Tag Archives: DFO

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

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

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

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

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

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

LETTER: Hope doesn’t float

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

Feds planning 2019 protections for North Atlantic right whales

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Largest lobster fishing season opens in southwestern Nova Scotia next week

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

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

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

DFO warns 80% of N.L. snow crab are below fishable size

Eighty per cent of the snow crab in the province’s waters are now smaller than fishable size, and new biological research from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans says fishing pressure on the already strained stock is the main problem. “There is a major biological concern here,” said DFO biologist Darrell Mullowney.,, The news comes just as the Department of Fisheries and Oceans is set to meet with harvesters about snow crab in a series of meetings being held across the province between November 19 and 29. >click to read<19:44

Twillingate continues push for groundfish license/operation

The Town of Twillingate is still making working toward processing groundfish in the area. According to deputy mayor Cyril Dalley, after a discussion at their most recent council meeting, the town’s priority now is to meet with Notre Dame Seafoods president Jason Eveleigh before the year is out. “The fish plant is there, they own the plant and it would be ideal for [Notre Dame Seafoods] to go after government towards a groundfish license,,,, >click to read<09:21

Fundy North Fishermen’s Association votes to delay the start of the season due to bad weather

Brad Small, the president of the association, said all of the harbours under the association — which spans from the American border to Alma, N.B. — voted to stay off the water due to weather Monday. Environment Canada issued a special weather statement for much New Brunswick and some snowfall warnings for northern areas Monday. The weather will also bring another round of strong and gusty winds along with plummeting temperatures — a mixture of things Small said makes the job of setting traps very dangerous. >click to read<19:52

Heavy weather forcasted, Fundy lobster fishermen lose bid to set traps early

An appeal by Bay of Fundy Lobster fishermen to set their traps Monday instead of Tuesday has been rejected by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Fishermen on both Grand Manan and along the north Fundy Coast say weather forecasts for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday point to unsafe conditions with boats facing potentially 12-foot (four-metre) seas and winds of 35 to 40 knots. “Basically, the federal employees want their long weekend and they don’t give a hoot about the fishing fleet.” Laurence Cook, Grand Manan Fishermen’s Association >click to read<09:15

Turning an invasive problem into a bait solution

With concerns growing over a likely bait shortage in the lobster industry in Maine and Canada due to a drastic cut in the upcoming season’s herring quota, Nova Scotia resident Patrick Swim has a possible solution. Swim thinks he can solve the bait shortage by harvesting an invasive species. Silver carp is one of the four species of the invasive Asian carp (silver, bighead, grass, and black) that have placed the Great Lakes water system at risk. >click to read<19:45

DFO study results on crab stocks bad news for harvesters, Bonavista fisherman comments. Then, theres the Cod.

Fisherman Reg Butler of Bonavista wonders when the cuts will end for the snow crab fishery. After Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) scientists revealed the results of a six-year study of crab biomass last week, which is at a 25-year low,,, “And the fuel is not getting no cheaper, and the bait is not getting no cheaper — that seems to be increasing every year as well — where do I draw the line? Does it come to the point where I have to shorten up the crew because it’s a big expense to run?” >click to read<19:07

‘If I lose my right, I have nothing’: A Mi’kmaw fisherwoman’s fight for her right to fish

For the last 21 years, Marilynn-Leigh Francis has dropped her lobster traps near Digby, N.S. She said she has a right to fish there as a Mi’kmaw woman in Canada. However, Francis said The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has seized several of her traps, because they said the traps fall outside of Canadian fishing regulations. “They tell me that the fishing I’m doing in their eyes is illegal. But they have no grounds to charge me,”,,, >click to read<

Belliveaus Cove lobster outfit goes belly up

A company charged with purchasing lobster caught out of season by Aboriginal fishermen has gone into receivership. Grant Thornton is acting as receiver for Guang Da International. The company was charged this spring by Fisheries and Oceans Canada with purchasing lobster caught under an aboriginal communal fishing licence that doesn’t allow for sale. >click to read<07:51

Canada MPA’s – Ban oil, gas, bottom trawling in marine protected areas, urges panel

A panel that has spent the year studying marine protected areas (MPAs) in Canada says no oil and gas development, seabed mining, or bottom-trawling fishing should be allowed within their boundaries. In its final report released Tuesday, the National Advisory Panel on Marine Protected Area Standards, which was created earlier this year by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, recommended that the federal government adopt International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) standards and guidelines for all MPAs. That would also make dumping off-limits.>click to read<18:09

MPA’s – Report silent on whether lobster fishing should be allowed – >click to read<15:07

United In Protest Fishery – “We’re going fishing for mackerel Wednesday evening,”

Inshore harvesters on Newfoundland’s northeast coast plan to hold a protest fishery for mackerel Wednesday evening over the decision by Fisheries and Oceans to shut down the Atlantic fishery, while leaving it open for harvesters from the Maritimes. “We’re going fishing for mackerel Wednesday evening,” says Brad Rideout, who fishes out of Robert’s Arm. “DFO can either shut down the entire Atlantic mackerel fishery or give quota to Newfoundland and Labrador harvesters. Fair is fair, and nothing about this is fair.” >click to read<

“It’s always excitement”- Baby lobster numbers point to healthy future for P.E.I. fishery

A cage filled with rocks on the ocean floor seems like a strange place for a nursery, but for baby lobsters, it’s the ideal place to grow — and it’s how the Prince Edward Island Fisherman’s Association (PEIFA) works to study and predict the health of Island lobster stocks. For nine years now the PEIFA, with support from the province and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), has been putting 30 collectors — mesh-bottom cages filled with rocks — at seven sites around P.E.I., to attract baby lobsters and learn from them. Photo’s, >click to read<

Feds review this year’s right-whale protections

It was enough. But was it too much? That’s the question Fisheries and Oceans Canada wants to answer after a season of unprecedented measures to protect North Atlantic right whales — including mandatory ship slowdowns and fisheries closures. To date, none of the critically endangered whales has died in Canadian waters in 2018, unlike in 2017, when 12 died in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, largely due to ship strikes and entanglements in fishing gear.,,, On the East coast, the department (DFO) is now holding regional meetings with members of the fishing industry to gather feedback on those management measures. >click to read<15:03

Canadian fishermen want cheaper lobster bait. Americans want to stop an invasive fish. And so, one man hatches a plan

Like whales breaching ocean swells, silver carp fly out from beneath the surface of waterways in Illinois. Tens of millions of dollars have been spent trying to keep the invasive fish – which procreate rapidly, crowding out other marine life – from spilling into the $7-billion Great Lakes fishery. And in an era of expeditious information-sharing, the “flying fish,” a form of Asian carp imported into the States decades ago, with hopes of using them to manage American ecosystems, have also caught the attention of gawking social-media spectators around the world. Three years ago, one of those spectators was a Nova Scotian named Patrick J. Swim. But instead of merely gawking, the self-described “lobsterpreneur” hatched a plan: >click to read<12:32

Controversial bycatch monitoring program coming to Maritime lobster industry

Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans is rolling out a controversial bycatch monitoring program in three lobster fishing areas in Nova Scotia, but it won’t say when the program will be introduced across the Maritimes. The department is imposing at-sea monitors for the first time this fall in three lobster fishing districts in Nova Scotia from Halifax to Digby. The department said it needs to collect data on other species — such as cod, cusk and Jonah crab — that are inadvertently being caught in lobster traps, which is known as bycatch. The question is when the monitoring will roll out elsewhere. >click to read<11:14

Dismal returns for chinook salmon on B.C.’s Fraser River reveal latest threat to endangered orcas

A test fishery for chinook salmon on the Fraser River this year is reporting dismal returns, raising new concerns for the endangered southern resident killer whales who rely heavily on these fish for their survival. The federal government announced in May a reduction in harvest of chinook by roughly one-third and closures in some key whale foraging areas after declaring the southern resident killer whales are facing an imminent threat to their survival. The federal government acknowledges that lack of prey is one of the critical factors affecting the whales’ recovery. >click to read<20:36

By-catch monitoring coming to inshore lobster fishery (some fishermen are pissed!)

For the first time, inshore lobster fishermen in southwest Nova Scotia will have someone looking over their shoulders when they head out to sea later this fall. It’s a change many are unhappy about, causing fishermen to snub their own associations — some of which have banded together to create a monitoring program. “We didn’t want this. None of the associations wanted this, but we have tried to make it better,” said Heather Mulock of the Coldwater Lobster Association on Wednesday. The federal Fisheries Department wants to gauge how many species, particularly cod and cusk, are being inadvertently caught in lobster pots. >click to read<21:34

DFO investigation leads to another lobster pound in southwest Nova Scotia

For the second time in a month, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has moved against a lobster pound in southwest Nova Scotia. RCMP said fisheries officers went to the facility to seize lobster, though it’s unclear whether any was taken. Police were asked to assist “by keeping the peace, and help to maintain open lines of communication between DFO and the fishers who were involved,” RCMP Cpl. Jennifer Clarke said in a statement. DFO would not confirm if the investigation is connected to an ongoing probe into illegal sales of lobster caught under an Indigenous food, social and ceremonial licence, which does not permit sales. >click to read<20:30