Tag Archives: DFO

FISH-NL: C-NLOPB ‘waking up’ to concerns over impact of offshore seismic activity

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is frustrated the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board isn’t prepared to suspend offshore seismic work, but encouraged the offshore oil and gas regulator is waking up to concerns. “Ottawa takes a precautionary approach to fisheries management — which means being cautious when science is uncertain — but there’s nothing precautionary about allowing seismic to continue until the potential risks are understood. ,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “The hypocrisy doesn’t escape inshore harvesters.”  >click to read<20:06

DFO ‘complacent’ on fish kills at Nova Scotia’s turbines, biologist says

A former Fisheries and Oceans Canada scientist is accusing his former employer of skewing research to allow for the continued operation of Nova Scotia Power’s Annapolis Tidal Turbine. “The Fisheries Act says you shouldn’t destroy fisheries habitat,” said Michael Dadswell, On Wednesday, members of a Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat panel tasked with reviewing existing scientific literature to help determine whether the tidal turbine is violating the Fisheries Act were supposed meet at Acadia University to review their draft report. >click to read<20:01

FISH-NL pleased with DFO move to increase seal licences; first step in addressing population

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is encouraged that Fisheries and Oceans has finally moved to increase the number of  — the first step to combating the massive population. DFO issued an advisory to harvesters earlier today to say that new applications for commercial assistant sealers will be considered.,,, The Harp seal population in the northwest Atlantic was last estimated in 2012 at 7.4 million animals — almost six times what it was in the 1970s.,,, Groups in British Columbia have called for a cull of the estimated 110,000 harbour seals and sea lions off that province for the impact they’re having on Pacific salmon stocks. >click to read<16:36

Northern shrimp stock plunges off the coast of Labrador

The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ latest northern shrimp assessment shows a dramatic drop in the offshore Labrador stock, with a slight increase for the inshore fishery in Newfoundland. New data from DFO Monday reveal a 46 per cent drop in the fishable biomass — defined as the weight of all the shrimp larger than 17 millimetres — between 2017 and 2018 in Shrimp Fishing Area 4, along Labrador’s northernmost coast, to 42,100 tonnes. Heading south down Labrador’s coast to Shrimp Fishing Area 5, the biomass has dropped 43 per cent, to 80,100 tonnes. >click to read<

Small shrimp biomass increase off Newfoundland’s northeast coast

The latest news about the state of the northern shrimp stock in key Shrimp Fishing Area 6 off the province’s northeast coast is a bit more uplifting this year than about the same time last year. Last year the news was grim — this year, although the shrimp stock remains listed in the critical zone, the fishable biomass has increased by three per cent between 2017 and 2018, and there’s a 27 per cent increase in spawning stock biomass between 2017 and 2018. >click to read<19:33

Fisheries official says 2018 saw a ‘reasonably good return’ despite low numbers

The number of sockeye salmon that made it up the Fraser River last fall was lower than originally predicted, prompting a conservation group to blame the federal fisheries regulator for allowing the area to be overfished. “This year, it was the lowest run or spawning return they’ve seen on record on this cycle,” Greg Taylor told CBC Radio’s Daybreak Kamloops host Shelley Joyce. “They were very disappointing,” said Taylor, a senior fisheries advisor for the Watershed Watch Salmon Society.,,, A DFO representative told Joyce on Thursday that, while the numbers were lower than predicted, the return numbers were not out of the ordinary >click to read<20:14

Salmon are going the way of the buffalo! West coast group campaigns for seal, sea lion harvest

A group lobbying for a commercial harvest of harbor seals and sea lions on the West Coast is encouraged after meeting with federal fisheries officials. Richmond-based Pacific Balance Pinniped Society is pressing Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to consider a managed Indigenous fishery for seals and sea lions. Society members are convinced that a pinniped explosion is a contributing factor to declining populations of wild salmon and other finfish along the B.C. coast. “Our salmon are going and will go the way of the buffalo unless we do something,” said Thomas Sewid, founder of the society. “It’s not just fish, it’s a way of life.” >click to read<12:32

Ottawa: Ruling that prevents corporate takeover of inshore fishery upheld

In a decision released Friday, the Federal Appeal Court sided with a 2017 Federal Court decision that upheld Ottawa’s right to prevent the corporate takeover of inshore fisheries in Atlantic Canada and Quebec. At issue are controlling agreements used by companies to get around longstanding policies that local fishermen control inshore licences and the profits that come from them. The ruling revolves around the case of Labrador fisherman Kirby Elson, who entered a controlling agreement in 2003 with Quinlan Brothers Ltd. and Labrador Sea Products Inc. that gave the companies total control over every aspect of a licence — even in death. >click to read<

Fishermen push back on new approach to determine health of snow crab stocks

Fishermen are pushing back this week at a Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) plan to bring in a precautionary approach principle to help determine the overall health of snow crab stocks around Newfoundland and Labrador. The approach is used to assess the health of other fishery stocks. The proposal has three levels or zones of classification — critical, cautious and healthy. >click to read<17:15

LETTER: Seals to blame

I would like to add my voice to those that disclaim the recent information provided by DFO’s (Department of Fisheries and Oceans) Dr. G. Stenson (In “The cull question: Part I”, published in the Jan. 16 edition of The Central Voice). Seals have destroyed our fisheries in Atlantic Canada and particularly that in Newfoundland and Labrador. The poor condition of harp seals in terms of age, previously measured body mass and survivability of pups, is a direct result of the seal population reaching a threshold capacity level. They are finding it more difficult to find fish (all species) to eat. Thus the recent influx in fresh water river systems — this is not their natural habitat and they are there to consume any fresh water species that might be available (salmon, trout, eels, etc.).  We have had a cod moratorium for 26 years,,, Bob Hardy >click to read<

South coast Newfoundland fishers angered by short notice on closure of 3Ps cod fishery

Ross Durnford of Fortune has seven deep freezers powered up to keep 1,000 pounds of bait frozen until next cod fishing season, after the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) shut down the cod fishery in his fishing zone. Durnford had 10 tubs of cod fishing gear baited up and ready to drop in the water, but the early closure of the fishery in zone 3Ps — on the south coast of Newfoundland — forced him to cancel his plans. >click to read< 11:19

Canadian seafood giant Clearwater convicted of ‘gross violation’ in lobster fishery

Canadian seafood giant Clearwater was convicted of “gross violation” of fisheries regulations last fall after senior management ignored federal government warnings to change the way the company conducts its monopoly offshore lobster fishery, CBC News has learned. The decision to prosecute North America’s largest shellfish producer occurred amid a lengthy and still ongoing lobby effort by Clearwater to change the rule it broke: a Canadian requirement that fishing gear at sea must be tended every 72 hours. Clearwater company CS ManPar was convicted for storing 3,800 lobster traps on the ocean bottom off the Nova Scotia coast for upward of two months in the fall of 2017,,, >click to read<08:46

FISH-NL renews call for halt to seismic testing – ‘If plankton isn’t protected you might as well say goodbye to the fish’

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is once again calling on the Canada/Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) to suspend offshore seismic work in light of new research that reveals plankton productivity has plunged. The research by the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) doesn’t link the dramatic and persistent drop in plankton to seismic activity, but other research has found the intense acoustic signals may damage the critical elements of the food chain. “It’s highly coincidental that as seismic activity ramped up plankton productivity plunged,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “Seismic activity may be necessary for offshore oil and gas development, but it must not come at the expense of our wild fisheries and marine ecosystem — cutting off our nose to spite our face.” >click to read<10:43

Conservancy Hornby Island calls for government to shut down herring roe fishery

A Hornby Island organization is calling for the federal government to shut down a Pacific herring roe fishery scheduled to operate in the Strait of Georgia in March. According to Conservancy Hornby Island, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans is preparing to approve the catch of 20 per cent of herring that spawn in the Strait of Georgia. This is approximately 28,000 tons of spawning herring or approximately 200 million fish.,, Neil Davis, director of resource management with the DFO says determining a fishing allowance that will ensure the sustainability of a species is not something that is taken lightly. Each year prior to spawning season in late February or March, DFO does large amounts of research before setting a fishing allowance. >click to read<12:24

Talking kettles of fish with Fisheries and Oceans Minister Jonathan Wilkinson

iPolitics spoke with Fisheries and Oceans Minister Jonathan Wilkinson earlier this month, on the day before his six-month anniversary at the helm of the department. We asked him about his role, marine protected areas, whales and oil spills, and other issues. This interview has been edited and condensed. Q: You’re half a year in. How’s it been going so far? A: Well, you’ve been keeping better track (of time) than I have. It’s been incredibly interesting and incredibly busy. I have been travelling enormous amounts. Obviously, when someone becomes a new minister in a new area, there’s a huge learning curve, but I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s certainly a challenge; lots of the files are not simple, but it’s been great. >click to read<12:45

DFO recruiting fishery officers in N.L.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) is looking to bring new fishery officers to the province. DFO’s conservation and protection unit is in the midst of a nation-wide recruitment campaign. Applications for new recruits will be accepted until Jan. 2. “Our fishery officers are on the water, on the wharves, in communities and at facilities ensuring the conservation and protection of species, and the long-term sustainability of Indigenous, commercial, and recreational fisheries,” reads a news release from DFO. >click to read<11:03

Building blocks of ocean food web in rapid decline as plankton productivity plunges

They’re teeny, tiny plants and organisms but their impact on ocean life is huge.​ Phytoplankton and zooplankton that live near the surface are the base of the ocean’s food system. Everything from small fish, big fish, whales and seabirds depend on their productivity. “They actually determine what’s going to happen, how much energy is going to be available for the rest of the food chain,” explained Pierre Pepin, a senior researcher with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in St. John’s. Pepin says over the past 3-4 years, scientists have seen a persistent drop in phytoplankton and zooplankton in waters off Newfoundland and Labrador. >click to read<10:16

Nova Scotia looks to keep redfish quota as other provinces want in

A Nova Scotia seafood company is urging the federal government to wait several years before starting a large-scale commercial harvest for redfish in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Also known as ocean perch, the species has made a remarkable comeback after a 25-year moratorium. “This biomass is huge. It’s probably the largest in history,” said Jan Voutier of Louisbourg Seafoods Ltd., a Nova Scotia redfish harvester and processor. It’s believed 3.5 million tonnes of redfish are in the gulf today, setting the stage for a looming interprovincial conflict in Atlantic Canada over who gets a piece of the action.”All of a sudden, everyone wants to rush in and get the pot of gold, as it were,” said Keith Colwell, Nova Scotia’s fisheries minister. >click to read<12:20

Early reports suggest steep decline in lobster catch in southwest N.S.

The lobster fishery in southwest Nova Scotia is only into the second week of its season, but already fishermen are finding a decreased haul compared to last year. Lobster fishing areas 33 and 34 are the most lucrative in the province, with overall exports of nearly a billion dollars last year. But the federal Fisheries Department said preliminary reports from fishermen suggest the catch has declined significantly. >click to read<16:46

Lobster landings down, shore price record-setting for opening week

Shore prices were record-setting for the opening week of the commercial lobster fishery in southwestern Nova Scotia, going from $6 to $6.25 per pound on the first landing day (Dec. 2) to $8 by Friday (Dec. 7), but on the bad side the prices were driven by an estimated 30 to 40 per cent decrease in lobster landings compared to the same timeframe last year. “The price is phenomenal,” said Lockeport buyer Mike Cotter, owner of Cotter’s Ocean Products Inc. “It’s unreal. It opened at $6, $6.25 and now today it’s $8. That’s a big price.” >click to read<10:26

LETTER: Hope doesn’t float

I write in response to the article, “Twillingate fisherman concerned about proposed changes to crab stock classification” by Adam Randell,,, I agree the proposed precautionary approach for snow crab management is a step, only more a lateral one, and given the state of a multitude of commercial species including snow crab, DFO management and science are in desperate need of a gigantic leap forward. Fisheries management strategies should no longer look at species individually, but collectively through an ecosystem approach, and the introduction of the precautionary approach for snow crab does not take into account the hammer-like impact of a massive harp seal population or seismic testing. Ryan Cleary >click to read<13:44

Feds planning 2019 protections for North Atlantic right whales

How the federal government will confirm, modify or adapt protective measures for North Atlantic right whales in 2019 remains to be seen, but officials are sharing the initial findings of 2018’s scientific surveys and studies. After a catastrophic loss of 12 right whales in Canadian waters in 2017, no right whales died here this year, but at a technical briefing Tuesday, officials from Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and Transport Canada didn’t say whether protections put in place this year were enough — or too much. ,,, Instead they shared key results of a recent peer review of new science by researchers, industry representatives, government officials — as well as scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the U.S. — who gathered in Montreal in an effort to reach evidence-based conclusions.>click to read<08:48

Precautionary approach a step towards stronger fisheries management: DFO – Fishermen concerned

After attending a Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) consultation with harvesters in Gander Nov. 21 about the proposed application of a precautionary approach for the species, Neil Stuckless feels his quota could be at risk. According to DFO, a precautionary approach principle would establish the overall health for snow crab in Newfoundland and Labrador. The proposal has three levels of classification – critical, cautious, and, healthy. Based on an area’s health classification, a percentage based total allowable catch (TAC) would be applied. While DFO says it has been working on this approach for some time, it’s the first area harvesters have heard of it.>click tp read<10:49

Lobster season off southwest Nova Scotia postponed again due to bad weather

The federal Fisheries Department confirmed today that industry representatives from Lobster Fishing Area 33, which extends from Halifax to the southwestern tip of the province, have decided to open their season on Saturday at 7 a.m. About 700 fishing boats are expected to dump their traps that day, unless the weather again turns foul. In Lobster Fishing Area 34, which includes 970 boats that work the waters off the province’s western edge, fishermen and federal officials decided today to put off their final decision until a conference call is held Thursday morning. >click to read<17:31

Redfish making a big comeback in the Gulf of St. Lawrence

“We won the lottery.” That’s not a phrase you normally associate with someone doing stock assessments for Fisheries and Oceans Canada. But DFO biologist Caroline Senay is excited by the amount of redfish they’re tracking off the island’s west coast in the Gulf of St. Lawrence: about 2.5 million tonnes of fish in an area referred to as unit 1. By comparison, Iceland has a total redfish biomass of 430,000 tonnes. >click to read<09:00

Weather Delay – ‘You can’t beat Mother Nature’: start of lobster fishing season postponed

Lobster fishing season in southwestern Nova Scotia will be off to a late start this year after officials postponed the day that fishermen were slated to drop their traps — also known as “dumping day.” The season was supposed to kick off on Monday, but Fisheries and Oceans spokesperson Debbie Buott-Matheson said based on forecasted weather, the industry associations representing lobster fishing areas 33 and 34 decided in a Saturday morning conference call that it would be too risky to proceed as planned. >click to read<14:32

FISH-NL accuses FFAW of fake outrage and hypocrisy over new snow crab management strategy

The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) held meetings earlier this week in St. John’s, Clarenville, and Gander to consult inshore harvesters on a proposed new management strategy for snow crab. The so-called Precautionary Approach includes stock status zones such as critical, cautious and healthy, as well as reference points and harvesters control rules. A huge contingent of FFAW-Unifor executive members slammed DFO at the public meetings for blindsiding inshore harvesters, accusing the department of bringing them into the discussion at a “late stage.” >click to read<

Axed jobs and closed plants loom, warn crab harvesters about new management approach

Fishing businesses are on the line if the Department of Fisheries and Oceans implements a new management system for snow crab, says Port de Grave harvester. “Bankrupt … plant workers will lose their jobs. Plants will definitely close. Fishermen are definitely bankrupt,,, I’d say 80 per cent of the industry is bankrupt,” said Brad Doyle.,,, “We’ve had environmental issues that weren’t taken into account,” says fisher Brad Doyle. Fishers like Doyle want to known what impact other fish species and the growing population of harp seals is having on snow crab. >click to read<21:49

Largest lobster fishing season opens in southwestern Nova Scotia next week

The largest commercial lobster season in the region, the province and the country gets underway next week in southwestern Nova Scotia and along the province’s south shore with the opening of the LFA 34 and 33 lobster fisheries.,, Aboard boats leaving from wharfs at the opening of their seasons will be more than 5,000 fishermen, which includes extra crewmembers that are hired for the opening weeks of the season. There are around 1,678 lobster licences amongst these two LFAs. >click to read<08:14

N.L. crab fishers taken aback by DFO’s latest details on crab data

Alfred Fitzpatrick says it seems the opinions of fish harvesters aren’t carrying much weight with the science branch of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) as of late. “We always thought we had a pretty good relationship with DFO Science – when it come to crab anyways, cod is another story,” said the Garnish-based fishermen, who represents harvesters from the Burin Peninsula in crab fishing areas 10 and 11 on the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW-Unifor) union’s inshore council. “It seems like now it’s changing. It’s not a good working relationship, not as good anyway, I’ll say.” >click to read<16:10