Category Archives: Canada

Canadian Space Agency to use satellite data to track North Atlantic right whales

The Canadian Space Agency is harnessing satellite technology to monitor and protect endangered North Atlantic right whales in the country’s waters. The agency said Tuesday it will lead a $5.3-million project funded by the federal government called smartWhales, which will use satellites to detect the presence of right whales and to predict the animals’ movements. Canada is giving a total of $5.3 million over three years to five companies for a series of projects to help protect the endangered species. One of the projects will involve a system that can rapidly provide location data and detect if the whales are approaching a fishing vessel. >click to read< 18:05

Wife of St. Lawrence fisherman killed at sea in May says recovery system ‘badly broken’

A lobby group demanding improved search and rescue oversight in Newfoundland and Labrador wants a say in the newly-launched provincial inquiry on the matter,,, Concerned Citizens for Search and Rescue, led by Merv Wiseman and founded in August, wants to shape the terms of reference for the inquiry into ground search and rescue services, launched Jan. 14 nine years after the death of its catalyst, Burton Winters. “There’s no oversight for search and rescue,” said Wiseman at a press conference Monday. The group also wants official standing at that inquiry, Melissa Mayo-Norman lost her husband, Scott, last year when a four-man crew was lost on a fishing vessel off St. Lawrence. She sat beside Wiseman and voiced her support for the group’s efforts. >click to read< 08:42

Georges Bank haddock – Canada, U.S. agree to slash quota by 45%

Canada and the United States have agreed to a large quota cut for the haddock stock that straddles their shared fishing grounds on Georges Bank south of Nova Scotia. Committee records from 2019 and 2020 show the Georges Bank haddock population is still healthy, but on the decline as the “extraordinarily strong” population hatched in 2013 is caught or dies off. COVID-19 curtailed or cancelled scientific surveys on Georges Bank in 2020. “We have no analytical model on haddock, had no U.S. surveys,,, >click to read< 21:05

Premium Brands and Mi’kmaq First Nations Coalition Announce Acquisition Completion of Clearwater Seafoods Inc.

“We are very excited to have a world class seafood company like Clearwater join our ecosystem.,,, said George Paleologou, President and CEO of Premium Brands. “We are also very pleased to be partnering with the Membertou, Miawpukek, Sipekne’katik, We’koqma’q, Potlotek, Pictou Landing and Paqtnkek communities. “This is a significant achievement for the Mi’kmaq,” said Chief Terry Paul, Membertou First Nation. “Mi’kmaq not only become 50% owners of the company but expect to hold Clearwater’s Canadian fishing licences within a fully Mi’kmaq owned partnership. >click to read< 09:23

Unlocking the secrets of rogue waves

Captain Cody VanBuskirk and the crew of the No Excuses were ten days into a sword fishing trip south of Sable Island. Despite the forecast for 40 knot winds that led them to take the evening off fishing, it wasn’t rough. Then a wave significantly larger than any of the others smashed into the boat’s side, rolled her on her beam, caved in the wheelhouse windows.,,, Twenty-six years ago a mathematician probably wouldn’t have believed VanBuskirk’s claim he’d been hit by a rogue wave. They were the stuff of mariners’ tales, not far removed from Davey Jones’ locker. They didn’t make sense on paper so they probably didn’t exist. >click to read< 16:20

Enviros sue for North Atlantic Right Whale protections from ship strikes

Four conservation groups filed an injunction in a Washington, D.C., court last week asking the National Marine Fisheries Service to expand its efforts to protect right whales and their calves from being hit by ships. Although entanglement in fishing lines gets a lot of headlines, ship strikes have emerged as a prime killer of the right whales, whose numbers have dropped from a peak of 481 in 2011 to 356 this year. Eleven calves, including two that were spotted Wednesday off Amelia Island, Florida, so far this calving season are not accounted for in that estimate. >click to read< 09:50

F/V Chief William Saulis: Royal Canadian Mounted Police end search for missing crew on sunken scallop dragger

More than a month after the crew of a scallop dragger from Nova Scotia disappeared on the Bay of Fundy, the RCMP are calling off their search for the five men suspected of going down with the vessel, citing “significant” risk to the lives of divers. The RCMP said at the time that their crews were not equipped to dive to the necessary depths to look inside, but they said they were studying their options. On Saturday, they announced in a news release that those options had been exhausted. >click to read< The RCMP is calling off its search for the Chief Willian Saulis>click to read< 11:43

At two-day virtual conference, B.C. commercial salmon fishermen discuss cures for an industry on the brink

The United Fishermen And Allied Workers’ Union (UFAWU-Unifor) and active fishermen’s associations convened the conference, Future of BC Commercial Salmon Fishing,,,, The issues are complex and sometimes controversial. Allocation of stocks with recreational and First Nations fisheries, and access to healthy runs are priority issues, but interwoven are challenges with policy and governance that are not meeting the economic-development needs of fishing communities, a licensing regime established in the 1990s that’s consolidated power into the hands of corporations and so-called “armchair fishermen”, and an explosion in pinniped predation rates on juvenile salmon, to name a few. >click to read< 07:49

Failed policies, decisions on the fly: How the moderate livelihood fishery file blew up

Documents obtained through a freedom of information request show the federal Fisheries Department knew that 21 years of kicking the moderate livelihood issue down the election cycle had resulted in there being little rule of law on St. Mary’s Bay. The feds knew that the bay had become a pressure cooker as two communities were pitted against one another over a limited resource. When the top blew off, they turned to coming up with new policy on the fly while seeking a daily scorecard on evolving public opinion. “This is about a culture (in Ottawa) that would rather avoid any conflict at all,” said Thomas Isaac, an aboriginal rights lawyer who has served as British Columbia’s chief treaty negotiator,,,>click to read< 13:49

P.E.I. fisheries sector gets $3.1M in government funding

The federal and P.E.I. governments are investing a total of more than $3.1 million in the Island’s fish and seafood sectors. The announcement was made during a virtual news conference on Wednesday. The money will go toward nine projects that focus on the implementation of innovative technologies to improve productivity and sustainability within the aquaculture, harvesting and seafood processing sectors. >click to read< 15:31

F/V Chief William Saulis: Families say everything possible should be done to recover bodies from sunken boat

Laura Smith, the sister and next of kin of Gabriel, says it would give her family closure to have her brother’s body back home, and she favours raising the boat for further investigation if it can be done without endangering lives. “We all would like to see the boat raised and the bodies returned for closure and to have a proper burial,”,,, “As long as I know they have done everything in their power, until they can’t do more, I’ll be happy with that.” Lori Phillips, Cogswell’s mother, said she continues to expect a federal agency, whether it’s the RCMP or the Transportation Safety Board, to inspect the sunken boat with the ROV, and she believes it should be raised. “We need the final ritual. . . . I’d like to have him home,” she said. >click to read< 11:18

F/V Chief William Saulis: Delaps Cove fisherman calls for raising the scallop dragger

“There’s a huge desire here amongst the communities on the bay shore to see the vessel raised, and for a number of reasons,” said Colin Sproul. Sproul, a fifth-generation fisherman, was working out of his family’s boat-building business at the Delaps Cove wharf on Jan. 17 as word started to spread that the missing vessel was located nearby. For just over a month, searchers scouring land, air and the sea scanned the quiet Bay of Fundy fishing communities in and around Annapolis County’s Delaps Cove.,, >click to read< 08:20

F/V Chief William Saulis: Commercial fishing vessel located upright after month-long search

One month and one day since it was lost at sea, the Chief William Saulis scallop dragger has been found. The RCMP says the fishing vessel was located underwater more than two kilometres from the shore of Delaps Cove, Annapolis County. The vessel, the RCMP said, was upright. Because of the depth of where the vessel is – which is greater than 60 metres and exceeds the maximum depth for the RCMP Underwater Recovery Teams (URT) – the RCMP says the next steps to search the inside of the vessel are to be determined. >click to read<, to be updated. 09:50

Chief William Saulis: Search for missing scallop dragger shifts to new areas

The RCMP says the search for five missing scallop fishermen and their boat that sank off southwest Nova Scotia has moved to new targeted areas. The Mounties say a search of areas in the Bay of Fundy identified by GPS co-ordinates and other information failed to locate the Chief William Saulis. >click to read< RCMP eliminate some potential sites of missing scallop boat – underwater recovery teams have checked several areas of the Bay of Fundy where they had indication that the missing scallop fishing boat Chief William Saulis may be located, but has determined that the targets identified were not the vessel. The recovery teams, which are from Nova Scotia and British Columbia,,, >click to read< 07:55

23 people charged in lobster pound ransacking in southwest N.S.

Yarmouth provincial court will be cramped on March 29. That’s when 23 people are due to appear on charges related to the ransacking of a Middle West Pubnico lobster pound on Oct. 13. The pound held lobster caught by the self-regulated Sipekne’katik moderate livelihood fishery in St. Mary’s Bay. Mi’kmaq fisherman Jason Marr barricaded himself in the pound with the catch he’d been unloading there during the night of Oct. 13 after a large crowd of commercial fishermen arrived. >click to read< 13:06

F/V Chief William Saulis – New ROV brought in as search for missing fishermen continues

RCMP searchers are deploying a new remote operated underwater vehicle in their ongoing search for the missing crew of the scallop dragger Chief William Saulis. According to a police news release, the Nova Scotia RCMP got the ROV, which is equipped with a “Tritech Gemini multi-beam sonar,” from RCMP in British Columbia. “This equipment is newer technology then what has previously been used and will assist members in the search for the sunken vessel,”>click to read< 07:40

How a Mi’kmaq nation found prosperity and a seafood empire

The urban Mi’kmaq reservation, on the southern edge of Sydney, N.S., used to be the kind of place many in Cape Breton avoided. It was seen by outsiders, unfairly, as rough, poor and unwelcoming to business. Chief Terry Paul, “They all used to avoid this place. Now, they’re all here. They have businesses here. Even the taxis wait for their fares.” This month, the remarkable four-decade-long transformation of the community reached a new milestone with Membertou’s co-ownership of the largest shellfish producer in North America, Clearwater Seafoods. >click to read< 11:56

NL Groundfish Industry Development Council can’t support federal cod stock rebuilding program

The Newfoundland and Labrador Groundfish Industry Development Council says it can’t support the federal government’s recently announced cod stock rebuilding plan, saying it’s overly restrictive and will not enable the industry to rebuild as the cod stock rebuilds. Jim Baird, chair of the NL-GIDC, wants to see further surveys done based around the impact of seals and capelin stocks, adding the entire plan appears to be based around limiting the catch for harvesters and not other sources which could be impeding the development of cod stocks. >click to read< 22:32

Nova Scotia Supreme Court approves sale of Clearwater Seafoods

It is the final step in a deal described as “the single largest investment in the seafood industry by any Indigenous group in Canada.” On Thursday, shareholders voted in favour of the sale to a partnership of Premium Brands of British Columbia and a coalition of Mi’kmaw First Nations led by the Membertou band of Nova Scotia and the Miawpukek in Newfoundland and Labrador. Court approval for the mega deal took 20 minutes. >click to read< 18:40

Sonar tech company says RCMP declined offer to help find F/V Chief William Saulis

Kraken Robotics offered to deploy its ultra-high-resolution sonar system in effort to find the Chief William Saulis, which went down last month in stormy seas near Digby, N.S., with six men on board. “We just wanted to help. And that’s what’s confounding us,” said Karl Kenny, CEO and president of Kraken Robotics.,, Sgt. Andrew Joyce, a spokesperson for the RCMP, said the force frequently gets offers to assist in high-profile cases. He said the force may still take Kraken up on its offer, but for now it has the resources it needs, including sonar. >click to read< 12:57

New DFO regulations, 30 major commercial stocks have been identified for rebuilding

Canada is putting into law a requirement that it rebuild depleted commercial fish stocks, starting with 17 stocks that include Atlantic cod off Newfoundland, spring spawning herring in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and three Pacific salmon stocks. They account for more than half the 30 major commercial stocks identified for specific protection in amended Fisheries Act regulations published Jan. 2. >click to read< 11:33

Safety on the Water Must Take Precedent

The year 2020 is nearly in the rearview mirror. Feel free to take a moment and let out a collective sigh of relief here. Who knows what 2021 has in store for us, but could it possibly be any more strange, troubling or unprecedented than the last 12 months? This past year will go down in history as one of the most turbulent for the fishery in Southwest Nova Scotia. Not only was the industry rocked by the global impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the self-regulated, moderate livelihood lobster fishery by First Nations led to protests, disputes and dissention across the breadth of the Nova Scotia fishing community. >click to read< 08:45

Would throwing the big ones back keep Atlantic halibut fishery on a roll? DFO considers changing the rules!

The investigation is being undertaken at the request of companies that fish halibut using hook and line from the Grand Banks off Newfoundland to Georges Bank off southern Nova Scotia. They’d like to see it happen. “Releasing large halibut is something that fishermen will say, and I will say, that’s just logical, because the majority of the large halibut are females. But you really don’t know just what goes on after you release a large halibut like that,” said Gary Dedrick, a halibut fisherman from Shelburne, N.S., and a founding member of the Atlantic Halibut Council. “So this is where there is monitoring on the bottom and how long they live.” >click to read< 09:45

North Atlantic Right Whales – Proposed Pot/Trap Fisheries Regulations – Available for Public Comment

Today, we released our proposed modifications to the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan to further reduce the impacts of entanglement in fishing gear on right whales in U.S. waters. The proposed modifications focus on the Northeast Jonah crab and lobster trap/pot fisheries, which deploy about 93 percent of the buoy lines fished in areas where right whales occur. In 2021, the team will be asked to recommend risk reduction measures for other Atlantic trap/pot and gillnet fisheries. We also released the associated Draft Environmental Impact Statement. >click to read< 12:02

Bocaccio rockfish are still endangered, but a huge birthing event in 2016 has it popping up everywhere

A species of fish you’ve probably never heard about has made a major comeback from being endangered, but now B.C. fishermen can’t avoid catching it, threatening their ability to earn a living. “This is a great news and a terrible news story,” said Brian Mose, a skipper and representative of the Deep Sea Trawlers Association in B.C.,, Some fishermen are worried that if they go out on the water, they’ll catch their limit of bocaccio and then be prevented from fishing at all. >click to read< 08:49

ROV introduced into search for F/V Chief William Saulis and missing fishermen

On Friday the RCMP, in partnership with the Canadian Coast Guard who provided a platform, and Canada Border Services Agency providing a Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV), were on the water continuing the search. The search did not locate the missing vessel, a Jan. 2 media release update reads. Due to unfavourable and deteriorating conditions, there is no search activity happening on Jan. 2 “Expectations are to return to the water Jan. 3 to resume the search, weather and water conditions permitting,” the RCMP says. >click to read< 07:07

When memes fail anatomy: The scale of a blue whale’s butthole

When we saw the memes scoring the size of a blue whale’s anus second to some of the year’s most reviled politicians, our first thought was that it was deliciously funny. Naturally, our next thought was, “Is this true?” and “How big is a blue whale’s anus, anyway?” The first obstacle getting an answer to these pressing questions was persuading scientists to answer interview requests. One admitted that at first, he assumed his colleagues were messing with him. Once convinced our request was not a joke, the situation improved only slightly. >click to read< 11:11

Scientists worry B.C. hatchery fish threatening endangered wild chinook

More chinook salmon populations have landed on the endangered species list in B.C.,, With many salmon runs experiencing the lowest returns on record, there has been mounting public pressure for the federal government to step up hatchery production through the Salmonid Enhancement Program. But conservation groups and scientists are sounding the alarm on the long-term consequences of high-volume hatcheries. >click to read< 09:38

Livelihood lobster fishing cast adrift: How DFO’s inaction has history repeating itself

Its resources are in high demand by Indigenous and non-Indigenous fishers alike, and for more than 20 years it has seen tensions between the two communities turn from boil to simmer, to boil again. Recently, it made headlines internationally. Tensions in the area erupted into violence and destruction after the Sipekne’katik First Nation launched its own, self-regulated fishery, outside of the commercial season, based on Mi’kmaq treaty rights. To Alex McDonald, one of the oldest still-fishing Indigenous lobster boat captains of the area, the chaos this year was nothing new. >click to read< 08:14

Happy New Year! We send our best wishes for peace and prosperity in 2021 to all!

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