Tag Archives: DFO

Northumberland Fishermen’s Association wants carapace size increase

For over two years, the local Northumberland Fishermen’s Association has been wanting an increase in lobster carapace size from the Minister of Fisheries and for two years they’ve waited for an answer. “They’re dragging their feet,” says Northumberland’s Fishermen’s Association President Ron Heighton. In early 2015, the association met with Fisheries and Oceans and other fishing organizations to discuss and agree to potential changes to the lobster industry in order to increase the carapace lobster size within a two-year window. At that time, after a ballot vote was distributed among all the lobster fishers in lobster fishing area 26A in Nova Scotia with the majority voting for an increase in carapace size. The carapace is the part of the body between the lobster’s eyes and its tail. Fishermen who catch undersized lobster have to throw them back. Two years later, there has been no decision reached by Fisheries and Oceans about implementing a size increase for the upcoming lobster season, Heighton said. Read the story here 14:23

Six pilot studies test sea urchin farming in Canada

Federal scientists and others are exploring the possibility of sea urchin farming in Canada, with at least six pilot studies using Norwegian technology that proponents hope will turn “zombie” urchins which can denude kelp beds into profitable seafood. The first of the studies, conducted by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, is expected to start next week in waters off Vancouver Island, with others planned for Newfoundland, Quebec and Nova Scotia. Wild urchins are harvested in B.C. and elsewhere, but aren’t farmed commercially anywhere in Canada — yet. But the efforts to birth a new aquaculture industry are already running into questions about the ecological cost. Read the story here 09:11

Controlling Agreement? Labrador fisherman Kirby Elson is ending his legal challenge filed with the Federal Court

Nova Scotia fish harvester Susan Beaton is breathing a little easier now that a legal challenge that could have overturned the rules protecting the independence of Atlantic Canada’s inshore fishery appears to be over. “I think it’s very good news, at least for those of us who care about the owner-operator policy,” said Beaton, who is from Antigonish. The federal government’s owner-operator policy stipulates the main benefits of inshore fishing licences must go to the licence holders. Kirby Elson, a fisherman from Cartwright N.L., a small fishing town in Labrador, had launched a legal challenge, appealing a decision by the federal fisheries minister to take away his commercial fishing licences. But the case ended quietly and abruptly this week when Elson notified his lawyers Jan. 10 that he wanted to “immediately withdraw from this litigation,” according to documents filed with the Federal Court. Elson had refused to obey a DFO requirement that he exit a so-called “controlling agreement” with two Newfoundland and Labrador fish processors. Read the story here 19:31

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

FFAW’s 5-cent-a-pound lobster ‘levy’ most shocking of all secrets uncovered in 2016

Of all the questions that have been raised about FFAW secrecy/conflict of interest in recent months, one of the most shocking discoveries was that the union had proposed a 5 cent a pound ‘levy’ on lobster. Fish harvesters didn’t know about the FFAW proposal (how unbelievable is that?) until FISH-NL brought it to light in early December, and it was the Seafood Producers of Newfoundland and Labrador who actually killed it (how’s that for the ultimate irony, processors standing up for harvesters — and not their union).  Find details of the FFAW proposal here.  The FFAW argued the 5 cent levy was to cover the union’s “management” of the fishery. To quote the union: “The bulk of the work once conducted by DFO is now being done by the FFAW, with no financial or in-kind support from the processing sector.”  Read the rest of the post here, and open FFAW proposal.

Controlling Agreements – To fish or control?

On Nov. 14, Nova Scotia fisherman Graeme Gawn told a Parliamentary committee that “thousands of inshore” fishermen have been “disenfranchised from their traditional fisheries.” Mr. Gawn was referring to the fact that many fishermen have yielded control of their licences to corporations. The consolidation of inshore licences is supposedly illegal. Under Canada’s Policy for Preserving the Independence of the Inshore Fleet in Canada’s Atlantic Fisheries, the holders of individual (owner-operator) fishing licences are supposed to harvest and sell their own catch. As former Fisheries and Oceans Minister Gail Shea stated, the policy is designed to “ensure that inshore fish harvesters remain independent, and that the benefits of fishing licences flow to Atlantic coastal communities.” It doesn’t always work out that way. Read the op-ed here 09:51

Fishing over the line – Digby DFO seizes 195 traps and $8,000 worth of lobster

ns-lobster-zonesFishery officers arrested a lobster fisherman for setting traps on the New Brunswick side of the Bay of Fundy a week before that area opens. Digby fishery officers seized 195 traps Nov. 2 and 3 after conducting a patrol of the line between Lobster Fishing Area (LFA) 35 and LFA 36 and inspecting gear. Fishery officer Jacklyn Titus says the officers found a number of trawls in a closed area. As a result of inspection of some of the gear, fishery officers arrested one individual and seized approximately 1,300 pounds of lobster. The Department of Fisheries has sold that catch and will hold the money in trust while awaiting the outcome of court proceedings. Shore price is about $6.50 these days making the lobster worth about $8,450. Titus says charges are pending. Read the rest here 11:38

Editorial: Auditor General scrutinizes DFO’s fish stock management

envie-sustain-development-commish-julie-gelfeldIn a province that has the Pacific Salmon as an official emblem, it’s surprising that a report from the federal Auditor General on the management of fish stocks by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans didn’t get more attention. The audit, conducted by the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development (part of the Auditor General’s office), disclosed a number of deficiencies that should have raised concerns, if not alarm. For example, it found only three of 15 critically depleted stocks had rebuilding plans, increasing the risk that depleted stocks won’t recover. Moreover, of 154 fish stocks, 44 were either missing integrated fish management plans or the plans were out of date. Among other problems the audit identified, third-party observers hired by fishing companies sometimes failed to comply with program requirements but DFO had little recourse other than revoking their designation, which would have deprived it of catch data. Read the op-ed here 13:21

Nova Scotia’s ancient cold-water corals protected by fishing ban

some-of-the-corals-live-for-a-thousand-years-this-model-shows-what-they-look-likeFisheries and Oceans Canada says its decision to protect more than 9,000 square kilometres of ocean bottom off Nova Scotia will have a minimal impact on the province’s fishing industry and a major impact in saving ancient cold water corals. Canada is banning all forms of bottom fishing in two areas:  Forty-nine square kilometres in the Jordan Basin 100 kilometres west of Nova Scotia, and Nine thousand square kilometres in two underwater canyons — Corsair and Georges canyons farther from the coast, by Georges Bank. The corals can live for 1,000 years. The protections are part of the federal government commitment to protect 10 per cent of Canada’s oceans by 2020.  The change bans people from lobster and crab-trap fishing on the bottom, trawl dragging, using a gill net, and hook-and-line fishing that uses anchors. MacDonald said only seven lobster fishermen had catches in the Jordan Basin area closer to shore. Read the rest here 10:34

DFO makes two more major seizures – $90,000 worth of scallops and then lobster, a truck and a boat

dfo-seized-lobster-scallop-digbyFishery officers in Digby and Meteghan have made two more significant seizures. About noontime Sept. 21, Fishery Officers from Digby unloaded 160 bags of scallops at the Digby wharf. Fishery officer Jacklyn Titus told the Courier that the officers had conducted an inspection of a commercial scallop vessel on the Bay of Fundy and detected alleged violations. Titus says one individual was arrested and released and charges are pending. The 6,200 pounds of scallops were sold for $90,000, which will be held in trust pending the outcome of court proceedings. In a separate incident Sept. 22 in Weymouth, Fishery Officers arrested two individuals after an Aboriginal Food Fishery inspection. Officers seized 675 pounds of live lobster, a truck and small size fishing vessel. Includes a list of seizures, arrests and sentences from this summer. Read the rest here 14:40

Cape Breton fishermen plead guilty to fishing closed area off Digby Neck

callie-rae-fish-violationsKevin and Paul Cormier, father and son from New Waterford, were not in Digby Provincial Court Sept. 18, but their lawyer entered guilty pleas for them on charges of fishing in a closed area, fishing with untagged traps and fishing without the person named in the licence. The federal crown attorney Alex Pink told the court that Fishery Officers on a routine patrol off Digby Neck found a trawl of 20 traps set in Lobster Fishing Area (LFA) 34 on Nov. 15, 2015. The Fishery Officers seized those traps, which were about 900 metres inside LFA 34, which doesn’t open until the end of November. Fisheries officers then watched with binoculars as fishermen on the lobster boat Callie Ray dragged two more trawls, or 40 traps total, from LFA 34 over the line into LFA 35, which was open at the time. Read the story here 17:52

Entangled Humpback rescued from fish farm ropes by fisheries officials

humpback-in-fish-farmA juvenile humpback whale was thrashing in the water north of Klemtu, B.C. yesterday for 12 hours, struggling to breathe as ropes from an empty aquaculture site cut into its flesh and blubber. Marine Harvest workers discovered the entangled whale Monday morning and immediately called Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the company said in a statement. Paul Cottrell, DFO’s marine mammal coordinator, caught the first plane from Vancouver to conduct the complicated rescue, with help from local fisheries officers, the company and members of the Kitasoo First Nation. The team needed to cut at least four ropes to free the young whale, but that’s not as quick and easy as it sounds. Video, read the rest here 09:52

Arrests and seizures – DFO releases another 2,500 pounds of lobster into Digby harbor!

article_large dfo arrestsJust days after seizing 1,350 pounds of lobster and returning the live fish into the Annapolis Basin on Aug. 26, Fishery officers from Digby made another series of on the evening of Aug. 30. Fishery officer Corey Webster says both incidents took place in Margaretsville, both involved alleged infractions under the Aboriginal Food Social and Ceremonial fishery and some of the same individuals were arrested in both cases. Officer Webster says charges are still pending in both cases. “We hadn’t even had time to process the first incident before this second one happened,” said Webster. Link 11:43

DFO seized, returned 1,350 pounds of lobster into the Annapolis Basin

article_large lobsters released dfoA half dozen officers with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada took a dozen crates of lobster onto a floating dock at the Digby wharf Aug. 26, took the bands off the lobster and put the crustaceans back in the water. Fishery officer Jacklyn Titus said officers seized the 1,350 pounds of lobster earlier on Aug. 26 after an investigation on board a fishing vessel in Margaretville involved with the Aboriginal Food Fishery. Six people were arrested as a result of that investigation. All were later released. Titus says charges are pending. Click here for more photo 12:00

What’s Fishy About the Feds’ Salmon Promises?

5327439069_3439b17201_bAs federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister Dominic LeBlanc was in West Vancouver Tuesday, promising that his government would act on all 75 recommendations from the 2012 Cohen Commission into the decline of Fraser River sockeye salmon, independent biologist Alexandra Morton was sailing into friendly waters on northern Vancouver Island and casting doubt on the government’s intentions. There is no substance to it,” said Morton, pointing out that LeBlanc has avoided any commitment to act on the Cohen recommendation to separate promotion of aquaculture from its duty to protect wild salmon or to put the brakes on the salmon farming industry. The progress report, delivered by LeBlanc, noted that Fisheries and Oceans  oversight of salmon farming meshes with the department’s mandate and LeBlanc said at the news conference that DFO has a responsibility to promote the sustainable use of “fish resources in a way that is good for the local economy.” That does not go down well with Morton, a thorn in the side of the salmon farming industry and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans for decades. Read the story here 20:22

DFO crackdown in northern B.C. – “They’re screwing us.”

tom-hlavac-acting-regional-director-for-conservation-and-protection-pacific-regionCommercial fishermen on B.C.’s North Coast are upset by what they’re calling an unprecedented and unfair Fisheries and Oceans Canada crackdown. Chris Peterson, a skipper who has been fishing commercially off the coast of Prince Rupert for 40 years, says the DFO has gone too far. “I have never seen anything like this,” Peterson said of the extra enforcement officers. “There were 17 of them on one boat last week — 17!”  Most of the fishermen point to July 27 as the beginning of the conflict. That’s the day Hartley Bay Band Council Chief and fisherman Arnold Clifton was boarded by two DFO officers. “I was in the washroom on the boat when all hell broke loose,” Clifton recalled, describing rude treatment from the officers.  He was fined, and then boarded again two days later, this time by even more DFO officials. Read the story here, with audio clip 08:10

A shrimp apocalypse? Anything is possible, says DFO scientist

maineshrimp_courtesyofC_SchmidtA scientist with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans is defending its bleak assessment of shrimp stocks off Newfoundland’s northeast coast and Labrador, and is blaming the resurgent codfish – which feed on shrimp – as a “driving factor.”  Katherine Skanes is also firing back at those questioning the status of the stock. “When the biomass was going up, they had confidence in our survey. Then when the biomass goes down, they lose confidence,” she said. Jaws dropped this past spring after DFO’s annual northern shrimp assessment revealed that the “fishable” biomass in Area 6 had declined by a staggering 41 per cent between 2014 and 2015. DFO blames environmental conditions and predation for the decline. Read the story here 10:46

Qikiqtaaluk Corp. may lose $2M as a result of cuts to shrimp quota in Nova Scotia

f-v-saputiQikiqtaaluk Corporation, which had one of its vessels damaged earlier this year from striking ice, is now concerned reductions to the Northern shrimp quota for offshore trawlers in Nova Scotia will hurt its bottom line even more. The quota reduction mainly affects companies in Nova Scotia. However, Qikiqtaaluk, the biggest fishing company in Nunavut, also fishes those waters during the winter months. “Having this other announcement is another blow,” said Harry Flaherty, president and CEO of Qikiqtaaluk Corporation. Qikiqtaaluk lost approximately $4 million when the F/V Saputi struck ice in February. It had to be shipped to Poland for repairs and the company also lost months of valuable fishing time, said Flaherty. Now, the Fisheries and Oceans Canada announcement on quote reductions means Qikiqtaaluk may lose an additional $2 million in shrimp stock, said Flaherty. Read the rest here 09:59

Freeport fisherman prohibited from fishing for five months

Beau Gillis of FreeportA Freeport fisherman will have to miss five months of ground fishing next year. Beau Gillis pled guilty July 11 to failure to hail accurate weight of fish on board a vessel, possessing halibut less than 81 centimetres in length, offloading fish without a monitor, and possessing fish that cannot be identified. Department of Fisheries officers say they noticed suspicious behaviour during a surveillance patrol on Long Island on June 10, 2015. Fishery Officers pulled over Gillis and seized his truck and 1,134 pounds of halibut worth $11,340. Judge Timothy Landry ordered the forfeiture of Gillis’ truck and the proceeds from the fish plus fines totalling $10,000. Read the rest here 12:21

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

The domino effect. Fisheries policy raising the carapace measure risks dividing fishermen

lobster-sizeThe domino effect. That’s sort of what lobster fishermen in P.E.I. are up against after the Federal Fisheries Department decided the carapace measure has to go up in Lobster Fishing Area 25. Prince Edward Island’s 225 fall fishermen share Northumberland Strait’s LFA 25 with 470 New Brunswick boats and 16 from Nova Scotia. It’s a narrow strip of water, so it’s impossible to draw a line through the middle of it and keep the Island boats on one side of the line and leave the other side to the mainlanders. Despite fishing the same body of water, the fishermen on either side of the puddle – or at least the organizations representing them – have opposing views on what the minimum carapace size should be. Read the op-ed here 11:58

LIFO policy: Newfoundland and Labrador will take a major hit if the inshore shrimp fishery collapses

Northern_Pink_Shrimp“In 2015, the inshore shrimp fishery contributed $250 million to the economy of rural Newfoundland and Labrador,” Phil Barnes said. “Economic hubs like Gander, Grand Falls-Windsor, Corner Brook and St. John’s all benefit from the inshore fishery. “Inshore harvesters buy vehicles, groceries, fuel, gear and repair services. Plant workers also spend their income at local businesses,” he said.  Barnes said the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has to scrap its  “last in-first out” (LIFO) for the Northern shrimp fishery. “Our inshore fleet has access to one area (Area 6) for a few months of the year while the offshore trawlers are in multiple areas all year round,” he said. “Someone is always there and this has to stop. Read the story here 12:57

Department of Fisheries and Oceans: Northern cod biomass at highest rate since 1992

Atlantic-Cod-Dieter-CraasmannThe Atlantic cod stocks are returning, but there’s still a long way to go before a large-scale commercial fishery becomes viable again. That’s the finding of new research by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, which shows that cod stocks in the Northern region are on the way towards leaving the “critical” designation. The stock in the 2J, 3K and 3L regions has increased to an estimated 538,000 tons of fish — the highest rate since 1992. Still, the stock only reaches 34 per cent of the level needed to escape the “critical” zone. DFO performs stock assessments every three years, sourcing information from vessel surveys, commercial catches, tags on the cod and more. In 2013, the stock reached about 300,000 tons in biomass. Today, it’s almost double that. Read the story here 08:23

DFO justifies Area 6 northern shrimp catch by offshore fleet

Northern_Pink_ShrimpFisheries and Oceans Canada is defending its decision to allow offshore factory freezer trawlers to catch northern shrimp this spring, even though its own scientists say the stock is vulnerable to collapse. Inshore fishermen have criticized the fishing, because 2016 quotas have not yet been set, and could be cut significantly. Glenn Best, who fishes shrimp off Fogo Island, said the so-called “bridging policy” should not have been applied in Area 6 at a time when stocks are under review. “The [cod] moratorium would be a walk in the park compared to what’s going to happen if we lose this shrimp,” he said. “This is the bread and butter. This is what sustains communities from Fogo Island to St. Anthony to southern Labrador. We need this shrimp. Why are we taking chances with it?” Read the rest here 10:10

Letter: Follow the leaders in fisheries management – Gus Etchegary Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s

dfocrestI have recently been in contact with former associates in Iceland, Norway and other advanced fishing nations on the status of their fishing industries, including fisheries management, processing technology, customer demands (for fresh, primary and secondary-processed fish products) and ongoing technical advances. I also questioned how these developments impact prices paid to fishermen and processing plant labour. As a result of impressive technical advances made in Iceland, Norway and Alaska in resource management and other key areas from processing higher quality fish and market development, their industries are now paying far higher prices to fishermen and higher wages to processors. Of even greater significance is the enormous contribution their fishing industry is making to their respective economies. Read the rest here 09:58

Report suggests snow crab in decline

canadian snow crabJamie Rose hopes the numbers are as wrong as he thinks they are. That was the St. Anthony fisherman’s reaction to a snow crab report that was recently released by the Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat. The annual report examined fishing areas 2HJ3KLNOP4R and it paints a bleak future for the upcoming season. The index-based report suggests exploitable biomass – large male crab – has declined to its lowest observed level in the last two decades of study, dropping from a highpoint of nearly 70 in the mid-‘90s to a all time low of around 10. Recruitment appears to have bottomed out. The index level is sitting around three points, which dropped from around 15 over the last five years. Read the rest here 11:26

Crab fishing – handling and releasing wolffish

Crab fishermen! Wolffish are at risk. You can contribute to their recovery. If you catch some by accident, handle them carefully and release them as quickly as possible. 17:43

Fishermen raise concerns over proposed measures that could harm lobster fishery

2016-03-18-01-58-17-YV-22032016-fishermen%20oneIt was a concerned and frustrated group of fishermen that met with DFO officials Thursday in Yarmouth during a special meeting of the Lobster Fishing Area 34 Advisory Committee. The fishermen say proposed measures to help in the recovery of the cusk population – including a potential 10 per cent trap reduction for lobster licence holders – are based on incorrect data and, if implemented, would hurt the lobster industry. The LFA committee passed a motion to have another meeting in June, once the lobster season is over, with DFO and others to discuss the issue further. Fishermen attending the March 17 session said there doesn’t seem to be a problem with the cusk population and that the measures DFO is considering are unnecessary. Read the rest here 08:12

Coldwater Lobster Association wants more members, says many issues facing Nova Scotia industry

article_large coldwaterColdwater Lobster Association, covering Lobster Fishing Area 34 in southwestern Nova Scotia, says there are issues that could have dire outcomes on the lobster industry. The association has around 80 members but says it would have more clout at the table with DFO and other groups if it was speaking for a larger percentage of the industry. One issue is a pending decision on whether to list cusk under the Species at Risk Act. COSEWIC(Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada) is collecting opinion online and through consultations until March 18. The committee says the mature portion of the cusk population has declined by 85 per cent over three generations. Read the rest here 11:29

B.C. First Nation vows to stop herring roe fishery in its territory

The Tla’amin First Nation has served notice that it will take action to halt any commercial herring roe fishery in its traditional territory. A band council resolution sent to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) says a commercial fishery would cause “irreversible damage” to a herring stock that is just showing signs of recovery after a catastrophic collapse in the 1980s. “If the decision of Fisheries and Oceans Canada is to proceed with the commercial herring fishery, Tla’amin Nation will take steps to restrain the mismanagement of the fishery,” the resolution reads. A DFO manager alerted the band’s fisheries manager Kevin Timothy to the possibility of a commercial opening in waters near Powell River. Read the rest here 08:24

FFAW-Unifor NEWS RELEASE: Thousands of Jobs at Risk in Northern Shrimp Fishery

SHRIMP-master675Thursday, February 25, 2016 St. John’s – Thousands of harvesting and processing jobs in rural Newfoundland and Labrador may be lost if the current fisheries management policies for northern shrimp are maintained. The Fish Food and Allied Workers Union (FFAW-Unifor) is providing further details on the impact of sharp declines in the northern shrimp stock as outlined in Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s (DFO) stock status report. “The implications of the stock status report, if they are confirmed, will be challenging if DFO’s quota allocation policies do not change,” said Keith Sullivan, President of the FFAW. Read the press release here 11:56

For some reason, codfish off the province’s south coast aren’t living to a ripe old age.

2016-02-14-08-51-06-TEL-16022016-3PsCodStocks_cc%20clone.1“The obvious question is what’s going on?” said Rick Rideout, a research scientist with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). Rideout was the lead scientist on DFO’s science advisory report for last fall’s 3Ps cod stock assessment. The number of new fish in 3Ps seems to have improved in recent years, Rideout said Thursday, but the stock’s trajectory has taken a downward turn. “It’s above the limit reference point, but it’s certainly below the target of where we’d like it to be,” he said. There’s certainly some reason for concern, yeah.” Read the rest here 07:44

Fish stocks for sale – Maurice Adams, Paradise

With the respect to John Gillett’s recent letter (“Fishermen never wanted a big brother”), let me say that with the amendment to the NAFO agreement a few years ago (voted down by the House of Commons) but with the support of the province, industry and the union, passed anyway by the Harper government, NAFO nations are taking over where DFO is leaving off. Since then there have been several attempts to use $400 million in tax dollars ($280 million from Ottawa) to again “rationalize” the inshore fishery (remember the province’s big, $400-million MOU?) — all with the objective of shutting down the plants and the inshore fishery that brought almost a million dollars a year of new money into almost every coastal community. Read the letter here 10:01

Federal agency accused of condemning British Columbia commercial sockeye fleet to feast-or-famine cycle

1361_8.png__0x400_q95_autocrop_crop-smart_subsampling-2_upscaleWhile fishermen in Alaska were enjoying a banner year thanks to massive returns of Bristol Bay sockeye, their counterparts in were pretty much idled, thanks to lower-than-expected returns of sockeye and pink salmon and to what fishermen say is overly cautious escapements. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) was not able to provide a final tally on this year’s returns. But Fraser River sockeye returns this year are unofficially being reported to be around two million – about a third of the 6.8 million median forecast – and Fraser River pink,,, Read the article here 15:37

Researching lobster stock trends in southwestern N.S. by tracking juvenile lobsters

lobster tracking dfoEach year researchers collect samples of juvenile lobsters from the ocean floor in Lobster Bay in Yarmouth County and St. Mary’s Bay in Digby County to track levels of juvenile lobster. Three years ago scientists said there were “troubling signs.” Last year they said sampling had yielded the highest levels ever. This year the numbers aren’t as high as they were last year. “The numbers were definitely lower than last year,” says DFO research scientist Adam Cook. “They’re more on par with what we’ve seen in past years, so it is uncertain as to what that means.” Read the article here 12:21

Liberals to reopen Maritime Rescue Sub-centre in St. John’s

hunter-tootooNew federal Fisheries Minister Hunter Tootoo and the Liberal government will reopen the Maritime Rescue Sub-centre in St. John’s. The Nunavut MP signed the mandate given to him by new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a letter nine days after he was sworn in as the minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The sub-centre was closed in 2012 despite loud outcry from advocates and fishermen. Provincial and municipal politicians — such as St. John’s Mayor Dennis O’Keefe —have lobbied since to have it reopened. Read the rest here 08:32

Who ya gonna call? Digby DFO cleans up ghost traps from Bay of Fundy

digby dfo article_large“Our mandate is enforcement and conservation,” said Digby Fisheries officer Corey Webster. “Just like our compliance blitz in St. Mary’s Bay this summer, this is an important job just to make sure everything is cleaned up. And it’s also important for us to be out on the water, just to see what is happening out there.” Fishermen harvest lobster from weighted traps that sit on bottom. They tie a rope to the trap and a buoy keeps that rope floating at the surface to show them where their traps are.  Other fishermen, who may see these errant traps, are not allowed however to haul another fisherman’s traps. Read the rest here 15:22

Growers say DFO dragging its feet on approving cultivation of giant clams in B.C.

In recent years, the demand for the giant clam – especially in China – has sent prices soaring. Geoduck (pronounced gooeyduck) has a landed value of about $10 to $11 per pound in North America and can sell for $30 per pound in China. Geoduck has become so valuable, in fact, that illegal poaching is now raising concerns about the geoduck population in Washington state. B.C. has a wild geoduck industry that is already worth about $47 million a year in sales – more valuable than oyster and clam farming ($33 million). But it is exclusive to divers who hold licences for harvesting the giant clam in the wild. Read the rest here 16:08

26A Lobster season still delayed

Ron Heighton, president of the Northumberland Fishermen’s Association, said the ice is gone from the local area but the start was delayed until Monday at 6 a.m., because fishermen from the southern portion of P.E.I. were opposed.“They were worried about a little bit of ice,” he said. “We’re ice free but they (DFO) wouldn’t let us go ahead of them. I mean, we don’t share the same bottom so there’d be no impact, right? “We got bullied into it,” he said, because Fisheries Minister Gail Shea is from P.E.I. Read the rest here 19:40

P.E.I. Lobster fishing opening date still unclear

The earliest Prince Edward Island lobster fishermen will be setting traps for the spring fishery is Monday, May 4, according to the P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association. However, Association president Craig Avery says boats on the South shore of the Island may have to wait longer than that because, as Avery told CBC Monday, most of the harbours from East Point to Victoria are still iced in. Read the rest here 11:39

P.E.I. Lobster season delayed because of ice conditions, delay surprises P.E.I. Fisherman’s Association

It was the right call to delay the lobster season because some harbours on the Island’s north and south shores are still impassable with ice, says the P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association. Fisheries and Oceans Canada sent out the notice Thursday afternoon that fishermen won’t be setting and pulling traps next Thursday, as initially planned, because of ice conditions in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence. Read the rest here  Lobster season delay surprises P.E.I. fishermen Read the rest here 13:14

$62,500 in fines, fishing prohibitions doled out in Yarmouth County seizure of 6,222 illegal lobsters

The seizure of lobsters by DFO took place on April 27, 2012, in Comeau’s Hill involving the fishing vessel Melanie Lynn II. In provincial court in Yarmouth on Friday, April 17, Earl Patrick Boudreau, 51, and Dennis Joseph Clairmont, 62, pleaded guilty to possession of undersized lobsters measuring less than 82.5 millimetres. At the time of the 2012 seizure DFO said the lobsters had been stored in about two-dozen holding cases and crates. DFO also doesn’t know for certain where they were destined. Read the rest here 16:28

Atlantic sturgeon season approved as DFO ponders species status

A small commercial fishery for Atlantic sturgeon in the St. John River will begin as usual next month, despite a looming federal decision on whether to list the giant fish under Canada’s Species at Risk Act. Mike Dadswell, a retired Acadia University sturgeon researcher, says the report contains errors and out-of-date information. He said the population size of up to 2,000 breeding fish used by COSEWIC is a significant underestimate, and puts the true number of around 11,500, which he says is “close to the virgin population of 11,000 adults in 1880.” Read the rest here 07:40

107 lobster traps set in closed area seized, DFO investigation continuing

There will be charges laid, but what the charges will be hasn’t been determined yet. On Monday, April 6, DFO seized 54 traps off of southwestern Nova Scotia. On Thursday, April 9, another 53 traps were seized. Both seizures took place in Lobster Fishing Area 41, which is an off-shore area where lobster fishing is not authorized by fishermen licensed to fish in Lobster Fishing Area 34 where the lobster fishery is underway. Read the rest here 15:49

Sockeye overfishing risks salmon future: critics

gillnetters lower fraser 2014Conservationists say federal fishery managers allowed serious overfishing of Fraser River sockeye salmon,,, Bob McKamey, vice-president of the Area E Gillnetters Association, dismissed the objections from Watershed Watch. “It wouldn’t matter what the fishing plan is, they have a kneejerk reaction to the commercial fishing industry in general,” he said. Read the rest here 21:12

Scientists ignoring fishermen — again

g0002580000000000000bea0810c3a6cac2be28188b42d824fdbd10e7d9In 1992, the commercial fishery was closed. Let’s now turn the clock ahead to today. Inshore fish harvesters and recreational fish harvesters are reporting the abundance of cod is approaching the levels of the late 1970s to the early 1980s. There are large cod, medium cod and small cod and they are found all along the coast of the island and Labrador. If you believe the science, the spawning stock biomass of northern cod has increased by approximately 6,000 per cent since 2004. Read the rest here 08:42

DFO clings to bad science, refuses to close herring fishery in Area 7 – “we’re prepared to stop them at all costs”

Despite harsh criticism from scientists and First Nations of DFO’s flawed forecasting methods for the health of herring stocks, the department’s Director General, Pacific Region Sue Farlinger acknowledged today that she was unable to commit to the closure of a gillnet fishery in Area 7. “That’s not enough for us,” responded Kelly Brown, the nation’s resource stewardship director. “We worked all night with people to get the proper stock assessment done, which shows that there is not enough herring here to sustain a commercial fishery.” Read the rest here Video 06:46

Lack of Nation to Nation relationship between the Canadian Government and Indigenous fishermen causes conflict

863a4ac9dc_64635696_o2On Monday March 9, 2015, a fishing trial began outside a Vancouver Court House. With the lack of Nation-to-Nation relationships between the First Nation and the Canadian Government, disputes – in this case fishing disputes – must be handled by the provincial courts, even when the provincial court overrides the decisions by the Supreme Court of Canada. Read the rest here 16:10

Dispute continues over herring roe fishing rights in Barkley Sound

A confrontation between the Tseshaht First Nation and commercial fishing boats was avoided Sunday when a federal department postponed a herring fishery in Barkley Sound. A herring roe fishery was scheduled to open at sunrise by the Island’s West Coast area, but a last-minute announcement from Fisheries and Oceans Canada held off this activity, citing that stocks were not ready for harvesting. Tristan Nano photo Read the rest here 09:35

Baker: Shrimpin’ ain’t easy – Federal decision to cut inshore shrimp quotas mystifying, devastating for NL economy

I wonder how many people casually dismissed the news this week about northern shrimp quota cuts as just more “fishermen crying and whining” about their lot in life. A good many I’d say. And that’s too bad because in doing so you missed something that has huge ramifications. For everyone. I don’t think people fully understand how huge the decision is.  There are upwards of 3,000 direct jobs linked to northern shrimp in Newfoundland and Labrador on vessels and in the plants. This decision could begin to wipe all of that out. Read the rest here 08:33   Newfoundland shrimp workers rally against feds and cuts Video, click here

DFO leaving nearly $1B unspent is ‘appalling’

Cardigan MP Lawrence MacAulay says the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans leaving $950 million unspent is ‘appalling’ and the money should have been used to benefit P.E.I. programs. However, federal Fisheries Minister and Egmont MP Gail Shea says that’s not accurate and MacAulay should know how the budget process works since he was once a cabinet minister. Read the rest here 08:15

Our Jobs, Our Resources: Unfair Sharing of Northern Shrimp

SHRIMP-master675The future of our coastal communities is at risk. Thousands of jobs are in jeopardy due to unfair sharing of the northern shrimp resource. The federal government has deliberately chosen to ignore the longstanding principle of adjacency to the benefit of the corporate-owned offshore fleet, to the detriment of our coastal communities. Our northern shrimp resources are being taken out of our waters with no benefit to our province’s economy. Read the rest here 10:10

Support from United Fisherman and Allied Workers Union on BC herring fishery

In support of the Nuu‐chah‐nulth Tribal Council request dated Jan 5, 2015, the United Fisherman and Allied Workers Union – Unifor recommends to all  commercial herring fishermen that they do not select WCVI as their seine or gillnet area for upcoming 2015 herring season. The decision to support this request was not taken lightly and based on four factors: independent science review of the herring stocks in the WCVI region; our own fishermen’s assessment of the state of these WCVI stocks; respect for local First Nations insights; Read the rest here 09:30

Prawning regulations need change on BC Coast

The Pacific Prawn Fisherman’s Association, representing commercial harvesters, recently recommended to DFO that there should be a coast-wide closure of all prawn fishing from December 1 to March 31. No question about whose interests the association is advocating for because as noted the commercial fishery doesn’t fish then! Read the rest here 05:53

Green Crab found near Pool’s Cove – Could be a serious issue in Fortune Bay

According to Cynthia McKenzie, a research scientist with Fisheries and Oceans, the green crab has established a foothold in the Pool’s Cove area of Fortune Bay. She said DFO issued experimental licenses to the Conne River Band and a group in Pool’s Cove this past summer to catch green crab. Read the rest here 09:59

Score One for the Good Guys! Endangered Leatherback turtle saved by fishermen, DFO

Two fishermen from Cape Egmont, P.E.I. came upon a tangled turtle on Wednesday. Fisheries and Oceans Canada says what the fishermen found was an endangered Leatherback. It was wrapped up in lobster gear. The fishermen contacted fisheries officials in Summerside for help. When the officers showed up, they were met by two lobster fishermen, one of whom was an 84-year-old. Read the rest here

There is something very wrong here – DFO – Public Reporting on Aquaculture – Incidental Catch

fisheries_and_oceansWild fish naturally swim into net pens at aquaculture facilities and can co-exist with farmed fish. There is past and on-going research to determine to what extent wild fish are preyed upon within the net pens, but at this time predation appears to be minimal.,, Incidental by-catch and release of non-targeted species also occurs in other fisheries. Aquaculture is NOT a fishery It is aquaculture! Read more here 13:19

DFO says halibut sharing arrangement in place since 1990s

fisheries_and_oceansThe department was responding to a story (posted yesterday) on The Telegram website Monday in which , the union representing most fishermen in Newfoundland and Labrador, claimed fishermen on the south coast of Newfoundland have been put out of business midseason because of unfair quota allocations by DFO in the halibut fishery. Read more here 11:44

Salish Sea Prawn fishery opens without signs of Native blockade

A threatened First Nations’ blockade of the Salish Sea has yet to materialize — much to the relief of Cowichan spot prawn fishermen. The commercial spot prawn season opened at noon yesterday in local waters under the shadow of last week’s Stz’uminus First Nation announcement that it was banning all boat traffic in its traditional waters. Read more here 21:51

A silver lining in the humpback whale of a tale – DFO to change status from “threatened” to a “species of special concern.”

According to the IUCN, the global population of humpbacks is approximately 80,000. That is broken down to 18,000-20,000 in the North Pacific, 50,000 in the Southern Hemisphere, and some 12,000 in the North Atlantic. Before hunting was banned, there were barely 1,500 humpbacks in the North Pacific. Today’s numbers are a clear indicator of how successful conservation measures can be when they are rigidly kept.  Read more here  10:43