Category Archives: Canada

DFO orders fisheries closure in Bay of Fundy after right whale sighting

The federal government announced Monday evening the first temporary fisheries closure in the Bay of Fundy as a result of a North Atlantic right whale sighting. The area, just east of Grand Manan, will be closed to fixed-gear fishing activities starting at 11:59 p.m. Thursday, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans said in a statement. It said the closure, which affects lobster, crab, groundfish, herring and mackerel licenses, will remain in place until further notice. It’s believed to be the first closure of its kind ever in the bay, according to Laurence Cook, chairman of the Grand Manan Fishermen’s Association lobster advisory board. Cook was busy fielding calls and texts from “angry and upset” members after government informed the association around 6 p.m. Monday, he said. >click to read<11:42

It’s wild salmon health vs. money and jobs as B.C.’s fish farm fight comes to a head

For some, salmon farms are a blight on the landscape. Not for the way they look, but because of the threat they believe these large aquaculture operations pose to wild salmon. “We’re pretty confident this place will have to be dismantled,” says Ernest Alfred, pointing at the farm from the boat. “And I’ll be here to watch it.” The government is currently reviewing the leases of 20 fish farms that expire on June 20. Alfred and other opponents are upping the pressure on the NDP leadership in hopes they will commit to ending fish farming in the ocean. But supporters of the farms say that would be a huge blow to an industry worth billions of dollars to the province. >click to read<12:01

Meanwhile, in Scotland, A bid by the Scottish Government to resolve fierce arguments over how fish farms harm wild salmon has been dismissed as a public relations stunt by campaigners. The population of wild salmon in Scotland has fallen by 50 per cent from around 1.25 million in the 1960s to 600,000 in 2016. Angling groups point out that most of the decline is on the west coast, close to where salmon farms are located. >click to read<

Lobster fishermen comply with federal order and move traps to smaller area

Lobster fishermen aboard about 60 boats spent Sunday morning pulling traps from waters off Miscou Island in northeastern New Brunswick in order to comply with a zone closure put in place by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The closures in Lobster Fishing Area 23 were announced by the DFO on June 11, after five North Atlantic right whales were seen between Miscou and the Gaspe Peninsula. DFO boats were in the area monitoring the situation as the traps were hauled up. “There’s a very small block that they can kind of move into. They are limited on the amount of territory that is left for them so they’re all going to have to cram into what’s left I guess.” >click to read<10:16

Exploding seal population must be addressed

They say a picture is worth a thousand words here are just a few pictures taken by some people who live near or are always on the ocean every day that suitable. They, like me, can read the ocean. Right now the ocean is crying out for help from the packs of seals that have invaded ever crook and cranny on the shores. They are starving to death and eating everything in their path, these Harp seals should be in the artic by now but instead they are surrounding large shoals of herring and caplin, the food for cod and food for all things in the ocean, and keeping them in shoal water until everyone of them are eaten.How long is the Department of Fisheries and Oceans going to let this go on without addressing this problem? >click to read<19:51

Canada’s most dangerous job

Last week’s tragic accident in the waters of Northumberland Strait, off Cape Bear, in Eastern Prince Edward Island, was a reminder of the little acknowledged fact that fishing is the most dangerous occupation in Canada. Two men were killed when a Cape Island fishing boat travelling under full power slammed into a similar boat that was stopped in the water. The Transportation Safety Board and other agencies are investigating the accident and are yet to rule on exactly what happened. Last October, after a month-long study, Toronto’s Globe and Mail newspaper did an extensive series on workplace fatalities, and it concluded that fishing is Canada’s deadliest occupation. >click to read<11:51

New DFO orders ‘hard pill to swallow’ for N.B. lobster fishermen

Lobster fishermen off the coast of Miscou Island, N.B., will spend Sunday morning hauling gear from the waters in order to comply with the latest fishing zone closures imposed by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. On Friday afternoon, the DFO re-opened four areas previously closed to fishing due to the presence of right whales. But with more closures being imposed on Sunday, frustrations continue to mount. Carl Allen, president of the Maritime Fishermen’s Union, organized the most recent protest and met with LeBlanc on Friday.,,”I have a lot of respect for Minister LeBlanc, but we just don’t agree with the basis of the whole plan — it’s a hard pill to swallow,” he said.,, LeBlanc did offer the fishermen an alternative, however. He offered a paid training program for crew members and plant workers affected by these closures. >click to read<18:20

Lobster harvesters unfairly blamed of harm to North Atlantic right whales

Much has been written about the ongoing challenge of protecting the North Atlantic right whale along the eastern seaboard of the U.S. and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The impact the 18 reported deaths in 2017 has had on the entire right whale population cannot be understated. The issue in many cases has been a lack of substantiated facts with regard to specific fisheries and the ongoing commitment by key fisheries to protect the right whale. The Canadian lobster fishery is one of those key fisheries that has, until now, remained silent about our role and our ongoing commitment to North Atlantic right whale protection. Our harvesters and processors do what’s needed to ensure a sustainable fishery without fanfare. >click to read<08:28

LeBlanc offers fall season to fishermen squeezed by right whale measures

The federal fisheries minister says he has offered lobster harvesters from New Brunswick and Quebec a previously unscheduled fall fishing season, to make up for measures aimed at protecting endangered right whales. Dominic LeBlanc said he told the Maritime Fishermen’s Union that he plans to open a harvesting zone in the last half of September because of the 15-day closure of a 1,400-square-kilometre portion of ocean that begins Sunday. LeBlanc said the offer will go to about 62 fishing vessels in New Brunswick and 60 from the Gaspe Peninsula whose lobster harvest will be largely shut down as the whales pass through. >click to read<18:45

Commentary: Questions abound with industrial oyster farm bill, It’s dirty – plain and simple.

Wonder what all the heartburn is about with the oyster restoration bill sponsored by local legislators Sen. Bill Cook, R-Beaufort, and Rep. Beverly Boswell, R-Dare? It’s dirty – plain and simple. And although the who, what and how parts are now visible, there are a ton of questions about various entities that are yet to be answered. The North Carolina Coastal Federation is taking the heat for the oyster aquaculture bill, H361, that contains a few needed fixes but primarily was written to benefit one company – a foreign company with a murky record in other states where it does business. But the Coastal Federation and the collaboratory that was appointed to map out a plan to grow the state’s oyster industry didn’t write the bill. >click to read<10:14

Lobster fishermen create wall of empty traps at protest against closures

Nearly 500 fishermen brought empty lobster traps to Caraquet on Thursday to protest against the closure of fishing areas in the Gulf of St. Lawrence while endangered whales swim there. The protest came after another round of fishing area closures was announced by Ottawa this week because five North American right whales were spotted between Miscou and the Gaspé Peninsula. “We’ve never entangled one in lobster gear in these areas, ever,” said Carl Allen, president of the Maritime Fishermen’s Union, who organized the protest. Allen said the closures not only hurt fishermen and processing plant workers but also local economies on the Acadian Peninsula. >click to read<22:03

La Scie fisherman Terry Ryan donates $10,000 to FISH-NL’s Go Fund Me campaign; challenges other harvesters to step up to the plate

Well-known fisherman Terry Ryan of La Scie is contributing $10,000 to FISH-NL’s Go Fund Me Campaign to raise enough money to force a vote for inshore harvesters to decide their union fate. “It’s time we had a vote,” said Ryan. “I’m giving this $10,000 out of my own pocket to motivate other people to contribute as well. Fishermen and fisherwomen deserve the right to choose, and the fishery has never been in more need of a debate than right now over where the industry is headed.” >click to read<12:39

Hope fading for recovery of northern cod off Newfoundland: ‘This stock isn’t growing’

Hopes have been dashed for a recovery of the once mighty northern cod stock off Newfoundland, a leading conservation group says. Three years after scientists confirmed there were signs of a comeback and catch limits were increased, the federal government decided this week to reduce the limit. Ottawa cited a spring stock assessment that found the cod population had declined 30 per cent after seven years of rebuilding. >click to read<09:55

Disappointed by cut to cod quota, FFAW president says stocks can handle larger harvest

The president of Newfoundland and Labrador’s largest fishermen’s union says the province’s cod stocks can handle a greater harvest and didn’t need to see this year’s commercial quota cut. Keith Sullivan of the Fish, Food & Allied Workers’ Union told CBC Radio’s The Broadcast that the 25 per cent cut to this year’s quota will hurt Newfoundland and Labrador communities that are heavily reliant on the fishery. “It doesn’t really take into consideration the livelihoods what people depend on the fishery, whether you’re a fish harvester or you work in a plant or the entire economy of coastal communities,” said Sullivan. >click to read<20:13

FISH-NL Calls For Resignation of Dominic LeBlanc, Federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is calling for Dominic LeBlanc’s resignation in light of his failure to address the current fisheries crisis. “Twenty six years after the northern cod moratorium, and the federal minister of Fisheries and Oceans still isn’t prepared to lead and do what needs to be done,” said Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “It’s time for LeBlanc to get out of the way, or for the Prime Minster to replace him.” ,,, LeBlanc has made a number of decisions as minister that have hurt this province, >click to read<11:56

Latest fishing area closures raise fears about fights over shrinking territory

About 300 fishermen from across the Acadian Peninsula held an emergency meeting Tuesday to discuss the latest fishing area closure and their options. Exasperated by the federal government’s closures of fishing grounds, fishermen and plant workers from across New Brunswick’s Acadian Peninsula held an emergency meeting Tuesday on Lameque Island to discuss their options. Afterwards, some said they were worried the latest closure would lead to fights over what little territory they have left.  The meeting came after another round of fishing area closures was announced Monday, after five North American right whales were seen between Miscou and the Gaspe Peninsula. >click to read<21:41

Ottawa considers help for Gulf of St. Lawrence fisheries after right whale protection measures

“At the moment we are not talking about compensating with actual financial compensation the fishermen,” LeBlanc said in a telephone interview. New Brunswick Fisheries Minister Rick Doucet called Monday for measures to address lost revenue, and LeBlanc said that is “entirely consistent” with his department’s approach to the developing situation in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. LeBlanc said it includes looking at ways to help processing plant workers qualify for Employment Insurance, and a possible fall opening of the lobster fishery to make up for lost days. >click to read<Meanwhile, Lobster and crab fishermen in Quebec ‘out of options’ as more zones closed off – “I don’t know how we’re going to get out of this one,”  said O’Neil Cloutier, the general manager of the professional fishermen’s association of southern Gaspé. >click to read<19:39

58-year-old Chris Melanson identified as 2nd victim in weekend lobster boat crash

58-year-old Chris Melanson, of Weymouth, N.S., has been identified as the second victim in a fishing boat crash off southeastern P.E.I. over the weekend.,,, 20-year-old Justin MacKay, of Montague, P.E.I., has been identified as the other victim in the boat crash. The two men died when two fishing boats collided, nine kilometres off of P.E.I. One of the boats sank. The accident is being investigated by the Transportation Safety Board and Transport Canada, the P.E.I. Department of Labour, the RCMP and the P.E.I. coroner’s office. >click to read<16:13

GoFundMe campaign launched for N.S. victim of fatal P.E.I. boat collision – One of the victims of a tragic boating accident was a Nova Scotia man who was visiting his daughter in P.E.I. for the weekend. Chris Melanson was on the boat with one of his three daughters, Isabella, during the fatal collision near Beach Point on the weekend. >click to read< >click to donate<

Fisheries minister urges Ottawa to help fishermen make up for revenue lost to Gulf closures

New Brunswick’s fisheries minister is calling on Ottawa to find ways to make up for lost revenue in the fishing industry in light of a growing number of closures in the Gulf of St. Lawrence designed to protect North Atlantic right whales. Rick Doucet issued a statement on Monday night after Fisheries and Oceans Canada announced 10 new grids will be temporarily closed, effective June 15 at 4 p.m. AT, due to the presence of whales. The affected areas include: GV32, GV33, GV34, GV35, GX32, GX33, GX34, GW32, GW33 and GW34. Fishermen and fish processors alike are concerned about lost revenue, said Doucet. >click to read<23:39

Several agencies still determining details of Beach Point lobster boat collision – A Fundraiser for the Justin MacKay Family

Islanders are coming together to support the family of one of the men killed in a lobster boat collision off Beach Point on Saturday. Justin MacKay, 20-year-old Montague resident, has been identified as one of the victims, while RCMP confirmed on Monday the other victim was a 59-year-old man. RCMP could not say where the 59-year-old was a resident of. A GoFundMe campaign named “Tammy Crossman and family” had raised more than $3,400 by Monday evening to help with funeral costs for MacKay, who graduated from Montague Regional High School (MRHS) last year. >click to read<20:18

Community devastated by boat collision deaths

The community of Murray Harbour is in mourning after two men died during a collision between two fishing boats on Saturday, says a pastor from the area. Pastor Scott Herring, of Murray Harbour Baptist Church, said there’s a feeling of devastation that’s come over the community. Residents are showing their support to one another through phone calls and visits, he said.
“As a congregation, we held prayers for the whole community. People are reaching out to one another to offer supports behind the scenes, it’s happening in different forms,” he said. “But there’s devastation.” >click to read<17:38

Squid washing ashore by the hundreds ‘live fast and die young’

An alarming number of squid are washing ashore along parts of Nova Scotia’s coast. Experts say although it’s unusual to see such mass die-offs, the deaths are part of the creatures’ “live fast and die young” reproductive cycle. Kent Smedbol is a scientist with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and works with monitoring fish and invertebrate populations. He said northern shortfin squid are common in the waters off Nova Scotia. They range from the mid-United States right up to around Iceland. “They’re a highly mobile species, highly migratory and they only live for about a year,” said Smedbol. “So, they live fast and die young.” >click to read<10:34

UPDATED: 2 dead after fishing boats collide off southeastern P.E.I.

Two men are dead after two fishing boats collided about nine kilometres off southeastern P.E.I., police say. RCMP Cpl. Gregg Garrett said the collision happened Saturday between 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. Police, paramedics and firefighters, as well as officials from DFO, victims services and the Canadian Coast Guard, were at the Beach Point wharf near Murray Harbour on Saturday. >click to read<21:23

Two men dead after fishing boats collided near Beach Point, P.E.I. – Const. Tara McBride of the RCMP says one boat was on its way back to shore and smashed into another boat that was buoyed off about 10 kilometres off the coast of Beach Point. She says there were eight crewmembers total between the two boats, including the men that died. McBride says both of the deceased were on the same boat. >click to read<13:48

DFO will not change fishing area closures, despite proposed exemptions

In a statement released Friday, department officials said they had received proposals from the Maritime Fishermen’s Union and from the Regroupement des Pêcheurs professionnels du Sud de la Gaspésie asking the department to consider exempting shallow waters from temporary closures. However, the department has concluded that the measures will remain in place to protect the North Atlantic right whales from gear entanglements. “This course of action is based on the best science information available about the presence of right whales in our waters,” the statements said. >click to read<11:19

Ottawa eyes protection measures for the porbeagle

It is stout but fast, a top predator affectionately called “Canada’s shark.” But years of intense fishing left the porbeagle shark endangered, and the federal government is now considering protection measures.,,, Fisheries and Oceans Canada said in an e-mail it will make a recommendation to the environment minister after reviewing input from the public and industry stakeholders, as well as scientific research. There is no current timeline for a decision, it said.,,, The latest population assessment on the porbeagle was from a 2009 survey which estimated,,, >click to read<09:41

MLA says P.E.I. fishermen getting around $5 per pound for lobster

Souris-Elmira MLA Colin LaVie wants to know what the provincial government is doing to help increase lobster prices. During Thursday’s question period, LaVie, who is also a fisherman, raised the issue of lobster prices he said were as low as $5-$5.50 per pound. “Do you consider that a good price for lobsters?” The spring lobster season has been underway for more than a month and the P.E.I. Fisherman’s Association raised similar concerns about prices last month. >click to read<08:11

Bearfoot Bistro cutting out the middle man this lobster season

Lynn Albert still remembers when lobster didn’t have quite the same cache as it does today. “I remember when I was in school and very young, (some underprivileged students) would bring lobster in their lunchbox and we would eat bologna,” said Albert, 50, president of La Renaissance des Iles de la Madeleine, a seafood supplier based on the small Quebecois archipelago in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. It’s safe to say lobster has enjoyed a renaissance since those days, and especially the lobster of the Magdalen Islands, known for its high quality and distinct flavour. >click to read<19:26

Giant waves and slimy seas: 2018 crab harvest a mixed bag for Conception Bay fishermen

The 2018 snow crab harvest is presenting some big challenges for fishermen in Conception Bay, but a record price is helping save what could otherwise be a disastrous year for some. While the bigger offshore boats, known as full-timers, are reporting healthy landings, the so-called inshore fleet, with vessels less than 35 feet, have been hard hit. Many have been pinned to the wharf in harbours like Port de Grave, missing valuable fishing time as persistent gales churn up giant waves. >click to read<09:16

Proposal sent to minister – Fishermen propose ‘flexible’ closures to protect whales and livelihoods

Lobster fishermen are asking Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc to consider a proposal that would allow them to continue fishing close to the shores of northeastern New Brunswick even if whales are spotted in the area. The proposal comes as fishermen become increasingly anxious about their shrinking fishing grounds as more areas close Wednesday afternoon after endangered right whales were spotted. Martin Mallet, executive director of the Maritime Fishermen’s Union, met with about 100 fishermen in Sainte-Marie-Saint-Raphaël on Tuesday evening. >click to read<13:12

Winds stymie crab fishery on east coast of province

Since the arrival of Europeans on the shores of Newfoundland, harvesting of the fisheries has been heavily controlled by one major factor, Mother Nature. Winds, tides, and ice conditions determines when and where harvesting of the resource occurs. Modern day fisheries are no exception. Last year harvesting of snow crab was hampered by the arrival of ice on the northeast coast. For several weeks the ice packed into the various crooks and crannies that dot our bays and inlets keeping crab boats secured to the wharves. Harvesting was delayed as the ice drifted to and from the coastline. Photo’s >click to read<

The ‘grace of God’ -La Scie fishing crew survives harrowing journey after losing steering during storm

Crew members on the Ocean Surfer II are lucky to be alive after a harrowing weekend on the open seas. Five people were on the boat, which was fishing for shrimp 175 kilometres northeast of La Scie on Saturday, when it lost its steering and ability to go into reverse. To make matters worse, a major storm was about to hit. According to owner Terry Ryan, who was on shore, the crew that included his son as skipper battled 50-knot winds, the equivalent of 93 km/h. He worried they wouldn’t be able to make it back home without steering. >click to read<11:06