Category Archives: Canada

Government will review Supreme Court order on $250M Placentia Bay project: minister

The Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador on Thursday overturned the provincial government’s decision to release a quarter-billion dollar salmon farming project in Placentia Bay from further environmental assessment. Justice Gillian Butler ruled on July 20 that Perry Trimper, then the environment and climate change minister, “lacked jurisdiction” to release the project from a full environmental assessment, and that an environmental impact statement had to be completed. The impact statement would have required an ecosystem and population study of the wild salmon in Placentia Bay, as well as a contingency plan and extensive public consultation. click here to read the story 09:56

Shrinking northern shrimp catch sparks worry for one of Eastern Canada’s most important fisheries

The northern shrimp population in the Gulf of St. Lawrence has dropped by 50 per cent in the past 10 years, according to Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Commercial fishermen brought in roughly 30 per cent fewer shrimp between 2015 and 2016. While the exact portrait of what is happening with shrimp stocks may be complex, the warming temperatures of the Gulf of St. Lawrence have been fingered as a potential problem for northern shrimp, a cold-water-loving shrimp species found in the northwest Atlantic. Another factor is the increasing number of redfish, also known as the ocean perch, a species that prefers warmer temperatures. Redfish compete with the shrimp for food when they are young, and feed on them when they are older. click here to read the story 11:08

140,000 live Canadian lobster sold to China in 24 hours

Chinese buyers snapped up more than 140,000 live Canadian lobsters within 24 hours last week through a Beijing-based online retailer, and the demand can only grow, says a New Brunswick supplier. The live lobsters came from a variety of sources for the sale July 14 on jd.com, one of the largest e-commerce websites in the world. According to a news release from the company, the surge in lobster purchases was part of a sale promoting fresh food from Canada, which also included cherries and blueberries among the offerings. click here to read the story 10:30

Today’s Whale News. 8th right whale found dead, 1 more entangled, whale rescues resume, young Humback detangled of Cali.

An eighth North Atlantic right whale has been found dead and another is entangled in fishing gear in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the Marine Animal Response Society said in a Facebook post.
All eight deaths have occurred in the gulf since the beginning of June, which experts are calling an “unprecedented event.” click here to read the story

U.S. officials are lifting a ban on some whale disentanglement efforts after briefly banning the practice that last week led to the death of a Canadian fisherman. But the ban will stay in effect for right whales, “whose unpredictable behavior is particularly challenging during rescue attempts,” Chris Oliver, Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries, said Tuesday. click here to read the story

A crew of 20-25 people spent eight hours Tuesday freeing a juvenile humpback whale that had been entangled in fishing gear off the coast of Crescent City since Thursday. click here to read the story 11:30

 

FISH-NL recommends DFO immediately suspend extra cod to south coast inshore harvesters 

“The priority must be to ensure all inshore harvesters have the opportunity to at least catch their basic IQs (Individual Quotas),” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. It’s rumoured that more than 60 per cent of the 6,500-tonne cod quota that’s been set this year off the south coast (fishing zone 3Ps) has already been taken. A DFO official said late Wednesday afternoon the Department has noticed an increase in landings, and is “monitoring” the situation. While south coast harvesters are assigned IQs, they’re also allowed to catch even more cod — this year it’s up to one full extra IQ, which local harvesters refer to as a “bump”. Rumour also has it that Ocean Choice International is currently gearing up its offshore vessels to catch south coast cod this fall. click here to read the story 23:43

North Sea cod gets MSC certification

At times during these moratorium years of the northern cod, people in this province have glanced at the North Sea to see how that cod stock was faring. Collapsed, recovered and collapsed again, North Sea cod over the years seemed on a different path than northern cod, and different methods were undertaken to attempt recovery and sustainability. On Wednesday, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) announced that North Sea cod has received its distinguished certification after the stock passed an independent assessment against the MSC’s strict standards.,,, “Since then the industry has worked with the Scottish Government and EU Fisheries Council to agree and implement a ‘Cod Recovery Plan’ that would nurse the stock back to health. “The plan linked the number of days fishing that boats were given to the conservation measures they signed up to. click here to read the story 17:42

FISH-NL – Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Torrent River Inn in Hawke’s Bay

FISH-NL wishes to advise all inshore fish harvesters of the Great Northern Peninsula/southern Labrador that a meeting is scheduled for this coming Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Torrent River Inn in Hawke’s Bay. All harvesters are urged to attend. President Ryan Cleary will outline a number of issues that threaten the future of the inshore fishery in the area. 14:22

FISH-NL files opposition to MPA off Newfoundland’s south coast, calling it joke to scientists and insult to inshore harvesters

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) has registered its official opposition to proposed regulations to govern a Marine Protected Area (MPA) in the Laurentian Channel off Newfoundland’s south coast. “The proposed Laurentian Channel MPA is an insult to inshore fish harvesters, and a cruel joke to scientists,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “The fact that the proposal has  been signed off on by the FFAW-Unifor is yet another example of a union that no longer champions its members or the fishing industry, and has become a lackie of Ottawa and the oil and gas industry.” click here to read the press release 11:56

Laurentian Channel Marine Protected Area – Fishing activity singled out for extra blame

I have read many Government of Canada documents. Some of them caused me to roll my eyes, some of them caused chuckles, some were examples of great work, and there has been one document that was the most insulting thing I have ever read. That insulting document (click here) is the reason I write this letter. The Canadian government is about to designate a part of the ocean as a marine protected area (MPA).,,, You can read the document and see for yourself, but the document can be summarized as saying that commercial and recreational fishing are the reason fish species are in danger of extinction and the humans who prosecute those activities have to be stopped. The document is saying that if we continue to dig up the ocean floor, if we continue blast the crap out of the North Atlantic with air guns, and if we continue to ram into whatever whales and turtles we see, it’s no big deal. However, if we bait one hook or set one net or set one crab pot, and if we do it for either recreational or commercial purposes, we are scum. Harvey Jarvis, Portugal Cove. click here to read the letter 08:26

Despite cutbacks and an extended crab fishery, shrimp harvesters still making their way

With increased uncertainty for the industry, shrimp fishermen along the Northern Peninsula are still working hard and hoping for the best in the midst of another season. Anchor Point fisherman Roland Genge says Shrimp Fishing Area (SFA) 8 has supplied his boat with roughly 800-1000 pounds per hour, and in areas like Port Harbour, it can be found all over the ground. “Boats are spread right out and getting pretty much the same amount of catch right on through,” Genge said.,, With biomass declining and quota cuts causing mass grievance among fishermen across the island, Genge says the fears and anxieties surrounding the shrimp populations are not to be found where he’s been casting nets. The shrimp population appears as plentiful as ever. click here to read the story 09:35

Rural America Keeps Rejecting Big Wind

The backlash against Big Wind continues. Indeed, entire states are now restricting or rejecting wind projects.,,, The backlash is so fierce that Big Wind has begun suing small towns to force them to accept wind projects. Since last October, NextEra Energy, the world’s biggest producer of wind energy, has filed lawsuits in federal and state courts against five rural governments, including the town of Hinton, Oklahoma, population: 3,000. NextEra is funding its courthouse mugging of small-town America with your tax dollars.,,, The backlash is happening offshore, too. In New York, the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association and a boatload of fishermen and fishmongers have filed a federal lawsuit to prevent a wind project from being built on top of one of best squid and scallop fisheries on the Eastern Seaboard. click here to read the story 08:56

Temporary closure of a fishery can help whales and fishermen, biologist says

As right whale researchers shift their focus to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, they welcome a decision by the federal government to close a snow crab fishery early after seven whales and a whale rescuer died. Sean Brillant, a senior conservation biologist with the Canadian Wildlife Federation based in Halifax, said he recently proposed a similar strategy to protect right whales that would restrict fishing during the summer in the Grand Manan Basin in the Bay of Fundy and the Roseway Basin on the Scotian Shelf. Brillant said said fishermen’s landings have reportedly declined in recent years, so the impact on them would be minimal. click here to read the story 08:13

Paul Sparkes: To wit — a barrel of herring

In the middle of November 1906 at 10:30 in the morning Alexander Dubois and George Crane were summoned before Magistrate Levi March at Bay of Islands to answer to the charge of breaching Newfoundland’s Bait Act. As Commissioner in that region, Joseph O’Reilly, J.P., was the plaintiff — the man who advanced Newfoundland’s case. The defendants had lawyers but witnesses clearly told the magistrate that they had seen the two Wood’s Island men placing herring (a bait fish) aboard the American schooner Ralph L. Hall. And, woe to them for it seems to have been well known by witnesses that the two did not hold vendors’ licences. And that was essential under Newfoundland law at the time. Mind you, we are talking about three tubs of herring. click here to read the story 12:38

‘A big fish in this small beautiful pond’: Campobello remembers fallen whale rescuer

A crowd of about 400 gathered for the funeral of a New Brunswick man who died rescuing a whale on Monday. Joe Howlett, 59, was freeing a whale from snow crab fishing lines when he died near Shippagan. The funeral was held at the Wilson’s Beach Baptist Church in Wison’s Beach, Campobello. While the church usually holds 150 people, they made room for 400. Howlett’s son Tyler is one of the many who shared memories of his father. “He was just the funniest guy. He had a joke for everything. Every little thing, it wouldn’t even matter he’d have a joke for it,” he said. “He’d make the worst day feel like the best and the best day feel even better. click here to read the story 17:42

The Atlantic wolffish — a face only a mother could love

What is striped, grows to be five feet long and has big chomper teeth all over the roof of its mouth? The Atlantic wolffish.,, There are three types of wolffish: spotted, northern and striped. The first two types are threatened and the third, the one that most interests Novaczek, is of special concern. In partnership with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), Novaczek has been studying striped or Atlantic wolffish in Conception Bay since 2014…“In 2014 and 2015 we mapped Atlantic wolffish habitat in Conception Bay, with detailed characterization of some dens near Bauline. The dens are really important for wolffish — they pair, spawn and guard their eggs in these dens. Feeding debris at the den openings indicates they are also foraging in this habitat.” click here to read the story 10:12

FISH-NL calls on DFO to extend snow crab season off eastern Newfoundland and southern Avalon 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 14th, 2017 – The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is calling on the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans to extend the snow crab fishing season in fishing zone 3L off eastern Newfoundland and the southern Avalon for at least two weeks in light of the delayed start to the season. “Severe ice conditions set most inshore harvesters back, and they need to make up that time on the water,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “Inshore harvesters are also experiencing slower catches because of the caplin and herring coming in over the fishing grounds, so that must be taken into account.” As it stands, the snow crab season is slated to close in 3L on July 31st. FISH-NL has made an official request to DFO on behalf of harvesters to extend the season. 12:18

Evidence from latest right whale necropsy points to collision with ship

Preliminary results from necropsies performed on two North Atlantic right whales on the Magdalen Islands this week suggest one of them was involved in a collision with a ship. The other whale was too decomposed and determining a cause of death was not possible. The carcasses of seven right whales have been found in the Gulf of St. Lawrence since June 6. Necropies performed on two of the other dead whales at the start of July also found evidence of collisions with ships. Another carcass showed evidence of a “chronic entanglement.” Josiane Cabana of Quebec’s marine mammal rescue network told CBC’s French-language service, Radio-Canada, that scientists have not ruled out toxic algae as a contributing factor in the deaths. click here to read the story 09:57

In the chilly coastal waters off Cutler, America’s oldest border skirmish continues apace.

Machias Seal Island lies 10 miles off the Maine coast, a lonely outcrop of rock and scrub in a 277-square-mile swath of ocean known to mariners and mapmakers as the “gray zone,” a rich fishing ground that the U.S. and Canada both claim to own. The Yankee and Canuck fishermen who share these disputed waters — and who ostensibly follow their home country’s rules — haven’t always gotten along, and tensions tend to rise and fall with the market value of their catch. A couple of years back, with lobsters prices skyrocketing and more people fishing the gray zone than ever before, lobstermen from both sides accused each other of cutting lines, stealing gear, and making death threats. A 61-year-old American fisherman warned a Canadian patrol boat that he was readying to ram it.,,, A quick history lesson click here to read the story 11:27

Canada – New fishing vessel safety regulations are now in force

The Fishing Vessel Safety Regulations set out new requirements for safety equipment, written safety procedures and vessel stability for small commercial fishing vessels operating in Canada. Transport Canada says the new regulations are the result of extensive consultation with stakeholders, including fishing vessel owners, provincial and territorial safety groups, and representatives of fishing safety associations from coast to coast to coast. click here to read the story  Read the full list of Fishing Vessel Safety Regulations, click here11:05

DFO closes a gulf fishery early to help protect right whales

Fisheries and Oceans Canada closed part of the snow crab fishery two days early on Wednesday as part of efforts to save the remaining population of North Atlantic right whales. The department announced several steps to protect the whales two days after the death of Joe Howlett, who was killed Monday after freeing a North Atlantic right whale that had been entangled in fishing gear in the Gulf of St. Lawrence near Shippagan, N.B.,,, DFO said it will review fisheries in the area of the gulf where right whales have been showing up in greater numbers, with some encountering danger. click here to read the story 09:33

FISH-NL questions whether FFAW retaliating against inshore harvesters of the Great Northern Peninsula for taking union to court

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) questions whether the FFAW-Unifor has purposely chosen not to take a stand for inshore harvesters of the Great Northern Peninsula in retaliation for some of them taking the union to court. “The FFAW-Unifor’s silence on a redfish quota to the Qalipu First Nation when inshore harvesters are barely hanging on and desperate for fish is bizarre,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “One explanation is that the union is retaliating against harvesters who took a stand against it.” During a news conference on Newfoundland’s west coast earlier this week, it was announced that the Barry Group, headed by west coast businessman Bill Barry, has formed a partnership with the Qalipu First Nation, and are in talks with Ottawa for a redfish quota in the Gulf. click here to read the press release 15:04

NMFS Chief Chris Oliver suspends large whale rescues in U.S. following rescuer death

An American agency that responds to marine mammals in distress has halted its efforts to free large whales trapped in fishing gear following the recent death of a whale rescuer in New Brunswick. Chris Oliver, assistant administrator with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, extended condolences Wednesday to the family of Joe Howlett of Campobello Island. Howlett, who also worked as a lobster fisherman, was killed Monday after freeing a North Atlantic right whale that had been entangled in fishing gear near Shippagan, N.B. “Because ensuring the safety of responders is of paramount importance, NOAA Fisheries is suspending all large whale entanglement response activities nationally until further notice, in order to review our own emergency response protocols,” Oliver said in a statement. click here to read the story 14:37

FISH-NL slams redfish deal that would give quota to Qalipu First Nation when inshore harvesters have nothing to fish

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is deeply concerned over media reports that the Corner Brook-based Qalipu band, Barry Group, and federal government are in talks to start divvying up a rebounding redfish stock in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. “Inshore harvesters and their enterprises are the engines of rural communities, live adjacent to the resource, and have an historical attachment that goes back hundreds of years,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “Inshore harvesters — and inshore harvesters alone — must have priority access to fish stocks off our shores.” “The Qalipu First Nation has absolutely no investment in the redfish fishery, and absolutely no history of fishing it,” says Boyd Lavers, an inshore harvester from Port Saunders, and Captain of FISH-NL’s over 40-foot fleet. click here to read the press release 15:19

Barry Group, Qalipu sign deal to harvest and process western Newfoundland ocean perch – Bill Barry says he has never been so stoked about fishing a new resource. The owner of the Barry Group of Cos. has signed a deal with the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band to harvest and process ocean perch fished off the coast of western Newfoundland. click here to read the story

Campobello Island mourns loss of fisherman originally from Chester who freed dozens of entangled whales

A small island community in New Brunswick is mourning the loss of a fisherman who friends say was killed moments after freeing a whale that was entangled in fishing line. Mackie Green of the Campobello Whale Rescue Team said Joe Howlett was on board a Fisheries and Oceans Canada rib vessel off Shippagan on Monday to help cut heavy lines from a large whale. Green was not on the boat but says he was told the 59-year-old lobster fisherman, who founded the rescue team with Green in 2002, was hit by the whale just after it was cut free and beginning to swim away. A Fisheries and Oceans Canada statement late Monday said only that someone was killed on board one of its vessels and would not provide any details out of respect for family members. click here to read the rest 12:00

‘Everybody knew Joe Howlett and everybody respected Joe Howlett,’ says Mayor Stephen Smart – “There’s only 850 people here on Campobello Island now and Joe was a very lively character, he had a great sense of humour. Everybody knew Joe Howlett and everybody respected Joe Howlett,” said Stephen Smart, mayor of Campobello Island, which is located in southwestern New Brunswick near the U.S. border. click here to read the story

Fisheries groups upset over seismic testing approval, may have ‘incredible impact’ on marine environment

Just a few months after DFO cut crab quotas, now the oil and gas industry may be interfering with the livelihoods of harvesters, according to fisheries unions. The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) has approved offshore seismic testing to take place in prime fishing areas on the Grand Banks. The board approved the request from Multi Klient Invest AS (MKI) for three-dimensional seismic testing in two areas from mid-July to mid-October and from mid-July to the end of August. The Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union (FFAW) issued a press release on Friday, calling on the petroleum board to reconsider its decision.,,, Ryan Cleary wrote the C-NLOPB at the end of June, asking to suspend seismic testing in order to study its impact on marine life. click here to read the story 08:50

It’s not all about cod and crab – Whelk, toad crab, monkfish among species that are bringing new revenue into N.L.’s seafood industry

There are plenty of fish in the sea … but can we make a buck fishing them? Fishermen in Newfoundland and Labrador are rethinking the resources at their disposal, given collapsing quotas for crab and shrimp, and a cod stock that has not yet recovered enough for a full commercial fishery. “You need to be in four to five fisheries to add up to what we had when we had the crab,” said Winston Pitcher, who has had his individual crab quota go down by 80 per cent over the past seven years. To make up for it, he’s got licences for four other species: sea cucumbers, whelk, scallops, and bluefin tuna. click here to read the story 20:15

Waste not, want not: Would you wear shoes made of fish?

A look at Jamie-Lee Cormier’s brightly coloured leather earrings and bracelets reveals something unexpected: the leather has scales. That’s because it’s made with Newfoundland cod leather. “Everyone’s always really amazed when they see it,” said the crafts producer who sells her products online. Though it may seem weird to Cormier’s Canadian customers, fish leather has been making a splash on international runways for a few years. Christian Dior, Prada and Nike have all been experimenting with fish leather products, from shoes to handbags. It’s part of a growing worldwide movement to reduce waste in commercial fisheries and to make more money using less fish. Biodiesel made from seal oil? click here to read the story 10:49

Shadow markets mask the size of China’s demand for lobster

The Chinese appetite for North American lobster is well known and getting bigger every year, but it may be twice as big as previously believed. That’s because there is a lot more lobster ending up on Chinese dinner plates than what Canada and the U.S. send over. Researchers think there is even more North American lobster being traded along indirect and sometimes shadowy routes through other places in Asia, like Hong Kong and Vietnam, that eventually ends up as luxury eats for China’s growing middle class. click here to read the story 09:54

Letter: Fish union failing members on crucial issues

I wish to respond to Lana Payne’s June 24th column (“Austerity should be on trial”). I have no problem with the opinion piece — austerity, no doubt, had a hand in the recent tragic high-rise fire in London, England. But while austerity should be on trial in Europe, FFAW-Unifor was actually before the courts right here in Newfoundland and Labrador, and Payne, Unifor’s Atlantic director, ignored the elephant on the wharf — as has the province’s Federation of Labour and every other union leader in the province, and country. It’s unprecedented for a Canadian union to have deceived its members, which is exactly what happened with scallop harvesters in the Strait of Belle Isle. click here to read the letter 19:48

Eastern Cape Breton lobster season looking good despite rough start

Rough weather delayed the opening of the lobster fishing season off eastern Cape Breton and a nasty spring storm three days later destroyed hundreds of traps up and down the island’s Atlantic coast. Despite those setbacks and the financial cost of replacing traps that can cost up to $100 or more apiece, fishermen are likely to have a profitable season by the time it ends on July 17 thanks to high landings and fair prices, said Herb Nash, a lobster fisherman out of Glace Bay. “After the first week and a half and we got straightened away, the season has really been excellent,” he told Local Xpress. “It’s one of the best seasons ever.” The lobster season in eastern Cape Breton waters normally runs May 15 to July 15, but after two days of stormy weather at the beginning delayed the opening, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans agreed to extend the fishery the same amount. However, strong winds and heavy rains May 20 kept boats tied up and left beaches along the coast littered with traps, many containing lobsters that were unsalvageable. click here to read the story 12:11