Category Archives: Canada

FISH-NL: Ottawa’s delay of harp seal count unacceptable

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) says a delay by Fisheries and Oceans in carrying out a count of the harp seal population is unacceptable.
Further, Ottawa’s failure to adopt an ecosystem approach to fisheries management — which would include the massive impact of harp seals — undermines its commitment to rebuilding East Coast fish stocks. “The federal government seems to be purposely downplaying the impact of harp seals at the continued peril of Newfoundland and Labrador’s commercial fisheries,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. >click to read<12:52

We’ll take your lobsters, eh? Canadian imports from US soar

Trade hostility from across the ocean was supposed to take a snip out of the U.S. lobster business, but the industry is getting a lifeline from its northern neighbor. Heavy demand from Canada is buoying American lobster as both countries head into the busy holiday export season, according to federal statistics and members of the industry. It’s a positive sign for U.S. seafood dealers and fishermen, even as the industry struggles with Chinese tariffs.,,  >click to read<12:05

Get fresh herring and help kids battling cancer this Saturday

Come get your fresh herring! For the 8th year in a row the Finest at Sea and ‘Fishermen Helping Kids with Cancer’ are hosting a fundraiser for kids battling cancer. But this isn’t just any fundraiser, it’s a fresh herring sale, and it’s put together purely by the passion of volunteers who know that 100% of the proceeds go directly to kids with cancer. Last year’s sale raised $106,598! The annual fundraiser was inspired by the 17-year-old daughter of a commercial BC fisherman who was battling cancer. >click to read, buy some herring!<07:36

Yarmouth and Shelburne County fishermen rally to help one of their own

Fishermen in Yarmouth and Shelburne counties have rallied together to help one of their own after the vessel The Extreme One sunk at the Lower East Pubnico wharf late Wednesday afternoon, just days before the lobster season is set to begin. Fishing boat captain Brandon Surette and his crew had just finished loading all their lobster pots and gear when the incident happened on Nov. 28.,,, Hundreds of fishermen and community members filled the wharf helping with the recovery effort, including the East Pubnico Volunteer Fire Department.“It’s a big community effort,” said Malone. Lots of photo’s of lots of wonderful people. >click to read<16:54

Canada considers mandatory EPIRB’s on all fishing vessels, shift Coast Guard from DFO to Transport Canada

An emergency distress beacon should be made mandatory on all commercial fishing vessels in Canada within two years, according to a Senate study released Thursday that looks at Canada’s search and rescue system at sea. “We believe the time has come. They are mandatory in other countries. It should be mandatory here,” said Sen. Jim Munson, a member of the Senate fisheries committee, which issued the report.,,  The Senate report recommends a pilot program to test using commercial helicopter search and rescue in Newfoundland and Labrador, and the North. The report suggests a private company could offer round-the-clock service. >click to read<15:58

Following weather delay lobster fishery will get underway on Saturday, Dec. 1

The lobster fishery in southwestern Nova Scotia and along the province’s south shore will open on Saturday. Under ideal weather conditions the season would have begun on Monday, Nov. 26, but winds this week pushed the start of the season back to Dec. 1. In LFA 34 (which takes in all of Yarmouth County and parts of Shelburne and Digby counties) boats will leave their wharfs at 6 a.m. on Saturday. In LFA 33, which extends from Shelburne County to Halifax County, boats will depart at 7 a.m. >click to read<12:40

Lobster season off southwest Nova Scotia postponed again due to bad weather

The federal Fisheries Department confirmed today that industry representatives from Lobster Fishing Area 33, which extends from Halifax to the southwestern tip of the province, have decided to open their season on Saturday at 7 a.m. About 700 fishing boats are expected to dump their traps that day, unless the weather again turns foul. In Lobster Fishing Area 34, which includes 970 boats that work the waters off the province’s western edge, fishermen and federal officials decided today to put off their final decision until a conference call is held Thursday morning. >click to read<17:31

ICCAT Meeting Ends After ‘Spectacular Failure’ to Protect Bigeye Tuna

The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) concluded its annual plenary meeting on November 19 after a spectacular failure to arrive to a comprehensive agreement on badly needed management measures to address the present poor state of Atlantic bigeye tuna stock. Bigeye tuna is highly coveted by sashimi markets worldwide, similar to bluefin tuna. ICCAT’s eight-day meeting, held this year in Dubrovnik, Croatia, was attended by over 700 people representing 52 countries. The U.S., Canada, South Africa and a handful of other nations strongly advocated for the adoption of measures that would end overfishing immediately and rebuild the stock within 10 years. However, >click to read<20:21

Northern Pulp – Senators want full assessment of plan to dump mill effluent off Nova Scotia coast

A group of Independent senators is calling on the Trudeau government to do a full environmental assessment of a “dangerous” plan in Nova Scotia to take effluent from a pulp mill, pipe it 10 kilometres out into the Northumberland Strait, and dump it. In the Red Chamber on Monday, Sen. Mike Duffy called it “a looming environmental crisis in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.”,, Last week, along with Sen. Diane Griffin, a conservationist from P.E.I., they met with representatives of fisheries groups from all three Maritime provinces. “If this scheme is allowed to proceed, it could damage the fishery in the three Maritime provinces, Quebec’s Magdalen Islands, and beyond,” >click to read<18:25

Not prepared – If there is ever a deepwater oil blowout, help could be weeks away

It could take weeks to get a disaster-stopping piece of equipment to Newfoundland and Labrador in the event of a subsea oil blowout, according to documents filed by Statoil, now known as Equinor, the company behind the province’s first foray into deepwater oil development. Documents filed by the company to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency in relation to an application for exploratory drilling projects in the Flemish Pass, near the newly-announced Bay du Nord project, indicate that if a well blew, a capping stack — a device used to reign in blowouts — would have to be shipped in from Norway or Brazil. >click to read<11:16

Crews re-float sabotaged coast guard ship in Nova Scotia fishing village

The Canadian Coast Guard has refloated one of its ships after it was cut from its cradle at a Nova Scotia shipyard over a week ago. The CCGS Corporal McLaren had been partially submerged with 2,600 litres of diesel fuel in its tanks and 400 litres of hydraulic fluid on board after it was allegedly sabotaged in an incident reported to police Nov. 17. Keith Laidlaw, the Coast Guard’s deputy superintendent for environmental response, says the operation started Monday afternoon and was complete by late evening, after the shipyard and salvage team pumped thousands of litres of water out of its hold. >click to read<10:47

Redfish making a big comeback in the Gulf of St. Lawrence

“We won the lottery.” That’s not a phrase you normally associate with someone doing stock assessments for Fisheries and Oceans Canada. But DFO biologist Caroline Senay is excited by the amount of redfish they’re tracking off the island’s west coast in the Gulf of St. Lawrence: about 2.5 million tonnes of fish in an area referred to as unit 1. By comparison, Iceland has a total redfish biomass of 430,000 tonnes. >click to read<09:00

Solution to deal with B.C.’s sea lion surplus? Harvest them, group suggests

Sea lion populations have been on the rise for years and wreaking havoc on commercial fishermen’s catches and equipment, according to the Pacific Balance Pinniped Society. Adult male California sea lions can grow to as big as 800 pounds and consume massive quantities of fish as they grow. “Out in the waters and in our rivers, the pinniped populations have just exploded and we know they’re targeting mainly salmon, steelhead, trout and other fin fish species,” said Thomas Sewid. He believes seals and sea lions are over-abundant in B.C. waters and is spearheading a solution to deal with them. “Not just the natives want to start harvesting pinnipeds,” said Sewid. “This is an industry that can explode throughout coastal British Columbia.” >click to read<21:08

Mid-week decision will be made on a Friday or Saturday start to the lobster fishery

The start of the lobster season that had been delayed for Monday now won’t happen until Friday or Saturday in southwestern Nova Scotia and along the province’s south shore. During a Monday morning 8 a.m. conference call that took place for LFA 34, the decision was made to have another conference call on Wednesday morning to decide on a Friday or Saturday opening. The vote to hold off until beyond Wednesday was made by the port reps given the forecast for the next few days. Fourteen LFA 34 port reps voted no-go until later in the week, two voted to go earlier and one rep abstained from the vote. A conference call took place in LFA 33 an hour later. The decision to hold off until week’s end was unanimous in that call. >click to read<16:39

Fishermen train for a rescue in an industry full of danger

The thick red neoprene of my survival suit pressed my nose flat against my face, as I flopped into the makeshift rescue rig. A winch above strained to pull me from the dark water. The rope snapped. I plunged back down, spat out salty water and bobbed to the surface. “And that’s why we do the drills,” said Matthew Duffy, a safety advisor with the Fisheries Safety Association of Nova Scotia. Duffy stood on the boat above me in Port Mouton, N.S., next to a sheepish captain who later vowed to buy a new rope. On an adjacent wharf, dozens of fishermen watched our mock rescue. >click to read<12:41

F/V Barracudina: Lost But Not Forgotten

40 years ago, on November 26, 1978, the fishing vessel Barracudina disappeared in the Cabot Strait, about 20 miles south-west of Port aux Basques, Newfoundland, Canada. She carried with her to their watery graves her crew of five.
The Barracudina was returning from fishing off Cape North on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. The weather was bad (forecasts gave gale/storm warnings, winds up to 40 to 50 knots), but was not beyond the experience of her seasoned crew. Radio communication was poor, the Master, Jim Chaulk, communicated by Citizens Band with a person onshore about 0030 hours Newfoundland Stand Time (Zulu (UTC) minus 3.5 hours) Sunday November 26 advising he was about 20 miles out and would be in port in about two hours. >click to read<09:42

Monday start to LFA 33/34 lobster season in southwestern N.S. and province’s south shore being delayed

The start of the province’s largest and longest lobster fishery in LFAs 33 and 34 is being delayed due to winds and won’t start Monday, Nov. 26. The last Monday of November is traditionally the start of the season, but that’s only if the weather permits. The decision to postpone the start of the season was made during conference calls for both districts Saturday morning, Nov. 24. The next conference calls to determine if there will be a Tuesday or Wednesday opening are scheduled for Monday morning. The conference call for LFA 34 (which takes in southwestern Nova Scotia) will be Monday morning at 8 a.m. The call for LFA 33 (which takes in the province’s south shore) will be Monday at 9 a.m. >click to read<16:04

Weather Delay – ‘You can’t beat Mother Nature’: start of lobster fishing season postponed

Lobster fishing season in southwestern Nova Scotia will be off to a late start this year after officials postponed the day that fishermen were slated to drop their traps — also known as “dumping day.” The season was supposed to kick off on Monday, but Fisheries and Oceans spokesperson Debbie Buott-Matheson said based on forecasted weather, the industry associations representing lobster fishing areas 33 and 34 decided in a Saturday morning conference call that it would be too risky to proceed as planned. >click to read<14:32

Not ready for Prime Time? Coast Guard rescue boat breaks down on way home after refit

A Canadian Coast Guard rescue lifeboat broke down twice this month en route to its Nova Scotia home port after a refit, CBC News has learned. The CCGS Clarks Harbour is still undergoing repairs at the West Head wharf on Cape Sable Island, but the Coast Guard said it will be available for the winter lobster season in southwest Nova Scotia, which is just days away. “The fact it’s not in service is that we are conducting ongoing maintenance and ensuring it’s ready to go for the opening,” said Wade Spurrell, acting Deputy Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard. >click to read<10:15

FISH-NL accuses FFAW of fake outrage and hypocrisy over new snow crab management strategy

The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) held meetings earlier this week in St. John’s, Clarenville, and Gander to consult inshore harvesters on a proposed new management strategy for snow crab. The so-called Precautionary Approach includes stock status zones such as critical, cautious and healthy, as well as reference points and harvesters control rules. A huge contingent of FFAW-Unifor executive members slammed DFO at the public meetings for blindsiding inshore harvesters, accusing the department of bringing them into the discussion at a “late stage.” >click to read<

‘Lobster War’ zones in on U.S.-Canada turf dispute

“A fisherman is born not made.” Those words, from the film Lobster War, may ring true to the island fishing community, and to fishermen throughout New England, Canada and beyond. And, just as lobstermen often pass their expertise and way of life down through the generations, so, too, can turf conflicts begin over long-held family fishing areas. In Lobster War, the disputed turf is 270 square miles of ocean on the U.S.-Canada border, and the “families” are Maine and Canadian lobstermen. >click to read<11:12

SAR resources will be in place for lobster season opening in southwest Nova Scotia

A full complement of Search and Rescue (SAR) resources will be on the water and standing by when the commercial lobster fishery in LFAs 33 and 34 opens. “We’re in the business of planning for the worst and hoping for the best,” said Marc Ouellette, Canadian Coast Guard Regional Supervisor for Maritime Search and Rescue at the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) in Halifax.,, Ouellette said there’s a strategy in place for the opening of the LFA 33 and 34 fishery, which is repeated every year without too much modification and is based on the amount of marine traffic and the risk identified through studies of what is high risk for SAR coverage. >click to read<10:21

Editorial: Too close for comfort

Friday brought what may be the worst oil spill so far in the East Coast offshore. Husky Energy’s SeaRose production vessel spilled as much as 250,000 litres of oil into the ocean on Friday morning. Much of that oil is unlikely to be recovered and has instead been widely dispersed. The SeaRose is the same vessel that failed to follow iceberg protocols in March 2017, and was almost hit by an iceberg. Meanwhile, the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) and the provincial government are still tied up in the usual conundrum. That’s the problem of being oil industry proponents, promoters, owners — and regulators. >click to read<

Southwestern NS fishermen asked ‘Are you ready?’ as focus is put on safety heading into season

The Fisheries Safety Association of Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia Fisheries Sector Council have been busy in the weeks leading up to the opening of the lobster fishery delivering man overboard drills, safety equipment demonstrations and safety messages at wharfs throughout southwestern Nova Scotia as part of their ‘Are You Ready?’ program. “Attendance at these drills has been fantastic, even in smaller ports for 10 or less vessels we are still seeing all captains and crews show up,” said Matthew Duffy, safety advisor for the Fisheries Safety Association of Nova Scotia. >click to read<10:53

Axed jobs and closed plants loom, warn crab harvesters about new management approach

Fishing businesses are on the line if the Department of Fisheries and Oceans implements a new management system for snow crab, says Port de Grave harvester. “Bankrupt … plant workers will lose their jobs. Plants will definitely close. Fishermen are definitely bankrupt,,, I’d say 80 per cent of the industry is bankrupt,” said Brad Doyle.,,, “We’ve had environmental issues that weren’t taken into account,” says fisher Brad Doyle. Fishers like Doyle want to known what impact other fish species and the growing population of harp seals is having on snow crab. >click to read<21:49

‘It’s been an interesting life,’ Cape Sable Island fisherman reflects on decades of fishing

Bradford (Baffy) Symonds Jr. was only a-year-and-a-half old when his mother took him to Seal Island for the first time. “I’ve pretty well been on the ocean every year since,” said the retired Cape Sable Island fisherman. “It’s been an interesting life.” Symonds attended his first year of school on Seal Island in 1936. “There were about 40 to 50 students,” he says, explaining the island fishermen all took their families there in November. “Some stayed all winter. We always came home.” >click to read<14:00

Largest lobster fishing season opens in southwestern Nova Scotia next week

The largest commercial lobster season in the region, the province and the country gets underway next week in southwestern Nova Scotia and along the province’s south shore with the opening of the LFA 34 and 33 lobster fisheries.,, Aboard boats leaving from wharfs at the opening of their seasons will be more than 5,000 fishermen, which includes extra crewmembers that are hired for the opening weeks of the season. There are around 1,678 lobster licences amongst these two LFAs. >click to read<08:14

N.L. crab fishers taken aback by DFO’s latest details on crab data

Alfred Fitzpatrick says it seems the opinions of fish harvesters aren’t carrying much weight with the science branch of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) as of late. “We always thought we had a pretty good relationship with DFO Science – when it come to crab anyways, cod is another story,” said the Garnish-based fishermen, who represents harvesters from the Burin Peninsula in crab fishing areas 10 and 11 on the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW-Unifor) union’s inshore council. “It seems like now it’s changing. It’s not a good working relationship, not as good anyway, I’ll say.” >click to read<16:10

Final harvest numbers in hand, halibut commission set for meeting

All of Alaska’s Pacific halibut fisheries stayed within their quota limits this year, but not all individual sectors within the fishery areas did. The final regular landings update for 2018 from the International Pacific Halibut Commission, issued Nov. 15, outlines the final data available before the first interim meeting of the commission. Overall, all Pacific halibut fisheries for Canada and the U.S. harvested about 26.5 million pounds of halibut, or about 95 percent of the total limit of 27.9 million pounds. >click to read<15:15

Fishermen’s blockade prevents survey ship from getting out of Pictou Harbour

In a showdown in Pictou Harbour Monday morning, a fleet of fishing boats forced a survey vessel back to port. Close to 30 fishing boats surrounded a small survey vessel tied to the wharf in Pictou and the attempt to survey the area for Northern Pulp’s new pipeline might be shutting down for several days. “They made it out to the mouth of the harbour,” said fisherman Darryl Bowen.“We were all just sitting there. They couldn’t get through, so they just turned around and came back in.” (Thank God someone has some fight left in them!) >Video, click to read<