Tag Archives: DFO

Sipekne’katik First Nation to meet with Minister Bernadette Jordan next week

After multiple calls to meet with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, members of the Sipekne’katik First Nation will sit down with Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan next week. Chief Michael Sack tells Global News the details of the meeting, to be held amid an ongoing dispute between Indigenous and non-Indigenous fishers, are still in the works, but he says it will be held virtually as Jordan is returning from Ottawa and will need to self-isolate for 14 days upon her arrival. video, >click to read< 19:11

Federal inaction drives lobster feud

A Coast Guard cutter and two helicopters (one RCMP, one DFO) provided little more than backdrop scenery to the boiling tensions on the Acadian shore Monday. Both the First Nations encamped behind a barricade at the Saulnierville Wharf and the predominantly Acadian local fishermen with their own roadblock at the Meteghan wharf 14 kilometres away called on the federal authorities to uphold the law. But whose law do they uphold? Successive federal fisheries ministers have kicked the issue down the election cycle by providing commercial licenses to First Nations bands without negotiating the Supreme Court of Canada acknowledged right of individual Mi’kmaq to make a moderate livelihood off of natural resources. The vacuum left by their inaction is being filled with threats, flares and rubber bullets. >click to read< 10:29

Fishermen say they are removing Indigenous lobster traps in western Nova Scotia

Non-Indigenous fishermen say they are in the process of removing lobster traps set by fishermen from the Sipekne’katik First Nation in waters off western Nova Scotia. Colin Sproul, of the Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association, says a large number of boats are in St. Marys Bay and intend to remove the traps and take them to the wharf in Meteghan, N.S. Sproul says the fishermen are taking action on what they believe is an illegal out-of-season fishery because the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has refused to do so. But the Sipekne’katik First Nation says its people have a treaty right to fish at any time. ,, A clarification was issued by the court, which said the treaty right was subject to federal regulation. >click to read< 13:15

Nova Scotia: Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan asking sides to meet to de-escalate lobster fishing tensions

And late Friday afternoon the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Chiefs declared a state of emergency for mainland Nova Scotia because of what it calls political unrest and violence. Early Friday evening Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan issued a statement,, “Our Government’s first priority is to ensure everyone involved remains safe. In Canada, anyone can participate in peaceful protests and that process is fundamental to our democracy,” she said. “At this time, it is imperative that all parties, and the public work together to lower tensions on the water and in our communities, to foster understanding between one another,,, “To that end, I’m extending an invitation for Indigenous leadership and industry leadership to meet with me as soon as possible. >click to read< 15:13

Yelling, cursing, but no physical confrontation – Lobster dispute between Indigenous and commercial fishers boils over again

Another contentious chapter in a very long dispute over Indigenous fishing rights and federal laws on conservation has begun. Thursday saw a handful of Indigenous lobster boats head out of southwestern Nova Scotia to lay traps using ‘licences’ handed out by a local Mi’kmaw chief and not from the federal Fisheries and Oceans Canada department (DFO). Commercial lobstermen in the area staged protests this week saying the Mi’kmaw are fishing out of season and illegally. The fishery is closed as it’s molting season when lobsters renew their shells, and mating season. They say the law closing the fishery for several months is necessary for conservation purposes and fishing at this time is not sustainable. >click to read< 10:11

Calls from Sipekne’katik First Nation for government and RCMP to uphold rule of law

A letter from the Sipekne’katik First Nation addressed to Bernadette Jordan, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Premier Stephen McNeil and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police is calling on all three parties to uphold the rule of law amidst ongoing violence, threats, human rights discrimination and what they say is an ongoing failure to uphold a 1999 Supreme Court of Canada decision recognizing the Mi’kmaq right to fish and trade. “The Supreme Court of Canada, the treaties and the Royal Proclamation, Canadian laws recognize the right of the Mi’kmaq to fish and trade,” said Cheryl Maloney, consultation director for the Sipekne’katik First Nation. >click to read< 18:29

New Study – B.C. Salmon farms regularly under count sea lice, potentially putting wild salmon at risk

The study shows mandatory sea lice counts performed by the operators of the fish farms drop by between 15 and 50 per cent when they’re not being done during an audit by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO). “That isn’t really a minor effect. This is a pretty obvious result,” said lead researcher Sean Godwin, who conducted the research for his PhD at Simon Fraser University. Salmon farms are required to perform monthly counts of the sea lice on their fish and make those numbers publicly available. The counts are self-reported, but fisheries officials perform occasional, pre-arranged audits to make sure the numbers are accurate. If the lice counts pass a certain threshold, the operators are required to pay for delousing treatments. >click to read< 15:59

Mi’kmaw lobster harvesters feeling harassed for practising moderate livelihood fishery

Mi’kmaw lobster harvesters in southwestern Nova Scotia say they feel harassed by non-Indigenous harvesters for practicing their treaty right to earning a moderate livelihood by setting lobster traps in St. Mary’s Bay. The harvesters say the harassment isn’t only coming from non-Indigenous harvesters. They’ve also had their gear seized by officers with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. >click to read< 08:14

Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw lobster harvester to file an injunction against DFO for seizing traps

“I’m going to get (my lawyer) to file an injunction on my behalf preventing the DFO from violating my rights until they get this moderate livelihood stuff settled,” Matthew Cope, 34, said. Cope, who is from the Millbrook First Nation, said he left the wharf in Digby, N.S. on Aug. 29 to check on his lobster traps when he saw DFO officers aboard the Canadian Coast Guard Vessel, The Earl Grey, seizing 60 of his traps. “We had ten trawls of fifteen each. They took six of them. We caught them in the middle of taking our trawls so I stood up beside them and I said, ‘What are you guys doing?’” Cope explained. “I have a pre-existing inherited treaty right for fishing and I have a right to do so unhindered,” he said. >click to read< 21:46

Quiet seafood truck protest: DFO urged to crack down on illegal out of season lobster fishing

The owner of a seafood company that has trucks parked at the DFO detachment declined an interview and wouldn’t comment about the protest or who organized it. Asked why the trucks are there the company owner simply said, “DFO knows.” The trucks were first parked at the DFO detachment on Aug. 27, the same day hundreds of commercial lobster fishermen protested outside of federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan’s office in Bridgewater demanding DFO provide enforcement. As they have in previous summers, fishermen have been raising concerns over what they say is out-of-season commercial lobster harvesting taking place. They say commercial activity is happening under the guise of the First Nations fishery and accuse some fishers of abusing the intent of that fishery. photos, >click to read< 20:38

Feds distribute first of 322 dormant commercial fishing licences to Maritime First Nations

The federal government has started to distribute dormant, or “banked,” commercial fishing licences to First Nations in the Maritimes to finally implement a 1999 Supreme Court ruling that First Nations are entitled to earn a moderate livelihood from the fishery. The first 10 “banked licences”, out of a pool of 322 available in the Maritimes, were issued this month to Elsipogtog and Esgenoôpetitj First Nations in New Brunswick as part of historic Rights and Reconciliation Agreements signed in August 2019.,, The pool of 322 banked licences cover a wide variety of species including lobster, scallop, swordfish, herring and oysters. The total breakdown per province: 99 licences in Nova Scotia, 122 in New Brunswick and 101 in Prince Edward Island. There is a complete list,,,  >click to read< 17:34

Cape Breton snow crab fishery escapes impact of right whale closures, Different story in New Brunswick

While a right whale sighting earlier this month triggered a closure to the snow crab fishery in western Cape Breton, the closure had virtually no impact. But unlike closures in other parts of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, these shutdowns had virtually no impact on the area’s lucrative fishery.  “That’s something we’re discussing. Are we lucky or are we just in that sweet spot?” said Basil MacLean, a Cape Breton snow crab fisherman and president of the Area 19 Snow Crab Fishermen’s Association. In New Brunswick, where the boats and quotas are larger, it’s been a different story in 2020. “24 out of 45 members from the Acadian Crabbers Association each left significant amounts of crab in the water this spring,” >click to read< 19:15

Consultation lacking on decision to reactivate licenses for Indigenous communities

The reactivation of dormant lobster fishing licences by the federal government has prompted a terse statement from the P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association (PEIFA) and the Maritime Fishermen’s Union (MFU). The two organizations say they were left out of consultation over the reactivation of 10 lobster licences by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) in the Lobster Fishing Area (LFA) 25, located on the western end of the Northumberland Strait between P.E.I. and New Brunswick.,,, The statement said fishermen were “frustrated” by the lack of consultation prior to the decision and called for the federal government to bring together Indigenous and non-Indigenous fishermen’s organizations. >click to read< 09:54

Five B.C. First Nations say salmon decision shows systemic racism at DFO

The five Nuu-Chah-Nulth First Nations are upset that Ottawa decided to give a surplus allocation of salmon — which arose this year due to reduced recreational fishing during the COVID-19 pandemic — to commercial fishers rather than to the First Nations. Clifford Atleo, lead negotiator for one of the nations who is also called Wickaninnish, says he feels sports and commercial troll fishers are given more rights to fish in the waters off the west coast of Vancouver. He says the latest decision to shut First Nations fishers out of an opportunity to catch more chinook salmon this year shows systemic racism is “alive and well” within the federal fisheries department. >click to read< 08:52

UBC study: Women are key to fisheries, so why don’t they get credit?

Most summer mornings, Jessica Taylor awakens before dawn and puts coffee to boil, the rich steam an alarm clock for her predominantly male crewmates. The Sointula-based, sixth-generation fish harvester’s subtle opening to another day fishing is vital for the crew’s mental well-being and successful catch, yet beyond the boat, it will often go unnoticed in official fisheries data. So will Taylor’s role as a female fisher. That’s a global trend, according to researchers at the University of British Columbia, and one they valued to be at least $7.4 billion ($5.6 billion US) a year globally. The study is the first to estimate the dollar value women contribute to fisheries. >click to read< 11:58

PEISPA, PEIFA disappointed with the opening date of fall lobster season

The opening day is Monday, Aug. 10. A media release issued from the PEISPA explains this date will create difficulty for lobster processors to handle the large number of lobsters that will be harvested in the first week. The release goes on to say the fall season would usually start on Aug. 9, but since that date falls on a Sunday this year, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) supported changing the opening date.  “We are very disappointed that DFO rejected our simple but impactful request to start the fall fishery on Aug. 7,” said Jerry Gavin, executive director of the PEISPA. The P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association (PEIFA) also made a formal request for an earlier start date, confirmed executive director Ian MacPherson. >click to read< 09:54

Nova Scotia: Residents raise alarm over causeway’s threat to local fish stocks

“This river is already dying, we’re already losing all of our fish, and along with losing all of our fish, we’re losing our rights as well,” said Nikki Lloyd, of the Annapolis Valley First Nation. Darren Porter, a local fisherman and fishery spokesperson for the Fundy United Federation, said over many years, he’s seen a reduction in productivity for both professional and recreational fishers. Government efforts, he alleged, to improve passage times have fallen short of what’s required to keep the ecosystem healthy. >click to read< 13:08

Time to reform DFO – Unable to protect wild fish while managing commercial fisheries and ocean-based aquaculture

Conservation and angling groups on the West Coast are calling for radical reform of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, saying it appears unable to protect wild fish while managing commercial fisheries and ocean-based aquaculture. The B.C. Wildlife Federation, in a letter to Fisheries Minister Bernadette  Jordan, says the federal department should be “independently reviewed and rebuilt” with a mandate to restore and recover failing salmon   populations. Many B.C. salmon runs are considered threatened or endangered, including most South Coast and Fraser River chinook, Interior Fraser coho, Fraser River sockeye and Interior steelhead. Some are down to just a few dozen individuals. >click to read< 10:38

Fraser River sockeye fishery to stay closed because of concerns about the stocks

The department said in a notice Tuesday that Fraser River sockeye forecasts are “highly uncertain” at this time. Fraser River sockeye returns from 2015 and 2016 were forecast at 941,000 in total. Last year, the returns of 485,900 were the lowest since record keeping began in 1893. The other major challenge for this year’s sockeye — along with chinook, coho, and steelhead — is that they have to get through the site of the November 2018 Big Bar landslide on the Fraser River upstream of Lillooet. Despite installing infrastructure to help salmon, that area will “continue to be an impediment,” >click to read< 14:56

B.C. fishermen say their industry needs a lifeline – What’s the problem?

“Everybody who has ever been a fisherman was drawn to it because of the freedom,” Erikson said. “The freedom to be your own boss, the freedom to be responsible to no one but yourself.” But money, freedom or even a viable living from the sea are in increasingly short supply on the B.C. coast, especially for young fishermen, said Jim McIsaac, vice-president of the Canadian Independent Fish Harvesters’ Federation. The number of people that can fish for a living is dropping because the cost of buying or leasing the Individual Transferable Quotas (ITQs),, The problem, McIsaac said, is that on the West Coast of Canada, the ownership of fishing licences and ITQs are not limited to fishermen.,, The federal government’s response,,, >click to read< 08:40

Vancouver Island: Invasion of the green crab

The invasive European green crab is proliferating at an alarming rate on the west and southern coasts of Vancouver Island, devouring smaller Dungeness crab and bivalves as well as the eelgrass that is critical to young salmon. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has identified hotspots around Sooke and Barkley Sound, but environmental groups and First Nations say the green crab’s infestation extends to Haida Gwaii and likely most parts of the B.C. coast. They say “industrial trapping” of the green crab is essential before it wipes out local species and key habitats. >click to read< 19:19

Inadequate Assessment by DFO Leaves Harvesters with Rollover for 2020 Cod Catch Limits

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) announced the management plan for northern cod yesterday evening, revealing a rollover in the total allowable catch from last year. The rollover is a result of an inadequate assessment that failed to take into account important data as well as harvester observations – the result of which will have dire impacts on an already suffering inshore fishery. “ A rollover for this year’s quota is completely unacceptable and must be reconsidered by DFO before the season opens,” says Keith Sullivan, FFAW-Unifor President.>click to read< 13:29

DFO‘s Lack of a Full Assessment Leads to a Roll-over in the Allowable Harvest of the Stewardship Cod Fishery for 2020 – The Newfoundland and Labrador Groundfish Industry Development Council (NL-GIDC) believes that the rollover in the allowable harvest for the 2J3KL Cod Stewardship fishery is somewhat disappointing but not surprising. >click to read<

After years of protest, New Waterford man wins fishing quota case

New Waterford fisherman Paul Fraser has finally had his day in court and won. In a written decision released this week, Supreme Court Justice John Bodurtha ruled that Fraser is entitled to receive $264,294.98, plus interest, in compensation for the eight years his quota was used by another company along with $15,000 in punitive damages. “I am convinced after reviewing all the documentation from DFO and hearing testimony of the witnesses, that Fraser’s snow crab license was transferred to the defendant and fished for the defendant’s benefit since 2010,” concluded Bodurtha. “The defendant intentionally refused to pay Fraser for the use of his snow crab allocation from 2011 to 2018. >click to read< 20:12

More restrictions for Fraser River chinook fishermen

All but one of 13 Fraser River chinook populations assessed by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada are currently at risk. New restrictions this year include maximum size limits of 80 cm in southern marine recreation fisheries to help mitigate risks to larger females, and an expanded fishing closure off the mouth of the Fraser River. Additional closures have been added in the Strait of Georgia and Juan de Fuca Strait for protection of the Southern Resident Killer Whales. >click to read< 09:35

Government of Canada takes action to address threats to struggling Fraser River Chinook

Today, (June 19, 2020) Fisheries and Oceans Canada is releasing 2020 Fisheries management measures that will support the recovery of at-risk Fraser River Chinook populations, as well as protect the jobs and communities that depend on Chinook. The 2020 measures include additional restrictions to strengthen conservation as well as the flexibility needed where impacts to stocks of concern will be very low. These measures were developed following consultation with Indigenous communities, recreational and commercial fishing organizations, and environmental organizations. These measures are one component of a larger strategy intended to place at-risk Pacific salmon populations on a path towards sustainability. >click to read< 11:49

Here’s how to get a piece of $62.5 million in fish processors’ Coronavirus aid

It’s been two months since the federal government rolled out a $62.5-million aid package to support seafood processors affected by Coronavirus, and a $469 million program to aid fish harvesters. So far no one has seen a cent of funding from either package. Today, June 16, seafood processing companies are a little closer. Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, announced details of how the $62.5 million from the Canadian Seafood Stabilization Fund (CSSF) will be divvied up across Canada, and how to apply. Of the $62.5 million, Atlantic Canada gets the lions’ share — $38.1 million.  Seafood processors in Quebec and Western Canada will also get a share of CSSF. >click to read< 14:48

Fisherman Darren Porter has been keeping a one-man vigil at the Windsor causeway since last Thursday

The Hants County weir fisherman and marine science data collector has been floating in his open boat up to 20 hours a day to raise awareness for the lack of fish being allowed up the Avon River. “About six minutes on a tide,” said Porter of the amount of time the big gates in the Windsor causeway are opened to allow water through. That, he argues, is not enough time to allow the inner Bay of Fundy salmon, shad, gaspereau, striped bass and tom cod to get up the Avon River. That also, he argues, puts the operators of the gates (Department of Agriculture) in violation of the federal Fisheries Act. >click to read< 09:03

Big Bar Landslide: 99% of early Stuart sockeye, 89% of early Fraser River chinook salmon runs were lost

The officials with Fisheries and Oceans Canada told a Commons committee that 99 per cent of early Stuart and 89 per cent of early chinook salmon were lost. Rebecca Reid, the department’s regional director for the Pacific region, said salmon survival improved later in the summer when work started to transport fish past the slide, helping them reach their spawning grounds. It’s believed the massive landslide north of Lillooet, B.C., occurred in late October or early November 2018, but it wasn’t discovered until last June after fish had already begun arriving. Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan told the committee the volume of the slide was equivalent to a building 33 storeys high by 17 storeys wide. >click to read< 13:06

DFO closes fishing area after right whales spotted in Gulf

DFO is implementing the first season-long fishing closure of the year after North Atlantic right whales were spotted in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. DFO says a cluster of eight grids in the middle of the Gulf will be closed until November 15. In a release, the department says the closure is expected to have minimal impacts on nearby fishing areas for crab, lobster and groundfish. >click to read< 14:52

Setting day challenging but ‘better than expected’ say Malpeque fishermen

Despite a two-week delay to P.E.I.’s fishing season because of COVID-19 and added dredging challenges, Malpeque Harbour was still bustling with fishermen on setting day. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans cautioned fishermen in Malpeque Harbour that the yearly dredging effort was still ongoing, as the dredger was unable to create a clear passage through the channel that leads from the harbour to the Gulf of St. Lawrence. “After weeks of stress and sleepless nights, it went much better than expected,” said Justin Pickering, a captain who fishes from the harbour. “The wind let up last night and the dredger was able to get a little bit of a path cut through for us and we were the second boat out,” he said. >click to read< 08:13