Tag Archives: DFO

Offshore ‘slipper skippers’ and local monopolies target of new fishing industry study

If you have ever purchased fish at Fisherman’s Wharf, there’s a 50/50 chance the bulk of your money will make its way into the pockets of an investor, who may not even be able to pinpoint Steveston on a map. Such investors, both foreign and domestic, own government-issued quotas and licenses and lease them to fishers for a cut of the catch. Because profit margins for fishers are already razer thin, the extra costs of the quotas and licenses means young, new and independent fishers find it difficult to get a foothold in the industry. This regulatory system is being called into question by Fleetwood Port Kells Liberal MP Ken Hardie. Fishers have long complained about the ownership structure of licences and individual transferable quotas (ITQs), or catch shares,,>click to read< 20:08

DFO orders fisheries closure in Bay of Fundy after right whale sighting

The federal government announced Monday evening the first temporary fisheries closure in the Bay of Fundy as a result of a North Atlantic right whale sighting. The area, just east of Grand Manan, will be closed to fixed-gear fishing activities starting at 11:59 p.m. Thursday, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans said in a statement. It said the closure, which affects lobster, crab, groundfish, herring and mackerel licenses, will remain in place until further notice. It’s believed to be the first closure of its kind ever in the bay, according to Laurence Cook, chairman of the Grand Manan Fishermen’s Association lobster advisory board. Cook was busy fielding calls and texts from “angry and upset” members after government informed the association around 6 p.m. Monday, he said. >click to read<11:42

Lobster fishermen comply with federal order and move traps to smaller area

Lobster fishermen aboard about 60 boats spent Sunday morning pulling traps from waters off Miscou Island in northeastern New Brunswick in order to comply with a zone closure put in place by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The closures in Lobster Fishing Area 23 were announced by the DFO on June 11, after five North Atlantic right whales were seen between Miscou and the Gaspe Peninsula. DFO boats were in the area monitoring the situation as the traps were hauled up. “There’s a very small block that they can kind of move into. They are limited on the amount of territory that is left for them so they’re all going to have to cram into what’s left I guess.” >click to read<10:16

Exploding seal population must be addressed

They say a picture is worth a thousand words here are just a few pictures taken by some people who live near or are always on the ocean every day that suitable. They, like me, can read the ocean. Right now the ocean is crying out for help from the packs of seals that have invaded ever crook and cranny on the shores. They are starving to death and eating everything in their path, these Harp seals should be in the artic by now but instead they are surrounding large shoals of herring and caplin, the food for cod and food for all things in the ocean, and keeping them in shoal water until everyone of them are eaten.How long is the Department of Fisheries and Oceans going to let this go on without addressing this problem? >click to read<19:51

New DFO orders ‘hard pill to swallow’ for N.B. lobster fishermen

Lobster fishermen off the coast of Miscou Island, N.B., will spend Sunday morning hauling gear from the waters in order to comply with the latest fishing zone closures imposed by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. On Friday afternoon, the DFO re-opened four areas previously closed to fishing due to the presence of right whales. But with more closures being imposed on Sunday, frustrations continue to mount. Carl Allen, president of the Maritime Fishermen’s Union, organized the most recent protest and met with LeBlanc on Friday.,,”I have a lot of respect for Minister LeBlanc, but we just don’t agree with the basis of the whole plan — it’s a hard pill to swallow,” he said.,, LeBlanc did offer the fishermen an alternative, however. He offered a paid training program for crew members and plant workers affected by these closures. >click to read<18:20

LeBlanc offers fall season to fishermen squeezed by right whale measures

The federal fisheries minister says he has offered lobster harvesters from New Brunswick and Quebec a previously unscheduled fall fishing season, to make up for measures aimed at protecting endangered right whales. Dominic LeBlanc said he told the Maritime Fishermen’s Union that he plans to open a harvesting zone in the last half of September because of the 15-day closure of a 1,400-square-kilometre portion of ocean that begins Sunday. LeBlanc said the offer will go to about 62 fishing vessels in New Brunswick and 60 from the Gaspe Peninsula whose lobster harvest will be largely shut down as the whales pass through. >click to read<18:45

Ottawa considers help for Gulf of St. Lawrence fisheries after right whale protection measures

“At the moment we are not talking about compensating with actual financial compensation the fishermen,” LeBlanc said in a telephone interview. New Brunswick Fisheries Minister Rick Doucet called Monday for measures to address lost revenue, and LeBlanc said that is “entirely consistent” with his department’s approach to the developing situation in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. LeBlanc said it includes looking at ways to help processing plant workers qualify for Employment Insurance, and a possible fall opening of the lobster fishery to make up for lost days. >click to read<Meanwhile, Lobster and crab fishermen in Quebec ‘out of options’ as more zones closed off – “I don’t know how we’re going to get out of this one,”  said O’Neil Cloutier, the general manager of the professional fishermen’s association of southern Gaspé. >click to read<19:39

Community devastated by boat collision deaths

The community of Murray Harbour is in mourning after two men died during a collision between two fishing boats on Saturday, says a pastor from the area. Pastor Scott Herring, of Murray Harbour Baptist Church, said there’s a feeling of devastation that’s come over the community. Residents are showing their support to one another through phone calls and visits, he said.
“As a congregation, we held prayers for the whole community. People are reaching out to one another to offer supports behind the scenes, it’s happening in different forms,” he said. “But there’s devastation.” >click to read<17:38

Squid washing ashore by the hundreds ‘live fast and die young’

An alarming number of squid are washing ashore along parts of Nova Scotia’s coast. Experts say although it’s unusual to see such mass die-offs, the deaths are part of the creatures’ “live fast and die young” reproductive cycle. Kent Smedbol is a scientist with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and works with monitoring fish and invertebrate populations. He said northern shortfin squid are common in the waters off Nova Scotia. They range from the mid-United States right up to around Iceland. “They’re a highly mobile species, highly migratory and they only live for about a year,” said Smedbol. “So, they live fast and die young.” >click to read<10:34

DFO will not change fishing area closures, despite proposed exemptions

In a statement released Friday, department officials said they had received proposals from the Maritime Fishermen’s Union and from the Regroupement des Pêcheurs professionnels du Sud de la Gaspésie asking the department to consider exempting shallow waters from temporary closures. However, the department has concluded that the measures will remain in place to protect the North Atlantic right whales from gear entanglements. “This course of action is based on the best science information available about the presence of right whales in our waters,” the statements said. >click to read<11:19

Fisheries minister casts line to Ottawa for lobster poaching task force

Fisheries Minister Keith Colwell says he’s “very concerned” about the possibility of violence related to lobster poaching in southwest Nova Scotia and he’s proposing an idea he says worked in the past. Last week, representatives from several lobster associations raised the issue of poaching on the eve of the season’s close, saying they feared an escalation of tensions that last year saw several boats set on fire and threats exchanged between fishermen. >click to read<14:29

Notice of fisheries closures – Fishermen told to remove gear from gulf areas to protect right whales

Fishermen have until Wednesday to get their gear out of the water in five newly closed fishing zones of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has gotten reports of North Atlantic Right Whales in the area prompting the closure of more fishing zones. DFO said crews must remove their gear by 5 p.m. AT on Wednesday, June 6. The next 24 hours will bring high winds, so DFO is allowing a longer notice than usual.  “All gear must be removed from the closed area before the time of closure,”>click to read<DFO notice>click here<08:04

For the Love of Cod – the fight over fish stocks may well spell the end of cod fishers—or cod

A hard exhale escapes Sherrylynn Rowe before she can help herself. “It was so disappointing,” she says. A Canadian federal government report, released in March 2018, showed that the number of northern cod of spawning age in the Canadian North Atlantic was down 30 percent from just last year. It was a devastating turn. Northern cod had been fished to near extinction in the early 1990s and it had started to look like they were finally beginning to rebound. But now the population—which had been expected to increase again this year—was shrinking fast, brought on by an unexpectedly high rate of natural deaths. >click to read<07:53

N.S. Fishermen call on government officials to crack down on lobster poaching

Bernie Berry glances across the wharf in Digby, N.S., as several fishing boats stop alongside for crews to offload their catch. As the season for this lobster fishing area — one of the most lucrative in Canada — prepares to close on the last day of May, it’s bringing with it a flurry of activity. Berry and others here hope the hustle and bustle of fishing isn’t replaced with negative activity come June 1. “Everyone knows what’s going on,” he said. “This kind of stuff has been going on for years.” >click to read<

Phenomenal catch rates – Northern Peninsula harvesters and union rep calling for shrimp policy change

Shrimp harvesters across area 5-12 of the 4R zone are still seeing phenomenal catch rates. Many fishermen, including Jason Spence of Port au Choix, are now expecting to have their quotas caught by the end of May. “I got 314,000 pounds of shrimp to catch and I’m going to have that caught in four weeks,” said Spence. “That’s not something we’ve seen in six or seven years.” As reported in an initial Northern Pen story, Anchor Point harvester Roland Genge and others credit this success to a policy established by the fishers in the 4R region to not catch shrimp in April – despite the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) policy to open the fishery on April 1. >click to read<11:57

Presence of right whales leads to more fishery closures, to take effect May 30, 2018 at 4 p.m.

The presence of North Atlantic right whales has led to the closure of more fishery areas. Fisheries and Oceans Canada said the temporary closure will start at 4 p.m. on May 30. It is providing a 72 hour advanced notice and extending the delay of the closure by 24 hours due to predicted high winds. It’s unclear how long the closures will last, but DFO said it would make an announcement to industry before it re-opens the area. >click to read<10:18

Newfoundland and Labrador seeks markets for seal products

Governments, organizations promote diversification of products to create more markets nationally and internationally – Cull the seals, save the cod. It’s a popular refrain, heard most loudly in Newfoundland and Labrador around this time of year as the Canadian commercial seal hunt is drawing to a close and as the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) releases quotas for cod and other groundfish species. The list of countries banning the import of seal products altogether climbed to 35 on the eve of the hunt last month when India — a country of 1.3 billion — joined the likes of the United States, Russia, Mexico and all of Europe. >click to read<09:41

Feds limit chinook fishery to help resident killer whale recovery

The federal government is closing some recreational and commercial chinook fisheries on the West Coast in an effort to help save endangered southern resident killer whales. Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc said Thursday that a lack of prey for the whales is one of the critical factors affecting their recovery. There are just 76 of the whales left and LeBlanc said in a news release that a reduction in the total chinook fishery of 25 to 35 per cent will help conserve the orca’s main food source. The closures will be in the Juan de Fuca Strait and around portions of the Gulf Islands, the department said in the release. >click to read<08:26

Turf War: Eastern Shore lobster fishermen say vandalism, threats continuing

Jason Keating had a buoy on the hauler Saturday morning when another lobster boat steamed slowly by with eight people aboard. “You move your (expletive) gear right now you (expletive),” was shouted at him, among other things, from Colin McKay’s passing cape islander. Keating recorded the interaction with a video camera he’d purchased the night before. In fact at least four of Little Harbour’s eleven fishermen have begun carrying video cameras to record their interactions on the water with McKay. “I bought the camera to protect myself,” said Keating. Graphic Video, >click to read<10:31

 

New Brunswick fishermen alarmed at 2nd closure over whale sighting

Fishermen are alarmed over the closure of another fishing area in order to protect North Atlantic right whales, a move some say will have a drastic effect on the industry. Fisheries and Oceans Canada announced Sunday that a second area off the coast of northern New Brunswick was being closed to fishing for at least two weeks. “We’re behind on our annual catches right now,” said Steven Hughes, a deckhand on a snow crab fishing boat based out of Shippagan. “This brought back the stress on the fishing industry.” >click to read< 15:15

Gulf of St. Lawrence – 6 fishing areas closing after 2 right whales spotted

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is temporarily closing several fishing areas in an effort to protect endangered right whales. In a tweet, Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc said two North Atlantic right whales were spotted in the Gulf of St. Lawrence off the coast of New Brunswick. The closures will take effect May 22 at 4 p.m. ​and all gear is expected to be removed from the water by that time. The closures are for the following fisheries: snow crab, toad crab, rock crab, lobster and whelk. The closures will also apply to winter flounder and Atlantic halibut, except where gear is not left unattended. >click to read<07:25

Fishing and seafood industry raises questions and concerns during MPA information session with DFO in Yarmouth

There was a lot of agreement and disagreement when DFO representatives met with the fishing industry to consult and share information about marine protected areas (MPAs) during a recent session in Yarmouth. Many in the room were in agreement that they disagree with aspects of the federal government’s MPA plan and worry about the impact on the fishing and seafood industry. The federal government has committed to putting in place MPAs to help protect species and ecosystems and there national benchmarks have been set out. >click to read<15:53

DFO rejects rock crab plan to ease lobster bait shortage

The P.E.I. government has asked for the rock crab fishery to open early to help with a lobster bait shortage, but the request has been rejected by the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The province was thinking rock crab could be an alternative for lobster bait. There is a shortage of gaspereau that’s used for bait because of the flooding in New Brunswick. Provincial Fisheries Minister Robert Henderson said herring stock seems to be on the low side right now as well. The request to open the fishery early came from western Northumberland Strait fishermen. >click to read<14:05

MPAs – DFO will stifle lucrative industry by stuffing fishermen into new eco-box

I never thought I’d become a fisherman growing up. I always wanted something bigger. To make a real difference, you know —so after graduating top 10 in my class at Barrington Municipal High School, off to Acadia University I went, with no real direction, just thinking that there’s got to be something better than fishing out there. It took me three semesters, but I figured it out. There wasn’t.,, Our federal government has made some sort of an agreement on an international level to protect important habitat here off our coast. So I’m thinking, “Great, that’s super news, right? Fish forever, right?” >click to read<11:32

First North Atlantic right whale of season seen off N.S. amid fishing concerns

The first North Atlantic right whale of the season has been spotted in waters off eastern Cape Breton amid concerns from fishermen that measures meant to protect the endangered mammals have led to increased fishing activity and greater risk. Fisheries officials said late Tuesday that one of their surveillance flights had reported a right whale sighting in Canadian waters after it likely transited from wintering grounds off the U.S. seaboard. “Based on the information DFO has at this time, there is no immediate plan to implement any temporary measures. At this time fishing will continue, but harvesters should be on alert.”>click to read<10:30

PEIFA shares concerns about right whales

The Prince Edward Island Fishermen’s Association (PEIFA) would like to clarify and expand upon some of the information that has been in the media recently regarding North American Right Whales (NARW). The PEIFA shares the concerns of the public around the declining population of these magnificent marine mammals. The organization has been very active during the past winter attending numerous Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) informational meeting and representing the Prince Edward Island inshore harvesting sector,,, Both the snow crab and lobster fishers on P.E.I. have supported and implemented the reduction of rope in their fishing practises and other gear standardization. >click to read<13:57

Ottawa considers dozens more marine protected areas in Maritimes that have not been made public

Ottawa is considering dozens more marine protected areas in Maritime waters, according to maps and other data shared by the federal government with stakeholders. The maps show 24 proposed marine protected areas (MPA) on the Scotian Shelf, including the entire Bras d’Or Lakes in Cape Breton and dozens more in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The maps show 24 proposed marine protected areas (MPA) on the Scotian Shelf, including the entire Bras d’Or Lakes in Cape Breton and dozens more in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. >click to read<18:53

Quit blaming the commercial fishermen

The recent letter by Gary Mills from Terrace on the Department of Fisheries & Oceans (DFO) management of the West Coast fisheries (B.C. getting East-Coast treatment) is misinformed and disrespectful to the hundreds of men and women working in the commercial fishing industry on the North Coast. Through 10 years working as a biologist, fisheries observer and commercial fisher on both the East and West Coast, my experience has been much different. First, casting blame solely on commercial fishing for declining fish stocks is not fair. >click to read<14:46

DFO scientists clarify the decline of cod

In a province where the fishery is foundational to its survival, the decline in cod stocks has many worried and searching for clear answers. This announcement was a particular shock as the same assessment in 2016 predicted a considerable increase in cod numbers for this year. But scientists and harvesters who had noted the declines in the cod’s food source, and the many starving fish of last year’s cod fishery, were not as surprised. Research scientist with the department of Fisheries and Oceans Dr. Mariano Koen-Alonso says the sudden and sharp decline in cod stock is something being seen across the ecosystem. >click to read<11:30