Category Archives: Canada

‘I’m still shaken up from it:’ Fishing boat captain tells about helicopter rescue

A fishing crew from Esgenoopetitj, N.B., is happy to be high and dry after running into trouble in Miramichi Bay this week. The crew called for help at about 10:30 p.m. Sunday when they developed problems with their boat’s hydraulic system. They were attempting to make it back to port in Neguac with limited steering when they became stuck on a sandbar about three kilometres away. “The rescue helicopter came by, and we could hear it and see it, but they couldn’t see us unfortunately,” the boat’s captain, Buddy Dedam, told Shift‘s Vanessa Vander Valk. “It was very foggy and our flares didn’t shoot off, our LED lights were not bright enough for them to see us.” Video,  click here to read the story 08:42

FISH-NL describes price of cod as ‘scandalous’ and another example of FFAW conflict; renews call for province to allow in outside buyers

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) says the 2017 price of cod recently negotiated by the FFAW is an insult to the province’s inshore harvesters, and renews its call for the province to allow in outside buyers. “That price is scandalous,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “It’s an insult to already injured inshore harvesters. The FFAW expects cod will save harvesters from shellfish declines, but then the union agrees to a price that will starve our fish harvesters as fast as DFO mismanagement.”The high price of cod this year is up 5 cents a pound. The 2017 price per pound paid to harvesters for Grade A cod has been set at a high of 83 cents, and low of 20 cents. In 2016, the Grade A price paid was 78 cents a pound, with 20 cents as the low mark for Grade C. read the press release here 19:45

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 49’11″X 19′ Novi Lobster Boat, 350HP, 6 Cylinder Mitzubishi, Kobota 11000 KW Auxilary

Specifications, information and 19 photo’s click here To see all the boats in this series, Click here 14:29

Grand Bank protest – “Someone is going to have to listen to the fishermen.”

Fisherman Wayne Meade and a handful of other harvesters burned crab pots and gill nets Tuesday morning outside his home in Grand Bank. “We figured we’d make some smoke,” said Wayne, adding it was a sign of support for crab fishermen in Port au Choix who held a protest fishery there Monday. “All our scallop grounds was took from us. Our 10 per cent halibut bycatch fishery was took from us. So we’re left with nothing, with our hands tied behind our backs. Jesus, we’ve been always treated like dirt. Even in the world wars they put the Newfoundlanders up front to be shot and slaughtered like sheep. So it’s time for us to wake up and be counted.,,, On Tuesday, April 11, FISH-NL made a presentation to the province’s federal Liberal caucus in Ottawa, including recommendations on how to deal with the current fisheries crisis. The presentation was made by Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL, and Richard Gillett, Vice-President.   The following are FISH-NL’s recommendations for fishing zone 3Ps click here to read the details 12:41

Lobster catches taking nose dive in southern Nova Scotia

Ashton Spinney, co-chair of the Lobster Advisory Committee for Lobster Fishing Area 34, says only half as many lobsters as usual are being brought ashore this spring. “The water temperature is cold. It hasn’t warmed up. And the lobsters aren’t crawling into the traps,” said Spinney in an interview Friday. With fuel, bait and salaries for deckhands climbing with inflation in recent years, the paucity of lobsters this spring is leaving many fishers wondering if they’ll even be able to break even before the fishery ends on May 31. “There are some that are finding it hard,” said Spinney. “Those that fished 50 miles out last year and would stay out there, this year they’re not finding enough lobsters to stay out there. So they’re coming in close to the shore, hoping to find some lobsters.” The longtime lobster fisherman says it’s just as bad in Lobster Fishing Area 33. click here to read the story 11:24

DFO wins court victory to prevent corporate control of inshore fishery in Atlantic Canada and Quebec

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has won a court decision upholding its right to prevent the corporate takeover of inshore fisheries in Atlantic Canada and Quebec. “It was a challenge of the government’s power to manage the fishery for all Canadians,” said Graeme Gawn, a lobster fisherman from Nova Scotia’s Digby County and a representative of the Maritime Fishermen’s Union. The federal victory came in a May 5 ruling released Monday from Justice Cecily Strickland of the Federal Court of Canada in the case of Kirby Elson, a fisherman from Labrador. Strickland ruled the federal fisheries minister was entitled to strip a snow crab fishing licence from Elson after he refused to exit a controlling agreement with two fish processors. The federal government contended the agreement was an effort to get around long-standing policies to preserve the independence of the region’s inshore fishery. click here to read the story 08:53

3 fishermen in Miramichi Bay hoisted to safety by Cormorant

Three fishermen were rescued early Monday after their vessel ran aground in Miramichi Bay near Neguac. The crew sent a mayday call at about 10:30 p.m. Sunday and were rescued eight hours later. “They were taking on water,” said Alex Roy, a naval cadet from the Joint Task Force Atlantic in Nova Scotia. A search-and-rescue team 14 Wing Greenwood was dispatched in a Cormorant helicopter to locate the boat. “The fishing vessel ran aground on a sandbar,” Roy said.  The fishermen were hoisted into the Cormorant and transported to the Neguac ballfield, where an ambulance was waiting. No other details were available Link 15:07

FISH-NL’s warnings of rising unrest play out, crab harvesters hold protest fishery off Port aux Choix

Predictions by the Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) of rising unrest in the province’s fishing industry are playing out as inshore fishermen launched a protest crab fishery this morning off Port aux Choix on the Great Northern Peninsula. “Storm clouds have been brewing for months over the Newfoundland and Labrador fishery, and DFO, the police, Ottawa and the provincial government were warned long ago,” said Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “This is going to get uglier before it gets better.” As many as nine crab boats from the province took part in this morning’s protest fishery, although not all vessels set crab gear. click here to read the story 14:32

Crab fishermen set pots in off-limits zone to protest Quebec harvesting in area – click here to read the story 16:38

Five fishermen rescued from grounded fishing vessel in St-Pierre

The crew of a Newfoundland fishing boat was rescued early Monday after their vessel ran aground in St-Pierre-Miquelon. Five fishermen from the Arlene & Adonna were taken to a hotel after their boat ran into the rocks on L’ile-aux-Marins, a small island in the St.-Pierre harbor. Enrique Perez, the president of St-Pierre-Miquelon’s Search and Rescue group, said the Société Nationale de Sauvetage en Mer had to leave the fishing vessel in place, but were able to take the fishermen off. click here to read the story 12:05

BC Halibut Fishermen Accuse Global NEWS of Irresponsible Journalism with Oceana Canada’s Fake News

“Global NEWS’ May 5th reporting on Canada’s Pacific commercial halibut fishery was irresponsible fake news, says Chris Sporer, Executive Manager of the Pacific Halibut Management Association of BC (PHMA), an organization representing commercial halibut fishermen in the province. “Global NEWS made no attempt to contact the industry or to get the facts, and then used stock video footage that has nothing to do with our fishery,” notes Sporer. The Global NEWS report was click here>prompted by an Oceana Canada report on bycatch in Canada’s commercial fisheries.  PHMA and its members disagree with the conclusions of the report.  For the BC halibut fishery, the report relied on a data set that is a decade old and incomplete.  As a result, the data could not be fully analyzed and is misinterpreted. click here to read the story 16:09

‘Atlantic’ – an urgent and visually moving lament against corporate privatization of the ocean

Fortunately, Risteard O’Domhnail’s Atlantic—a remarkable docudrama about corporate and government malfeasance responsible for destroying fishing communities across the Atlantic Ocean’s coastlines—exemplifies an impeccably crafted style of documentary filmmaking which may resonate emotionally long after viewing it.,, Atlantic succeeds as a lament about fisherman forced to pay witness to what seems unimaginable: a corporate takeover of the Atlantic Ocean. This is a shocking concept, given the time-honored narratives which treat the ocean as a vast, unconquerable enigma associated with man’s total subservience to nature. click here to read the article, and watch the video trailer 15:11

Save our seal(er)s – Jim Winter, St. John’s

The population of harp seals off Canada’s East Coast is about 7.5 million. For over 50 years, marine mammal scientists have studied the herd, and from this science annual quotas are set. During this period, the herd has more than tripled in size. The seals we hunt are fully weaned and independent. Harp seal dames feed their offspring for 11 to 15 days and leave them; they are not helicopter parents. The use of anthropomorphic words like “baby” is merely heart-tugging propaganda. The only study portraying the killing as inhumane was paid for by the International Fund for Animal Welfare and conducted by a group of British vets and was never peer-reviewed, as is customary with studies of this kind. Every other study, including one by the International Veterinary Group, has found the hunt to operate as humanely as any slaughterhouse in the Western World. click here to read the letter 16:11

Compensation coming for lobster fishermen sidelined by Maritime Link work

The company behind the Maritime Link has agreed to compensation for a group of 60 Cape Breton lobster and crab fishermen affected by the project this season. Work began last month on installing one of two 170-kilometre cables that will eventually cross the ocean floor between Cape Ray, N.L., and Point Aconi, N.S.  At landfall in Cape Breton, cable laying and other offshore construction activity will close a three-kilometre-long and 600-metre-wide swath of ocean bottom to lobster fishing for the entire 2017 lobster season. “Emera needs a safety installation zone that remains clear of all fishing gear and that’s particularly important during the summer cable landing,” said Jeff Myrick, senior communications manager with Emera Newfoundland and Labrador, a subsidiary of Halifax-based Emera Inc. Terms of the compensation deal reached with the fishermen are not being released, he said.,, ‘Only reasonable’ to expect compensation click here to read the story 12:12

Perfectly good fisheries data being ignored – Harvey Jarvis, concerned citizen

DFO is currently under fire, from several different fronts, about recent science stock assessment estimates and the subsequent management decisions. Someone not familiar with the science assessment process might believe the federal Fisheries minister’s recent announcement to conduct cod assessments every year is way of addressing current deficiencies. It is not! Conducting full, peer-reviewed, annual assessments used to be a normal occurrence until Ottawa gutted DFO science and management at the regional level. Those annual assessments failed to prevent the cod moratorium in 1992. Simply reverting to an annual assessment process will in no way address current deficiencies. Critical to the assessment process is the mathematical model that computes biomass. Critical inputs to that model are survey indices and commercial catch. If the model is flawed or if critical inputs are not included, the assessment results will be flawed. click here to read the letter 09:37

Letter: Why Richard Gillett went on a hunger strike. ” In my opinion he is a brave man,,,”

April 13th, Richard Gillett went on a hunger strike because he felt that rural Newfoundland and Labrador was facing a bleak future due to the mismanagement of oceans that had sustained us for 500 years. Richard had two requests: one for a review of the science and management of all provincial fish stocks, the other a review of the relationship of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers union and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Those are two very legitimate questions.,, In my opinion he is a brave man who is concerned about this province and has done more than anyone since the moratorium to bring to the forefront the state of our oceans. Click here to read Capt. Wilfred Bartlett, retired, letter 17:41

FISH-NL challenges federal Fisheries Minister to meet with harvesters his government is starving out

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) says the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans appears oblivious to the hardship facing inshore harvesters this year as the result of punishing quota cuts and severe industry downturn. Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL, challenges the Minister to visit some of the rural communities directly impacted, and meet with harvesters his government is starving out. “The Minister should go to places like Anchor Point and Twillingate and explain to harvesters how they’re expected to get by when so many of them have nothing left to fish,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “Harvesters are being starved out.” click here to read the press release 13:12

DFO shark survey to focus on endangered porbeagle – Anecdotal reports suggest population is on the rise

The federal Fisheries Department is preparing to go on a shark-catching expedition this summer. “I am very, very excited,” said Heather Bowlby, the principal investigator for the shark survey, which is set to begin in late June. “I think it’ll be a great learning opportunity, and I think it’ll be really fun.”  The department has put out a tender seeking bids from fishermen with tuna and swordfish licences who have the longline equipment necessary to catch the endangered porbeagle sharks the survey is concentrating on. Bowlby estimates the survey will take 40 to 45 days at sea as sharks are caught, tagged and returned to the ocean alive. The project has a $390,000 budget.,, The survey will take place at 60 stations in Atlantic Canadian waters between the Bay of Fundy and the Grand Banks. Between two and five vessels will do the work. Each vessel will have 600 hooks on longlines, which will be in the water for about four hours at a time. click here to read the story 10:09

Northern Peninsula shrimp fishers see no reason to fish in 2017

The Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW) union held a meeting for the 4R fleet in Hawke’s Bay on April 24. FFAW 4R chair, Rendell Genge, and the 4R vice chair, Roland Genge, both from Anchor Point, say that if the current outlook persists, in regards to prices and quotas, it’s likely that none of the 4R fleet will participate in the northern shrimp fishery this year. Earlier this year, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) announced the northern shrimp quota in shrimp fishing area 6 (SFA 6) would be cut by 63 per cent. Coming on the heels of this was the news that the price for northern shrimp has dropped from $1.40 per pound in 2016 to $0.95 this year. The 4R fishers say they want better prices for shrimp before they can even think about fishing for it. To give a sense of how drastic the reductions in quotas and price would be this year, Roland explained the math. click here to read the story 21:18

Sandy Stokes and the C.C.Venture spent four days stuck in Bonavista Bay

After days stuck in pack ice in Bonavista Bay, Sandy Stokes and the crew of the C.C. Venture freed themselves with some clever thinking. With only a few hundred meters to go before they would drift into Gull Island, near Bonavista, the crew “concocted” a plan to tie the boat onto a large ice pan, hoping it would continue its course away from the land mass. “We figured our best chance was to get some rope to that pan that we could see that was actually moving outside the island, just to see if it would tow us out any,” Stokes said Wednesday. “And it did, it worked perfectly.” After getting itself stuck in ice in Bonavista Bay, and drifting from Gooseberry Island, near Saint Brendan’s to Bonavista, the C.C. Venture finally freed itself on April 25 — five days after their sealing trip began. click here to see more images, read the story 12:18

Canada: Atlantic bluefin tuna not listed as an endangered species

Atlantic bluefin tuna will not be listed on the endangered species list, a decision released Wednesday.  The federal government’s final decision was published in the Canada Gazette saying it would not be listed under the Species at Risk Act (SARA).  Fisheries and Oceans Canada rejected advice to list the species as endangered last summer, saying western Atlantic bluefin tuna stocks have been rebuilding since 2011, when the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) said tuna should be listed as an endangered species under federal species-at-risk legislation. Included in the decision was the government’s rationale and the steps that will be taken to help in its recovery. If the species would have been listed on SARS, it would no longer have been allowed to be fished commercially. The in Halfax is calling on the government to take steps to work and conserve the species. (of course!) click here to read the story 08:21

While the Trudeau Administration pays lip service, FISH-NL warns of rising unrest if Ottawa doesn’t soon act on fisheries crisis 

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) warns of rising unrest in the fishing industry if Ottawa doesn’t follow through on commitments to inshore fish harvesters. “So far the Trudeau administration has paid lip service to unrest in the Newfoundland and Labrador fishery,” said Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “That won’t cut it anymore because harvesters are at the end of their rope.” The state of the fisheries today is described as worse than the early 1990s when groundfish stocks such as cod collapsed. Back then, harvesters moved on to other species such as shrimp and crab, but now most fisheries are at a critical level or on a downward spiral. Debt levels are also higher, and — given severe cuts to quotas for species like shrimp — many harvesters are teetering on bankruptcy. click here to read the press release 13:06

Why lobster prices are so high and what it means for the industry

Lobster prices in the Maritimes are high and buyers in Nova Scotia say they’ve never seen lobster on the wharf sell for $8 per pound in early May. This is the time of year when almost every lobster fishery on the East Coast is open — there are more boats on the water in early May than there are at pretty much any other time of the year. With so many traps in the water, why is the price so high? “This is the highest price in the history of the commercial fishery in the spring on this date. I emphasize on this date,” said Stewart Lamont, a lobster buyer on Nova Scotia’s eastern shore and managing director of Tangiers Lobster Company. click here to read the story 09:57

Family that fishes together: Bill MacEachern passing on tradition to next generation

Lobster season is under way in northeastern New Brunswick. Fishermen set out from wharves all along the north shore and Acadian Peninsula at first light Monday morning to set their traps. It’s a time-honoured tradition, especially for Bill MacEachern, who has been fishing out of Tabusintac for 55 years. Everything went well on day one, he told Shift‘s Vanessa Vander Valk. “It went great. It was a beautiful day, everybody got set, there were only two or three boats that had little problems,” he said. “Usually a few fellows have their motors go or something like that happen, but this year everybody was really lucky.” After 55 years on the water, he’s seen it all in the industry. “You wouldn’t believe the changes,” he said. click here to read the story, and watch a video 09:21

Pulling the traps: Captain Shelley Deagle says the season looks positive

Lobster fishermen on Prince Edward Island’s north shore are hopeful today’s catch will give them an indication of what the two-month spring season may bring.  Captain Shelley Deagle is one of the fishermen who headed out before sunrise from Naufrage, P.E.I., on the Miss Shawna Lee to start pulling traps with her cork, Dougie MacKinnon. The captain said there were lobsters in the traps, adding that’s a good sign of the season to come.  “They’re talking a good price again this year,” said Deagle referring to a meeting held Friday with the fish buyer. click here to view the images, and read the story 19:49

Two dead after fishing boat goes down off Vancouver Island near Tofino

Two people are dead and three others were treated and released from hospital Sunday after a fishing boat went down off the west coast of Vancouver Island near the remote tourist community of Tofino. All five people on board the vessel were taken to shore Sunday afternoon, but health officials later confirmed that two of them had died, Coast Guard spokesman Dan Bate said in a statement. The 8.5-metre-long catamaran was fishing for halibut near Bartlett Island, north of Tofino, B.C., on Sunday afternoon, he said. Someone on the boat made a distress call around 1:20 p.m., said Sub-Lt. Melissa Kia with the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Victoria. Details are sketchy. click here to read the story 11:04

The RCMP says two Alberta men died when a sport-fishing vessel overturned and sank off the west coast of Vancouver Island on Sunday. The Mounties say the men are 32 and 42 years old, but their names and hometowns haven’t yet be released. click here to read the story 15:46

P.E.I. Fishermen hope for the best – first lobsters of the 2017 season will be hauled in on Monday

P.E.I. Lobster fishermen will be crossing their fingers as they head out onto the waters this morning for the first landing day of the 2017 fishery. Long-time fisherman, Norman Peters, also known as the Bearded Skipper, went out from North Rustico Saturday on his boat Silver Wave with his brother Keith and son Corey. Peters, who has been fishing for longer than 55 years, said the day went well, although it was impossible to tell what the landings will be like. Like many others, Peters was remaining cautiously optimistic. “We’ll have to wait and see,” said the 75-year-old Peters. “No doubt there’s going to be lobster, a pound or two to a trap would be nice, but whatever we get, we get.” click here to read the story 08:11

How Lobsters Do It – Mating among lobsters is a tender, human-like affair

Between their hard shells and strong pincers, American lobsters are built to fight and keep other creatures away. But does this combative, standoffish nature extend to mating? There are two general groups of animals called lobsters: clawed lobsters, which live in high-latitude, cold-water regions; and spiny lobsters, which are clawless and live in warmer sub-tropical waters. Clawed lobsters and spiny lobsters are not closely related. Clawed lobsters, including the American (Maine) and European lobsters, typically live in small, hierarchical groups, said biologist Jelle Atema, who studies American lobsters at Boston University and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Males vigorously fight each other to be the dominant male of the group, though it’s a short-lived title given that lobsters remember whom they’ve fought for no longer than a week. click here to read the story 11:24

Poor weather, ice conditions delays opening of spring lobster fishery until Monday for northern N.B.

Sunday’s weather forecast has delayed opening day of the spring lobster fishery in northern New Brunswick until Monday at 6 a.m. Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Luc Légère said the decision came Friday after consultation with industry representatives and the Canadian Coast Guard. “We looked mostly at the weather, but also ice conditions and things like that,” he said. Légère said the forecast is calling for high winds Sunday morning and big waves. Légère said some areas near Miscou Island, Shippagan, and some areas into Miramichi Bay were still having issues with ice conditions, but he hoped the warmer temperatures and winds would blow most of the ice out by Monday. click here to read the story 08:55

When Lowestoft boats went to fish from Canada

There was an interesting time, way back in the early 1950s, when several drifter/trawlers and trawlers from Lowestoft were sent on the long trip to Nova Scotia to ply their trade, reports Mick Harrod. The first Lowestoft boats to make this voyage were Acorn LT 31, skippered by Ivan Down, and Boston Swift LT 377, in September of 1954. Acorn was a steamer, built in 1919 at Aberdeen and the story goes that, although she was filled with coal, including in the fish hold and ice lockers, she still ran out of fuel in the last few miles and was towed in by Boston Swift. The agreement with Mercury Fisheries Ltd, of Halifax, Nova Scotia, was that the crew initially signed on for six months and then, if they liked it enough, they could have permanent berths and their families would get assistance to move to Canada. click here to view more images, read the story 09:36

Most of P.E.I.’s 960-boat spring lobster fleet will set gear Saturday – Fishermen from Point Prim to Victoria will set a week later

Some lobster fishermen started transferring traps from the wharf to their boats on Thursday as preparations for Saturday’s opening of the spring lobster fishing season shifted into high gear. Many of the crews, however, are waiting until Friday to load up. “I hope everybody has a safe season, all across P.E.I and I hope the catches are good,” said Francis Morrissey, president of the Western Gulf Fishermen’s Association. Morrissey said many of the fishermen in his area have been able to catch a fair amount of spring herring for bait to get their season started, and he’s encouraged that the weather conditions for setting day, this Saturday are forecast to be good. click here to read the story, and we wish these fishermen well. Stay Safe! 11:55