Tag Archives: DFO

NL research shows LED lights draw crab to the pot

While they stopped short of trying a tiny disco ball, a local team of researchers has proven the addition of certain light emitting diode (LED) lights will draw snow crab to offshore traps.
“Fishing enterprises could theoretically reduce bait costs through LED light substitution, or enhance existing catch rates of baited traps by simply adding an LED light,” notes their research report, now available through the journal Aquaculture and Fisheries. A team from Memorial University of Newfoundland’s Fisheries and Marine Institute, and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans completed related work in May and June 2016, with the help of the DFO base in St. John’s and, later, the fishing vessel Atlantic Champion. Click here to read the story 09:33

FISH-NL claims victory with DFO measures to help inshore harvesters 

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is pleased with recent measures announced by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to help mitigate the impact of declining quotas and strengthen enterprise viability. “This is most certainly a victory for inshore harvesters,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “DFO is to be thanked for listening to the concerns of harvesters when their own union, the FFAW, has tuned them out.” For harvesters in fishing zone 3Ps off Newfoundland’s south coast, DFO announced late last week that its combining policy will be amended to permit 3 to 1 enterprise combining for all fleets. In addition, combined enterprises in the 3Ps under 40-foot fleet will be permitted to buddy up. Click here to read the press release 12:28

FISH-NL describes price of cod as ‘scandalous’ and another example of FFAW conflict; renews call for province to allow in outside buyers

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) says the 2017 price of cod recently negotiated by the FFAW is an insult to the province’s inshore harvesters, and renews its call for the province to allow in outside buyers. “That price is scandalous,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “It’s an insult to already injured inshore harvesters. The FFAW expects cod will save harvesters from shellfish declines, but then the union agrees to a price that will starve our fish harvesters as fast as DFO mismanagement.”The high price of cod this year is up 5 cents a pound. The 2017 price per pound paid to harvesters for Grade A cod has been set at a high of 83 cents, and low of 20 cents. In 2016, the Grade A price paid was 78 cents a pound, with 20 cents as the low mark for Grade C. read the press release here 19:45

DFO wins court victory to prevent corporate control of inshore fishery in Atlantic Canada and Quebec

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has won a court decision upholding its right to prevent the corporate takeover of inshore fisheries in Atlantic Canada and Quebec. “It was a challenge of the government’s power to manage the fishery for all Canadians,” said Graeme Gawn, a lobster fisherman from Nova Scotia’s Digby County and a representative of the Maritime Fishermen’s Union. The federal victory came in a May 5 ruling released Monday from Justice Cecily Strickland of the Federal Court of Canada in the case of Kirby Elson, a fisherman from Labrador. Strickland ruled the federal fisheries minister was entitled to strip a snow crab fishing licence from Elson after he refused to exit a controlling agreement with two fish processors. The federal government contended the agreement was an effort to get around long-standing policies to preserve the independence of the region’s inshore fishery. click here to read the story 08:53

FISH-NL’s warnings of rising unrest play out, crab harvesters hold protest fishery off Port aux Choix

Predictions by the Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) of rising unrest in the province’s fishing industry are playing out as inshore fishermen launched a protest crab fishery this morning off Port aux Choix on the Great Northern Peninsula. “Storm clouds have been brewing for months over the Newfoundland and Labrador fishery, and DFO, the police, Ottawa and the provincial government were warned long ago,” said Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “This is going to get uglier before it gets better.” As many as nine crab boats from the province took part in this morning’s protest fishery, although not all vessels set crab gear. click here to read the story 14:32

Crab fishermen set pots in off-limits zone to protest Quebec harvesting in area – click here to read the story 16:38

Perfectly good fisheries data being ignored – Harvey Jarvis, concerned citizen

DFO is currently under fire, from several different fronts, about recent science stock assessment estimates and the subsequent management decisions. Someone not familiar with the science assessment process might believe the federal Fisheries minister’s recent announcement to conduct cod assessments every year is way of addressing current deficiencies. It is not! Conducting full, peer-reviewed, annual assessments used to be a normal occurrence until Ottawa gutted DFO science and management at the regional level. Those annual assessments failed to prevent the cod moratorium in 1992. Simply reverting to an annual assessment process will in no way address current deficiencies. Critical to the assessment process is the mathematical model that computes biomass. Critical inputs to that model are survey indices and commercial catch. If the model is flawed or if critical inputs are not included, the assessment results will be flawed. click here to read the letter 09:37

Letter: Why Richard Gillett went on a hunger strike. ” In my opinion he is a brave man,,,”

April 13th, Richard Gillett went on a hunger strike because he felt that rural Newfoundland and Labrador was facing a bleak future due to the mismanagement of oceans that had sustained us for 500 years. Richard had two requests: one for a review of the science and management of all provincial fish stocks, the other a review of the relationship of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers union and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Those are two very legitimate questions.,, In my opinion he is a brave man who is concerned about this province and has done more than anyone since the moratorium to bring to the forefront the state of our oceans. Click here to read Capt. Wilfred Bartlett, retired, letter 17:41

Northern Peninsula shrimp fishers see no reason to fish in 2017

The Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW) union held a meeting for the 4R fleet in Hawke’s Bay on April 24. FFAW 4R chair, Rendell Genge, and the 4R vice chair, Roland Genge, both from Anchor Point, say that if the current outlook persists, in regards to prices and quotas, it’s likely that none of the 4R fleet will participate in the northern shrimp fishery this year. Earlier this year, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) announced the northern shrimp quota in shrimp fishing area 6 (SFA 6) would be cut by 63 per cent. Coming on the heels of this was the news that the price for northern shrimp has dropped from $1.40 per pound in 2016 to $0.95 this year. The 4R fishers say they want better prices for shrimp before they can even think about fishing for it. To give a sense of how drastic the reductions in quotas and price would be this year, Roland explained the math. click here to read the story 21:18

Canada: Atlantic bluefin tuna not listed as an endangered species

Atlantic bluefin tuna will not be listed on the endangered species list, a decision released Wednesday.  The federal government’s final decision was published in the Canada Gazette saying it would not be listed under the Species at Risk Act (SARA).  Fisheries and Oceans Canada rejected advice to list the species as endangered last summer, saying western Atlantic bluefin tuna stocks have been rebuilding since 2011, when the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) said tuna should be listed as an endangered species under federal species-at-risk legislation. Included in the decision was the government’s rationale and the steps that will be taken to help in its recovery. If the species would have been listed on SARS, it would no longer have been allowed to be fished commercially. The in Halfax is calling on the government to take steps to work and conserve the species. (of course!) click here to read the story 08:21

Poor weather, ice conditions delays opening of spring lobster fishery until Monday for northern N.B.

Sunday’s weather forecast has delayed opening day of the spring lobster fishery in northern New Brunswick until Monday at 6 a.m. Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Luc Légère said the decision came Friday after consultation with industry representatives and the Canadian Coast Guard. “We looked mostly at the weather, but also ice conditions and things like that,” he said. Légère said the forecast is calling for high winds Sunday morning and big waves. Légère said some areas near Miscou Island, Shippagan, and some areas into Miramichi Bay were still having issues with ice conditions, but he hoped the warmer temperatures and winds would blow most of the ice out by Monday. click here to read the story 08:55

Newfoundland and Labrador Fishermen don’t agree that crab, shrimp stocks are as bad as scientists say

The province’s fishery appears to be on the brink of a sea change. News over the past couple of months of continually declining snow crab and northern shrimp stocks in waters off Newfoundland and Labrador’s coasts have sent waves of concern washing over the fishing industry. The expected cuts this spring to crab and shrimp quotas have fisherman all around the province on edge. And there’s little else to fill in the gap — the northern cod stocks, while showing signs of strong growth in recent years, are still not ready for a major commercial fishing effort. Lying in the balance are huge investments in vessels and fishing gear, work for boat crews and plants, and the survival of rural areas of the province. But while scientific stock assessments of crab and shrimp reveal a dismal picture, many fishermen are not so sure that picture is accurate. In fact, many say they are seeing things a bit differently out on the water, and see some hope for the fishery of the future if fishermen are willing to branch out into other potential commercial species. click here to read the story 08:50

Capelin count: DFO spending $2.4M to study fishery ‘linchpin’

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is spending more time and money on understanding why capelin stocks haven’t recovered. “Capelin are a linchpin; that’s the simplest I can put it. If you don’t have a lot of capelin, you don’t have a lot of other stuff,” senior researcher Pierre Pepin told reporters at a department briefing. Pepin said the success of other species depends on a healthy capelin population.,, It wasn’t just cod that collapsed in the early ’90s. Capelin stocks peaked at around six million tonnes before collapsing to next to nothing. Recent surveys show a small recovery to about one million tonnes. Scientists don’t know what caused the collapse, but it came during a period of very cold ocean temperatures. click here to read the story 09:30

Speaking of Science, DFO says trust the science!

In the midst of ongoing protests outside of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in St. John’s Friday, several DFO staff briefed reporters on fisheries science and the approach to resource management. At the Canadian Coast Guard building on Southside Road, they walked through an overview of ongoing scientific study and management work specific to Newfoundland and Labrador. The presentations spoke to the extent and effect of ecosystem changes, including the recent and painful quota cuts to both northern shrimp and crab. A biomathematician and employee for more than 30 years with DFO, Dr. Pierre Pepin spoke to the department’s seasonal ocean climate monitoring and trawl surveys, among other work. He said the science being conducted in the region is robust, and the reports and advice coming from DFO scientists can be trusted as a fundamental source of information. click here to read the story 09:46

Richard Gillett Stands Firm, Determined, while FISH-NL executive accuses DFO and FFAW of playing politics in fishery protest

Ryan Cleary says the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW) union are killing Richard Gillett with politics. “This guy is a rock, but he’s hurting now and they’re playing with his life,” the Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador president said of the organization’s vice-president, who is now eight days into a hunger strike while camped outside the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Centre in St. John’s. Cleary was responding to a news release from the FFAW that he claims takes credit for the federal government’s decision to conduct a full assessment on northern cod stocks on an annual basis. (Ten yearold Lucas Wilkinson made the point it was important to show solidarity with Richard Gillett. click here to read the story! 21:54

Day 8: Richard Gillett hunger strike – Gillett joined by two-dozen supporters

As the eighth day Richard Gillett’s hunger strike began Thursday morning, he was joined by over two dozen of his fellow fish harvesters.  While the demonstration was peaceful in nature, the protestors were stopping Department of Fisheries and Ocean Employees from entering the road leading the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Centre. There were few vehicles to impede, however, as DFO management had already planned a delayed opening and decided just after 8:30 a.m. to keep the building closed until noon. RNC officers were briefly on the scene to speak with Gillett and his supporters. click here to read the story 11:44

‘It’s breaking my heart’: Richard Gillett’s father among fishermen supporting hunger strikerclick to read the story and a short video 13:27

UPDATED: Port aux Choix protesters get meeting with fishery officials

Since the April 18 protest, a meeting has been scheduled between DFO Area Director John Lubar and protest representatives for Friday, April 21 in Hawke’s Bay. Port au Choix harvester Stella Mailman has told the Northern Pen that seven or eight representatives from the area, representing different fleets and fleet sizes, will be attending the meeting – herself, included.
She is hoping they will address the issues the harvesters were protesting and advocating for on April 18. “The 4R lines, the adjacency, and talk about all the cuts to the fishery,” said Mailman. “All the things that was brought up during the protest will be put on the table.” She feels having a meeting means they’re making some progress and hopes that those in authoritative positions in the fishery will not just be willing to talk with them, but with people like Richard Gillett, the harvester undertaking a hunger strike, in St. John’s. click here to read the story 16:30

The fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador is in turmoil and I wish to inform the public as to the reasons why.

I am not taking sides with FISH-NL vs. the FFAW — this is a distinctly different matter that involves the right as to who represents fishers in collective bargaining. This is a matter of provincial jurisdiction that has nothing to do with fisheries management and DFO — a federal government responsibility. The Department of Fisheries and Ocean is denying the fishers their right to be consulted, and DFO has delegated its responsibility to the FFAW. The FFAW is a union constituted to represent fishers and plant workers for the purpose of collective bargaining. Click here to read the letter by Gabe Gregory Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s 20:56

Day 6 – The hunger strike of Canadian Fisherman Richard Gillett continues

While Richard Gillett’s accommodations along the side of East White Hills Road have improved, his physical and mental state is headed in the other direction. Gillett, a Twillingate fisherman and vice-president of the Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL), is five days into a hunger strike outside the entrance to the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Centre. He is protesting what he considers mismanagement of Newfoundland and Labrador fish harvesting operations by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and its relationship with the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW) union.,, Also on Monday, Gillett had a meeting with two representatives from DFO, a senior scientist and a member of senior management. The meeting, he says, was nothing more than “lip service” and an effort to gauge his level of determination and the expected turnout of supporters on Tuesday morning when federal employees return to work following the Easter long weekend. click here to read the story 10:50

DFO files police complaint over shrimp fishermen who stormed St. John’s headquarters

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has filed a police complaint about a shrimp protest that took a drastic turn Friday when fishermen broke a door and stormed the headquarters in St. John’s. Two doors were damaged Friday, as about 50 protesters gained access to the federal building on White Hills Road. RNC Const. Steve Curnew said a member of the general investigation unit is looking into the matter. There were also reports of DFO officials being intimidated, as fishermen walked the halls calling out the names of specific individuals in the building.  click here to read the story 11:28

Adjacency – Shrimp fishermen storm DFO building, come away with signed agreement

The protesters, members of the Newfoundland and Labrador Independent Fish Harvesters’ Association (NLIFHA), kicked in a window at the building’s main entrance, stormed the building and wandered the halls in search of specific staff familiar with shrimp science and fisheries management. At issue was not the shrimp quota, but the principles of adjacency surrounding the fishery in Area 6, specifically the 3K region on the province’s northeast coast and 2J off Labrador. Those closest to the resource, they argue, should have first access. “In these dire circumstances, while the shrimp is in the critical zone according to DFO scientists, we’re asking that the access to this shrimp only be given to people living adjacent to the shrimp,” explained Terry Ryan, a fisherman from La Scie and spokesman for the group of about 50. “All other fleets, including boats from Quebec, be denied access until such time as our shrimp recovers out of this critical zone.” Click here to read the story 10:25

Shrimp industry instability ‘nerve wracking’

When Rodrick Cornick bought into the inshore shrimp fishery three years ago he expected a better future. Cornick operates the Atlantic Explorer, co-owned with Terrence House, based out of Port aux Choix. They fish for shrimp in area 6 out of St. Anthony. When Cornick bought a share of the enterprise in 2014, he says his shrimp quota would have been equivalent to 1.1 million pounds. At that time, he had little idea what was to come. “Here in the gulf area, the shrimp fishery has been on the go for 40 years and has been fairly consistent,” explains Cornick. “And down in area 6, the banks lent me money based on 20 years of steady allocations.” Then the bottom fell out.,, Cornick also questions the methodology used by DFO to determine the shrimp biomass. read the story, click here 14:11

DFO slashes crab quota in latest blow to N.L. fishing industry

In yet another blow to the Newfoundland and Labrador fishing industry, federal fisheries has announced that the total allowable catch for snow crab will be cut by 22 per cent this year. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans announced Monday that the quota for the region has been set at 35,419 tonnes. The largest hit is in fishing area 3L, east of the Avalon Peninsula, where the bulk of the quota is harvested. Harvesters there will endure a 26 per cent cut in quota, down to less than 25,000 tonnes. The cut was expected, with scientists saying the resource has plummeted in recent years, but that’s little comfort to the thousands of harvesters and plant workers who depend on the fishery. continue reading the story here 13:17

Rural NL faces devastation in light of drastic cuts to northern shrimp quota

ST. JOHN’S – Yesterday evening, the federal government announced a 63 per cent cut to inshore northern shrimp quota in fishing area 6. The FFAW is calling on the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to reconsider the radical nature of these cuts, and once again calls for the offshore to be removed from shrimp fishing area (SFA) 6. The total allowable catch for SFA 6 went from 48,196 tons in 2015 to 27,825 tons in 2016, to a dismal 10,400 tons announced for 2017. This amounts to a 78 per cent quota reduction over two years. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) slashed harvest rates from 20 per cent in 2016 to 10 per cent in 2017. These dramatic cuts to the harvest rate are not in line with the reduction in the northern shrimp biomass. The decline in northern shrimp is not due to overfishing, rather it is a result of an environmental shift in the ocean ecosystem. As groundfish stocks rebuild, it is inevitable that shellfish stocks in the area will continue to decline. Read the press release here 09:36

Report: Newfoundland cod stocks on rebound, but still at critically low levels

A new federal report says northern cod stocks off eastern Newfoundland continue to grow 25 years after a sweeping moratorium, but warns they remain in the “critical zone.” The Fisheries and Oceans Canada update concludes fishing should be kept to the lowest possible levels as a precaution. It finds that while total biomass was up seven per cent from 2015 to 2016, stocks are still at critically low levels. The report says there was a spawning biomass of about 300,000 tonnes in 2015. Fisheries biologist Karen Dwyer says a spawning biomass of about 900,000 tonnes would support a more extensive commercial fishery. Link 10:55

Stakeholders hope for more input, more preparedness for potential cod fishery

When it comes to a rebuilding plan for the northern cod stocks, the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW) union wants the government to remember why it’s important to plan for the longevity for the groundfish off the province’s northeast coasts. “That fishery and the way it was, was the lifeblood of many, many communities around rural Newfoundland and Labrador,” FFAW secretary treasurer Dave Decker says. “It’s important that as we are rebuilding that stock … we keep focus on why we’re rebuilding fisheries and it’s to rejuvenate the same communities. Decker took comfort that towns and harvesters affected by a cod moratorium that will celebrate a 25-year anniversary this year weren’t forgotten in a standing committee on fisheries and oceans report tabled in the House of Commons Monday. Ken McDonald, Member of Parliament for Avalon, who initially motioned for the study last February, is hopeful that investments into DFO last year to create 135 new jobs for research scientists following years of cutbacks will help facilitate those assessments.  continue reading the article here 22:15

Fisheries Minister Steve Crocker DFO should listen to harvesters seeing different catch rates than DFO scientists

Not all Newfoundland and Labrador fish harvesters are witnessing such a dramatic decline in shellfish stocks, according to provincial Fisheries Minister Steve Crocker, who said the federal government should listen to local fishermen when deciding upcoming quotas. Local fish harvesters are seeing catch rates that don’t match up with the analysis produced by DFO scientists, according to Crocker. That analysis showed major declines in shrimp and snow crab biomass, and hinted at a dire situation for fish harvesters who rely on those stocks to make a living. Crocker said he would be speaking to federal Fisheries Minister Dominic Leblanc this week, and would urge him to listen to local fish harvesters. Read the story here 10:08

Commercial sockeye fishery faces closure on North Coast

If the Department of Fisheries and Oceans were using a Magic 8 Ball to determine the future of sockeye salmon fishery in the Skeena the answer would be — Outlook Not So Good. Early forecasts for sockeye salmon are poor and there is a possibility there won’t be a commercial fishery for the year. “We’re facing a really challenging year,” said Colin Masson, DFO’s area director for the North Coast. The forecasts are based on the sockeye that went to sea in 2014 and 2015, as well as the number of sockeye jacks, the premature fish who return a year early. Both indicators suggest the outlook is not good. For DFO to plan commercial fisheries, the total return of sockeye has to be greater than 1.05 million. continue reading the story here 10:50

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