Category Archives: Canada

TSB Canada reiterates recommendation to require all fishing vessels have anti-exposure worksuits or survival suits

The federal agency responsible for investigating boating accidents reiterated this week a warning that many small fishing vessels are permitted to operate in cold waters without anti-exposure worksuits or survival suits. In March, 2016, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada noted that the federal government was proposing to change the Small Fishing Vessels Inspection Regulations to require immersion suits for fishing vessels on unlimited voyages. TSB suggested at the time that proposed changes would also mandate immersion suits for vessels more than 12 metres of length operating within 25 nautical miles from shore, if the water temperature is less than 15 degrees Celsius. continue reading the article here 11:41

Federal government protects overabundant grey seal population over fish stocks

MONCTON, NB – Fish harvesters attending the Gulf Groundfish Advisory Committee this week in Moncton are expressing their frustrations and disbelief over the federal government’s refusal to protect groundfish stocks by controlling the grey seal population. Many species of groundfish will be unable to adequately recover without proper management of the grey seal population. The effect of grey seals on fish populations has been confirmed by scientists, yet the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has not taken adequate action to address this problem. An increased harvest of grey seals would aid in allowing groundfish species to rebound, thereby creating new economic opportunities for thousands of families in Eastern Canada. continue reading the press release here 09:08

FISH-NL calls on Ottawa to reserve northern shrimp quota for inshore fleet in light of expected dramatic cuts

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is calling for an immediate halt to the fishing of northern shrimp by factory-freezer offshore trawlers in waters off Newfoundland’s northeast coast and southern Labrador until stocks rebound. “Priority must be given to the inshore harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador — the economic pillars of our rural communities adjacent to the northern shrimp resource,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “The inshore fleet is totally reliant on SFA 6.” continue reading the press release here 08:46

The cod are coming back to Newfoundland — and they’re eating the shrimp that had taken over

Theodore Genge has a big beautiful new dragger that’ll be ready to head for “the Labrador” as soon as the sea ice loosens its grip on Anchor Point. When the 63-year-old Newfoundland fisherman began building the $2.2 million trawler two years ago he had 750,000 pounds worth of shrimp quota to catch. But plummeting shrimp numbers in the cold water off Labrador have led Fisheries and Oceans Canada to drastically carve into quotas for that coast. Genge expects that by April he’ll be left with a total of 300,000 lbs of quotas — 220,000 lbs in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, where there is still plenty of shrimp, and 80,000 lbs on the Labrador coast. “Right now, yes, it’s pretty stressful – I don’t know whether there’s any hope or no,” said Genge. (Big read!) continue reading the article here 16:25

Steveston Harbour Authority floats its mojo with new fish sales dock

A new, expanded public fish sales dock in Steveston is set to open within the next month, restoring a balance between the village’s historic, industrial roots and present-day forces of gentrification.  “Steveston was built on fishing and it’s been a fishing town for so many years; the (dock) is quite a focal point for the harbour; it’s industry interacting with the public; it’s an experience for locals and people from all over the Lower Mainland ­— all over the world actually. So, it’s a unique showpiece,” said Bob Baziuk, general manager of Steveston Harbour Authority (SHA). The new concrete dock is a 25 per cent expansion of the old wooden one, which fell into disrepair since its 1989 opening. In May 2015, the federal government provided $14 million for harbour upgrades. Along with the new public fish sales dock, the harbour also replaced two other nearby docks, built a new fish auction wharf and dredged Steveston Channel. continue reading the story here 16:08

Proud Nova Scotian fishing trawler abandoned amid mysterious claims

It’s embarrassing for an old Nova Scotian fishing ship: tied up, gutted, disappeared in the night, denied port and now anchorless, run aground and abandoned in full view of vacationers at a white-sand Caribbean resort. The ship — once called the Esther Boyd and later the Cape Chidley during her proud days as a trawler — went out of service about 15 years ago. Now labelled the Yacht Hop, the ship spent a decade tied to the wharf in Lunenburg, until, in 2014, captain Joe Outred came to town, promising big things for her. “Everybody in town helped Joe, because he was going to do these mega-projects and give the boat a new life,” said Peter Richardson, who lived in Lunenburg for 15 years and now runs Peggy’s Cove Boat Tours. “Alan Altass, he’s a marine consultant, he appraises vessels. These old vessels down in Lunenburg — whenever one comes up for sale, they hire Alan as the go-to guy. Alan was running around, helping this guy, lending him his car, running here, running there for him. “And then the guy skipped out of town,” he said. continue reading the story here 12:39

Gov. Paul LePage: US should take on EU-Canada lobster tariff plan

Maine’s governor says the U.S. should challenge a European Union plan to lift tariffs on Canadian lobster. Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican, says the tariff deal would put Maine lobsters at a “significant disadvantage” to Canada. He made the comments during an appearance on WVOM-FM on Tuesday. American lobster wholesalers and retailers are concerned about the possibility of a tariff change, in part because the exchange rate already favors Canada. The EU imported more than $150 million in lobster from the U.S. last year. LePage says it’s time to go to Washington and “instill in them how serious this is.” He says he intends to use his connections with the Trump administration to push the issue. Link 09:17

Stakeholders hope for more input, more preparedness for potential cod fishery

When it comes to a rebuilding plan for the northern cod stocks, the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW) union wants the government to remember why it’s important to plan for the longevity for the groundfish off the province’s northeast coasts. “That fishery and the way it was, was the lifeblood of many, many communities around rural Newfoundland and Labrador,” FFAW secretary treasurer Dave Decker says. “It’s important that as we are rebuilding that stock … we keep focus on why we’re rebuilding fisheries and it’s to rejuvenate the same communities. Decker took comfort that towns and harvesters affected by a cod moratorium that will celebrate a 25-year anniversary this year weren’t forgotten in a standing committee on fisheries and oceans report tabled in the House of Commons Monday. Ken McDonald, Member of Parliament for Avalon, who initially motioned for the study last February, is hopeful that investments into DFO last year to create 135 new jobs for research scientists following years of cutbacks will help facilitate those assessments.  continue reading the article here 22:15

Fisheries committee calls for ‘rebuilding plan,’ information sharing on northern cod stocks

The once-mighty northern cod stock off Newfoundland needs an immediate “rebuilding plan,” according to the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans. The federal committee on the fishery also chastised the Department of Fisheries and Oceans for not yet establishing a fully-developed rebuilding strategy, almost 25 years after the commercial cod moratorium. In a report released Monday, the committee wrote it was “astonished” to learn that DFO had not yet fully implemented recommendations from a 2011 report, which called on DFO to set reference points for the stock. The committee cited expert opinion that warned without a plan, the stock was doomed to perpetual underperformance. While the committee did write that work was underway, it called on DFO to “immediately” create a plan, which should restrict fishing of northern cod until the stock leaves the critical zone, and manage availability of prey like capelin. continue reading the story here 12:15

FISH-NL calls on Ottawa to reopen seal hunt by March 25th

Monday, March 20th, 2017 The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is calling on Ottawa to reopen by March 25th the harp and hood seal hunt to all harvesters and all fleets in Newfoundland and Labrador. The federal government closed the hunt on March 15th to allow time for seal whelping and nursing, which will be all but wrapped up by the 25th. Sealers want to harvest the older seals then for their meat and high fat content (although the entire animal is utilized), but as more times passes, the animals lose their weight. Read the press release here, and support the seal hunt! 22:37

Engine failure on big scallop trawler investigated by TSB

Canada’s Transportation Safety Board expects to complete its preliminary investigation by Tuesday into an engine failure last week on board the scallop dragger Atlantic Destiny. The TSB dispatched two investigators from Quebec and two from its Ottawa laboratory to Shelburne, N.S., where the 43-metre long vessel was towed after a mechanical failure caused the ship to lose power. According to a timeline provided by Transport Canada spokesperson Stephen Bornais, the Atlantic Destiny lost main engine power 200 kilometres south of Yarmouth on the night of March 14. Clearwater scallop trawler Atlantic Preserver came to her aid and began towing her to Shelburne harbour the next day. Investigators boarded the vessel on March 18, examined the engine room and interviewed crew and witnesses, TSB said Monday. continue reading the story here 18:12

Atlantic fishermen groups want more time to adapt to new vessel safety rules

Fishery organizations in Atlantic Canada say they are frustrated with the rollout of new federal fishing-vessel safety regulations scheduled to take effect in July, but Ottawa says they’re being given sufficient time to comply.Representatives from a number of regional and national groups walked out of a meeting with Transport Canada Officials on Thursday in Halifax when they didn’t get the answers they were hoping for. Sharon Walsh, executive director of the Newfoundland and Labrador Fish Harvesting Safety Association, says the groups are looking for a phase-in period to help fishermen and companies be compliant — but federal officials have not been receptive to the idea. continue reading the story here 13:51

A quarter-million salmon died in their Bay of Fundy pens last summer during a sea lice outbreak

Documents filed with New Brunswick’s Court of Queen’s Bench reveal an environmental disaster was only narrowly averted last summer in the Bay of Fundy. The incident is tied to an outbreak of sea lice at aquaculture sites managed by the Gray Group, which had slipped into receivership owing millions of dollars to creditors. More than 250,000 salmon died from the fast-growing infestation before contractors managed to gain the upper hand. An additional 284,000 salmon were pre-emptively killed to contain the spread. The documents describe a race against the clock as Kinsman tried to convince insurers that more than 500,000 fish at Hospital Island and a nearby site at Hog Island needed to be killed to prevent the spread of the infestation to other areas. continue reading the story here 09:35

Trade Deals: Maine Lobster industry fears lost sales from ramped-up Canadian exports

A new trade deal looming between Canada and the European Union is setting off alarm bells in the Maine lobster industry. The deal between Canada and the EU – the largest seafood consumer market in the world – would eliminate tariffs on Canadian lobster exports into Europe and give the Maritimes a competitive advantage over their American counterparts, who would be stuck selling lobsters with tariffs ranging from 8 percent for a live lobster to 20 percent on processed or cooked lobster. A weak Canadian dollar, which is now valued at about 75 percent of a U.S. dollar, will only make Canadian lobster that much more attractive to importers in the 28 member nations of the European Union, which is the second biggest importer of American lobsters, second only to Canada, according to trade data. In 2016, the EU imported $152 million worth of lobsters from the U.S., most of it from Maine. continue reading the story here 08:07

The elephant on the wharf – ‘Salt-water mafia’ term coined for a reason

I wish to reply to Russell Wangersky’s March 11th column (“FISH-NL goes cap in hand”) by stating for the record that the characterization of the FFAW as the “salt-water mafia” wasn’t my turn of phrase, but that of inshore harvesters. Indeed, the phrase is so common by the water these days that I’m surprised the salt-water mafia hasn’t challenged harvesters for calling them the FFAW. The way Wangersky sees it, by referring to the salt-water mafia as the FFAW (my apologies, can’t keep it straight), I’m actually “saying that the FFAW is an organized criminal enterprise” that’s been “implicated in everything from drug running to prostitution to murder.” That’s not true. The word “mafia” is defined as a “closed group of people in a particular field (or body of water), having controlling influence,” which, to most harvesters’ line of thinking, sums up the FFAW. Read the Ryan Cleary op-ed here 10:27

Transport Canada: One year ‘sufficient time’ for fishermen to grasp new Fishing Vessel Safety Regulations

Transport Canada says it is giving fishermen “sufficient time” to prepare for new safety regulations coming into force this summer. The Fishing Vessel Safety Regulations were announced on July 13, 2016, and come into effect July 13, 2017. “This one-year period was to allow owners of fishing vessels sufficient time to familiarize themselves and get up-to-date with the new requirements,” Transport Canada said in an email to CBC P.E.I. The response came after representatives from 15 fishing organizations representing more than 20,000 fish harvesters walked out of a meeting in Halifax on Thursday with Transport Canada. Transport Canada said the objectives of the new regulations are to reduce fatalities, injuries and loss or damage to vessels in the commercial fishing industry. continue reading the story here 08:24

Fukushima radiation not cause for alarm in US

Radiation from the Fukushima nuclear reactor disaster in Japan has reached North American shores, but — despite a number of reports shared on social media— scientists say the levels of radiation are so low that it poses no risk to public health. Late last year, researchers announced that Cesium-134 was discovered in waters off the coast of Oregon and in one sockeye salmon in a British Columbia lake.  The news reports have been used as the basis for viral stories about the radiation. One story from alternativemediasyndicate.com carried the headline: “Fukushima Radiation: Your Days of Eating Pacific Ocean Fish Are Over, Or Worse.” Another story from organicandhealthy.org labeled the discovery of the salmon as “bad news for everyone” and described the U.S. West Coast as “contaminated.” Ken Buesseler, a senior scientist at Massachusetts’ Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, has traveled to Japan numerous times since 2011 to study the Fukushima disaster’s effect on seawater. continue reading the story here 18:19

Fisheries Minister Steve Crocker DFO should listen to harvesters seeing different catch rates than DFO scientists

Not all Newfoundland and Labrador fish harvesters are witnessing such a dramatic decline in shellfish stocks, according to provincial Fisheries Minister Steve Crocker, who said the federal government should listen to local fishermen when deciding upcoming quotas. Local fish harvesters are seeing catch rates that don’t match up with the analysis produced by DFO scientists, according to Crocker. That analysis showed major declines in shrimp and snow crab biomass, and hinted at a dire situation for fish harvesters who rely on those stocks to make a living. Crocker said he would be speaking to federal Fisheries Minister Dominic Leblanc this week, and would urge him to listen to local fish harvesters. Read the story here 10:08

Man vs. mammal, commercial herring fisherman films sea lion feeding frenzy

It’s the age old fight over who gets the fish, man or sea lion. For commercial fisherman Allan Marsden, he’s fed up with the burgeoning sea lion population along the B.C. coast impeding his ability to do his job. Roe herring are fished for their eggs and the fishery takes place as the herring gather to spawn. The window is short — late February to early March — for fishermen to make their quota and Marsden says this year they were unable to make their targets. Marsden puts a lot of the onus on the sea lions. “The sea lions keep the herring down so we can’t get at them. They just make it virtually impossible to put the gear in the water sometimes,” Marsden explains. Video, read the story here 19:05

The production value of Newfoundland and Labrador’s seafood industry reached another record high in 2016.

It totalled over $1.4 billion last year, an increase of 8.9 per cent over 2015. Fisheries and Land Resources Minister Steve Crocker announced the release of the 2016 Seafood Industry Year in Review today in the House of Assembly, ahead of his trip to Boston with Premier Dwight Ball for Seafood Expo North America 2017 on Sunday. “We will be accompanying our world-class seafood marketing team and the Newfoundland and Labrador delegation to join the 1,200 companies, and over 21,000 buyers, suppliers, media and other seafood professionals at North America’s largest seafood trade event,” Crocker said. Other highlights of the report include: aquaculture production, employment, value of landings,  shellfish,  lobster, groundfish, seal hunt,  Read the article here, and click here for the full report 08:56

“They (seals) are destroying the crab stocks.” – Bearded seal harvested with a belly full of snow crab in Green Bay

Baie Verte native Danny Dicks recently harvested a bearded seal (square flipper seal) with 181 identifiable female and two male crabs in its stomach. The seal weighed between 200-300 pounds and measured approximately seven feet long. The Pilot spoke with Danny’s brother, Deon about the seal and what it was eating. “Bearded seals are not as common as the harp seals that are usually harvested,” Deon said. “They are much larger and can dive down in the deep water for crab and I’ve even seen them with rocks in their bellies.” “The females are needed to produce,” Deon said. “They (seals) are destroying the crab stocks.” Link 15:21

4 men charged in $1M Canada Day lobster heist

Four men have been charged in the theft of $1 million worth of lobster in northern New Brunswick company on Canada Day, say RCMP. Police believe the lobster theft is connected to a larger crime ring targeting cargo shipments in Quebec and New Brunswick, Cpl. Alice Desroches said in a news release on Tuesday. On July 1, a transport truck was stolen from Eco-Technologies Ltd. in Caraquet, N.B., said Desroches. The truck was then used to steal a refrigerated unit filled with frozen lobster from LeBreton and Sons Fisheries Ltd. in Grand-Anse, N.B., she said. continue reading the story here 10:27

Fishery fund ‘biggest sellout’: Paul Davis says Ball government gave up $300M

The Progressive Conservatives are calling an Atlantic fisheries fund that will direct $100-million to Newfoundland and Labrador a sellout. “It’s the biggest sellout in the history of the fishery,” said Opposition Leader Paul Davis who went on the attack in question period in the House of Assembly Tuesday. “This is nothing but a sellout to the federal government.” Davis complained that, in the fund announced Friday, the province settled for a fraction of what was contemplated under a trade agreement between Canada and Europe [CETA]. That $400-million dollar fund would have included $280 million from Ottawa, with the rest coming from the province. The money was demanded by the province as the CETA took shape in 2013 to compensate for giving up minimum processing requirements. read the story here 20:00

Commercial sockeye fishery faces closure on North Coast

If the Department of Fisheries and Oceans were using a Magic 8 Ball to determine the future of sockeye salmon fishery in the Skeena the answer would be — Outlook Not So Good. Early forecasts for sockeye salmon are poor and there is a possibility there won’t be a commercial fishery for the year. “We’re facing a really challenging year,” said Colin Masson, DFO’s area director for the North Coast. The forecasts are based on the sockeye that went to sea in 2014 and 2015, as well as the number of sockeye jacks, the premature fish who return a year early. Both indicators suggest the outlook is not good. For DFO to plan commercial fisheries, the total return of sockeye has to be greater than 1.05 million. continue reading the story here 10:50

Shrimp fishermen facing catch crisis

Shrimp fishermen in parts of  northern Norway are reporting their worst winter ever, with catches down by  between  50 and 75 per cent. Some say that if the situation continues they may be forced to sell their vessels and turn to  something new. It is not just Norway which has problems. Some areas on the north east coast of Canada are also reporting a sharp decline in shrimp stocks. One prawn fisherman Lynne Prudence Sjåvik , based in Helgeand region, told the northern office of the state broadcaster NRK  that for every year that passes the situation just seems to he get worse. Read the rest of the story here 11:25

Newfoundland Hammered with Hurricane-Force Winds – 13,500 still in dark in N.L. as crews work to restore power

More than 24 hours after hurricane-force winds buffeted Newfoundland, crews are continuing efforts to restore power, with about 13,500 customers still without electricity. Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro issued a power warning noon Sunday, asking customers on the Avalon Peninsula to conserve energy to avoid straining the system as more people have their power restored. Holyrood’s Unit 1 was being brought back online slowly Sunday afternoon, delayed because of salt left on equipment left by the storm. One of the customers without power is the St. John’s airport, which is operating on backup power. Desk agents at the airport are wearing parkas because of the lack of heat and baggage carousels are out of service. Environment Canada says the wind gusts should diminish later Sunday morning, after extreme winds wreaked havoc, smashing windows and ripping apart homes. Photos, read the story here 16:52

In search of silver: B.C. roe-herring fishery carries risks and rewards

Off Nanoose Bay — The Denman Isle is in stealth mode, dark except for a spotlight off the bow.  Skipper Barry Curic sits in the dim wheelhouse of the 21-metre steel seine vessel, watching intently as a band of red shows up on his sonar screen. The sonar is scanning the waters 300 metres ahead at a 12-degree tilt in search of silver — dense schools of herring loaded with roe exclusively for the Japanese markets. Herring stay deep during the day to avoid predators and come closer to the surface at night to feed on krill. Curic doesn’t want to scare them back into the inky depths. “Stand by,” he tells the other five crewmen. As the boat approaches its prey, the red colour also appears on his depth sounder, meaning the herring are now directly below us. It’s time to strike. Curic rises from his chair and announces: “OK, guys. Let’s try it.” continue reading the story here 08:38

Labour Relations Board orders release of FFAW/ASP lists of inshore harvesters

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is pleased with the latest order of the province’s Labour Relations Board regarding the release of membership lists of commercial inshore harvesters. After hearing arguments on Friday morning, by late Friday afternoon the board ordered the FFAW to turn over its list of commercial inshore harvesters who were members of the FFAW between Jan. 1, 2015 and Dec. 30, 2016 to its investigating officer. The Board also ordered ASP (the Association of Seafood Producers) to hand over its list of inshore harvesters on whose behalf members of the association collected and remitted FFAW union dues between Jan. 1, 2015 to Dec. 30, 2016 to its investigating officer. Read the press release here 10:22

Canada’s trade minister promises Brits cut-price lobster and maple syrup if free trade deal follows Brexit

Francois Philippe Champagne said he hoped the UK copied the free trade deal agreed between his country and the EU when it strikes out alone. And he revealed he had met Trade Secretary Liam Fox three times to discuss future relationships. He said a deal would mean “more and better choice for consumers”. He said: “A company in Wales is importing maple syrup from Canada and paying an 8 per cent import duty.” “That duty would go down to 0 per cent if there is a free trade deal. “If you’re in the UK and love Canadian lobster, you have an import duty of up to 25 percent today. “On day one that would go down to zero.” Link 09:06

Atlantic Fisheries Fund: Atlantic Canada fish and seafood sector nets $325M from Ottawa

The funding, called the Atlantic Fisheries Fund, was announced Friday by Fisheries, Oceans and Canadian Coast Guard Minister Dominic LeBlanc. According to a release, the fund has a focus “to drive innovation” in the sector. In 2015, the landed value for Canada’s Atlantic commercial fisheries was $2.8 billion. “The numbers speak for themselves,” LeBlanc told reporters, adding 58,000 people in Atlantic Canada are employed in the fishing industry. The government will work with the Atlantic provinces to determine how the fund will work. LeBlanc said the money would be available to all Atlantic provinces to be used in the ways they need. Read the rest of the story here 12:12  $100M for N.L. in new fisheries innovation fund; CETA fund dead Read the story here 17:30

Not what I’m seeing: Crab fisherman thinks stock healthier than scientists say

Port de Grave snow crab fisherman says he’s baffled by a bleak stock assessment recently released by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. While federal scientists said there has been a whopping 40 per cent decline in the amount of harvestable crab off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador, Dwight Petten says that doesn’t match what he is seeing on the water. Petten, 51, has been fishing for a quarter century. He and his 27-year-old son own two boats, employ six people and have a 500,000-pound quota which they caught easily in 2016. “We found catch rates the best we’ve ever had, so we’re not seeing what the scientists is saying is happening,” he told the St. John’s Morning Show. Petten, who fishes in Area 3L, from Bonavista to Cape Race, said he is seeing lots of healthy crab, despite the assertion by scientists that there are few small crab to replace the mature stock. continue reading the story here 07:51

Fishing fatality prompts call for safer vessels, full investigation

The brother of the 51-year-old fisherman from Alert Bay who died when the Miss Cory capsized is calling for safety improvements to the industry. Mel Rocchio was in the engine room when the vessel took less than 15 seconds to capsize Monday afternoon after listing in calm waters near Comox, off Cape Lazo. It was the first day of the commercial seine roe-herring fishery in the Strait of Georgia. Four other crew members survived. Rocchio’s brother, Jim, also a veteran of the commercial fishing industry, said a 19.5-metre-long boat doesn’t sink that fast unless there are “catastrophic failures.” He said he wants to see a full investigation into his brother’s death. “If anything, we need to learn from this,” he said. “I really feel in my heart that no one else should have to go through this. Identify the problem and correct it so other people don’t lose a brother, or uncle or grandfather.” continue reading the story here 10:54

Department of Fisheries and Oceans considers making on-board cameras a must in N.S., P.E.I. tuna fishery

Canada’s DFO is considering making onboard surveillance cameras mandatory in the tuna fishery in northern Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Next week DFO will release to industry its review of a two-year pilot project that saw cameras installed — starting in 2015 — for the first time in a commercial fishery in Atlantic Canada. The rear-facing cameras are aimed only at fishing activity. The department, which collects and reviews the data, says it may move to full implementation in the Gulf region for the commercial and charter boat catch-and-release bluefin tuna fishery in 2017. “This fishery has seen an increase in reports of non-compliance in recent years,” says a July 2016 briefing note prepared for the federal fisheries minister. More fallout from Operation Hook Up,,, continue reading the story here 10:17

Search and Rescue crew describes dramatic rescue of five fishermen

He was battered and sent flying by huge waves — and the first man to rappel down from a search and rescue helicopter northeast of St. John’s Sunday wondered how he was going to pull the mission off. Crew aboard the 103 Search and Rescue Squadron Cormorant helicopter managed to pull five sealers out of the Atlantic Ocean on Sunday, battling high waves and winds. “I would get smashed by the wave, and then the cable would go taunt, and I’d come flying out of it, all while trying to get close to the man that was in the water,” said Sgt. Damien Robison, the first technician to go over the side of the helicopter, trying to hoist up the five sealers. continue reading the story here 11:09

Cod Found Once Again in Cold Ocean Waters off New York Harbor

Over the last several years, one fish in particular has been making a slow, but steady comeback in the offshore environment of the northwestern North Atlantic. It was a fish that was so plentiful at one time that it filled the cold waters of New England’s rocky coastline, so much so that early Europeans named a large peninsula in Massachusetts after the fish. Cod, as declared by both the Boston Globe and the New Scientist, are making a comeback, after decades of strict government regulations. Last year, the Boston Globe wrote that the Canadian fishing authorities released a report in spring 2016 suggesting “cod are finally making a comeback….The report found that the adult population of northern cod had more than doubled in size over the past three years, and it estimates that the spawning stock will double again within the next three years — bringing it two-thirds of the way back to a healthy fishery.” It’s not just in New England and Canada either. Nearby recreational fisherman out of New York City and along Long Island to Montauk and down the Jersey Shore to Point Pleasant for the last several years have been finding more cod while angling out in the ocean during winter or early spring cod fishing trips. Read the article here 08:46

Updated: Man feared dead in B.C. capsizing identified as ‘loving husband, brother, uncle’

Investigators spent the day searching for answers after a herring boat flipped and capsized near Comox, while one crew member remained missing and was presumed drowned. Alert Bay resident Mel Rocchio, 51, was on the vessel “Miss Cory” fishing for herring near Cape Lazo, about three nautical miles northeast of Comox, with four other crew members. Just before 4 p.m. the boat flipped, tossing four crew members into the ocean while Rocchio was trapped in the engine room, according to his brother Jim. “They had a really big set. The boat was listing and Mel went down into the engine room to turn the pumps on, and while he was down there the boat rolled over,” he said. continue reading the story here 08:17 From another article – Rocchio had been fishing out of the Campbell River Fisherman’s Wharf for about 15 years, according to Phyllis Titus, manager of the Campbell River Harbour Authority. Some in the fishing industry would jokingly call him “Melfunction,” Titus said, but Rocchio was a jack of all trades: heavy equipment operator, mechanic, carpenter and hunter. “He was a fabulous man, one of the true gentlemen in the fishing industry,” she said. Read the story here 09:13

FISH-NL launches province-wide fundraising drive — Fish or cut bait

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Tuesday, March 7th, 2017 -The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is today launching a major fundraising drive — Fish or cut bait — to support the break-away union’s certification application before the Labour Relations Board. “Fish or cut bait is an appeal to inshore harvesters — to the entire province — that if you want change in the fishery it’s time to step up and put your money where you mouth is,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “We need all hands on deck.” Read the press release here 12:04:33

Oily sheen from B.C. fish farm diesel spill can’t be recovered: officials

An oily rainbow-like sheen on the water left by a diesel fuel spill off the north coast of Vancouver Island cannot be cleaned up, sparking concerns for a nearby First Nation that relies on clam digging for food and economic security. The thin layer of fuel, which covered a 5.5-kilometre radius at one point outside the salmon farm where the spill originated, has been deemed unrecoverable because it cannot be captured by skimmer vessels or sorbent materials, British Columbia’s Environment Ministry said. Fuel has made contact with some shorelines in the Burdwood Island group, a sensitive area teeming with clam beds that the Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation says are crucial to its economy. continue reading the story here 10:24

Rescued crew headed back to sea to retrieve vessel

Some members of the crew of the Northern Provider who were rescued Sunday morning are headed back to sea today to bring home their boat. The five sealers, who had left Carmanville in the vessel Feb. 27, ran into some dangerous stormy weather and were forced to call for help at about 150 nautical miles outside St. John’s. On Sunday, the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Halifax released a video of the dramatic rescue, which saw the men forced to jump into the freezing water one by one before being hoisted up into a helicopter. Cormorant and Hercules helicopters and two Coast Guard vessels attended the rescue. None of the sealers, who are from Summerford, New World Island, were seriously injured. link 08:49

Emergency crews responding to Burdwood Fish Farm diesel spill near northern Vancouver Island

Emergency crews are responding to a diesel spill at a fish farm near the northern tip of Vancouver Island. Early Sunday officials said at least 1,500 litres of diesel overflowed from the Burdwood Fish Farm in Echo Bay, B.C., northeast of Port McNeill. Farm crews reported the smell of diesel to Emergency Management B.C. just before 5 a.m. PT, according to an official report. Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) says the spill was caused by a diesel pump that was left on overnight. Shortly after 2 p.m., Courtney Bransfield, emergency program co-ordinator for the Mount Waddington Regional District, said all the recoverable diesel had been “contained to the farm’s fish pens” and absorbents to soak up the spill were in place. The company that owns the site, Cermaq Canada, issued a statement later on Sunday that the amount of diesel spilled was closer to 600 litres. continue reading the story here 09:41

Fisherman says scene like ‘The Perfect Storm’ before being hoisted to safety

One of five fishermen who were plucked from churning, windswept seas off Newfoundland says they weren’t sure they’d make it as their boat was battered by “a perfect storm.” Frank Brown was with four other crew aboard the Northern Provider when a vicious storm came on quickly Sunday about 150 nautical miles northeast of St. John’s. Brown says the scene was similar to the movie The Perfect Storm, “but with a better ending,” for the crew that had been at sea since Monday in search of seals. He says they ran into trouble coming home Sunday morning when winds suddenly gusting to 60 knots pushed swells up to 10 metres. A coast guard helicopter was dispatched after the crew sent out a distress call, but conditions were so rough they couldn’t be taken off the boat and had to jump in the water before they could be hoisted up to the chopper. The Northern Provider was abandoned in the high seas, and Coast guard vessels have been dispatched to see if it’s still afloat. Link 07:54

Search and Rescue,150NM NE St John’s NL,5 Mar 2017

Five fishermen have been rescued from a fishing boat in distress 150 miles northeast of St. John’s today 21:27

Bumper harvest as herring return to Strait of Georgia in great numbers

The commercial roe-herring fishery opened with a flourish over the weekend as the gillnet fleet took its share of what the federal government predicts to be “near-historic” returns to the Strait of Georgia. The height of the action took place just north of Parksville, where gillnetters unfurled their nets in choppy seas and high winds along the east coast of Vancouver Island. Curious onlookers lined the shoreline, some with cameras and others with sport-fishing rods. Gulls and sea lions patrolled for their own catch. Milt — the seminal fluid — released by the male herring gave the cobalt ocean waters an exotic milky-turquoise colour. “It’s like a big orgy in a hot tub,” offered Brad McLean, owner of French Creek Seafood, watching from his second-floor office window. “It’s pretty, if you don’t think of what it is.” continue reading the story here 20:18

Stormy weather puts fishing boat in distress, 5 people rescued northeast of St. John’s

Five people have been rescued from a fishing boat in distress 150 nautical miles northeast of St. John’s. A spokesperson for the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Halifax said the boat was in distress due to stormy weather in the area.  The JRCC said Sunday it had dispatched a Cormorant, Hercules and two Canadian Coast Guard vessels to the ship in the early morning. JRCC said all five people aboard were rescued by helicopter and taken to Gander.  No one was injured. Link 09:58

From wide open to closed: Nova Scotia Seafood Alliance seeks moratorium on new Nova Scotia plants

Nova Scotia’s seafood industry is seeking a moratorium on new plants and lobster pounds and wants the province to stop issuing new buyer and processor licences. Under the industry proposal, licences would also be transferable and could be sold. That would offer a windfall for current licence holders who at the moment must give them up when they exit the business. “We would like to see in the buying/processing sector a limited-entry system with transferability attached to it,” said Leo Muise of the Nova Scotia Seafood Alliance, an industry association that recently changed its name from Nova Scotia Fish Packers Association. The request was recently submitted to the Nova Scotia government as it reviews its seafood licensing regime. “We strongly feel there is enough capacity in the province right now and the commercial fish supply is limited to what’s in the ocean. We feel there is a nice balance right now and we would like to keep it at that level.” Read the story here 15:47

Editorial: Catch-22

Some problems aren’t meant to be solved — at least, not by us. Earlier this week, we ran an editorial (“Sea change,” March 1) about the declines in both the shrimp and crab biomass — and the inevitable problem that is going to create for both fish harvesters and for rural parts of this province that depend on fishing and processing either of those species. Simply put, those communities and workers don’t have options. Part of the editorial talked about the fact that cod are natural predators of shrimp and crab and recovering cod populations are, no pun intended, taking a bite out of those populations. (Warmer ocean temperatures, a product of increased global temperatures, also aren’t helping; higher temperatures are good for cod, but bad, for example, for shrimp.) The editorial said this: “(As) tragic as it sounds, the long-hoped-for return of the cod might be a big part of the problem — because shrimp and crab are prey for codfish.” In retrospect, “problem” might not have been the right word. continue reading the editorial here 09:32

‘A major concern’: Snow crab, shrimp assessments worry fisheries minister

The Newfoundland and Labrador minister of fisheries and natural resources has added his voice to those concerned about what the latest shrimp and snow crab assessments will mean for 2017 quotas. “What we’re hearing from harvesters is that they are concerned and this is a major concern of ours as well,” Steve Crocker said Thursday. “When you look at our shellfish industry, it provides thousands of jobs in our plants and we have thousands of harvesters who rely on these resources for their income.” The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans estimates the volume of crab available to be caught dropped 40 in one year, and shrimp stocks off the northeast coast of Newfoundland and southern Labrador are at their lowest level ever. Continue reading the story here 16:23

Some industry members fear confusion as Nova Scotia launches its own seafood brand

Nova Scotia’s decision to create its own seafood brand is getting mixed reviews, with praise from some exporters and a pan from one industry association concerned it could cause confusion in the marketplace. Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Keith Colwell unveiled the $150,000 branding effort Thursday at the Halifax airport cargo hangar where tonnes of live lobster are flown to Europe, Asia and the Middle East. “We realized sometime ago we have to have a unique brand for Nova Scotia,” Colwell said.,, The Halifax-based Lobster Council of Canada is not on board with the new brand. The council has spent years promoting the region’s exports as Canadian lobsters. “We believe  it will lead to confusion in the marketplace,” said executive director Geoff Irvine. “We would prefer Nova Scotia processors use the Canadian brand.” Read the story here 11:25

FISH-NL calls for independent, expert review of DFO in light of reported dramatic decline of key stocks

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is calling for an independent, external review of the management/science capabilities of the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans in relation to the reported dramatic decline of key stocks off Newfoundland and Labrador. “The picture right now for our harvesters is bleaker than the moratorium,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “When cod stocks collapsed in the early 1990s harvesters could turn to other species, but crab, shrimp and south coast cod are apparently in simultaneous free fall, if not outright collapse, and the common theme is DFO management.” continue reading the press release here 09:32

Potentially precedent setting fisheries case now in the hands of a Federal Court of Canada judge

A court case looming over Atlantic Canada’s inshore fisheries is now in the hands of a Federal Court of Canada judge. Justice Cecily Strickland reserved her decision Wednesday after two days of legal arguments in an Ottawa courtroom that centred on whether the minister of fisheries has the power to manage the fishery for social and economic objectives outside of fish conservation. Labrador fisherman Kirby Elson is appealing a 2015 decision by the minister to take away his snow crab licence because he refused to exit a controlling agreement with two fish processors, one that allowed them to control the licence and the wealth it generated. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans says such agreements are an end run around its policies that individual fishermen — not corporations — are the beneficiaries of inshore licences. continue reading the story here  12:09

Port Mouton fisherman thinks organized theft ring at work

Donaldson Fisher named his lobster boat “Positive Thinking”, but there weren’t many positive thoughts on his mind last month when he came to Port Mouton wharf to find 300 pounds of his lobster stolen. Fisher is one of three fishermen who had a total of 9,000 pounds of lobster stolen off wharves in Queens last month. A second victim in Port Mouton was Fisher’s brother, and he too had 300 pounds stolen. “We came in that night, put them overboard, because we put them overboard to wait for the higher price, you know this time of year the price keeps going up,” he says. The price currently for lobster is $9.75 a pound. “The next day a fella came up there and saw the cages to the wharf, I checked, my lobsters were stolen that quick.” continue reading the story here 10:15

Editorial: Sea change

You might see it at Prosser’s Rock, or in Ochre Pit Cove, or Twillingate. You might see at any one of scores of small ports and wharfs all over the province; sometimes smaller boats, sometimes larger, steaming to port with big loads of snow crab. For years, it has been the high-value backbone of the new fishery: after the failure of the cod fishery, the crab fishery was the big-ticket savior. Sure, there were fewer fish harvesters involved; there were fewer licences than cod, and the bounty wasn’t split among so many. But there were jobs for rural Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, those fishing crab and another valuable species, shrimp, and processing them for market. But the news has turned bad. Batten down the hatches. A rural storm is coming.  continue reading the Op-ed here 07:57

Furuno’s new Multi-Beam Sonar

Furuno is proud to announce that it is bringing side-scanning capabilities to its flagship NavNetTZtouch and TZtouch2 MFDs with its latest network sensor called the DFF3D. This multi-beam Sonar takes the highly-desired capability to scan port to starboard under the vessel and adds Furuno’s commercial fisheries spin on it. This deep-water Sonar delivers a sidebar detection range of an unprecedented 650+ feet, while being able to see down to over 1,000 feet. The DFF3D utilizes a new, compact multi-beam transducer, along with Furuno’s own advanced signal processing, to produce eye-popping images that will help you find and track fish. The transducer and fairing block is only 14 inches long, which makes this a perfect fit for boats of all sizes. To top it off, the transducer features a built-in motion sensor, which keeps the images stable, even in rough seas. continue reading the article here 13:18

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 82ft Steel Dragger, 3412 Caterpillar

Specifications, information and 33 photo’s click here To see all the boats in this series, Click here 12:32

Labrador fisherman’s lawyers fight to keep his “controlling” agreement with fish processor

A lawyer for a Labrador snow crab fisherman who had his fishing licence stripped by the federal minister of fisheries said the minister had no authority to do so. Kirby Elson, 62, lost his licence in 2015 because he refused to exit a controlling agreement with two Newfoundland and Labrador fish companies that gave total control of the licence and its wealth to the companies. Byron Shaw, one of Elson’s lawyers, argued Tuesday the minister of fisheries has no authority to interfere in a contract that transfers wealth between a harvester and a third party. He said the policy the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) is enforcing has nothing to do with the management of fish stocks. The case opened Tuesday at the Federal Court of Canada and is expected to last two days. continue reading the story here Stakes of inshore fisheries case are ‘absolutely massive,’ says observer, Why people are watching this case? continue reading the story here 08:04

Prince Edward Island Fishermen’s Association names Bobby Jenkins new president

The new president of the Prince Edward Island Fishermen’s Association is entrusting the decision-making responsibilities of the 1,280-member organization in the hands of his board of directors. “You’ve got to work with your board of directors and take your direction from them,” Annandale fisherman Bobby Jenkins said Monday following his weekend election. He takes over from Craig Avery who did not re-offer following two and a half years at the helm. “I congratulated Craig for doing the same thing. I felt Craig took great direction from the board, and I said I don’t intend to do it any differently,” Jenkins said in reference to comments he made to membership during the association’s annual meeting. continue reading the story here 15:35

Next Labour Relations Board hearing on fight between FFAW and FISH-NL set for Thursday

The Labour Relations Board has another hearing scheduled this week in the ongoing battle to represent inshore fish harvesters in the province. Last week, the board ruled the Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is indeed a legitimate organization after the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW-Unifor) union had challenged the legality of the group. The board will next decide on whether or not FFAW-Unifor’s membership list of inshore harvesters should be made available to FISH-NL. The number of inshore harvesters is vital in determining whether FISH-NL’s submission of 2,352 signed membership cards meets the 50 per cent required to force a vote by the board to determine who will represent the fishers. Ryan Cleary is urging all harvesters to attend the Thursday hearing.  Link 14:52

Latest DFO stock assessment unveils a poor outlook for snow crab

It’s not a pretty picture. In a technical briefing Monday, Darrell Mullowney, lead scientist for snow crab in the NL region for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) said the latest stock assessment on snow crab in the Newfoundland and Labrador region shows an overall 40 per cent decline in exploitable biomass from 2015-16. Since 2013, the decline of exploitable biomass has been 80 per cent. Exploitable biomass refers to the crab that are adult, and of legal size — a shell size greater than 95 mm — for commercial fishing. The DFO numbers come from their own trawl surveys — one in fishing zones off the south coast each spring, and the other in northern fishing areas in the fall — as well as from reports from observers on commercial fishing vessels, the log books of the crab fishing fleets, and trap surveys conducted by DFO in inshore areas. The decline in crab stocks, explained Mullowney, is due to two major factors: warming water temperatures and groundfish. continue reading the story here 11:04

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