Tag Archives: DFO

Fisheries and Oceans quietly cancels plans to award Indigenous surf clam licence

The federal government says it has cancelled plans to issue a controversial clam fishing licence to a First Nations company with ties to the Liberal party and several sitting Liberal MPs — including the former fisheries minister. A news release from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans says the process to issue a fourth licence to harvest arctic surf clam off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia was cancelled in early July, and that it won’t be issued this year at all. That multimillion-dollar licence was supposed to go to the Five Nations Clam Co., a company court documents suggest did not initially meet key eligibility requirements spelled out in the government’s tender process. >click to read<15:16

P.E.I. fisherman prepare for fall lobster season

Lee Knox is hoping the forecast for this Thursday’s setting day of relatively light wind of up to 15 knots holds, as it will allow for good conditions for fishermen to unload their traps.,, The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has a conference call with port representatives set for this morning to assess setting day weather conditions and make the decision on whether the season opens Thursday, as scheduled, or gets delayed. Knox is anticipating it will get started on time. Approximately 218 western P.E.I. fall fishermen share Lobster Fishing Area 25 in the Northumberland Strait with mainland fishermen from Chatham, N.B., nearly to Amherst, N.S. >click to read<

Fishing industry taking steps to protect endangered whales, says association

The president of the Western Gulf Fishermen’s Association says he is proud of the efforts undertaken by spring lobster fishermen to help prevent fishing gear entanglements by endangered North Atlantic right whales. Craig Avery said fishermen went with larger bunches during the fishing season to reduce the amount of rope in the water. Shortly after the season closed, Avery estimates more than 30 boats assisted Fisheries and Oceans personnel in a two-day sweep of the lobster grounds, looking for missing or forgotten lobster gear. >click to read<18:32

Fishermen’s group grateful DFO lays charge stemming from lobster raid

A fishermen’s association is pleased to see the Department of Fisheries and Oceans lay a charge against the owner of lobster pound in southwest Nova Scotia who is accused of selling lobster caught under an Aboriginal communal fishing licence. Colin Sproul, vice-president of the Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association, said he’s grateful DFO is taking action this summer. “Last summer, there were an incredible amount of lobsters poached in southwest Nova Scotia,” Sproul said on Thursday. “They weren’t First Nations people poaching these lobsters. They were just being poached by poachers under the guise of the FSC [food, social and ceremonial] and sold. >click to read<10:28

Harvey Jarvis – Ignore cod sentinel data at our peril

Twenty-three years ago, I helped lead a team that designed and implemented the cod sentinel inshore survey on Northern Cod (Southern Avalon, North East Coast and Labrador). The status of Northern Cod has been much in the news lately and the decision, by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), to cut the commercial quota has been met with some stiff opposition from the FFAW-Unifor. This prompted me to do a little investigating to see what cod sentinel is telling us about Northern Cod. Based on a review of cod sentinel information, by opposing the 2018 quota reduction by DFO, I can only conclude that the FFAW-Unifor and the Groundfish Industry Development Council (GIDC) appear to be ignoring the last five years of sentinel data. According to information that I have been able to piece together, cod sentinel results are as follows: >click to read<09:03

Poachers stealing lobsters from traps off Sainte-Anne-des-Monts in the Gaspé

A pilot project to determine the viability of lobster fishing near Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, off the north coast of the Gaspé Peninsula, is being bedeviled by whoever is stealing lobsters from fishermen’s traps. Four fishing boats — two belonging to the Malecite Nation and two to non-Indigenous fishermen — have been authorized by Fisheries and Oceans Canada to catch lobsters in the area this season.  It’s part of an “exhaustive scientific process” Fisheries and Oceans is carrying out to determine whether lobster fishing in the area is sustainable, said Guy-Pascal Weiner, commercial fisheries co-ordinator for the Malacites in Cacouna, near Rivière-du-Loup. >click to read<08:41

New regulations to protect marine mammals in effect for all coasts in Canada

New regulations to protect whales, dolphins and porpoises are in effect for all coasts in Canada as the Department of Fisheries and Oceans works to ensure more officers and patrol vessels are available to enforce the rules.,,,  The regulations include the requirement to report to the Fisheries Department any incident of a vessel accidentally striking a mammal or when it becomes entangled in fishing gear, Cottrell said. Under the Fisheries Act, anyone who disturbs marine mammals could be fined up to $100,000 or a maximum of $500,000 for a criminal offence, Cottrell said. >click to read<14:38

The ‘Soul’ of the Pacific Northwest is dying of starvation

“I believe we have orcas in our soul in this state.” Those were the words of Washington Gov. Jay Inslee earlier this year after forming the Southern Resident Orca Task Force, an initiative meant to keep endangered killer whales alive in the region. Scientists point to a number of factors for the dwindling number of orcas in the region, including pollution, both old and new sources, that accumulate in their primary prey, Chinook salmon. This pollution gets stored in the orca’s fatty tissues, suppressing their immune system and making the whales more susceptible to disease… “It’s an ecosystem-wide problem,” Hanson said. “Things are out of whack and we have to get them back to where we can sustain killer whales. And the clock is ticking.” >click to read<18:00

DFO Investigation: traps placed in right whale protection zones, Meanwhile In Nova Scotia, 172 traps seized

Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) are investigating whether 33 licence holders violated measures meant to protect North Atlantic right whales. The DFO confirmed that they’ve launched the investigations into licence holders after fishing traps were set in areas closed to protect the endangered species of whales. Canada has closed several fishery zones in the Gulf of St. Lawerence,,, >click to read< – The Federal Fisheries department says they’ve seized 172 lobster traps in Nova Scotia. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) issued the statement on its Twitter account, saying that its detachment in Digby, N.S., seized the traps after harvesters violated the Fisheries Act. >click to read< 15:29

Mike Hicks: Fishery closure would be devastating

In an attempt to stabilize the populations of the southern and northern killer whales, the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans is requesting feedback on its draft proposal to permanently close the Swiftsure and Laparuse banks for recreational and commercial fishing. This closure would devastate the coastal communities of Port Renfrew, Bamfield, Port Alberni, Ucluelet and Tofino and every recreational and commercial fisherman who earns their livelihood or enjoys their recreational pastime in what is considered one of the greatest accessible salmon and halibut fishing grounds in North America. >click to read<09:42

FISH-NL demands Ottawa explain itself in light of massive cuts to caplin quotas

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is demanding Ottawa explain itself in light of huge cuts to caplin quotas in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and off eastern and southern Newfoundland and Labrador. “This is a banner year for caplin in the Gulf with the federal government’s own scientists reporting an abundance of fish not seen in years, and yet the quota has been cut by 35 per cent,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “How does that make sense? It doesn’t.” “At the same time, scientists said in March that the caplin stock off eastern Newfoundland and Labrador was down 70 per cent, but the relatively small commercial fishery isn’t having an impact,” he added. >click to read<11:57

FISH-NL calls on Ottawa to release 2018 caplin management plan for the Gulf; roll over last year’s quota

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is calling on the Government of Canada to release the 2018 caplin management plan for the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and recommends a roll over of last year’s quota. “How the hell can we survive when it’s the middle of caplin season with no management plan and no quota?” says Boyd Lavers, FISH-NL’s Captain of the over 40-foot fleet, and an inshore harvester from Port Saunders on the Great Northern Peninsula. “The minister of Fisheries and Oceans is either punishing us or he’s trying to bankrupt us.” >click to read<10:47

DFO closes another fishing area in northern N.B. after right whale sighting

Another fishing area in the Gulf of St. Lawrence has been closed by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans after North Atlantic right whales were spotted. The latest closure in extends the no-fish zone farther east, well into the middle of the Gulf. The measures will see the following grid closed: GX39. Fishermen have until Tuesday at 3 p.m. to remove any fishing gear in the area. This is the seventh closure of a fishing area over the last month in the waters off northern New Brunswick that has forced crab fishermen and lobster fishermen to move their fishing gear to other areas. >click to read<11:33

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