Tag Archives: DFO

NL Groundfish Industry Development Council can’t support federal cod stock rebuilding program

The Newfoundland and Labrador Groundfish Industry Development Council says it can’t support the federal government’s recently announced cod stock rebuilding plan, saying it’s overly restrictive and will not enable the industry to rebuild as the cod stock rebuilds. Jim Baird, chair of the NL-GIDC, wants to see further surveys done based around the impact of seals and capelin stocks, adding the entire plan appears to be based around limiting the catch for harvesters and not other sources which could be impeding the development of cod stocks. >click to read< 22:32

New DFO regulations, 30 major commercial stocks have been identified for rebuilding

Canada is putting into law a requirement that it rebuild depleted commercial fish stocks, starting with 17 stocks that include Atlantic cod off Newfoundland, spring spawning herring in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and three Pacific salmon stocks. They account for more than half the 30 major commercial stocks identified for specific protection in amended Fisheries Act regulations published Jan. 2. >click to read< 11:33

Would throwing the big ones back keep Atlantic halibut fishery on a roll? DFO considers changing the rules!

The investigation is being undertaken at the request of companies that fish halibut using hook and line from the Grand Banks off Newfoundland to Georges Bank off southern Nova Scotia. They’d like to see it happen. “Releasing large halibut is something that fishermen will say, and I will say, that’s just logical, because the majority of the large halibut are females. But you really don’t know just what goes on after you release a large halibut like that,” said Gary Dedrick, a halibut fisherman from Shelburne, N.S., and a founding member of the Atlantic Halibut Council. “So this is where there is monitoring on the bottom and how long they live.” >click to read< 09:45

Bocaccio rockfish are still endangered, but a huge birthing event in 2016 has it popping up everywhere

A species of fish you’ve probably never heard about has made a major comeback from being endangered, but now B.C. fishermen can’t avoid catching it, threatening their ability to earn a living. “This is a great news and a terrible news story,” said Brian Mose, a skipper and representative of the Deep Sea Trawlers Association in B.C.,, Some fishermen are worried that if they go out on the water, they’ll catch their limit of bocaccio and then be prevented from fishing at all. >click to read< 08:49

Livelihood lobster fishing cast adrift: How DFO’s inaction has history repeating itself

Its resources are in high demand by Indigenous and non-Indigenous fishers alike, and for more than 20 years it has seen tensions between the two communities turn from boil to simmer, to boil again. Recently, it made headlines internationally. Tensions in the area erupted into violence and destruction after the Sipekne’katik First Nation launched its own, self-regulated fishery, outside of the commercial season, based on Mi’kmaq treaty rights. To Alex McDonald, one of the oldest still-fishing Indigenous lobster boat captains of the area, the chaos this year was nothing new. >click to read< 08:14

Lifelong Ucluelet fisherman Doug Kimoto shares his thoughts on restoring fisheries

Doug Kimoto’s livelihood begins with a 42-foot commercial salmon troller named ‘La Perouse.’ The wooden fishing vessel has been a member of his Japanese-Canadian family for 70 years. “I started commercial fishing with my father when I was about 13-years-old,” His father, Tom Kimoto, lost about 10 years of his life as a result of being forced into a Canadian Japenese internment camp, Kimoto recalls. “These last few years, it’s been a disaster,” he says. “Years ago you could make a decent living, but now it’s down to what you’d call not even a minimum wage for most fishermen.” >click to read< 07:03

This Year May Decide the Fate of BC’s Wild Salmon – Feds to phase out all Discovery Islands fish farms in 2022

Three decisions may well seal the fate of wild Pacific salmon along the coast of British Columbia this year. The first was the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ decision to essentially legalize high sea lice infestations on fish farms for periods of time last spring. The second was DFO’s calculated response to the Cohen Commission’s recommendations that fish farming must end by Sept. 30, 2020 in the Discovery Islands unless the federal fisheries minister can show that they cause less than minimal risk to migrating juvenile Fraser River sockeye salmon. Minister Bernadette Jordan said that there was no real risk. The third decision is said to be imminent. >click to read< 19:07

Feds to phase out all Discovery Islands fish farms in 2022 – The federal government says it will phase out all fish farms in B.C.’s Discovery Islands by June 2022. Fisheries and Oceans Canada says no new fish of any size may be introduced into the region from now until the phase-out date. Existing salmon farms can continue to operate in the island archipelago, located between Vancouver Island and the B.C. mainland, until June 30, 2022. After that date they must be free of fish and closed down. >click to read< , Government of Canada moves to phase out salmon farming licences in Discovery Islands following consultations with First Nations – DFO press release, >click to read<

Scientists cast doubt on seismic testing environmental mitigations in N.L.’s offshore

Jack Lawson spent part of this past summer listening for whales around Newfoundland, using recorders moored underwater to track their movements and hear what man-made sounds they may encounter. “All you can hear 24 hours a day, for months on end, every 10 seconds is the boom of a seismic array going off at various distances from our acoustic receivers, and this has made it very hard for us to detect some species, The guns make it hard for Lawson and his team’s recorders, with the technology confusing the pulsing calls of right whales with seismic activity in the distance,  DFO scientists thought they’d recorded tens of thousands of instances of right whale calls in the Flemish Pass in 2019, Lawson said. “[But] when we actually went through and manually reviewed these, none of them turned out to be real.” >click to read< 10:41

Owner Operator/Fleet Separation Policies: Measures to prevent corporate takeover of Atlantic inshore fleets go into law

Wednesday, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans published amended Atlantic Fishery regulations that include the so-called owner-operator and fleet-separation policies. The owner-operator policy requires the eligible holder of a fishing licence to be the beneficiary of the licence, and fleet separation prevents processing companies and buyers from also holding fishing licences. “It’s a great day for the inshore fishery and we’re super happy with the results of this announcement,” >click to read<14:16 To read more about this, >click here<

Minister Jordan strengthens protections for inshore commercial fish harvesters on East Coast – Under the authorities granted by the modernized Fisheries Act, Fisheries and Oceans Canada has amended the Atlantic Fishery Regulations, 1985 and the Maritime Provinces Fishery Regulations to clarify the rules governing inshore licences and create new enforceable requirements. >click to read<

Opinion: The Reason for No Season – Jim O’Connell

These are 2 females. The black shelled female on the left did not shed this year for the first time skipping the yearly shed. It now has eggs. It was a pound and a half and does not have to shed every year anymore.,,, Canada is not protecting the reproductive potential with it’s seasonal rules. They force the lobstermen to throw the baby out with the bath water. Lobstermen who are trying to make a living for the whole year in two months are targeted on the most important lobster for reproduction.,,, The First Nations have publicly come out and said they want to improve the regulations on the present method for sustainability. Jim O’Connell, >click to read< 15:36

LFA 33 to open, Monday a no-go for LFA 34: weather forecast leads to split start of commercial lobster season

The fishery in Lobster Fishing Area (LFA) 33, which runs along the province’s south shore will open as scheduled on Monday, with boats leaving at 7 a.m. But that’s not the case for LFA 34 off southwestern Nova Scotia, which, following days of fine weather over the weekend, won’t see boats heading out for dumping day on the traditional last Monday of November. With boats loaded with traps and gear for the start of the season, two industry and stakeholder conference calls held over the weekend,,, “The lobster fishery is vital to our region and our province, and there is a very real anxiety among our community members that this important economic driver is in jeopardy,   >click to read< 15:30

Replenishment, or Misguided Retribution?! Trouble brewing ahead of start to Nova Scotia fall lobster season

The recent seizure of lobster traps in St. Marys Bay by federal officials could lead to big trouble on the water. Chief Mike Sack of the Sipekne’katik First Nation says Indigenous fishers whose traps were taken last weekend and on Wednesday will replace them by taking the traps of commercial fishers when the fall season opens Monday in southwestern Nova Scotia, a huge event known as Dumping Day. “Dumping Day is going to be about 400,000 traps that our people get to pick from to replenish our traps,” Sack said in an interview, referring to the start of Canada’s largest and most lucrative lobster fishery. >video, click to read< 08:02

Tension could rise again on Monday in lobster dispute on east coast – The ongoing dispute between Indigenous and non-native lobster fishers could get tense once again. Last weekend, and on Wednesday, agents from Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) seized hundreds of Indigenous lobster traps, ostensibly because the traps were set before the season opens on Monday.. >click to read<

DFO officers seize 500 lobster traps in St. Marys Bay

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans says enforcement officers are going back to St. Marys Bay in southwestern Nova Scotia where they seized hundreds of lobster traps on the weekend in an area used by Mi’kmaw fishermen. Todd Somerville, DFO’s director of conservation and protection for the Maritimes, said 500 traps were seized for a variety of violations. “Untagged gear, improperly configured gear, gear that hadn’t been tended in a while. There was gear where dead lobsters were found. Over 6,000 lobsters, live lobsters, were returned,,, >click to read< 18:17

Lobster: the last, best fishery – Stocks are healthy, but why?

In the early 2000s, while he was working on one of Clearwater Seafoods’ four offshore lobster boats in Lobster Fishing Area (LFA) 41, Frank – not his real name – was deeply impressed by the incredible lobster catches, and the incredible size of the lobsters. Frank tells the Halifax Examiner that at the time there hadn’t been a lot of lobster fishing in LFA 41, and it wasn’t until 2007 that Clearwater obtained the last of its eight licences, which gave it a  monopoly on offshore lobster. The boat Frank was on would fish with 27 strings of gear, and each of those had 125 traps for a total of 3,375 traps. They would fish close to the 50-mile line, which divided the offshore from the inshore fishery. Frank remembers when on a single day in the fall of 2005, they landed 28,000 lobsters. Part 1. >click to read<  Part 2 – November 27, 2020, >click to read<  11:05

Canada orders temporary fishery closure in the Roseway Basin after detecting North Atlantic right whales

The latest order, issued Monday, closes several fisheries until further notice and could affect the lucrative commercial lobster fishery when the season opens next week.,, Since Nov. 9, acoustic sensors on board a marine glider cruising the area made 11 separate right whale detections.,,, Whales behavior is not understood. Because of a forecast for bad weather, fishermen have been given until Thursday to remove gear from parts of the Roseway Basin where the whales were most recently detected. The implications for the lobster fishery are potentially dramatic. Lobster Fishing Areas 33 and 34 from Halifax to Digby are the most valuable in Canada. >click to read< 07:24

No North Atlantic Right Whale Deaths In Canadian Waters This Year

It has been a good year for the endangered North Atlantic right whale in Canadian waters. Federal officials say no deaths or new entanglements have been reported to date. The government credits “significant” action taken to help protect the whale. A new season-long fishing area closure protocol was introduced in the Gulf of St. Lawrence based on where whales were detected. Fisheries and Oceans Canada also expanded the scope of where temporary and season-long closures were applied. >click to read< 15:50

DFO’s Jordan defends government actions during violence over Mi’kmaw fishery – Chiefs say DFO only looking out for non-Indigenous fishers

Despite admitting she hasn’t read the entire Marshall decision, Department of Fisheries (DFO) Minister Bernadette Jordan says her government is committed to implementing the Mi’kmaq Nation’s treaty right to catch and sell fish commercially in their traditional territories across the Maritimes, which the landmark ruling guarantees. >click to read<  Mi’kmaw chiefs say DFO only looking out for non-Indigenous fishers – Mi’kmaw chiefs appearing before a Parliamentary committee looking into fishing rights say the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) is not upholding its treaty obligations and is only looking to appease non-Indigenous fishers rather than implementing Mi’kmaw rights. >click to read< 11:02

Highway 101 shut down as Avon River causeway protestors urge action to allow free fish passage

On Nov. 16, Howe was among the dozens of people who gathered to hold a ‘respectful, reduced traffic flow’ on Highway 101. The majority of traffic was detoured but some trickled through, starting and stopping in six-minute intervals to reflect the short time frame that fish have to pass through the gated structure. It was an inconvenience to many motorists – but according to fisherman Darren Porter, it was a necessary move. “At the end of the day, how else do you get media here?” asked Porter, while surrounded by water defenders. Porter has been drawing attention to the limited fish passage in Windsor for several years. >click to read< 07:38

Independent inshore lobster fishermen fear the Clearwater purchase could decimate their livelihoods

In 2018, then-Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Dominic Leblanc, put an end to Clearwater’s 20-year monopoly on the lucrative offshore fishery of Arctic surf clam when he allocated a quarter of the clam quota to the Five Nations Clam Company,,, Clearwater threatened legal action over the deal, and after it emerged that LeBlanc had family ties to Premium Seafoods, the plan was cancelled. Clearwater regained its surf clam monopoly for a year. Then in 2020, just nine days before Sipekne’katik First Nation launched its moderate livelihood fishery in Saulnierville in Southwest Nova, Clearwater announced that Membertou First Nation had purchased two of its eight licences for offshore lobster, over which the company had a monopoly,,, >click to read<  Search Results for: Five Nations Clam Company, (lots )>click here<  20:56

Federal fisheries minister concerned about size of Mi’kmaq fishery in Cape Breton bay

Bernadette Jordan said Friday that while the government recognizes the Mi’kmaq treaty right to fish, the scale of the lobster harvest in the bay is exceeding proposals made by Indigenous fishers. “While lobster stocks are generally healthy, monitoring has recently indicated that fishing activities have significantly increased in St. Peters Bay,” the minister said in a statement. >click to read< 09:32

N.S. Seafood Alliance declares opposition to out-of-season moderate livelihood fishery – The Nova Scotia Seafood Alliance said it supports the treaty right, but it must be subordinate to limits set and policed by the government of Canada. >click to read<

Sea lions throw a party on Cowichan Bay’s federal breakwater to feast on spawning salmon

Steller and California sea lions jostle for space, bark 24-7, and leave stinky feces on the breakwater. About 300 sea lions will climb onto the 182-metre-long concrete dock at one time during at the height of the season, said federal harbour manager Mark Mercer. “They are three layers deep out there.” The majority are males, he said, likening the event to a big bachelor party. Depending on species, males range from about 850 to 2,500 pounds. “Like I tell people: ‘What you see on the breakwater is literally the tip of the iceberg. That’s a tenth of what’s out there.’ >click to read< 12:29

N.S. Mi’kmaq chiefs demand stop of alleged federal plans to seize lobster traps

A group of Nova Scotia Indigenous leaders has levelled harassment allegations at the federal government over an ongoing moderate livelihood fishery dispute,,, The Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs issued a statement on Friday saying they’d learned of unspecified plans from the conservation and protection department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, but did not disclose the source of their information. The chiefs alleged department members may be planning to seize gear and traps belonging to fishers exercising what they describe as a protected right to earn a moderate livelihood from their efforts. >click to read< 10:23

Sipekne’katik Chief Threatening To Disrupt Commercial Lobster Fishery This Year

“If they can interfere with our fisheries, we’re going to start rallying up and blocking all of their wharves,”,, Sack says that on October 30, he spoke with a regional director of fisheries management for DFO. The director, according to Sack, informed the Chief that any untagged Mi’kmaq lobster traps would be confiscated. Commercial fishermen are claiming, however, that the Band has increased its fishing in the lobster breeding ground in recent days. On October 29, in a letter to Bernadette Jordan, several fishermen’s groups claimed the federal government is doing nothing to stop the unregulated fishery. >click to read< 11:36

Envelope pushed in St. Marys Bay and Digby folk pushed into a corner – Susan Beaton

So now that the dust is starting to settle, righteous keyboard warriors can take a breather. So let’s try to give the people of Digby County and St. Marys Bay some consideration. Terrible things were said and done this month to the Sipekne’katik First Nation people and to those who supported them. No apologies here for the bad behaviour. But consider for a moment what it’s like for a small village, its lifeblood on the line, as a fight for treaty rights plays out on its doorstep.  Sipekne’katik wanted to push to the forefront the “moderate livelihood” debate, as many bands in other areas are doing as well. This tiny bay became a focus of that effort. What happened next is a bit more dubious. By Susan Beaton, >click to read< 09:23

Potlotek moderate livelihood lobster fishery is peaceful, but tensions aren’t far from surface

Potlotek First Nation launched the fishery under its own management plan in St. Peters Bay on Oct 1. Local non-Indigenous fishers have not interfered, but that doesn’t mean they support it. “Commercial fishermen and Aboriginal fishermen have worked side by side, and co-operatively,” he said. “That’s breaking apart right now.” For their part, the Mi’kmaq say they are tired of waiting for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to work with them to define what constitutes a moderate livelihood. >click to read< 08:32

Sipekne’katik backs out of commercial lobster season citing fears over safety

The decision followed an emergency meeting Friday with fishermen working in the band’s commercial fishery. “The consensus is that they don’t want to fish in the upcoming season due to concerns of safety. There is also the concern of not being able to sell our lobster,” said Chief Mike Sack. “As of right now, our people aren’t comfortable taking that big risk and especially risking their life for that.”Sipekne’katik’s decision means band members won’t fish the nine lobster licences Sipekne’katik holds in Lobster Fishing Area 34 when the season opens next month. >click to read< 21:02

Membertou First Nation Chief Paul leaves Assembly of Mi’kmaq Chiefs in split over moderate livelihood

Chief Terry Paul has stepped down from the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs due to a disagreement over how moderate livelihood negotiations are being conducted. Paul, who is chief of Membertou First Nation in Cape Breton, had served as the fisheries lead for the assembly’s negotiation arm called the Kwilmu’kw Maw-klusuaqn Mi’kmaq Rights Initiative (KMKNO). Negotiations fell apart last week between that body and Fisheries and Oceans Canada over the implementation of a moderate livelihood fishery by the Mi’kmaw. Paul said Wednesday that the KMKNO is not adequately representing all of the province’s first nations. “I feel that not all the communities are being treated the same way,” >click to read< 13:34

Snow crab fishing rights: First Nations leaders say they’ll drop court action if government agrees to mediated settlement

The chiefs of Madawaska and Tobique First Nations say they have been seeking to exercise their treaty right to fish snow crab for 25 years, and point to volatile protests over lobster fishing as an example of the consequences of letting such disputes go unresolved. “Our Aboriginal right to engage in the fishery is not being recognized, the consequence of that is playing out before us in Nova Scotia,” Tobique Chief Ross Perley said in a news release Tuesday. >click to read< 12:04

Mi’kmaw fisherman intends to fight illegal fishing charges

Ashton Bernard, 30, of Eskasoni First Nation, said in a telephone interview Monday he will rely on the 1999 Supreme Court of Canada decision in the Donald Marshall Jr. case., A subsequent clarification of the court’s decision, however, also affirmed Ottawa’s right to regulate the fishery to ensure conservation of the resource. Bernard said he believes the first portion of the Supreme Court decision will prevail. “I wasn’t going to wait around for the government to tell us when to fish or not.”I told the boys, ‘Let’s go out and see how it goes,’ and now we’re into court.” >click to read< 17:10

B.C.’s commercial halibut season extended three weeks due to pandemic caused market disruptions

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) said the closure, normally scheduled for Nov. 15, will now fall on Dec. 7 for the 2020 season. All groundfish hook-and-line harvesters wanting to participate in the extended halibut season will need to have the conditions of their licence amended prior to fishing past the original November closure. Additional sector-specific instructions on how to request the amendment will be forthcoming,, Meanwhile, costs to harvest, process and ship products have escalated as the sector tries to meet COVID-19 safety protocols. >click to read< 20:53