halibut hooks carved by native people of the Northwest Coast

The Tlingit and Haida, indigenous peoples of the Northwest Coast (NWC), have used carved wooden hooks to catch halibut for centuries. As modern fishing technology crept into use, however, the old hooks practically disappeared from the sea. But they thrived on land—as decorative art. The hook’s evolution from utilitarian tool to expression of cultural heritage is the subject of a paper by Jonathan Malindine, a doctoral student in UC Santa Barbara’s Department of Anthropology. In “Northwest Coast Halibut Hooks: an Evolving Tradition of Form, Function, and Fishing,” published in the journal Human Ecology, he traces the arc of the hook’s design and how its dimensions have changed over time. Photo’s, continue reading the article here 12:09

Kerrisdale Capital Slams Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd – Pebble Mine shares are ‘worthless’

A New York investment firm tore apart claims by the owners of the Pebble mine project that developing the prospect is economically viable in a no-holds-barred report released Feb. 14. Kerrisdale Capital called Vancouver-based Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd., “worthless” in its 21-page report, contending sources directly involved in evaluating Pebble before Anglo American walked away from the project in 2013, despite spending roughly $500 million on it, said Pebble would cost close to $13 billion to construct, not the $4.7 billion capital cost Northern Dynasty arrived at in its preliminary project assessment. “In the past decade, Northern Dynasty has hired at least two major engineering firms to prepare preliminary feasibility studies of Pebble laying out its economics in detail, yet it has failed to publish their findings — because they were damning,” Kerrisdale alleges. Continue reading the article here 11:27

The online market in China is huge! The Province wants Nova Scotia’s lobster industry to get its share

Lobsters from Nova Scotia are already selling on China’s Alibaba massive e-commerce website but now the province is stepping in with a pilot project to ensure only the best of the best are sold on Alibaba’s retail sister site Tmall. It’s all part of plan to boost Nova Scotia’s lobster exports to China , valued at $113 million in 2015. Tmall.com says it is the biggest business-to-consumer retail platform in Asia. It already sells Cuban lobsters and parent Alibaba.com has more than 2,000 listings for lobster, including 76 offers to sell live Nova Scotia lobsters. Peng Song’s Hiyou Trading Company lists lobster for US$6 to US$10 — with a minimum order on Alibaba. And Charlie Jin’s World Link Food Distributors is asking between US$6 and US$16 with a minimum order of 20 cases. The province wants Nova Scotia’s lobster industry to get its share of what’s becoming a massive, online live lobster market. Continue reading the article here 09:24

Creation of a new marine protection area off British Columbia upsets fishing industry

Canada’s largest commercial fishermen’s union says the creation of a new marine protection area off British Columbia’s north coast will result in lost jobs and higher prices for seafood. The Canadian Independent Fish Harvesters’ Federation says the protection area goes too far in banning all fishing in several regions between Vancouver Island and the archipelago of Haida Gwaii. Jim McIsaac, the group’s Pacific vice-president, says the union supports safeguarding the region’s glass sponge reefs but he regrets that the Fisheries Department hasn’t followed the group’s advice after seven years of consultation. The federal government is expected to announce the new protection area on Thursday. Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc says the federal government does not believe preserving the glass-sponge conservation area is an either/or proposition and that it’s possible to do so while balancing the interests of the commercial fishing industry. Read the rest here 16:18

Bill would prohibit fish farming in US Great Lakes waters

A member of Congress is sponsoring a bill to prohibit fish farming in waters of the Great Lakes within the United States. Democratic Rep. Dan Kildee of Michigan says poorly operated aquaculture facilities can increase pollution, destroy fish habitat, spread disease and introduce non-native species. Michigan has received proposals for net-like commercial fishing enclosures in the Great Lakes. There are none in U.S. Great Lakes waters at present, although Canada has allowed them. Kildee’s bill also would ban aquaculture on rivers designated as wild and scenic, unless the facilities are shown not to discharge pollutants into the rivers. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality recently granted a permit to expand a fish farm on the Au Sable River in Grayling. The Au Sable is a wild and scenic river. Link 10:30

Nova Scotia Lobster fisherman airlifted to hospital after falling overboard

A 32-year-old man was airlifted to hospital Saturday after he fell overboard a lobster boat off Lockeport, N.S. The man had been hit in the chest with a lobster trap before he fell over, according to a report from Joint Task Force Atlantic. The crew was able to rescue him quickly, but the man had hypothermia. A Cormorant helicopter was dispatched from CFB Greenwood to pick up the fisherman. From there, he was taken to Yarmouth for medical care, said Lt.-Navy Sean Ritchie with Joint Task Force Atlantic. The Chasin Crustacean was about 87 kilometres off Lockeport when the incident occurred. The man’s condition isn’t known. Link 18:32

Fishermen skeptical of third environmental monitoring device in the Minas Passage

A third environmental monitoring platform is being tested in the Minas Passage by the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy, or FORCE, but a fishermen’s group maintains the sophisticated equipment being deployed still cannot determine mortality, the ultimate environmental test on marine life in the Bay of Fundy. FAST-3 is a third monitoring platform featuring additional sensors to collect data on fish presence and behaviour that was deployed on Feb 2. Several marine industrial companies around the province contributed to its construction and deployment. The platform isn’t on the actual turbine site but in a 10-metre shallower area adjacent to the Crown-lease area that the Province of Nova Scotia has designated for testing up to five different turbine technologies in the near future. Dr. Haley Viehman, a post-doctoral fellow at Acadia University, will be analyzing the data upon its retrieval within a month. Viehman comes to the province from the University of Maine, where she studied fish interactions for five years using hydro-acoustics to observe fish movements prior, during and after a tidal turbine was deployed in 2012 for a year as a test in Cobscook Bay, Maine. Continue reading the story here 12:31

Northumberland Fishermen’s Association wants carapace size increase

For over two years, the local Northumberland Fishermen’s Association has been wanting an increase in lobster carapace size from the Minister of Fisheries and for two years they’ve waited for an answer. “They’re dragging their feet,” says Northumberland’s Fishermen’s Association President Ron Heighton. In early 2015, the association met with Fisheries and Oceans and other fishing organizations to discuss and agree to potential changes to the lobster industry in order to increase the carapace lobster size within a two-year window. At that time, after a ballot vote was distributed among all the lobster fishers in lobster fishing area 26A in Nova Scotia with the majority voting for an increase in carapace size. The carapace is the part of the body between the lobster’s eyes and its tail. Fishermen who catch undersized lobster have to throw them back. Two years later, there has been no decision reached by Fisheries and Oceans about implementing a size increase for the upcoming lobster season, Heighton said. Read the story here 14:23

Open Letter to George Soros, Help Us Kill Industrial Fishing

Dear Mr. Soros: The Global High Seas Marine Preserve, when established, will effectively ban industrial and commercial fishing in international waters and thus allow stocks of major marine predators and other species to return in numbers sufficient to permit “some” fishing. My name is Danny Quintana and I conceived of the idea of the GHSMP when writing my latest book, Space & Ocean Exploration: The Alternative to the Military-Industrial Complex. During research for the book I realized how dire the situation of ocean wildlife had become in the last 50 years during a technological boom in the fishing industry and the sushi craze which is still in full swing throughout much of the world. Read the rest here (if you can stand it!) 08:30

Chronic labour shortage hobbling Meteghan lobster plant

David Deveau is doing everything he can to find and keep local workers for his modern lobster processing plant in western Nova Scotia, but it is a battle he is losing. “We do have great local people here. I love them all. I respect them all,” said Deveau, CEO of Riverside Lobster International in the Meteghan area. “I don’t have enough. I just don’t have enough.” Deveau’s company now operates five buses daily to bring workers in from Digby and Yarmouth. Workers are paid about $13 per hour and enrolled in a defined contribution pension plan and get health benefits. The plant, which employs 300 people processing 27,000 kilograms a day of fresh and frozen lobster, is chronically short between 20 to 30 workers. Read the story here 09:52

The fishing schooner Mina Swim and crew of 21 never seen again after leaving Burin a century ago

It was a tragedy that left families devastated, and changed Burin forever, but the sinking of the Mina Swim might have been forgotten if not for the work of local residents determined to keep the memory alive. On Tuesday, Burin will mark the 100th anniversary of that tragedy. The fishing schooner Mina Swim left Burin on the afternoon of Feb. 7, 1917, with a crew of 21 on board. It was bound for fishing grounds on the southwest coast of Newfoundland.  It was never seen or heard from again. “Back in 1917, the community wouldn’t have been that big, then you have twenty-one of your men taken away in one tragedy,” said Howard Lundrigan, who lost a cousin in the sinking. Eighteen widows and 57 children were left without husbands and fathers. Read the story here 12:27

Proposed Cape Breton Trough Marine Protected Area – Fishermen left in the dark

Cape Breton fishermen are concerned that a proposed Marine Protected Area (MPA) off the western coast of the island could result in the closure of the local snow crab fishery. Bill MacDonald, a fisherman for three decades in the region and member of the Area 19 Snow Crab Fisherman’s Association, told the Chronicle Herald the association became aware the government was considering creating an MPA in the fishing region during a meeting with DFO officials last month, but said there’s been no additional information provided since. Because of fishing regulations in other MPAs, MacDonald said he has concerns the $70 million lobster and snow crab fishery that has supported the small coastal region for many generations could be at risk. MPAs are federally designated areas where human activity is limited in order to protect sensitive ecosystems and at-risk species. MacDonald said the association has been left in the dark, not only about the implications for the crab and lobster fishery in the area, but also about why the area is being considered at all. Read the story here 10:10

Capt. Michael Joyce gets scare after weather forces him to abandon fishing seiner

Lark Harbour, N.L. — Michael Joyce got a bad scare and was stomach sick for a few days, but he know things could have been much worse for him so he was looking on the bright side of a tough day on the water. Joyce, 49, of Lark Harbour, is the captain of Joyce’s Journey, a 45-foot seiner that he uses to catch herring, mackerel and caplin. Joyce and his four crew members headed out the Bay of Islands on Dec. 18 for the last haul of herring for the season. At the edge of darkness, on what Joyce said was a beautiful evening at the time, they saw fish in the bay and decided to set the sein with hopes of landing a big haul. Within minutes, a strong, steady windy came up in the bay. The crew managed to set the sein, and when it came time to haul it back on board the wind bore down on them. Read the story here 20:35

Ryan Cleary – Russell Wangersky’s column demands a response 

I wish to respond to Russell Wangersky’s Jan. 28th column (Fish harvesters have the most to lose), by noting with interest how Wangersky gets along with me, “on and off,” while he has known Lana Payne since the late 1980s when the two worked together at The Sunday Express. Does that mean Wangersky loves Lana more than me? I can’t quite tell. I know that Payne calls me as a “narcissist” and “liar,” and Wangersky spits out the word nationalist when he tackles me on the page. Personally, I see myself more Newfoundland and Labrador first, as opposed to Wangersky, who’s more Canadian first, which, “on and off,” separates us. Wangersky clearly states what he thinks about Newfoundland and Labrador opening the door to out-of-province fish buyers — he’s against it, “damaging the province as a whole by shipping a common resource out of province for the benefit of a few.”  The “few” that Wangersky refers to are the few thousand inshore fish harvesters left in this province who can’t survive on 60-cents-a-pound cod, certainly not when there’s little else left to catch. Read the rest of Mr. Cleary’s letter here 19:24

Letter: Give inshore fish harvesters a free vote – Peter Leonard, Southern Harbour 

On Jan. 31st, at a Labour Relations Board hearing in St. John’s, we saw — yet again — FFAW-Unifor fighting its own members who are openly seeking alternate representation for inshore fish harvesters. With what seems like unlimited financial and legal resources, FFAW-Unifor is trying to string along the process in the hopes of defeating our efforts, while FISH-NL supporters have worked tirelessly raising funds to support our initiatives.  As inshore fish harvesters, we are not trying to break up FFAW-Unifor or the other sectors it represents. Inshore harvesters want to break away because we feel that the FFAW cannot and has not been able to properly represent us due to conflicts of interest with the other sectors it represents. How can we expect solid representation when the same union represents plant workers and offshore trawlermen and is receiving funding from both levels of government? How does a union fight for better fish prices for harvesters at the same time that it fights for better wages for plant workers, while in the same breath fighting both levels of government that it’s being funded by? Read the letter here 09:39

The hidden danger of Dumping Day in Nova Scotia

On Dumping Day, the hundreds of fishing boats that hit the water at the start of lobster season to set their traps can act as camouflage for a vessel in distress and hinder search and rescue efforts. In 2015, that camouflage led search and rescue technicians to jump out of a plane and miss a boat that needed their help, according to the Transportation Safety Board (TSB). Back on Nov. 30, 2015, the Royal Canadian Air Force’s Joint Rescue Coordination Centre dispatched a Hercules plane and Cormorant helicopter after two boats ran into trouble off Nova Scotia’s southwestern shore. The Cormorant and its crew managed to rescue two men who had fallen overboard from one vessel. In his report, Morrow determined that if rescue crews can’t accurately identify a vessel in distress from above, critical search and rescue operations may be delayed. Read the story here 09:08

Boris Worm The Jellyfish Guy says New York turns into some kind of modern Venice with Sea Level Rise

Coastal communities, including those in Newfoundland and Labrador, could be drowned by significant sea level rise before the end of the century according to a new report released by the U.S. government (NOAA). Boris Worm, a marine scientist at Dalhousie University in Halifax, N.S., says a report by the American National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration suggests sea levels could rise by 2.5 metres by the year 2100. “They were asking the question, how will any given amount of sea level rise be felt in the U.S. and what are the likely scenarios for sea level rise given current emissions,” he told CBC Radio’s The Broadcast. “They’ve come up with a range of projections, and the notable thing here is that that range of projections is a lot larger than it used to be.” Worm said less than a decade ago, the expectation was between one and two feet of sea level rise by the end of the century.  “They’ve now corrected this and said it’s going to be a lot more, and it could be up to 8.2 feet,” he said. “If that comes true, it means New York turns into some kind of modern Venice, Venice turns to some kind of Atlantis, and I don’t know what it means for Newfoundland … it really means a complete rethinking of how we live close to the coast.” Read the story here 13:45

NOAA Says Its Hot As Ever? A NOAA Whistle Blower Turns The Heat Up On Them!!

A high-level whistleblower has told this newspaper that America’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) breached its own rules on scientific integrity when it published the sensational but flawed report, aimed at making the maximum possible impact on world leaders including Barack Obama and David Cameron at the UN climate conference in Paris in 2015. The report claimed that the ‘pause’ or ‘slowdown’ in global warming in the period since 1998 – revealed by UN scientists in 2013 – never existed, and that world temperatures had been rising faster than scientists expected. But the whistleblower, Dr John Bates, a top NOAA scientist with an impeccable reputation, has shown The Mail on Sunday irrefutable evidence that the paper was based on misleading, ‘unverified’ data. It was never subjected to NOAA’s rigorous internal evaluation process – which Dr Bates devised. The report claimed that the ‘pause’ or ‘slowdown’ in global warming in the period since 1998 – revealed by UN scientists in 2013 – never existed, and that world temperatures had been rising faster than scientists expected. Launched by NOAA with a public relations fanfare, it was splashed across the world’s media, and cited repeatedly by politicians and policy makers. Read the full story here 20:55

UNH researchers ID bacteria contaminating seafood in seven Atlantic coastal states and Canada.

University of New Hampshire scientists in partnership with the FDA and public health and shellfish management agencies in five states have identified a new strain of a bacterial pathogen that has contaminated seafood, sickening shellfish consumers along the Atlantic Coast at increasing rates over the last decade. N.H. Agricultural Experiment Station scientists have discovered that a Vibrio parahaemolyticus strain identified as ST631 is a predominant strain endemic to the Atlantic Coast of North America and has been traced to shellfish harvested in seven Atlantic coastal states and Canada. ST631 is the second most prevalent strain isolated from patients sickened by product sourced to the Northeast United States. Vibrio parahaemolyticus is the leading seafood-transmitted bacterial pathogen worldwide with an estimated 45,000 infections in the United States every year. It causes gastroenteritis and, rarely, lethal septicemia. The findings were announced in a letter to the editor at the Journal of Clinical Microbiology “Sequence Type 631 Vibrio parahaemolyticus, an Emerging Foodborne Pathogen in North America.” Read the story here 09:31

Eight Fishermen rescued from sinking fishing boat near Burin Peninsula

Eight crew on a sinking fishing vessel near the Burin Peninsula were rescued by search and rescue teams on Friday, according to Joint Task Force Atlantic. JTF said Friday night that all eight crew members from a vessel in distress were hoisted onto a Cormorant helicopter about 130 nautical miles south of Burin. The vessel was taking on water, and JTF said Friday night it was abandoned. A spokesperson for the agency said helicopters originally sent three water pumps down to help remove water from the ship, but the group couldn’t keep up with the flooding. No vessel identification is mentioned. Link  Watch the video here  08:49

National Fisheries Institute bristles at comments by Canada’s fisheries minister

An American seafood industry association is disputing statements by Canada’s fisheries minister that Canadian producers need to “raise their game” in order to meet new traceability rules for seafood imported into the U.S. The Washington-based National Fisheries Institute, which opposes the new rules, says Canada has nothing to do with the illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) catches the new Seafood Import Monitoring Program was brought in to stop. The institute was reacting to a CBC News report where federal Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc called increased traceability “very laudable,” even if Canada was not the target. He said Canada has been working with the U.S. government for months on this issue.  “We need to raise our game to ensure that the Americans receive the evidence they require that our fisheries are compliant, as they are,” LeBlanc said. That statement put LeBlanc offside with the National Fisheries Institute, which is part a powerhouse lawsuit launched last month to block the Seafood Import Monitoring Program brought in by the former Obama administration in December. Read the story here 15:00

REWARD!! Michigan DNR Offers Big Reward For Plan To Block Invasive Fish

If the fishing world had a most-wanted list, Asian carp surely top it. There are plenty of despised invasives plaguing U.S. waters, but how many of them have a $1 million dollar bounty on their heads? That’s what the Michigan Department of Natural Resources just dropped on the table. Show the agency a viable plan for stopping those silver and big head carp from reaching the Great Lakes and you could be eligible for a sweet payday. In case you haven’t already heard the tale, Asian carp are prolific breeders that can reach 50-pounds. The filter-feeding invasives consume massive amounts of the tiny plants (phytoplankton) and animals (zooplankton) that feed native forage species, along with juvenile sport fish such as walleye and yellow perch. Disrupting the food web can wreak havoc on local fisheries. Read the story here with link to DNR 12:21

Alaskans should have the final say on Pebble Mine – Sharon and Everett Thompson of Naknek, Alaska,

Pebble Mine’s Canadian, would-be developers are ecstatically peddling a story that their mine’s approval is certain. A new Trump Administration, “desires to see Pebble permitted,” Northern Dynasty’s chief executive said Monday. Because of this, investors are piling on, sending the Northern Dynasty stock soaring in recent weeks. All of these outsiders have forgotten one thing: the Pebble Mine is proposed in Bristol Bay, Alaska, not the South Lawn of the White House. Bristol Bay supports the world’s largest run of sockeye salmon that sustains local communities, businesses and the regional economy. Alaskans hate the proposal despite “alternative facts” being pushed by Northern Dynasty in recent days claiming local support. Let the record show that 80 percent of Bristol Bay residents have said clearly that they don’t want the mine. Statewide, 65 percent of residents have said “no mine.” Read the op-ed here  The notion that the Trump Administration will approve Pebble is shear speculation on the part of Northern Dynasty. Read the story here 09:22

Bay of Fundy Fishermen trying to overturn approval of tidal turbine

A fishermen’s group has asked the Nova Scotia Supreme Court to set aside provincial approval of a massive tidal turbine in the Bay of Fundy, saying the decision was based on poor scientific data. The 1,000-tonne underwater generator was installed on the floor of the Minas Passage in November, but the Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association has said the test project should be put on hold to ensure the bay’s productive ecosystem is not harmed. David Coles, the lawyer representing the 175-member association, told the court Wednesday that Environment Minister Margaret Miller overstepped her authority last June because the company behind the project — Cape Sharp Tidal — did not submit enough scientific data about the state of the bay prior to installation. “The minister was required to consider certain things, and they’re just not in the record,” Coles told Justice Heather Robertson. Read the story here 14:07

Mint worker convicted of smuggling gold in rectum sentenced to 30 months

Leston Lawrence, 35, made only a brief statement before a ruling from Ontario Justice Peter Doody. “I’d just like to say thank you, sir, and that’s it. No further comment.” After which, his puffy jacket still done up, he sat down in the front row. Lawrence was also ordered to repay $190,000, the true market value of the precious metal, which he sold at a discount. Lawrence, an operator in the Mint’s refinery section on Sussex Drive, was convicted Nov. 9 of stealing 22 gold “pucks” during a three-month period that began in December 2014, then reselling them and spending the proceeds. Though the method of escape was never proven, the Mint was satisfied Lawrence must have hidden the pucks — about the diameter of a golf gall — in his rectum as he exited the secure area after his shift. The theory was bolstered by the discovery of vaseline and latex gloves in his personal locker and the fact he set off an archway metal detector 28 times in 41 days, though no gold was ever found on his person. The Mint was so convinced this was the heist method that it had a security officer duplicate the crime. During the test, the first detector was set off but not the second, done with a hand-held device. Court was told that Lawrence was arranging to have a home built in Jamaica and had sent about $35,000 to a contractor in the Caribbean. He had also invested about $34,000 in a commercial fishing boat in Florida. Read the story here 10:26

Canadian seafood industry braces for new U.S. traceability rules

Canadian seafood producers will need to “raise their game” to satisfy new American seafood traceability rules, according to federal Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc. The Seafood Import Monitoring Program was one of the final acts of the Obama administration. It will require much more detailed information about catches before they are allowed into the United States. “We need to raise our game to ensure that the Americans receive the evidence they require that our fisheries are compliant, as they are,” LeBlanc said. The goal is stop illegal, unregulated and unreported catches from entering the U.S. The measures go into effect next January. Read the story here 08:18

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 44ft. Blue Water Marine Lobster,Longliner, 230HP, 6 Cylinder Daewoo

Specifications, information and 9 photo’s  click here To see all the boats in this series, Click here 14:26

Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association gets another stab at Minas Passage tidal turbine

After an application it filed last July, the Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association is getting another day in court. Justice M. Heather Robertson is presiding over a hearing on Feb. 1-2 in Halifax that will review the environment minister’s decision to authorize an Environmental Effects Monitoring Program. The EEMP was the final requirement the proponents needed before they could deploy an in-stream tidal energy device, or turbine, in the Bay of Fundy’s Minas Passage. According to documents filed with the court, BoFiFA claims that environment minister Margaret Miller erred in the law and acted unreasonably in her decision on June 20, 2016 by proceeding contrary to the requirements of the original EA in 2009. Named in the application are the Minister of Environment, the Attorney General, the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy Ltd. (FORCE) and Cape Sharp Tidal Ventures Ltd. Link 11:14

Nunavut fishery gets a big boost in turbot quotas, expects a $7M to $8M increase in revenue

Last week, the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans increased the total allowable catch for 2017 and 2018 by 575 tonnes in each of the two fishing areas adjacent to Baffin Island. “What it means, of course, if you’re looking at revenue on that amount of product, is somewhere between $7 million to $8 million of increase in revenue,” said Jerry Ward, the director of fisheries at Qikiqtaaluk Corporation. “Plus, it will also provide more jobs throughout the year and so on. So we’re quite pleased with it.” The limits on turbot in zone 0A, northeast of Baffin Island, was upped to 8,575 tonnes, with Nunavut fishermen receiving all of the increase. The limit in zone 0B, off Baffin Island’s southeast coast, was increased to 7,575 tonnes. Nunavut will receive 90 per cent of that increase, with Inuit fishers in Nunavik receiving the other 10 per cent. Read the story here 10:17

In 1895 a historian urged us to modernize our fish products and speed them to market

Lawyer, judge, historian and essayist — and son of Port de Grave — Daniel Prowse must surely have been smacking his lips when he wrote about our seafood in a concluding portion of his 1895 history. It was all about freshness and the abundance we had here and how we could access better markets. The railway, speeding from the east coast of our island to the west coast to meet a fast boat on the southwest corner would make it possible for us to earn big, new money from seafood hungry New Yorkers. Rapturously Prowse wrote: “Frozen cod and most delicious cod’s tongues, fresh every morning, will be transported from our shores!” I will admit that it stretches credulity to pair any judge with the adverb “rapturously,” however, I think it’s fair to say Prowse loved Newfoundland. And he always wanted us to do more and better with what we had. Good read! Read the story here 09:53

Labour Relations Board Hearing Tuesday into release of FFAW membership list

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) welcomes a hearing called by the Labour Relations Board over the FFAW’s failure to release its membership list of inshore fish harvesters. “The lengths the FFAW has taken to inflate and withhold its membership list is yet another act of crookery,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “We look forward to being able to dig into their list.”The hearing is scheduled to take place from 9:30 to 12:30 on Tuesday, Jan. 31st at the Labour Relations Board Hearings Room, 1st floor, Beothuk Building, 20 Crosbie Place in St. John’s. Read the full press release here 07:49

Study says predators may play major role in chinook salmon declines

A new study shows that increased populations of seals and sea lions are eating far more of Puget Sound’s threatened chinook than previously known, potentially hampering recovery efforts for both salmon and endangered killer whales.  Seals and sea lions are eating about 1.4 million pounds of Puget Sound chinook each year — about nine times more than they were eating in 1970, according to the report, published online this month in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. Most of these chinook are small fish migrating to the ocean, which ultimately reduces the number of adults returning to Puget Sound. The study estimates that seals and sea lions are decreasing potential returns by about 162,000 adult chinook each year. That’s twice the number eaten by killer whales and roughly six times as many as caught in Puget Sound by tribal, commercial and recreational fishers combined. Read the rest of the story here 21:16

Russell Wangersky: Fish harvesters have the most to lose

The whole issue is in the hands of the Labour Relations Board right now, so this column is unlikely to sway any votes — and that’s fine. Because, really, it’s fight for those involved. (And just for clarity’s sake, I’ve known Lana Payne, with the FFAW’s parent union, Unifor, since we worked together at The Sunday Express in the late 1980s. I’ve known FISH-NL’s Ryan Cleary since 1997, when he worked at The Telegram, and we get along, on and off.) I understand why the fish harvesters might want to leave the FFAW. The union, representing harvesters and those who work in the processing sector, is juggling a variety of interests, from processing workers to inshore fish harvesters to offshore trawler workers. And that does create problems. Read the op-ed here 09:10

Value of Maine lobster exports to China on pace to triple for 2016

Live lobster exports to China are on pace to triple in value in 2016, despite the incursion of some new lobster suppliers to the growing Asian market. Final figures for 2016 won’t be known until February, but through November, the value of live lobster shipments from Maine to China climbed to $27.5 million, nearly tripling from the $10.2 million reported in November 2015. That’s roughly half the total export of live lobsters from Maine to date, excluding Canada, where many Maine lobsters are processed and then imported back into Maine for distribution. And those figures don’t include the traditional year-end surge leading up the Chinese New Year on Jan. 28, when Chinese celebrants have been serving up lobster from Maine, Massachusetts and Canada in ever-increasing numbers. Read the story here 08:17

International Pacific Halibut Commission approves increases in halibut catch limits

Most parts of the Pacific coastline will see an increase in commercial and charter fishing catch limits for halibut this year. The International Pacific Halibut Commission Friday approved a coast-wide catch limit of 31.4 million pounds of the valuable bottom fish. That’s an increase from just under 30 million pounds last year. Several parts of the coast were facing catch limit cuts based on alternatives presented by IPHC scientists. However, commissioners voted to boost harvest limits instead of making reductions. There was some disagreement about the BC catch limit this year. Listen to the audio report or read it here 19:11

Federal Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc says Canada has a right to scientific analysis of Corexit

Canada’s fisheries minister is pushing back against a U.S. company that is refusing to let Canadian researchers test its oil spill dispersant. “We obviously have a huge concern about a potential corporate interest that appears to not want to have robust, thoughtful, independent scientific analysis of their product,” said Dominic LeBlanc. LeBlanc, speaking in Halifax, was talking about the months-long impasse over his department’s attempt to test Corexit 9580, a surface-washing agent used to clean beaches in oil spills. The product, along with Corexit 9500 — an open-water oil dispersant — were approved for use in Canada last year on a case-by-case basis if authorities determine there is a net environmental benefit. Read the rest here 09:57

Experts say BC salmon stocks not diminished by sea lice outbreak for now

The price of salmon has shot up more than 15 per cent over the last three months, thanks to fish stocks being hit worldwide by an outbreak of sea lice. In Norway and Scotland, two of the world’s largest suppliers of salmon, sea lice outbreaks have made prices rise by a full 50 per cent, coupled with a huge algae bloom in Chile, the world’s second biggest producer of farmed salmon, and global production is down by nine per cent. But the market for Pacific salmon is not likely to see the same price spikes, according to Glen Spain of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, who says that sea lice has so far been less of a scourge for Pacific Coast salmon. The tiny, naturally occurring parasite, found in both wild and farmed salmon, last proved to be a menace on the West Coast in 2015, when infestations were at their highest in five years.  Read the story here 07:49

Canadian researchers denied samples of oil spill dispersant Corexit 9500, Corexit 9580 by Nalco Environmental Solutions

Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans says it will try again to secure samples of an oil spill dispersant for testing by government-funded researchers after the American manufacturer refused two requests in 2016. The impasse surrounds research by fish biologist Craig Purchase of Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. John’s. Purchase was working on a $75,000 project funded by DFO comparing two types of oil dispersant products called Corexit on beach-spawning capelin. But he never got the chance to compare Corexit 9500 — an open ocean oil spill dispersant — with Corexit 9580, a surface agent used to clean beaches. He was able to get a sample of the oil spill dispersant from DFO but the manufacturer, Nalco Environmental Solutions, refused to provide Purchase with a sample of the beach cleaning agent Corexit 9580 last April. Nalco refused again when DFO asked for a sample on his behalf. Read the story here 09:24 Read this Corexit’s Deadly Legacy

The International Pacific Halibut Commission meeting is underway in BC

The International Pacific Halibut Commission will be deciding on catch limits, other proposed changes to management and season length though Friday in Victoria, British Columbia. “The way we apportion the resource it’s been probably the subject of the most dissatisfaction on the U.S. side over the past couple of years,” said U.S. commissioner and vice-chair Jim Balsiger at the start of the meeting Monday. “All the commissioners I believe on both sides are anxious to come to grips with that, find a harvest policy and apportionment method that works for everybody that we can explain to the people who use the resource and make some progress on that.”  Read the story here  For agenda details of the meeting and link to the webinar, click here 10:40

Nova Scotia’s deadliest industry slowly becomes safer

It is one of the most mundane tasks on a fishing boat: tying up the bumper balloons that prevent the vessel from crunching into the wharf when it docks. But for fisherman Mitch MacDonald it proved life-altering. For 10 years he fastened them with little problem. That is until last May, when his boat pitched unexpectedly and a balloon fell overboard, the rope sawing through his left index finger.  “It pretty much burnt right through my finger and took the end of my finger off overboard,” he said. MacDonald has not regained the full use of his hand. The injury cost him thousands of dollars in lost income as he had trouble holding onto things and couldn’t work the rest of the fishing season. He is not alone. In 2016 there were 224 injuries on fishing boats, according to the Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia, but good news is the numbers are declining. Six years ago 351 injuries were reported. Read the story here 08:37

DFO bust targets 12 year old boy for catching and selling a few smelt

A Gander Bay South man says his 12-year-old son was unfairly targeted by a Department of Fisheries and Oceans sting over $20 in smelt. Donnie Harris told CBC News his son, Jayden, has been catching and selling smelt for the last few years — for just $2 a dozen — and this year posted an ad on a classified website using his father’s account. Jayden said he hoped to attract a few more customers with the ad on the website. “I wanted to get some money to buy an ice shelter,” Last Wednesday, Jayden’s ad prompted an email from a “Bob Smith,” requesting 10 dozen — four fresh, six frozen — and said he’d be by around the next afternoon. The next afternoon, with Jayden back in school, Smith stopped by to pick up the fish. Harris said they chatted for a little while about Jayden’s love of fishing. “So he knew, even before he done what he done, that it wasn’t me, it was my son that he was setting up,” said Harris. Eventually, Smith paid $20 for the fish, and about five minutes later he returned — this time with a DFO truck and three officers, Read the story here 13:48

2017 IPHC Annual Meeting Monday, January 23 through Friday, January 27, 2017 in Victoria, British Columbia

The Ninety-third Annual Meeting of the International Pacific Halibut Commission will be held from Monday, January 23 through Friday, January 27, 2017 in Victoria, British Columbia at the Delta Hotels Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort. Further details on the 2017 IPHC Annual Meeting

Documents, Presentations, and Schedule

Robert Morrissey cautions P.E.I. fishermen about future of lobster stock

The lengthy discussions on lobster carapace that kept the Prince County Fishermen’s Association’s annual meeting running for nearly five hours last week were largely missing from the Western Gulf Fishermen’s Association agenda last Monday. It’s not that carapace wasn’t on the fishermen’s minds. It’s just that president Francis Morrissey advised members they will organize a special meeting to discuss carapace rather than take up time at the annual meeting. They did hear from Egmont MP Robert Morrissey,,, Read the story here 14:07

Six pilot studies test sea urchin farming in Canada

Federal scientists and others are exploring the possibility of sea urchin farming in Canada, with at least six pilot studies using Norwegian technology that proponents hope will turn “zombie” urchins which can denude kelp beds into profitable seafood. The first of the studies, conducted by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, is expected to start next week in waters off Vancouver Island, with others planned for Newfoundland, Quebec and Nova Scotia. Wild urchins are harvested in B.C. and elsewhere, but aren’t farmed commercially anywhere in Canada — yet. But the efforts to birth a new aquaculture industry are already running into questions about the ecological cost. Read the story here 09:11

Fishermen Discover Crate Of 19th Century Rifles Off The Coast Of Canada

In 2011, fishermen working off Newfoundland’s Grand Banks pulled in a 600 pound catch. However, what they caught was not a fish. What they discovered was a heavily cemented and silt-filled crate of 20 Pattern 1853 Enfield muskets that date back as far as the 1850’s. The guns had been underwater at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean for more than 150 years. The archaeology department at Memorial University in St. John’s Newfoundland has been working ever since to restore the relics that have been placed in a large container filled with a chemical solution that includes a bulking agent and corrosion inhibitor designed to stabilize them.  After years of conservation work, things are looking good for the restoration process. The “3-band Enfield” got its name as it could get shots out to 500 yards if shot by a skilled marksman and the barrel was held to the wooden stock by three metal bands. Read the story here 16:26

New website gives you the real deal on sea level rise and rates

New analysis and graphing tools for sea-level data at SeaLevel.info which now has interactive regression analysis (line/curve fitting) and visualization (graphing) tools available for mean sea level (MSL) measurements from over 1200 tide gauges, plus spreadsheets which combine various subsets of that data. This article is intended as a primer, for how to use these new tools. But first, a few notes: Note #1: This is a work in progress. I already have a large “to-do list,” but suggestions & corrections are nevertheless very welcome. Note #2: These tools are my free contribution to the community. There’s no charge to use them. Note #3: These tools are ideologically neutral. Read the review here, and visit the website 12:49

Using cod pots could be the way of the future for cod fishery

Phillip Meintzer thinks there might be a better way to fish for cod off the waters of Newfoundland and Labrador. The master’s graduate student in science from the Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Resources, Marine Institute of Memorial University, was guest speaker for the weekly Coastal Matters series at Grenfell Campus, Memorial University in Corner Brook Thursday. His presentation discussed promoting the conservation of Atlantic cod through the improvement and implementation of cod pots in the province. Here are five things to know about cod pots. Read the rest here 09:59