Tag Archives: Bay of Fundy

Bluefin tuna in P.E.I. are so hungry they no longer fear humans

Bobbing up and down on cold Atlantic waters, several fishermen toss scaly, silver mackerel overboard. It’s a delicious snack for a bluefin tuna — the largest species of tuna in the world, measuring more than six feet in length and weighing up to 1,600 pounds. The newcomer among them, a writer and ecologist, expects to spend the afternoon patiently waiting for a bite. Instead, the bluefin tuna here in North Lake, P.E.I. are so abundant and so hungry that within minutes their trademark yellow caudal finlets are circling the boat. click here to read the story 18:29

Lobster prices climbing as export market grows

While consumers may not like the high cost of lobster, it is good news for lobster fishermen like Clinton Pendleton. He fishes with his father and grandfather from Deer Island, N.B., in the Bay of Fundy. Pendleton said recent cold temperatures are driving down landings because lobsters don’t feed when it’s too cold. That means they don’t crawl into the baited traps. “This year, compared to recent years, I don’t remember anytime in June when you were able to see your breath all day long,” he said. Cold weather and high demand have driven the price up and kept it there this season.  click here to read the story 21:25

Op-Ed: Something fishy is going on in the Bay of Fundy

If you thought the massive fish and marine animal die-off that took place in Nova Scotia back in December is all cleared up, you’re dead wrong. There have been two more die-offs, but these latest ones are different because they are being caused by man. Besides the massive kill that took place in December that encompassed an area from Annapolis to Yarmouth, there was the mutilated fish brought up in gill nets earlier this month in the Minas Basin area. Now everyone is looking at Nova Scotia Power (NSP) as being the culprit in these latest fish kills. click here to read the story 20:02

Cape Sharp Turbine blamed for fish gouges in the Minas Basin

Fishermen have been finding sliced up or gouged gaspereaux and herring in their nets and fear the run of mackerel swimming up the bay is next. “I’m just starting to get some mackerel now,” Parrsboro fisherman Gerry Taylor said in an interview, adding there is also concern around the June herring run. “Then (Cape Sharp) will show up again and mess that up, too.” Cape Sharp, a company testing tidal power possibilities in the Bay of Fundy, has deployed several tugs and vessels in the Minas Basin to assist in the recovery of their turbine since mid-April, much to the frustration of fishermen who say the activity is disruptive to their season and their catches.,, Meanwhile, the turbine’s blades are still turning with the force of the tides, even though it has no power flowing to it. Fishermen are finding evidence of what they feared with the catches they’re getting in their nets: what’s being described as an unprecedented number of damaged fish —currently gaspereaux and herring — in the Minas Basin. Click here to read the story 11:21

Proposal to move Bay of Fundy tidal turbine raises fishermen’s concerns

A fishermen’s group in the Bay of Fundy is worried about Cape Sharp Tidal Venture’s plan to temporarily move its tidal turbine from a designated testing area to a site where an environmental assessment has not been carried out. The Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association said the move endangers fish and violates the rules governing the development of tidal energy in the area.  The Cape Sharp Tidal Venture turbine is a joint project between Emera Inc. and OpenHydro. The turbine is currently in the Minas Passage near Parrsboro, N.S. Cape Sharp Tidal confirms that work is currently underway to remove the turbine. It wants to bring it to another area in the Bay of Fundy to do operational tests that would run about five days. “They have no approval to conduct that testing and more importantly is there will be no environmental-monitoring equipment at the site,” said Colin Sproul, spokesperson for the Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association. click here to read the story 20:15

Researchers seek fishing ground closures off N.S., N.B., to protect right whales

Canadian researchers say they have a solution to a new U.S. government requirement that its seafood imports be caught in a way that minimizes harm to marine mammals. Sean Brillant, the report’s lead author, has recommended the summertime closure of Roseway Basin off southwestern Nova Scotia and areas around Grand Manan in the Bay of Fundy. Those are two areas where North Atlantic right whales usually congregate in summer. Closing them, the paper claims, would reduce the risk of gear entanglements by more than 30 per cent at a cost of 140 tonnes in lost seafood catches. click here to read the story 09:22

Fundy fishermen lose bid to stop tidal turbine in Minas Basin

A group of Bay of Fundy fishermen have lost a bid to overturn the approval of a project in Nova Scotia’s Minas Basin. In February, the Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association argued in Nova Scotia Supreme Court that the province’s environment minister granted approval of the project without enough environmental data. The group, which represents 175 fishermen from Yarmouth to the New Brunswick border, says it believes the tidal energy program will harm marine life. The first turbine was deployed in November. In particular, the group has accused the operators of the turbine of failing to produce “relevant baseline data,” or a snapshot of the environmental state of the Bay of Fundy before the turbine was deployed. On Monday, Justice Heather Robertson rejected the claims by the fishermen, saying “extraordinary efforts have been made to evaluate risk” in the 2009 environmental assessment of the turbine project. click here to read the story 15:37

Bay of Fundy Fishermen trying to overturn approval of tidal turbine

A fishermen’s group has asked the Nova Scotia Supreme Court to set aside provincial approval of a massive tidal turbine in the Bay of Fundy, saying the decision was based on poor scientific data. The 1,000-tonne underwater generator was installed on the floor of the Minas Passage in November, but the Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association has said the test project should be put on hold to ensure the bay’s productive ecosystem is not harmed. David Coles, the lawyer representing the 175-member association, told the court Wednesday that Environment Minister Margaret Miller overstepped her authority last June because the company behind the project — Cape Sharp Tidal — did not submit enough scientific data about the state of the bay prior to installation. “The minister was required to consider certain things, and they’re just not in the record,” Coles told Justice Heather Robertson. Read the story here 14:07

Haddock Boom! The number of haddock believed to have survived their first year off N.S. is “extraordinary,” says biologist

Exactly how many of the haddock that hatched in 2013 are still swimming off the coast of southern Nova Scotia is not certain, but researchers agree the numbers are potentially massive. Biologist Monica Finley recently completed a population assessment for the southern Scotian Shelf and Bay of Fundy.  She estimates 264 million haddock were hatched there in 2013 and survived their first year, making it an “extraordinary” year-class. “This 2013 year-class is five times higher than the next highest on record since 1985,” said Finley, who works at a Department of Fisheries and Oceans research facility in St. Andrews, N.B. Her report predicts 100,000 metric tonnes of haddock will reach adulthood in 2017 and 2018. On Georges Bank, the population is predicted to be even bigger, with Canadian and American scientists estimating the 2013 hatch at 1.3 billion fish. Read the story here 18:36

Warming trend continues in waters off Atlantic Canada

Warmer ocean temperatures off Atlantic Canada continued in 2016, maintaining a trend that started earlier this decade, according to survey results from Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans. On the Scotian Shelf off Nova Scotia, temperatures last year were as high as three degrees above the 30-year average used to establish climatic norms. “It’s not quite the same [record] level of 2012, but it’s getting close to it,” said Dave Hebert, a research scientist with DFO. He added that 2016 was probably the second warmest year on record.  Scientists have struggled to explain what is causing the most intriguing aspect of the recent trend: the warming of ocean bottom water, which is not influenced by surface weather events. Hebert said the latest theory is based on model results that see the Gulf Stream moving northward and intersecting with the tail of the Grand Banks. “That is stopping the cold Labrador Sea water from coming around the tail of the Grand Banks,” he said. “That’s where we normally get the cold water that refreshes the [Scotian] Shelf. That hasn’t been happening. Read the story here 16:48

DFO says nothing out of the ordinary with the environment where sea creatures washed up dead

The distressing amount of sea life and diversity of species found dead on some beaches along the Bay of Fundy over the past few weeks has been puzzling. So far, tests haven’t revealed what’s killing the sea life. Federal scientists went out on the water Thursday to examine the physical environment, taking water samples, testing dissolved oxygen, salinity and temperature — all of which were normal. They also scanned images of the bottom of St. Marys Bay off the Bay of Fundy. The video showed normal conditions with no masses of dead organisms that one would expect if the cause was an ongoing environmental problem. “We have ruled out the usual suspects,” said Kent Smedbol, manager of population ecology for DFO. Read the story here 15:31

Protesters hope to change course of tidal project

Energy Minister Michel Samson, Emera representatives and members of FORCE weren’t the only ones to go to Parrsboro on Tuesday to witness flicking the switch to turn on an in-stream tidal power turbine. A group of 20 people, including fisherman, Mi’kmaw, scientists and community members protested on the West Bay Road on the way to the FORCE site. They blocked one side of the road with a tree so everyone attending the event would have to drive it and see them. Local RCMP were called but didn’t disband the group or ask them to leave. “We were peaceful but wanted to put our point across that we still do not consent to this,” said weir fisherman Gerry Taylor. Taylor fishes out of Parrsboro and his weir is closest to the FORCE site. He has a wife, four children and staff who rely on him. He’s also the president of the Fundy United Federation, representing fishers and driftnetters in the Minas Passage and Minas Basin. Read the story here 11:04

Tidal turbine in Bay of Fundy generating the most expensive electricity ever produced in Nova Scotia

tidal turbinesNova Scotia hailed North America’s first successful grid-connected tidal turbine Tuesday with a ceremonial flipping of a switch at a substation outside Parrsboro. The electricity being generated is some of the most expensive ever produced in Nova Scotia, costing $530 per megawatt hour versus the current average of $60 per megawatt hour. Not everyone is pleased. Protestors stationed outside the event were a reminder that not everyone is convinced. Some fishermen in the Bay of Fundy have gone to court to try and reverse the provincial permit that allowed the deployment. They say it poses a threat to the lobster fishery, a claim the province and Cape Sharp Tidal dismiss. Read the rest here 16:14

Bay of Fundy lobster fishermen pleased with quality, size of catches

bay-of-fundy-lobster-boatTwo days into the fall lobster season and Bay of Fundy fishermen coming ashore at the Dipper Harbour wharf Wednesday night said they are encouraged by what they’re seeing. Fishermen set off early Tuesday morning to set their fall traps in lobster fishing areas 36, 37, and 38. Those areas span from Grand Manan to Alma in a season which will continue until Jan. 14. On the first night of bringing in his catch, Bill Verbeek is happy with what is coming out of the water. “It was very good today, we had a real good day,” he said after unloading. Lobsters in the area were looking firm and full and sizes were also encouraging, he said. “A majority are between 1-2.5 pounds,” said Verbeek, but he said his boat was often pulling three to five pound lobsters also. Read the rest here 07:49

Marine protection for Bay of Fundy pushed by baykeeper

matthew-abbottThe New Brunswick Conservation Council’s Fundy baykeeper wants to see Ottawa move ahead with plans to designate much of the Bay of Fundy as a marine protected area. Matthew Abbott attended an open house held by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in St. George on Wednesday and said there were many “lively discussions” about the future of the bay. Sixteen areas which are considered to be ecologically sensitive have been identified by DFO. “There’s quite a cluster of [habitats] in southwest New Brunswick around Grand Manan, Deer Island, Campobello Island and right in … to Passamaquoddy Bay,” Abbott said. “Marine protected areas can be relatively smaller sites spread around or it could be a larger site that has zones. Some places for fishing — maybe a small area where there isn’t fishing.” Read the rest here 10:54

Bay of Fundy tidal energy battle heads to court Thursday

colin-sproulThe Nova Scotia government and a company attempting to deploy two tidal turbines in the Bay of Fundy have joined forces to fight a move by a fishermen’s association to block the venture. The Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association is scheduled to appear Thursday in Nova Scotia Supreme Court to ask for a stay on an approval that will allow Cape Sharp Tidal Ventures to install two 16-metre-wide turbines at the bottom of the Minas Passage. Cape Sharp Tidal is a partnership between Halifax-based Emera, parent company of Nova Scotia Power, and French-owned Open Hydro. The province and Cape Sharp Tidal want the court to dismiss the application. Read the story here 09:57

OPINION: Tidal power from Fundy — Separating fact from fiction, Graham Daborn Emeritus Professor at Acadia University

There have been a number of statements in the media over the last few months about the testing oftidal turbines in Minas Passage. Regrettably, inaccurate and exaggerated claims have led to a good deal of public apprehension and confusion. It only takes a few seconds to make an inaccurate or ridiculous statement. Explaining why a statement is untrue or ridiculous, unfortunately, takes rather more time or space. The following addresses a few of these issues. Claim 1: That the turbines to be installed at FORCE will “chop whales into sushi for seabirds to eat.” In response to a question during a CBC interview (on The Current, June 15), a spokesperson for the Bay of Fundy Inshore Fisherman’s Association said: “This is not a suggestion; it is a fact.”,,, The only way to determine that is to install a turbine with monitoring equipment in place to establish the animals’ responses. At present, there is absolutely no evidence that mammals would be at risk of death or injury from the turbines to be tested in Minas Passage, although they may end up having to forage elsewhere. Read the op-ed here, and keep up the fight! 10:55

A Happy Ending! Fishermen rescue humpback whale in southwest N.B.

whale-rescue-new-brunswickIt’s been a long week for a couple of Bay of Fundy fishermen that rescued a humpback whale that got trapped inside their weir nets. “It doesn’t look stressed or anything,” said fisherman Chuck Breen. “It’s being forced-fed right now. The weir is catching fish and it’s happy to eat. But if you do the wrong thing and it does get stressed, what do you do then. We’re in a small boat, it’s a 30 ton animal.” The humpback swam into the weir not far from Black’s Harbour on Monday and the fishermen say they were unable to get any help to free the animal. Ross Hanley owns the weir. He says as soon as he saw the whale he called the Department of Fisheries and whale rescue groups in the area, but to no avail. “They said they put everything away for the winter so they don’t want to help. I don’t know why,” said Hanley. Video, read the story here 07:13

Fishermen looking to derail Bay of Fundy tidal project head to court

An ambitious plan to lower two massive turbines into the Bay of Fundy, where they will be tested against the awesome power of the world’s highest tides, has hit more legal turbulence. A group of Nova Scotia fishermen will seek a court order to suspend the Cape Sharp Tidal project until a judge can review the case early next year. The 175-member Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association confirmed Sept. 27 that it will head to court Oct. 20 to seek a stay of a June decision by Nova Scotia’s environment minister to approve the project’s test phase. “It’s is critically important,” spokesman Colin Sproul said in an interview.  “If that turbine goes in the water in the Bay of Fundy (this fall) …. it will never be removed. That’s why it’s so critical for our case for the stay application to pass.” Read the story here 16:32

Nova Scotia fishermen were in court today to stop Bay of Fundy tidal test project

tidal turbinesA group representing 175 Nova Scotia fishermen appeared in court Thursday in a bid stop a plan to test giant electric turbines in the Bay of Fundy. The Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association says the Cape Sharp Tidal project is based on “junk science” and should be put on hold until a year-long study can establish a scientific baseline for the state of the bay.  In June, Nova Scotia’s environment minister granted approval for the installation of two, five-storey turbines on the bottom of the bay for tidal power research. The association has filed an application for a judicial review of that decision, saying the minister acted unreasonably and failed to adequately consider evidence that suggests the project requires more study. Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge Denise Boudreau said a two-day hearing on the merits of the application would begin on Feb. 1, 2017. As well, she said a hearing could be held on Oct. 20 if the association decides to file a motion seeking a stay of the minister’s decision. Link 17:02

Gaspereau River fishermen worried the fish may not make it up the river if turbines are in the water

tidal turbinesSome fishermen along the Gaspereau River are concerned how tidal turbines could affect a local fishery. There are 14 active square net licences in the Gaspereau and Melanson area issued by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Those fishermen catch Gaspereau, a species of herring, when they swim up the river from the Bay of Fundy in April and May. On Monday night at the Gaspereau Community Hall, people in the area had their chance to speak to FORCE (Fundy Ocean Research Center for Energy), the organization behind the tidal turbine project. “We want to have some meaningful dialogue with Cape Sharp and FORCE about this project they’re undertaking,” said Chris Gertridge, with the Gaspereau Fishermen’s Association. “We have a lot of questions as to why we’re never consulted.” Read the rest here 14:24

Nova Scotia scallop fishery to experiment with diver-caught scallops

scallopsDiver-caught scallops are a premium item on some Nova Scotia restaurant menus, but until now the shellfish served often came from as far away as Mexico. That’s about to change. Beginning Saturday, a team of commercial divers will be permitted to hand-pick scallops from the floor of the Bay of Fundy, between Digby and Digby Neck. The federal Fisheries and Oceans Department recently approved the commercial project. “These are commercial scuba divers who usually fish for urchins. What they’re basically doing is they are going out on a dive boat to … scallop beds, jump in the water with full scuba gear — includes a dry suit because it is mighty cold down there — and they basically just hand-forage them, one at a time and put them into dive bags,” Justin Cantafio, sustainable fisheries campaigner with the Ecology Action Centre, told CBC’s Information Morning in Halifax. Read the story here 16:57

Floating turbine system to be tested in Bay of Fundy, The Holy Grail

untitled floater turbineA Dutch firm that calls the Bay of Fundy “the holy grail” aims to exploit the bay’s powerful tidal currents by testing a floating turbine system starting next year. Halifax-based Minas Energy announced Tuesday it was partnering with Dutch firm Tocardo International BV and Ontario-based International Marine Energy Inc. to form the Minas Tidal Limited Partnership. The new partnership plans to test the Dutch company’s technology in the Minas Passage by late 2017, the third distinct approach announced recently to harnessing the bay’s powerful forces. “We feel brave enough to go to the Bay of Fundy,” said Van Breugel. “The Bay of Fundy is the holy grail.” Read the rest here 11:49

“Divide and Conquer” – Bay of Fundy tidal project ‘transparency’ questioned

tidal turbinesA group opposing a project to capture power from the world’s highest tides says the company installing the underwater turbines isn’t doing a good job consulting the public. Cape Sharp Tidal Venture has been approved to launch two turbines in the Bay of Fundy’s Minas Passage, home to endangered species, such as Atlantic salmon and white shark, and active fisheries. That launch is delayed pending more work on the turbines, which the company says is opportunity to consult with the fishing community, spokeswoman Sarah Dawson said in an email Saturday. But a fishermen’s group says the company won’t hold a public meeting, instead offering to meet one-on-one in a “divide and conquer” tactic. “We feel that the lack of transparency and meaningful inclusion in tidal energy development in Nova Scotia has led to all these problems,” Bay Inshore Fishermen’s Association spokesman Colin Sproul said.  “We really would like to engage Cape Sharp Tidal Venture, but we just feel it’s irresponsible to do it in an off-the-record, informal manner like they’ve requested.” Read the rest here 08:03

Bay of Fundy Fishermen in need to pay more attention to the Energy East Pipeline project

7699103_origFormer MP Coline Campbell says people in Nova Scotia need to pay more attention to the Energy East Pipeline project and the risk it poses for the Bay of Fundy and communities all along it. “I’m not against the pipeline but I think there are better places for it go than having all that tanker traffic on the Bay of Fundy,” says Campbell, who was MP for West Nova from 1980 to 1984. “The Bay of Fundy is only 32 miles wide. In my day, every fisheries group in the province would have been at me about this but I’m not hearing anyone talking about it.” The proposed pipeline would bring crude oil from Alberta to the Irving oil refinery in Saint John, N.B. Read the rest here 17:31

Bay of Fundy fishermen’s group mulls legal action to stop tidal turbine project

tidal turbinesNova Scotia Environment Minister Margaret Miller announced approval Monday of a monitoring plan drawn up by the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE) and Cape Sharp Tidal Venture. But the Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association says little is known about marine life in the area and the instream tidal turbines can’t be made safe for the ecosystem. “I think she based her decision on industry-funded junk science and on political considerations,” says Colin Sproul, a lobster fisherman with the Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association. “She chose to completely ignore the voice and concerns of every fishing group in Nova Scotia, multiple environmental groups, as well as First Nations.” Video, Read the rest here 15:26

Meanwhile in the Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia government approves “experimental” turbine deployment

tidal turbinesThe Nova Scotia government has approved a plan to deploy two experimental tidal turbines in the Minas Passage for research purposes. The government announced the approval of the proposed monitoring program for the Fundy Ocean Research Center for Energy (FORCE) and Cape Sharp Tidal Venture in a news release on Monday. The turbines, which are each 16 metres in diameter and weigh 1,000 tonnes, were originally scheduled for deployment last year, but were delayed by weather. Fishermen and environmental groups have raised concerns that the giant turbines would have a negative impact on marine life in the Bay of Fundy. Environment Minister Margaret Miller said in a news release that the full environmental impact of the project will not be known until the turbines are in the water.  Read the rest here 11:34

Bay of Fundy tidal turbines on hold over environmental concerns

XAV101_20160519340671_highPlans for the installation of a tidal turbine on the bottom of the ocean floor in the Bay of Fundy, N.S., have been put on hold. The company, Cape Sharp Tidal and the provincial government have postponed the  project. Fishermen and scientists are concerned about the impact the turbines could have on an important and diverse marine ecosystem. Lobster fisherman Colin Sproul of the Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association is against installing the tidal turbines. He tells The Current‘s Anna Maria Tremonti why stopping this project is important to him. “The reason for our involvement in this is to preserve our way of life and our culture. The bay has sustained us for 400 years. My family has five generations of involvement in this industry and we will not see it washed it away by corporate efficiency and greed.” Audio report, Listen, read the rest here 08:01

Bay of Fundy Fishermen want more studies before tidal turbines tested

XAV101_20160519340671_highThe bounties of the Bay of Fundy have sustained us for over 400 years. The Upper Bay of Fundy is an important spawning, nursery and feeding ground for many fish, mammals, and invertebrate species. They include species-at-risk, such as white shark, striped bass, sturgeon and inner Bay of Fundy Atlantic salmon, among others. The is the most important nursery for lobster larvae in Atlantic Canada and fulfills the same function for sea scallops, cod, haddock, gaspereau and many other commercially valuable species that exit the basin through Minas Passage, populating the entire Gulf of Maine. In 2014, $464 million worth of lobster were taken from the Bay of Fundy on Nova Scotia’s side alone. Landings and value were both up significantly in 2015. The three million pounds of allowable scallops fetched about $50 million. In excess of three-quarters of a billion dollars was extracted from Nova Scotia’s waters last year. And it will happen again this year, next year, and every year — truly a renewable resource. Read the Op-ed here 12:22

The first of two towering tidal power turbines to enter Bay of Fundy next month

XAV101_20160519340671_highThe first of two towering turbines designed by Cape Sharp Tidal to harness the immense power of the Bay of Fundy will be installed next month off the coast of Nova Scotia, an company official announced Thursday. Sarah Dawson, the community relations manager for the project, said one of the five-storey high, two-megawatt turbines built in Pictou by Aecon Atlantic Industrial Inc., will be loaded on a barge during the first week of June and travel around the province until it reaches the test site near Parrsboro. That trip will take a couple of weeks. The new turbines are a bigger and more robust version of a turbine tested by OpenHydro and Nova Scotia Power in 2009 that was heavily damaged by the Bay of Fundy’s powerful currents. Read the rest here 18:04