Category Archives: Canada

U.S. lobster fishing vessel caught trapping lobster in Canadian waters

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans intercepted a vessel fishing illegally in Canadian waters and reported it to U.S. authorities, an official confirmed Friday. The incident occurred Thursday near the coastal border of New Brunswick and Maine. “Our fishery officers intercepted a U.S. lobster fishing vessel that was fishing illegally within our Canadian fisheries waters about midday Oct. 19,” said Todd Somerville, area chief for conservation and protection in southwest New Brunswick. “We intercepted the vessel. At that point fishery officers board the vessel and then they initiate their investigation. Because it was a U.S. vessel, we do reach out to U.S. law enforcement. … They also responded.” click here to read the story 15:34

NOAA Fisheries Recommends Actions to Help Right Whales

Coming at the end of a devastating summer for right whales, the North Atlantic Right Whale Five-Year Review and its list of recommended actions to promote right whale recovery is particularly timely.,, In July 2016, we initiated this Review, as we do every five years, to make sure that species are accurately listed as “endangered” or “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act. Our Five-Year Review is now complete and provides updates on the right whale population in U.S. waters. The Five-Year Review recommends, not surprisingly, that North Atlantic right whales continue to be listed as endangered, and confirms that they experiencing: click here to read the recommendations 13:06

FISH-NL and FFAW still at odds over harvester numbers

There is still no official list, no final count of Newfoundland and Labrador inshore fish harvesters for the purposes of determining if there will be a vote on a breakaway union. Leaders with the Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) and the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW-Unifor) union have disputed who has a better total count on harvesters — one truly representative of inshore industry participation. The numbers being floated are very different, by thousands of individuals. click here to read the story 10:37

DFO raid facility, seize 3 tonnes of lobster as part of probe into unlicenced fishing

Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has intercepted 3 metric tonnes of Nova Scotia lobsters on Monday, shortly before they were reportedly scheduled to be shipped to Asia. The DFO only released the information after Global News attempted to confirm information they’d received from other sources. “An investigation is currently underway into the sale of fish not harvested under a commercial licence,” said a DFO representative. click here to read the story 19:08

Fishing captain’s wallet went down with his ship, but was recovered by a trawler 4 years later

Four years ago, Capt. John Allen Baker lost his ship — and his wallet — to the bottom of the North Atlantic. It was Dec. 22, 2013, when the fisherman from Canso, N.S., realized that the Gentle Lady wasn’t going to make it. Its load of sea cucumbers had shifted too quickly, causing the ship to lean over and water to pour onto the deck. Baker and his three crew members darted for a life-raft and watched the ship go down about 130 kilometres off the coast of Sable Island. The Gentle Lady is still lost to the sea, but thanks to another trawler, Baker’s wallet has risen from the depths. click here to read the story 15:01

Thousands fewer inshore harvesters than FFAW-Unifor claimed; FISH-NL receives union support from across Canada

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is pleased with the Labour Relations Board’s release of what officials describe as an “accurate and reliable” list of the province’s inshore harvesters. “It’s been almost 10 months since FISH-NL submitted our application for certification so a list of inshore harvesters from the board is a huge and welcome step forward,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. Obtained from various “sources,” the labour board’s list includes the names of 6,371 inshore harvesters — almost 4,000 fewer than the 10,200 active, dues-paying members that the FFAW-Unifor has claimed to represent. click here to read the press release 11:06

FFAW Statement Regarding FISH-NL and Labour Relations Boardclick here to read the statement

Newfoundland and Labrador – What did we get for giving up MPRs under CETA?

The Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is the trade deal Canada just signed with the European Union, and the signature for Canada was Justin Trudeau. Minimum processing requirements (MPRs) reflect an established right of a province to impose minimum processing requirements for fish landed at our ports. In the past, exemptions have been approved for the export of unprocessed fish when the market required it and/or when processing was not viable. No other province in Atlantic Canada had used MPRs for fish over the past number of years, except Newfoundland and Labrador. click here to read the op-ed by Keith Hutchings10:10

Mi’kmaq woman to challenge lobster fishing rules

Cheryl Maloney is gearing up to go lobster fishing. She doesn’t have a commercial licence and she won’t be using one of the food and ceremonial purposes tags she is eligible for as a member of the Sipekne’katik First Nation. What the longtime organizer for indigenous and women’s rights has is a 1999 Supreme Court decision stating that she has the treaty right to make a “moderate livelihood” off the resources the Mi’kmaq traditionally exploited. When she lands her lobster on a South Shore wharf, Maloney plans to invite Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the RCMP to come and watch her sell them. click here to read the story 11:15

Inshore harvesters, including a member of FFAW’s inshore council dispute snow crab science

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) questions why the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans would report poor scientific signs of snow crab when it’s not the full picture of the state of the resource. The results of crab surveys carried out by inshore harvesters won’t be available until December. “The science is only half of the story — inshore harvesters have the other half,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “This shows the same old disconnect exists between DFO science and what harvesters are reporting on the water. Why does DFO report doom and gloom when all the information is not on the table?” click here to read the press release 09:19

Port Saunders fisherman defiant over remarks he made about the FFAW

Despite threats of a lawsuit and a demand for an apology, fish harvester Conway Caines remains defiant in his criticism of FFAW-Unifor. In September, Caines made harsh remarks on VOCM’s “Open Line” program, alleging that the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW) union is an unlawful enterprise. His accusations of backdoor dealings stem from the 2016 Supreme Court decision in favour of scallop harvesters over the FFAW. The harvesters had sought compensation from the FFAW due to the loss of fishing grounds along the Strait of Belle Isle. click here to read the story 13:12

Marine Protected Areas – Fishermen say Ottawa not clear on what potential protected areas will mean for fishing grounds

Cape Breton snow crab fisherman Basil MacLean speaks for many in coastal when he complains Ottawa has not been clear about what a potential marine protected area (MPA) will mean in his fishing grounds. “We’ve got no clarity. We got no idea what they want to protect,” he says. Earlier this year, officials with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans revealed an area known as the Cape Breton Trough in western Cape Breton is a potential candidate for designation as a marine protected area. The Trough overlaps the lucrative snow crab grounds known in DFO bureaucratise as Area 19. click here to read the story 11:41

Fish feud: ITQ’s – Will changes to the West Coast salmon industry hurt or help independent fishermen?

The B.C. salmon fishery keeps resisting a market-based management system. Critics accuse the feds of pitting independent fishermen against corporate giants, but what if this new approach gives the little guy some much-needed financial clout?,,, Thorkelson gets furious thinking about how fishing rights and control, thanks to what she considers a concerted effort by the DFO to impose ITQs, have migrated up the food chain to the likes of Canadian Fishing Co. Part of the Jim Pattison Group, Canfisco is a vertically integrated company that owns licences, quota and fishing vessels in most fisheries on the coast, plus processing facilities in B.C. and Alaska that together handle some 20,000 tonnes of salmon annually. click here to read the story 09:03

Port au Choix crab fishermen charged with obstruction of justice over May protest

Harvesters who took part in a protest in Port au Choix last May have now been told they will be charged with obstruction of justice and placing crab pots in a wrong zone. Fisherman Dean Olfrey was called in for a meeting Wednesday, Oct. 11, and was informed he and the other harvesters involved in the protest would be facing these two charges. “It was a peaceful demonstration,” Olfrey said. “We just wanted to show that we should have the right to fish in this zone, and now they’re looking to charge us.” click here to read the story 12:14

Poor signs for N.L. snow crab

Aboard the Canadian Coast Guard ship Vladykov this week, crabs captured in Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) traps were being pulled from the water, dumped into orange, plastic baskets, pulled out, measured and categorized before being dumped back. These were among the last of the crab checked for the 2017 inshore survey, ongoing since May.,,, The official survey results won’t be released until early next year (after going to DFO’s stock assessment branch and peer review), but generally speaking, Mullowney suggested there is continued decline, with ocean warming a significant factor and things like predation increasingly important. click here to read the story 08:59

Quebec photographer shows the human side of sealing

Newfoundland and Labrador’s seal hunt has been through some difficult seasons in recent years. Ice conditions have been hazardous and the cost of insurance has gone up to the point many sealers don’t bother to go hunting. Prices were uncertain. Plus the European Union and other markets have banned the import of seal products like pelts and oil. The bans were the result of decades of protests by animal rights activist groups, which received many donations through ad campaigns showing dramatic footage of red blood on white ice, and some sealers behaving inhumanely. That’s where Quebec photographer Yoanis Menge’s career as a sealer began. photo’s, click here to read the story 18:04

Lobster wars

Burned out fishing boats, thousands of pounds of dumped, dead lobsters and allegations of a booming black market for the popular crustacean have drawn federal investigators to Nova Scotia’s most lucrative fishing grounds in the lead-up to lobster season. Tensions have been running high in recent weeks along the small wharves in the communities that dot St. Mary’s Bay, a well-known breeding ground for lobsters during the summer. While conservation laws prevent lobster fishers from harvesting the shellfish during breeding season in order to safeguard stocks, stunned locals watched thousands of pounds of lobsters that appeared to be commercial loads pass over their docks though the summer months. click here to read the story 10:53

British Columbia: What is behind the sockeye salmon collapse?

The sockeye salmon run this year, is, according to Fisheries and Oceans Canada and other reputable sources, down considerably. The reason for this, depends on who you talk to. Aaron Hill, executive director of Watershed Watch Salmon Society, says part of the problem is the fisheries ministry has dragged its feet on the Cohen Commission recommendations. The Cohen Commission, created in 2009, issued a report in 2012 with 75 recommendations on how Fisheries and Oceans Canada (working with its provincial partner) could monitor and safeguard the Pacific salmon fisheries. click here to read the story 11:43

N.S. firm taking lobsters to the world

World Link Food Distributors Inc. in the Aerotech Business Park near the Halifax Stanfield airport moves millions of pounds of lobster and other seafood every year to dozens of countries. “It’s like Canada,” co-owner and managing director Georges Jobert said of the multicultural and multilingual background of the 18 World Link employees who preside over shipping about eight million pounds of lobsters to retailers and wholesalers around the world. click here to read the story 10:52

Ian MacPherson navigates waters of lobster industry

Ian MacPherson, executive director of the P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association, admits he has no commercial fishing background. But he is still an important voice advocating for the association’s membership with the help of 1,300 experts at his disposal. Originally from Toronto, MacPherson joined the organization in 2010 after working in the transportation industry in Alberta and New Brunswick. According to Statistics Canada, the industry contributed about $73 million in 2016 to the Island’s GDP. To date, there is an estimated 1280 fishing licences held on the Island valued at $800,000 to $1 million per license, explained MacPherson. click here to read the story 08:53

Prepping for Dumping Day in LFA 35 October 14

The Digby Wharf is looking even more colourful than usual as boats are stacked high with lobster traps, rope and buoys for this year’s Dumping Day on October 14. Chris Hersey is the captain of the Miss Addie, which he runs with crewmates and Mark Hersey, and is putting the final touches on the gear aboard his boat to get it ready for its first day on the water this season. He spent around twelve hours total setting everything up, and make six truck trips to get the buoys down to the wharf. It’s a process each fisherman handles differently, said Hersey. “One guy showed up two weeks ago. It’s different for everyone, and some people are doing it earlier this year,” says Hersey. click here to read the story 15:19

Scientists urge international agreement on fisheries in Central Arctic Ocean

In an open letter released last week the nine scientists are calling on Canada, Denmark/Greenland, the European Union, Iceland, Japan, Norway, China, South Korea, Russia and the United States “to conclude a successful agreement, demonstrating their commitment to sound stewardship of the Arctic Ocean and peaceful international cooperation.” The letter comes seven months after, representatives of five Arctic nations and five major fishing powers met in the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik in March to hammer out a deal on banning unregulated fishing in the international waters of the Central Arctic Ocean. click here to read the story 23:14

Crab boat White Diamond gets $2 million refit in Summerside, transformed to Arctic research vessel

A P.E.I. fishermen is putting his deep-sea crab boat to a new use — scientific research in Canada’s High Arctic. Arctic Research Foundation just finished a $2 million renovation to the boat White Diamond in the Summerside harbour. The Manitoba-based not-for-profit organization bought the boat from fisherman David McIsaac. McIsaac and his son Daniel have been working with the foundation in recent years. White Diamond is one of three research vessels now owned and operated by Arctic Research Foundation. click here to read the story 16:36

Company offered money for Lummi Nation’s silence about net pens, letters show

Cooke Aquaculture offered to pay a premium price for Atlantic salmon caught by the Lummi Nation after a major spill from the company’s Cypress Island fish farm if the tribe would not advocate getting rid of net pen aquaculture. The tribe tartly rejected the offer. “Your demand to keep quiet for a few extra dollars is insulting,” Timothy Ballew II, chairman of the Lummi Indian Business Council, responded in a Sept. 14 letter. Nell Halse, vice president for communications for Cooke, said Wednesday the offer “was not an attempt to muzzle or insult the Lummi Nation, but rather an effort to negotiate toward common ground and respect the interests and concerns of both parties at the table …” click here to read the story 10:13

Lummi chairman calls bribery attempt ‘insulting and preposterous’click here to read the story

FFAW-Unifor legal action – threatening to sue its own members who speak out against it. 

Well-known Port Saunders fisherman Conway Caines received a registered letter today from the FFAW demanding a retraction/apology for statements he made on VOCM’s Open Line in mid-September. Caines’ comments were critical of the FFAW over the 2016 scallop decision in which the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador ruled in favour of scallop fishermen who took on the union over a compensation fund for lost fishing grounds in the Strait of Belle Isle. Copies of the registered letter are attached. click here 17:14

‘Playing with fire’: Fishing’s cruel seas and even crueler economics

On Feb. 12, 2013, an unseasonably warm evening, five young fishermen departed the West Head wharf on Cape Sable Island, N.S. aboard the Miss Ally, a 12-metre Cape Islander. The men, spanning in age from 21 to 33 — three of them fathers of young children—were headed out in pursuit of halibut, a valuable winter catch. On deck that night were Billy Jack Hatfield, a recently-engaged 33-year-old; Cole Nickerson, 28, a burly and strong former junior hockey player; Joel Hopkins, a 27-year-old father of two who absolutely loved the thrill of fishing; and Tyson Townsend, 25, a gifted athlete with a seven-month-old daughter. At the wheel, piloting the boat into darkness, was Katlin Nickerson, Miss Ally’s 21-year-old captain and owner. click here to read the story 13:13

Fisherman says dispute not between natives, non-natives

When Alex McDonald went to check on his fishing boat in Comeauville on Monday, it was gone. Later that day a Department of Fisheries and Oceans patrol found the Buck and Doe burning on St. Marys Bay.,, “But I don’t believe it’s the (non-native) guys I fish beside. I think it’s outsiders that did this.” Two other boats that belong to non-Aboriginal fishermen, who also fish from Saulnierville, have been hit. The accusation by Wagner and other fishermen is that some non-native lobster dealers have been buying lobster from First Nations members while the season is closed. click here to read the story 11:37

RCMP investigating two suspicious boat fires in southwestern Nova Scotia

The most recent incident occurred on Monday, Oct. 9 when the Buck and Doe fishing vessel was reported missing from the Comeauville Wharf in Comeauville, Digby County.,,, A few days earlier, on Oct. 5 at 7:44 a.m., a fire was reported aboard the Amanda’s Pride 1. The vessel had been docked at the slip in Weymouth North. The RCMP say an initial investigation determined that something was put in the engine hatch, which caused the fire. click here to read the story 16:42

Lobster boat torched amid tensions in Nova Scotia – Alex McDonald said he gets along well with non-Indigenous lobster fishermen in the area and doesn’t believe any of them are to blame. “I know the other fishermen so I don’t believe it was my fellow fishermen that fish beside me. click here to read the story

The ‘Mercedes of lobster traps’

A new company in Yarmouth, N.S., has designed a recyclable lobster trap made from plastic that it says has a longer life than traditional wire devices and stacks easily. Scott Dauphinee, managing director of The Lobster Trap Company, said they’ve been working on designing and testing the traps over the last year and a half. LasTrap is the “Mercedes of lobster traps,” he said.”Lobster fishing gear has not really changed … the actual material used, in almost half a century,” Dauphinee said. click here to read the story 10:23

“There’s been an explosion of striped bass,” – VIDEO: Seafood diet of striped bass upsets Cape Breton fisherman

Believe it or not, Ray Briand wasn’t entirely surprised to find two lobsters stuffed inside a 72-centimetre-long striped bass he’d caught Wednesday night. That’s because the longtime Cape Breton fisherman believed his suspicions were confirmed. “They’re called wolves of the oceans for a reason,” said Briand, a Smelt Brook resident. “They fish in packs and they’re devastating our local fishing stocks. “There’s nothing left in our harbours except bass. Now we’re wondering if they’re going to damage our lobster industry; that’s what we’re really worried about.” Video, click here to read the story 12:19

Fishing industry group says it’s looking for ways to prevent Atlantic right whale entanglements

The fishing industry says it’s looking for a solution to help prevent North Atlantic right whales from enduring painful, and sometimes deadly, entanglements with fishing gear. The Maritime Fishermen’s Union says a longer snow crab fishing season and an unprecedented number of right whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence created a “perfect storm” this year for a massive die-off.,,, “Our association is being proactive with this issue and there are some consultations that will be going forward with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans as soon as early November,” click here to read the story 15:24