Tag Archives: Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Nova Scotia: Indigenous lobster fishermen not required to observe whale closure

A Department of Fisheries and Oceans fishery closure in Nova Scotia this week to protect endangered North Atlantic Right Whales will not apply to Indigenous lobster fishermen in the area. The department is allowing ceremonial lobster fishing in St. Marys Bay to continue, raising concerns about conservation and fairness. All commercial crab and herring fisheries with unattended gear in the water are being ordered out of St. Marys Bay effective 5 p.m. on Thursday, which is standard practice after sightings. Dan Fleck of the Brazil Rock 33/34 Lobster Association represents commercial fishermen in the area. He said he’s been getting calls from concerned fishermen this week. “I would expect that the rules would be applied fairly and equitably amongst all resource users,” Fleck said. >click to read< 08:01

P.E.I. fishermen seek province’s help in wake of herring, mackerel moratorium

In March, the federal DFO put a moratorium on commercial fishing for herring in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and mackerel across the East Coast, saying urgent action is required to allow the stocks to recover. Fishers were not pleased, and said a complete moratorium goes too far. “This has been a devastating and direct blow for these fishers,” said Molly Aylward, the association’s executive director, appearing before a legislative standing committee on natural resources. The P.E.I.F.A. represents independent core fishers who depend on the commercial herring and mackerel fishery for their main source of income, as well as lobster fishers who use the fish for bait, often fishing it themselves to keep their costs down. >click to read< 09:17

Make-or-break moment for province’s Liberal MPs; seal vote goes before Parliament on Wednesday

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is calling on the province’s six Liberal Members of Parliament to vote for a bill before Parliament Wednesday (July 15th) that would force Fisheries and Oceans to implement seal management plans. “This is one of those make-or-break moments for our Members of Parliament when they must decide whether they represent Newfoundland and Labrador in Ottawa or the other way around,” says Ryan Cleary, Executive Director of SEA-NL, and a former NDP MP.  “Seals eat fish just as surely as MPs need votes.” Bill C-251 calls on the federal minister of Fisheries and Oceans to develop management plans for pinnipeds — including seals, sea lions, and walruses on the East and West coasts and Northern Canada. >click to read< 09:00

New Brunswick Man, Business Fined for Illegally Buying/Selling Lobster

Charges against a New Brunswick man and business for illegally buying and selling lobster. Frederic Arseneau and East Coast Ocean Products were each fined $25,000 for the unauthorized purchase and sale of lobster, believed to have been caught under an Indigenous Food, Social and Ceremonial license. The investigation was led by Department of Fisheries and Oceans >click to read< 18:41

DFO: Atlantic Canada Grey Seal population is slowing

The grey seal population in Atlantic Canada continues to grow and is now estimated at 366,000, according to the 2021 stock assessment released Thursday by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. But DFO says the population is growing at a much slower rate than in previous years and for the first time in 60 years it is believed pup production has decreased on Sable Island. Scientists used a new model to estimate the population in the latest report. It converted pup production numbers from aerial surveys to total population by combining reproductive and survival rates with the small number harvested by humans. Applying the new modelling to its 2016 estimate produced a sharply lower result. >click to read< 13:44

DFO: ‘no plan’ to cut commercial lobster catches to implement treaty fishery

The issue has swirled through Maritime coastal fishing communities since the federal government relaunched a voluntary commercial licence buy-back program last year to make room for more Mi’kmaw access, so far without success. The departmental statement followed a response from Fisheries Minister Joyce Murray to Conservative fisheries critic Rick Perkins during Question Period Monday. “DFO sources tell me the minister was about to expropriate 15 per cent of lobster traps from licence holders, without compensation, to give to First Nations,” Perkins said Monday. “This would be devastating for these fishermen. >click to read<13:43

DFO enacts new regulations aimed at depleted fish stocks

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has enacted new regulations that bind its minister to rebuilding Canada’s depleted fish stocks and ensuring healthy ones stay that way, a move that comes weeks after it closed down two East Coast fisheries in the name of sustainability. The regulations are the teeth behind amendments to the Fisheries Act passed in 2019 and have been closely watched by the commercial fishing industry and environmentalists. The changes were posted Wednesday in the Canada Gazette. It identified 30 major fish stocks that will require a rebuilding plan,,,  The minister for the department will have up to three years to produce a rebuilding plan once the stock has hit the limit reference point. >click to read< 16:32

Atlantic Canada seafood sectors surged in 2021

In Riverport on Nova Scotia’s south shore, lobster fisherman Jason Conrad remembers when the pandemic hit in the spring of 2020 and the price of lobster plummeted to $4 a pound — below what it cost him to catch a lobster. Last month, Conrad was getting over $14 a pound — a sign of industry recovery that began at the end of 2020. “It rebounded way faster than I thought it would,” he said. Snow crab increases huge, A Banner year for lobster, More money for repairs, new boats >click to read< 10:25

Trudeau Comments On Moderate Livelihood Fisheries

The Prime Minister says the federal government continues to work on implementing moderate livelihood fisheries with Indigenous communities. Justin Trudeau says reconciliation is important, but the fishery needs to be done right. “We’ve been engaged in very very close dialogue, both with commercial fishers and Indigenous communities to establish the right path forward,” >click to read<  09:23

DFO says it is considering request from P.E.I. fishermen to change lobster setting dates

The federal government is considering allowing P.E.I. lobster fishermen to start the spring season earlier than normal. Krista Petersen, a spokeswoman with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Gulf Region,,, “Before DFO makes any decisions on requests for season date changes, proposals need to be discussed with all groups who fish in a particular lobster fishing area,’’ Petersen said in an email. “Issues related to safety, weather, ice conditions and harbour dredging will be taken into consideration.’’ >click to read< 10:48

DFO responds to Ryan Cleary’s allegations of a ‘backroom’ plan 

The interim executive director of Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador accused the Department of Fisheries and Oceans of orchestrating a “backroom” plan to rebuild the cod stock off southern Newfoundland and exclude the voice of inshore harvesters. According to Cleary, DFO has assembled a working group, made up of DFO and FFAW union officials, fish processors, indigenous interests and the offshore, sector to develop a rebuilding plan for cod in the 3Ps fishing zone. An official for DFO, however, says when DFO established the working group they invited members of the 3Ps Groundfish Advisory Committee to participate. >click to read< 13:32

Harbour Breton in Mourning Following Fatal Fishing Accident

The town of Harbour Breton is in mourning after a fishing accident took the life of a man over the weekend. Three men were aboard the scallop vessel on Sunday morning when it overturned near the community. Robert Hynes, training officer with the Harbour Breton Fire Department, describes how one of the men was able to swim to shore and get help. He says the boat was situated in the middle of a sheltered part of the bay. The man swam through the frigid water, and once on land walked through the woods to get to a cabin. >click to read< 10:35

One Person Dead After Scallop Vessel Overturns Near Harbour Breton

One person is dead following a fishing accident near Harbour Breton on Sunday. According to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, a scallop vessel with three people on board overturned Sunday morning. One of the three swam to shore for help, while the other two people stayed with the overturned vessel. The two people were recovered following a local rescue effort. >click to read<, more info, >click to read< This story will be updated 09:23

DFO puts B.C.’s prized spot prawn fishery in peril again

A swell of outrage is rising again as the Department of Fisheries and Oceans revisits regulation changes that independent harvesters say will sink B.C.’s local spot prawn industry. Last spring, DFO put its previously proposed regulations concerning the freezing and packaging of prawns in saltwater while at sea, called “tubbing”, on hold due to backlash by a number of critics and small-scale fishers just prior to the opening of the season. But half a year later, and without any meaningful consultation with stakeholders, DFO is imposing new regulations,,, “It’s like they’re hitting a fly with a sledgehammer,” >click to read< 18:58

From DFO: Routine fishery inspection leads to significant penalties for a North Coast commercial salmon harvester

On July 2, 2021Garry Dean Stoner was sentenced in Terrace Provincial Court after pleading guilty to 12 counts under the Fisheries Act for violations that occurred between June and September 2017, and in July and August 2018, in waters north of Haida Gwaii. The Honourable Justice Calvin Struyk ordered the commercial salmon harvester to pay $1,200 in court fines, plus $42,800 in penalties,,, Justice Struyk included an additional $44,644 penalty to recover revenue obtained through the sales of the illegally caught Chinook salmon. Mr. Stoner was also prohibited from commercial salmon fishing for 18 months. >click to read< 15:39

NLGIDC provides commentary on the latest scientific assessment for 3Ps Cod

The stock is currently at a low level and growth of this important resource is being impeded by high natural mortality. Jim Baird, The Chairman of the NLGIDC said, “The level of natural mortality has been at the highest levels ever recorded for this stock in the most recent time period.” Baird continued, “Having a better understanding of the processes related to natural mortality is important to provide scientists the ability to make accurate projections related to stock growth.” It is clear that seals eat substantial quantities of cod and many industry representatives believe that seal consumption is likely contributing to this high natural mortality, however DFO scientists are not convinced this is the case. >click to read< 19:56

Hundreds of thousands of pounds of herring dumped last week due to backward DFO policy

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador condemns the Department of Fisheries and Oceans policy that allowed for the dumping of hundreds of thousands of pounds of herring last week alone. “Any DFO policy that allows for the dumping of fish is a backward policy that must end immediately,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s interim Executive Director. “Fishermen should be permitted to land the herring they catch, with the total amount subtracted from the overall quota.” Herring fishermen here in the province say hundreds of thousands of pounds were dumped last week alone as the result of federal policy that sets the small-fish tolerance at 20%. >click to read< 12:35

Owner of vessel aground in Cape Breton en route to recover it – “I’m hoping to get aboard,,,

A Newfoundland man whose family purchased a fishing vessel three weeks ago was on his way to Cape Breton Thursday afternoon to work on recovering it. Jeremy Anstey, of the family-owned Anstey Fisheries in Summerford, N.L., said the Northern Tip is one of four vessels in his family’s fleet that he manages. Although they had just purchased the boat, about two weeks ago they leased the vessel to a First Nations band in Cape Breton. While being leased out, the vessel broke from the mooring in stormy weather and went aground in Iona on Wednesday. “I’m hoping to get aboard (Friday) to see if there’s any damage,” he said, adding it looks fairly sandy where it went aground, so he’s hopeful. photos, >click to read< 12:40

Sipekne’katik fisherman’s protest dumping of lobster ‘not acceptable,’ chief says

A Sipekne’katik First Nation fisherman who appears in a video showing him dumping crates of banded lobsters into Digby harbour has been rebuked by the band’s chief. In the video, Robert Syliboy objects to a new Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) compliance measure that marks the tail fins of lobster with a paper hole puncher. The hole punch aims to identify lobsters harvested under Indigenous food, social and ceremonial (FSC) licenses in St Mary’s Bay. The conditions of those licenses prevent the sale of the catch. In the video, Syliboy says DFO is harming the lobsters by punching holes in their tail fins. >click to read< 07:39

Canadian Coast Guard responds to fishing vessel aground in Iona

“The boat is on its side now, very, very close to the beach,” said Jim MacNeil, a resident of Iona, late afternoon Wednesday, adding conditions were stormy at the time. Stephen Bornais, a spokesperson with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, said the coast guard was made aware of a fishing vessel that was aground after breaking free from the wharf in Iona, Wednesday morning. There were no individuals on board when the report was received. >click to read< 07:10

4 Mi’kmaw bands launch moderate livelihood fisheries with government approval

In a news release Wednesday, the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Chiefs said the treaty fisheries will happen in the Acadia, Annapolis Valley, Bear River and Glooscap First Nations. The group said the Kespukwitk District Netukulimk Livelihood Fisheries Plan will start Thursday, though not all communities will launch then. The Mi’kmaw chiefs said they are following the path set out by the Potlotek First Nation to fish and co-operate with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.,, The Unified Fisheries Conservation Alliance, which represents commercial fishers, said its members support the deal. “We believe this is an important step in the right direction,,,” >click to read< 19:31

Nova Scotia fishing industry granted intervenor status in Mi’kmaw treaty rights case

The ruling Friday afternoon by Supreme Court Justice John Keith gives the Unified Fisheries Conservation Alliance standing in a proceeding against the Canadian government by the Potlotek First Nation. The Cape Breton band is seeking an injunction to prevent the Department of Fisheries and Oceans from interfering with its self-regulated moderate livelihood lobster fishery. It wants a court declaration that enforcement of the federal Fisheries Act infringes on its treaty right to earn a moderate living from fishing. In an oral decision, Keith said UFCA’s intervention would not unduly delay, prejudice or politicize Potlotek’s case. He said as a group representing fishers using the same shared and finite resource, UFCA has a direct interest in the case. >click to read< 17:45

Arrested by the Feds! Chief Mike Sack busted “for promoting an illegal fishery.”

The chief of Sipekne’katik First Nation has been arrested by federal fisheries officers on the day the band’s new treaty fishery launched in southwest Nova Scotia. Chief Mike Sack was arrested on Monday, taken to the Meteghan fisheries office and later released. DFO has not provided details of why Sack was arrested, or whether he could face charges under fisheries legislation. ‘Why would you arrest me? I haven’t done anything here,'” he said. “It just seems to be all scare tactics for the fisheries, to try to stop what we have going on.”  >click to read< 15:59

Misinformation Tension – DFO moving fishery officers into area from across Nova Scotia and Canada

Federal fishery officers from across Canada are being moved to southwestern Nova Scotia as tensions rise again over an Indigenous lobster fishery underway in St. Marys Bay. The top enforcement officer at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans blames misinformation for aggravating the situation, asking both Indigenous and commercial fishermen and their supporters, to step back. “What I want to say to people is to give the fishery officers space to do their jobs. They are doing their jobs.,,, McCready said she is worried the dispute is becoming even more polarizing because of misinformation. One recent claim, she said, is that DFO officers “colluded” with commercial fishermen and cut lines on Indigenous-owned vessels. >click to read< 07:18

Vancouver Island fishermen upset after sudden salmon fishing closures

Bill Forbes and his crew geared up in French Creek to go salmon fishing. Forbes and his crew, who are heading to a spot near Prince Rupert, are one of the few commercial fisheries still open following a sudden and massive closure by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans on June 29. “They can’t keep blaming the commercial fishermen, we may be part of the problem but kicking us out is not the solution,” said fisherman Bill Forbes.  “It throws this boat and all my crew, I’ve got three generations of Forbes’ on this boat and it just puts us out of work. I’m old but you know my grandson and my nephew are not. So they have to go someplace else and I don’t know where that someplace else is,” Video, >click to read< 08:54

DFO seized and released hundreds of short lobster from a First Nations vessel in Cape Breton

DFO said enforcement officers inspected a vessel Tuesday night in St. Peters canal operating under a communal food, social and ceremonial licence. The lobsters were released that night. Noel d’Entremont, acting director of conservation and protection in the Maritimes region, said no charges have been laid, but an investigation is continuing. A portion of the incident was captured on video and posted to social media showing lobsters being tossed back in the water by DFO officers. The FSC licence being fished was for a Cape Breton band, which DFO declined to identify. >click to read< 17:07

Prospect area mackerel fishermen demand answers after lucrative season halted by DFO

The fishermen were prepared to set up a roadblock if they didn’t hear back from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans about why the season was halted. While most commercial fisheries for Atlantic mackerel have not started for 2021, a number of fisheries in the Maritimes region are open year-round or opened on April 1.,, DFO issued a variation order to temporarily close the Maritimes region mackerel fishery. About 72 fishermen and their crew from the Prospect area who fish and set traps in St. Maragaret’s Bay are affected by the closure. They say there is mackerel in the waters but they aren’t allowed to pull in their nets because they haven’t been given their quota. video, >click to read< 10:29

Members of Parliament issue conflicting reports on contentious Moderate Livelihood fishery in Quebec in the Maritimes

Parliamentarians issued dissenting reports Thursday on implementing First Nations moderate livelihood fisheries,,, Although all parties supported the right to a moderate livelihood fishery, the committee was not unanimous. Both the Conservatives and Bloc Quebecois issued dissenting reports. The Conservatives consider moderate livelihood fishing a commercial enterprise and subject to the same regulations, including seasons, as all commercial fisheries, with enforcement and regulation unambiguously under the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The Bloc called for co-management. The office of federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan issued a statement Thursday that said it had received the report that morning and “look forward to reviewing its recommendations closely.” >click to read< 16:09

Seafood wholesaler, boat master fined for obstruction

The fines resulted from what DFO describes as “a serious case of obstruction,” which included the co-owner of the wholesaler eating a receipt rather than give it to a DFO officer. A B.C. provincial court judge has found Tenshi Seafood Ltd. and the company’s co-owner, Dishi Liu, guilty of violating the Fishers Act. The company was fined $75,000; Liu was fined $25,000. The judge also handed a $10,000 fine to Thuong Nguyen, master of the commercial fishing vessel Dream Chaser, for obstructing a fisheries officer. >click to read< 17:47

Scientists, First Nations team up in fresh attempt to revive struggling B.C. herring stocks

For decades, the fish were viewed as a virtually inexhaustible resource. They were canned, frozen, used as fertilizer, and even rendered into slippery goo to grease logs being skidded out of the forest. But the once coastal-wide bonanza is fizzling out. This year, most of the waters off B.C. were closed to commercial herring boats, with the only quota being allowed in the Strait of Georgia, along Canada’s southwest coast. The first collapse of the stocks happened in the 1960s, due to overfishing. They were allowed to recover but have had ups and downs in recent decades. The herring fishery in Eastern Canada has also been facing tough times. >click to read< 13:48