Category Archives: Canada

FISH-NL calls for IMMEDIATE ACTION on northern cod, including moratorium on seismic; harvest of more seals

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) recommends Ottawa follow scientific advice on northern cod and restrict removals from all sources to the lowest possible level until the stock clears the critical zone. FISH-NL also calls for an immediate freeze to all scheduled offshore seismic activity off the province’s east coast, support for the taking of the entire seal quota, the introduction of tags in the food fishery, and the ordering of an independent review of “epic” federal fisheries mismanagement in the Newfoundland and Labrador region. >click to read<21:22

Nova Scotia Lobster Fishermen Fed Up with Mis-Communication By DFO

Lobster fishermen in Southwestern, Nova Scotia are frustrated and disappointed with the lack of direction, mis-communication, and overall support from Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s (DFO) regional management. Five separate fishermen’s associations joined forces in 2017 to form the Southwest Lobster Science Society (SWLSS) to work towards a partnership-based approach to fisheries management and conservation; a move which was touted to be a historic partnership between industry, environmental non-governmental organisations (ENGOs) and regulators. Yet, the newly formed partnership has struggled to move forward as the regulators (DFO) >click to read<11:34

Wind, ice influence price of lobster

Speculate. That’s about all fishers, or anyone else, can do about the season-opening price for lobster in any given year, and Ken Blanchard shrugs off any suggestion it will go much above $8 a pound starting out. Bluster among landlubbers has it nearly twice that, $15. With bigger wind to deal with, Blanchard, who makes a living on live-catch lobster and crab as a licensed fisher plying waters of the outer Bay of Islands, sees active storms and bigger local backwater icefields on Penguin Arm and Goose Arm as more pressing concerns as the harvest looms. >click to read<09:07

Ice still holding up crab fishery

The Canadian Coast Guard still has about five to seven days of ice-breaking operations around New Brunswick’s Acadian Peninsula, the acting superintendent of Ice Operations Atlantic, Trevor Hodgson, reported Wednesday. Ice had started its normal regression from the Gulf of St. Lawrence by early March but a few days of northeasterly winds in mid-March reversed that trend. “It hit the Gulf pretty hard, he said. “It essentially took all the ice that was in the Gulf and compacted it into three big piles,”,, >click to read<20:49

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 49ft. 11in. Lobster/Longliner, 6 Cylinder Volvo

Specifications, information and 33 photos >click here< To see all the boats in this series, >Click here<12:44

Norm Peters, the bearded skipper of North Rustico, dies

One of Prince Edward Island’s best known fishermen has died. Norm Peters, known as the bearded skipper, fished lobster out of North Rustico, and ran tours when the lobster season was done. Peters was a common sight on the Island’s tourism promotions. In 2012, he represented the Island at the China Fisheries and Seafood Expo, where he attracted a lot of attention, even appearing on the front page of a Beijing newspaper. >click to read<19:12

Northern Peninsula harvesters surprised and disappointed by crab price announcement

Harvesters in the 3K region of the Great Northern Peninsula experienced a slight 2 per cent increase in crab quota this year. But the price designation of $4.55 – a price far below what they had hoped for – has many in this fishery frustrated and seeking answers. Englee fisherman Ronald Patey says without a better price for this new crab quota, which is roughly half of what it was in years past, harvesters will struggle to make ends meet. Chair of St. Anthony’s Port Authority Ernest Simms says the latest announcement around crab prices is a definite disappointment. >click to read<20:14

12-year-old boat builder unveils Jacob’s Pride in Winterton

Twelve-year-old Jacob Hiscock has interests that aren’t necessarily the norm for kids his age in Newfoundland and Labrador. He’s not interested in working in an office when he grows up and instead plans on making a career on the water, whether it’s with the coast guard, as a fisherman, or as a boat builder. With his grandfather Frank French, Hiscock has made some major strides on his latest effort at boat building with Jacob’s Pride, a five-foot wooden boat that just touched down on the water in Winterton. >click to read<18:35

Snow crab season still on ice, Fishermen remain hopeful of early opening

Despite widespread interest in an early opening date, the president of the P.E.I. Snow Crab Association says weather and ice could dictate when snow crab fishermen in the Gulf of St. Lawrence get on the water. Carter Hutt said there was a desire to have the fishery open by April 20, but he noted there is still a considerable amount of ice in the gulf and the weather hasn’t been co-operating in terms of moving it out. >click to read<11:43

Huge wooden boat being built ‘old school’ on P.E.I.

Neil MacKay is building his largest wooden boat in his 32 years of making them; like most lobster boats in P.E.I. waters, Catcher is 45 feet long, but is four feet wider than the typical 14 feet. The 51-year-old has been building wooden boats in his shop in Murray Harbour for since 1986, starting right around the time the industry moved, en mass, to fibreglass vessels. Catcher ‘s owner Spencer Norton, 28, lives in nearby Alliston and designed the boat with MacKay. Norton even cut some of the wood himself, with his father-in-law.,, >click to read<09:26

Crabbers face fines – Equipment seizure leads to pending charges on numerous violations

Fishery officers have seized more than 300 commercial crab traps in the Powell River area around Savary Island and Harwood Island. Since the beginning of January 2018, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) officers in Powell River have been conducting an investigation of two commercial crab vessels.,, Charges are expected to be filed in May on numerous counts in violation of the Fisheries Act, according to fishery officer Matt Conley. Owners of the boats face serious fines for failing to comply with conditions of their licenses, he said. >click to read<20:43

New safety gear needed for P.E.I. lobster fishermen, but supply comes up short

P.E.I. lobster fishermen will have some new safety gear on board when the spring lobster season opens at the end of April. At least, they are supposed to, after new federal safety rules came into effect last July. But the new fishery safety standards affect more than 22,000 Canadian boats and that has left many fishermen scrambling to get the gear they need. Under the new Transport Canada regulations unveiled in 2016, fishing vessels are required to have specific safety gear on board, including a life raft, survival suits and a location signaling device. >click to read< 18:10

Broken down coast guard ship delays spring science survey; DFO’s mismanagement borders on criminal negligence

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) says the delay of the 2018 multi-species survey in waters off the province because of a broken down science vessel is yet another example of Ottawa’s ongoing gross mismanagement of the fisheries. “Most commercial stocks off our province are in free fall, and the Government of Canada still can’t get the baseline science right,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. >click to read<12:53

Can anyone save the North Atlantic right whale? A group of South Shore lobstermen say they know what the answer is

By the time Mike Lane shoves off the Cohasset docks, it’s past 8 a.m. — practically lunch time for a lobsterman. But it’s early spring, and the South Shore fisheries are mostly closed, so Lane is keeping a somewhat relaxed schedule. Lobsters tend to hole up for the season several miles farther offshore, and Lane would like to be there, fishing his 800 traps. That area also happens to be a feeding area for North Atlantic right whales — one of our planet’s most endangered species. And so, four years ago, the federal government closed these grounds for much of the winter and spring. That means all Lane can do right now is set a few traps in a small area just outside Cohasset Harbor. >click to read<11:37

Lou Boudreu – The brave souls who bring you lobster

There is a good eight-foot sea running and 35-knot winds off the port bow. She’s taking a beating, but her classic Cape Island hull handles it. I’m standing exposed on the after deck with two other men handling gear. Another eight-foot sea breaks, blowing the icy cold Atlantic spray into my face. It hurts, but I am long past that stage. I am numb.  As I handle the line, putting it around the spool to the pot hauler, my hand gets caught and cut right through the thick glove. But my hand is numb. I’ve gone long beyond the hurt stage;,, >click to read<07:55

Striped bass population triples in Gulf of St. Lawrence

The remarkable recovery of striped bass in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence reached unprecedented levels in 2017, according to the latest assessment from the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Department scientists say the spawning population tripled between 2016 and 2017 and is now estimated at one million fish — a 100-fold increase from the 1990s. In addition to the population rebound, tagged striped bass from the Gulf were recovered from Rimouski, Que., north to Labrador for the first time in 2017. In the Forteau Bay area of Labrador, catches of tens of thousands were reported. >click to read<18:50

Grand Bank fisherman launches rebuilt boat

Grand Bank’s Jason Matthews, unlike most Fortune Bay fishers, didn’t get much of a break this past winter. Once the 2017 fishing season wound down in late October, he pulled his 40-ft. Cape Island boat out of the water and immediately started to rebuild the craft to a design much more to his liking. For five months he had his “nose to the grindstone” changing the vessel completely. With the help of a couple of friends he cut one foot off the length of the vessel and changed the deck from a “drop deck” to an entirely flat one,,, >click to read<11:18

The connection between caplin, cod and seals – Capt. Wilfred Bartlett (retired)

Growing up with my grandfather, every year we would go out in the trap skiff to get a load of caplin for the gardens; no store-bought fertilizer them days. You did not have to search for caplin back then — they would land in the same beaches every year. I returned to the fishery in 1977, spent the winters sealing — good market, good prices, could sell seal meat for canning. You could cut open a mature harp seal and fill a five-gallon bucket with caplin, not anymore. The seal hunt continued until the early ’80s, until the anti-sealing groups descended on this province like a flock of vultures. >click to read<08:48

Dispute between Newfoundland and Labrador at-sea observer, fisherman goes to court

Frustrations within the inshore fishery do not always play out in public protests or in front of the media — some disputes take place on the wharf and, when serious enough, can end up in court.
A recent case out of provincial court in Corner Brook involved a dispute on the wharf between an inshore fisherman and a fisheries observer. The fisherman, Kenneth MacDonald, was accused of failing to comply with conditions of his fishing licence, in that he refused to allow designated at-sea observer Thomas Gavin onboard his vessel last year,,, >click to read<22:15

Pacific salmon ‘more abundant than ever’, new study claims

Pacific salmon are generally “more abundant than ever.” That is the provocative conclusion of a new paper published in Marine and Coastal Fisheries by Greg Ruggerone of Seattle’s Natural Resources Consultants and James Irvine of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The study used historical commercial catch and escapement data for the entire Pacific region for both wild and commercial hatchery salmon over a 90-year period, up to 2015. There is one caveat, however: Ruggerone and Irvine analyzed only data for pink, chum and sockeye salmon. >click to read<09:13

Trudeau government turns to senior Liberals, Indigenous on rules for MPA’s

The Trudeau government has named an advisory panel to navigate the stormy issue of what activities will and will not be allowed inside coastal waters and ocean designated as marine protected areas. Canada has promised to “protect” 10 per cent of marine waters by 2020, but what that means in terms of restrictions on fishing and other commercial activity has not been established. “We’re not there yet,” said Rémi Bujold, who co-chairs a seven-member advisory panel named Friday by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. No one from the fishing industry is on the panel. >click to read< 07:46

Ice, winds block early fishing season in Gulf of St. Lawrence

Thick ice and cold weather conditions are preventing an early snow crab fishing season that would help reduce potential ship strikes and whale entanglements in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The Coast Guard’s Sir William Alexander, a light icebreaker, was called to smash through packs of ice off the northeast coast of New Brunswick to help the critically endangered North Atlantic right whales that are expected to make their way to Canadian waters later this spring. “The ice conditions are severe,” said Douglas Roe, commander of the icebreaker. >click to read<16:43

Omega Protein launches largest vessel in Louisiana, F/V Vermilion

Omega Protein is pleased to announce the launch of its newest and largest fishing vessel operating in Louisiana, the F/V Vermilion, to start the 2018 Gulf of Mexico fishing season. The Vermilion marks a significant upgrade to the company’s fleet with state-of-the-art technology and safety features that will improve worker safety and increase efficiency. It is the latest investment made by the company in its gulf fishing communities. >click to read<09:22

‘Protected’ marine area open to oil, gas exploration

Newfoundland and Labrador’s offshore oil and gas regulator is taking bids for exploration off the island’s east coast, in an area the federal government recently listed as a marine-protected area. While the area is closed to fishing, it remains open to the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) — and that’s not sitting well with the president of the fisheries union. “We cannot ask fish harvesters to accept the closure of an area to fishing activity in the name of conservation while continuing to allow oil and gas exploration in that same area,” said Fish, Food and Allied Workers president Keith Sullivan in a news release.>click to read<13:39

Northern cod an icon for fisheries mismanagement

I wish to respond to the March 31 letter to the editor (“Northern cod numbers no reason to panic: FFAW”) by Keith Sullivan, President of the FFAW-Unifor. Sullivan is correct — the latest scientific information on the health of the Northern Cod stock isn’t reason to “panic.” Indeed, the news from DFO science of a 30 per cent decline in the iconic resource that was already deep in the “critical” zone is reason for inshore harvesters to riot in the streets, or, at the very least, burn the few union cards left. The news is also reason to demand an independent investigation of the management practices of the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) in the Newfoundland and Labrador region. >click to read<10:13

‘This Is It For Us’ – Harvesters Gather At Confederation Building

“A lot of people are going to be hurting” that’s the assessment of at least one crab harvester as those involved in the fishery gathered at Confederation Building today to protest the price set for snow crab this year. The event was organized by FISH-NL.  The price set by the Fish Price Setting Panel is $4.55 cents a pound. That’s below the recommendation made by the FFAW. The price set for harvesters in the Maritimes is more than $5.00 a pound. Harvesters are concerned that with declining stocks they won’t be able to make a go of it. Watch video. >click to read<23:08

Newfoundland fish harvesters fed up with ‘bad news’ – >click to read<

BP rig on Route to Offshore drill Nova Scotia: Are we the next Gulf Coast Disaster?

Nova Scotians are expressing alarm at news that BP commissioned rig West Aquarius is now en route to drill offshore, despite not having final approval from the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB). “This is the height of regulatory capture,” says John Davis, Director of Clean Ocean Action Committee. “It is costing BP $260,000 a day to move this rig, why would they do that unless they are sure the Board is ready to give the green light.” “Our economic livelihood is completely wrapped up in fishing. Any danger to that is not worth the risk,” says David Levy, Deputy Warden of the Municipality of the District of Shelburne. >click to read<17:022

Puget Sound salmon do drugs, which may hurt their survival

Anti-depressants. Diabetes drugs. High-blood-pressure medication. Puget Sound chinook are doing our drugs, and it may be hurting them, new research shows. The metabolic disturbance evident in the fish from human drugs was severe enough that it may result not only in failure to thrive but early mortality and an inability to compete for food and habitat. The research built on earlier work, published in 2016, that showed juvenile Puget Sound chinook and Pacific staghorn sculpin are packing drugs including Prozac, Advil, Benadryl, and Lipitor among dozens of other drugs present in tainted wastewater discharge. >click to read<12:50

FISH-NL schedules Friday protest at Confederation Building in St. John’s

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) has scheduled a demonstration for 1 p.m. Friday, April 6, on the front steps of Confederation Building in St. John’s. The event is being organized to protest the desperate state of the commercial fisheries in Newfoundland and Labrador, including gross government and industry mismanagement, and the absence of labour rights in the fishery. Ryan Cleary-President of FISH-NL 18:34

Skeptical fishermen briefed on proposed Eastern Shore MPA, ‘could take us out of our livelihood,’

Nova Scotia’s lobster season opens on the Eastern Shore in days, but dozens of fishermen stopped prepping for it Thursday to learn about a massive marine protected area proposed for their fishing grounds. The Eastern Shore Islands, as it’s being called, has been declared an area of interest for conservation by the Trudeau government. It would be the first marine protected area along the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia and includes inshore and coastal waters. It would protect hundreds of islands that create an archipelago running from Clam Harbour to Liscomb. >click to read< 16:37