Tag Archives: DFO

Charged with illegal fishing, Mi’kmaw man seeks to redefine Supreme Court’s Marshall decision

Exactly 18 years after the Supreme Court of Canada issued a clarification of its ruling on Indigenous peoples’ right to fish, a Mi’kmaw fisherman from New Brunswick’s lawsuit against the Crown will be in court  — hoping to clear it up again. Legal counsel for Joseph Hubert Francis of Elispogtog First Nation in New Brunswick will appear in Halifax Federal Court Friday for the first part of the lawsuit filed in March of this year. click here to read the story 09:16

Pro-Active – P.E.I. snow crab industry figuring out how to protect endangered whales

Fisheries experts are on a tight timeline to figure out changes to the snow crab fishery to protect endangered right whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence before the 2018 seasons starts. The season opens in April — including 35 Island fishermen landing about $14 million dollars worth for the Island. Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) wants feedback from fishing groups in the next two to three weeks. Industry and DFO officials met in Moncton Wednesday to discuss possible solutions. One of the ideas was starting fishing earlier so fishermen could possibly reach their quota before whales arrive. click here to read the story 19:17

Fishermen’s union wants draggers out of vulnerable south coast cod fishery

The union representing the province’s fish harvesters is calling for the Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to close the south coast cod fishery to offshore vessels. Keith Sullivan, president of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW) union, said the cod stock in the 3PS fishing area along Newfoundland’s south coast is too fragile to handle the pressure.,,, On Friday, DFO issued a notice that the fishery was closing to inshore fishermen on Nov. 15. Another notice announced the fishery was opening Nov. 11 to offshore vessels. The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador is also against the decision to allow offshore fishing in the 3PS zone. click here to read the story 13:23

‘Stop this right now’: Cape Breton fisherman worried about seismic testing

Fishermen in Cape Breton are worried about the impact planned seismic testing at the Donkin mine will have on their lobster grounds and livelihoods. Kameron Coal has been given the green light to blast sound waves out of an air gun in an attempt to survey an area it leases offshore of Glace Bay. The company operates the Donkin mine, which extends underneath where Herb Nash fishes. “We’re asking them to stop this right now, and put an end to it and not let it happen,”,,, click here to read the story 16:32

FISH-NL condemns Ottawa’s decision to reopen south coast cod fishery to offshore factory-freezer trawlers 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Nov. 10th, 2017 The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans is out to destroy the inshore fishery off Newfoundland’s south coast with its decision Friday to reopen the cod fishery to offshore factory-freezer trawlers. “DFO has given the offshore draggers permission to clean up the last of the south coast cod,” says Ryan Cleary, President of the Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL). click here to read the press release 19:30

Prince Edward Island’s 2017 tuna fishery is down to its final 11 fish

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans reports that, as of Monday, there were 10 tags still remaining for Prince Edward Island’s share of the Canadian allocation, and one tag remaining for Mexican quota which was transferred to the P.E.I. fishery. Tag-holders have until December 31 to catch their fish, but they might have to sail a distance to get them on the hook. Doug Fraser, a western P.E.I. representative on the tuna advisory committee said there hasn’t been a tuna landed off North Cape since late last week. click here to read the story 17:54

Fisherman claims DFO policy discriminates against disabled fishermen

A lobster fisherman from Granville Ferry is suing the federal government, claiming one of its licensing policies discriminates against disabled fishermen and is therefore unconstitutional. In a lawsuit filed Friday in Nova Scotia Supreme Court, Dana Robinson says the Department of Fisheries and Oceans can authorize a substitute to fish a licence if the owner has a medical condition, but that authorization expires after five years. click here to read the story 16:31

Nova Scotia Lobster buyers want ‘above-board’ investment mechanism to secure supply

Next month, the season opens in Canada’s biggest lobster fishery but even before the first trap hits the water, there’s big news in southwestern Nova Scotia. It is a proposal from a coalition of prominent lobster dealers who want the federal government to grant them the authority to give loans to fishermen like a bank or any other financial institution. “They could put out the money, they would hold the mortgage and then they would have a business arrangement with [the] person owning the licence where they would, I assume, buy the product,” said Robert Thibault, spokesperson for the newly formed Western Nova Scotia Lobster Dealers Coalition. click here to read the story 12:40

Fine laid after vessel runs aground in Witless Bay

The company that owns a vessel that ran aground near the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve has been fined $35,000 in Newfoundland and Labrador provincial court. Bright Eye Fishing Corporation pleaded guilty to violations under the Migratory Birds Convention Act of 1994, according to a media release issued by the federal government Wednesday. The money will go towards an environmental damages fund and the company’s name will be added to the environmental offenders registry. click here to read the story 15:34

Record high prices, strong demand for Canadian snow crab bodes well for Alaska

The top executives of Royal Greenland and Ocean Choice International (OCI) noted demand has remained strong for Canadian snow crab in 2017, despite record-high prices caused by reduced supply from the Newfoundland and Labrador fishery. In April, Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) cut the 2017/2018 total allowable catch (TAC) for the Newfoundland and Labrador fishery 22% year-on-year — to 35,419 metric tons — causing prices to increase to record levels of over $8 per pound (for 5-8 ounce size crab) during the season, sources said. The Newfoundland season started on April 6 and finished between May and August, depending on the area. click here to read the story 18:38

B.C. crab and prawn fishermen dispute Port of Vancouver no-go zones – will force them from where they’ve long fished

Crab fisherman Stewart McDonald is steaming mad that he may soon be prevented by the Port of Vancouver from dropping crab traps around Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet, where he’s fished for more than two decades.,, On Friday, the Port of Vancouver, Canada’s largest port, confirmed it has made changes to its information guide, which provides rules for where vessels — like McDonald’s fishing boat — can travel. A port spokesman said the changes were needed because the waters were getting crowded with recreational boaters. click here to read the story 12:26

DFO’s Inaugural Citizen Science Cod Project – creates cod assessment data, community involvement

Notwithstanding a car that perpetually reeked of fish, Madelyn Swackhamer is singing the praises of her summer job. The 17-year-old from Bareneed, Conception Bay North, was one of 40 high school students hired by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) for its inaugural Citizen Science Cod Project.,, The pilot project involved having pairs of students located at 20 landing wharves in communities on the Northeast Avalon, Conception Bay, Trinity Bay, Bonavista Bay and Notre Dame Bay throughout the course of the province’s summer and fall recreational food fisheries. The students were charged with recording data on how many fish are being caught, the length of each fish, and the arrival and departure of participating vessels. click here to read the story 22:06

Seized lobster destined for Chinese buyers

The lobsters seized in a Monday raid at Halifax Stanfield international airport were purchased by a Chinese company for export to Asia. Pierre Boissonault, a manager for Guang Da International, said Friday that 5,400 pounds of his company’s lobster was seized at the airport on Monday by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada before it could be shipped to China. He also confirmed that the company’s facility in Belliveaus Cove was raided as part of an investigation by Fisheries and Oceans into illegally purchased lobster. click here to read the story 09:10

U.S. lobster fishing vessel caught trapping lobster in Canadian waters

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans intercepted a vessel fishing illegally in Canadian waters and reported it to U.S. authorities, an official confirmed Friday. The incident occurred Thursday near the coastal border of New Brunswick and Maine. “Our fishery officers intercepted a U.S. lobster fishing vessel that was fishing illegally within our Canadian fisheries waters about midday Oct. 19,” said Todd Somerville, area chief for conservation and protection in southwest New Brunswick. “We intercepted the vessel. At that point fishery officers board the vessel and then they initiate their investigation. Because it was a U.S. vessel, we do reach out to U.S. law enforcement. … They also responded.” click here to read the story 15:34

DFO raid facility, seize 3 tonnes of lobster as part of probe into unlicenced fishing

Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has intercepted 3 metric tonnes of Nova Scotia lobsters on Monday, shortly before they were reportedly scheduled to be shipped to Asia. The DFO only released the information after Global News attempted to confirm information they’d received from other sources. “An investigation is currently underway into the sale of fish not harvested under a commercial licence,” said a DFO representative. click here to read the story 19:08

Mi’kmaq woman to challenge lobster fishing rules

Cheryl Maloney is gearing up to go lobster fishing. She doesn’t have a commercial licence and she won’t be using one of the food and ceremonial purposes tags she is eligible for as a member of the Sipekne’katik First Nation. What the longtime organizer for indigenous and women’s rights has is a 1999 Supreme Court decision stating that she has the treaty right to make a “moderate livelihood” off the resources the Mi’kmaq traditionally exploited. When she lands her lobster on a South Shore wharf, Maloney plans to invite Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the RCMP to come and watch her sell them. click here to read the story 11:15

Port au Choix crab fishermen charged with obstruction of justice over May protest

Harvesters who took part in a protest in Port au Choix last May have now been told they will be charged with obstruction of justice and placing crab pots in a wrong zone. Fisherman Dean Olfrey was called in for a meeting Wednesday, Oct. 11, and was informed he and the other harvesters involved in the protest would be facing these two charges. “It was a peaceful demonstration,” Olfrey said. “We just wanted to show that we should have the right to fish in this zone, and now they’re looking to charge us.” click here to read the story 12:14

Poor signs for N.L. snow crab

Aboard the Canadian Coast Guard ship Vladykov this week, crabs captured in Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) traps were being pulled from the water, dumped into orange, plastic baskets, pulled out, measured and categorized before being dumped back. These were among the last of the crab checked for the 2017 inshore survey, ongoing since May.,,, The official survey results won’t be released until early next year (after going to DFO’s stock assessment branch and peer review), but generally speaking, Mullowney suggested there is continued decline, with ocean warming a significant factor and things like predation increasingly important. click here to read the story 08:59

Fisherman says dispute not between natives, non-natives

When Alex McDonald went to check on his fishing boat in Comeauville on Monday, it was gone. Later that day a Department of Fisheries and Oceans patrol found the Buck and Doe burning on St. Marys Bay.,, “But I don’t believe it’s the (non-native) guys I fish beside. I think it’s outsiders that did this.” Two other boats that belong to non-Aboriginal fishermen, who also fish from Saulnierville, have been hit. The accusation by Wagner and other fishermen is that some non-native lobster dealers have been buying lobster from First Nations members while the season is closed. click here to read the story 11:37

Indigenous fisherman’s boat vanishes after wharf fire in Saulnierville, N.S.

When Alex McDonald arrived at Comeauville wharf in Saulnierville, N.S., Monday afternoon and saw his fishing boat was missing, he said he was “stunned.” The part of the wharf where McDonald’s boat — Buck and Doe —  had been tied up was burned and the seven thick ropes that kept it there were also burned off. “It’s obvious they burnt it off because they couldn’t untie it. Whoever did it, it was well planned, they had to come there with torches to burn that rope off,” said McDonald. “There had to be more than person and then they would have towed the boat out or they would have hotwired it.” click here to read the story 19:00

Conservationists plan to sue over right whale deaths

Animal conservation groups say they intend to sue the U.S. government unless North Atlantic right whales are better protected, following the deaths of 15 along U.S. and Canadian coasts. “We are literally facing the extinction of right whales due to human causes,” said Regina Asmutis-Silvia of Whale and Dolphin Conservation North America. In August, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, along with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, declared the deaths of North Atlantic right whales since June 7 an “unusual mortality event,” which triggered a focused and expert investigation into the causes. But the conservation groups want more. click here to read the story 10:01

Veterinarians release results from study of North Atlantic right whale deaths

Veterinarians examining the carcasses of six right whales found dead in the Gulf of St. Lawrence this summer say four died from blunt force trauma, one was entangled in fishing gear and the other was too decomposed to say for sure. Pierre-Yves Daoust of the Atlantic Veterinary College says there was no evidence to suggest various toxins may have played a major role in the deaths.,,, About a dozen North Atlantic right whales have died in the Gulf since June — an unprecedented number of deaths for a marine mammal that is at risk of extinction with an estimated population of just 458. click here to read the story 12:23

Statement by Ministers LeBlanc and Garneau on report released on this summer’s North Atlantic Right Whale deathsclick here to read the statement 

Op-Ed: DFO messes with success of age-old lobster businesses

I’ve been fishing out of Woods Harbour for 45 years now, and I want to tell people about what’s kept the fishery going here — in good times and bad. This feels important today because, at a time when the lobster fishery is so successful, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) wants to change policies in a way that would hurt our area’s economy. Let me tell my story first. click here to read the story 09:35

The Donald Marshall decision and Digby’s lobster wars 

A debate over illegal fishing has reached a boiling point in southwest Nova Scotia. Amidst accusations from non-Indigenous fishers about black market lobster sales, the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs is calling on the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to finally clarify the policy surrounding a legal case nearly 20 years old. Mi’kmaw fishers working in St. Mary’s Bay have been facing vocal outcry this season from non-Indigenous fishers in and around the Digby wharves.  click here to read the story 08:40

Why one Mi’kmaq fisherman says commercial fishing licences aren’t workingclick here 16:11

Hickman’s Harbour fishers relieved DFO ditched new rule for herring fishery

Melanie Marsh just wanted a simple answer.  How many people are considered “sufficient number of crew members” for a herring-fishing boat? It was a question that officials of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) in Clarenville were unable to answer. Marsh was prompted to ask the question after she read the conditions attached to her partner Richard Marsh’s herring licence, and realized a new rule had been added since the spring herring fishery. And that new rule, in her mind, did not make sense. click here to read the story 13:32

Mi’kmaq chief says there are bigger fish to fry than lobster

A prominent Nova Scotia First Nation chief says he does not blame Mi’kmaq fishermen if they are using their ceremonial fishing licences to try to make a moderate living outside the commercial lobster season.,, Non-Indigenous fishermen have been protesting at wharves, calling for the Department and Fisheries and Oceans to intervene in what they say is the illegal sale of lobster by some First Nations fishermen.,, This year, the Trudeau government has taken conspicuous steps to improve First Nations access to fisheries in Atlantic Canada.  click here to read the story  09:35

New Miramichi Bay Conservation Areas worry fishermen

The federal government has named two new marine conservation areas to protect important fish and their habitat, but some Nova Scotia fishermen say they’ve already lost too much ground on the ocean bottom. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans announced the Miramichi Bay Conservation Area in New Brunswick waters on Wednesday, covering 1,550 square kilometres of water where the Miramichi River empties into the Gulf of St. Lawrence.,, George Zinck, president of the Prospect Area Full-Time Fishermen’s Association, said his members opposed the creation of the new conservation area, but are more concerned about the potential loss of additional fishing grounds. click here to read the story 20:34

FISH-NL – Northern Cod – “Why is DFO setting us up to fail?”

Earlier this year, DFO gave harvesters two options for fishing northern cod off Newfoundland’s east coast and Labrador for 2017: 1) fish the entire season at the weekly limit; or 2) fish only from Sept. 17th-Nov. 30th at double the weekly limit. Harvesters who choose option one, and have one cod IQ (individual quota), can fish with six gill nets. Harvesters who choose option 2, and who have three combined IQs (and many harvesters do), are essentially fishing six times the weekly limit, but are still limited to six gill nets. click here to read the press release 14:11

Controlling Agreements – DFO cracks down on fishing licences it says are fronts for corporations

Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans is taking action against more Atlantic fishermen it says are holding inshore fishing licences as fronts for corporations. The department says it has notified a number of fishermen in “controlling agreements” that their licences are forfeit. “There are a number of cases that we’ve told the individuals that we believe they are in a controlling agreement. We’ve told them we believe their licences are not eligible for renewal,” says Morley Knight, assistant deputy minister for DFO. Such licences are known in the industry as company licences. A fisherman holds the inshore licence — as required by DFO — but in name only. click here to read the story 07:59

Move aimed at halting backdoor corporate takeover of inshore fisheries – Corporate interests fighting back click here to read the story 12:48

‘DFO has to step in,’ says fisheries official of St. Marys Bay black market lobster

Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans says there are “clear indications” of abuse in the First Nations food, social and ceremonial lobster fishery underway this summer in St. Marys Bay, N.S. Since June, non-Indigenous lobster fishermen have complained that some Indigenous fishermen are using the fishery to cloak a black market lobster fishery. “They are making it clear DFO has to step in,” said Morley Knight, assistant deputy Minister with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Bay of Fundy lobster fisherman Chris Hudson liked what he heard. “We are satisfied with what DFO had to say. We’re anxiously looking to see if they do what they say, and that is enforce the rule of law, which is all we are asking,” click here to read the story 19:56