Tag Archives: DFO

‘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

Thousands of lobsters found dumped as demonstrations continue in Digby

Thousands of lobster carcasses were found freshly dumped in various areas in and around Weymouth September 15 as fishermen continued demonstrating outside the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Fishermen confirmed many of the lobsters – whose smell and current infestation with insects and maggots show are newly dumped – are below legal harvesting size, and others are female, in addition to having been fished off-season, all of which is illegal at the commercial level. click here to read the story 15:51

FFAW-Unifor upset with DFO decision to draft inadequate northern shrimp plan

The Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW-Unifor) union is criticizing a decision to move forward with drafting a rebuilding plan for northern shrimp that it calls “unachievable.” According to a news release from the union, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) announced the decision at a meeting in Montreal today. While FFAW-Unifor supports the need for a rebuilding plan for northern shrimp, the union argues the current method is unrealistic and needs to be changed. click here to read the story 12:08

N.S. lobster fishermen protesting outside DFO offices against illegal poaching

Hundreds of fishermen are expected to spend Thursday protesting outside Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) offices in southwest Nova Scotia in an effort to draw attention to problems they see with the lobster industry. “This is a peaceful protest,” said Matthew Theriault, a spokesperson for the fishermen. By 8 a.m., about 80 lobster fishermen had gathered outside the DFO office in Digby, N.S. Theriault alleges fishing is still taking place, despite the fact the lobster season for Southwest Nova closed on June 1. “There’s people…on the water and they’re fishing. The season is closed for commercial lobstermen,” said Theriault. click here to read the story 12:18

Lobster fishermen in Yarmouth County continue to draw attention to concern over illegal lobster salesclick here for photo’s, article 14:25

South West Nova Lobster Fishermen to demonstrate Sept. 14

Stakeholders in the lobster fishing industry will be demonstrating at Department of Fisheries and Oceans offices in Digby, Tusket, Meteghan and possibly Barrington on Thursday, Sept. 14 at 8 a.m. Spokesperson Alan Thurber says there will be a designated person at each location to provide information about the fishermen’s agenda and strategies towards the “problems that are at hand now.” “The demonstrations are to express concern with the failure in the systems between DFO and Ottawa,” he said. click here to read the story 14:31

Atlantic salmon arrive in French Creek – Not in a good way!

Atlantic salmon, believed to be part of a cohort that escaped from a U.S.-based fish farm on Aug. 19, are being hauled in by anglers fishing out of French Creek on mid-Vancouver Island.
Cameron Wheatley, owner of the French Creek Store at the marina just north of Parksville, received the head of an apparent Atlantic salmon from a local angler late Sunday morning, Sept. 10. He is freezing the head, along with two more fish heads and one whole farm-raised salmon, to turn over to Fisheries and Oceans Canada. click here to read the story 16:33

Fishermen gather on Yarmouth wharf concerned that out-of-season lobster sales are taking place

Fishermen in Yarmouth have been gathering on Lobster Rock Wharf during evenings this week to draw attention to their claims and beliefs of commercial fishing taking place within the Aboriginal food fishery. Fishermen first gathered peacefully in the parking lot the evening of Sept. 6 and were back the evening of Sept. 7. The RCMP have also had a presence on and around the wharf, keeping an eye on things. During the Sept. 7 gathering RCMP Sergeant Stephen Power of Windsor spoke with fishermen to get a better understanding of why they were there. “I’m not here to do an investigation and I’m not here to arrest or charge anyone,” he said. “They just asked me to come in and help in any way I can. I want to hear what you have to say.” click here to read the story 17:14

Clearwater to lose monopoly on Canada’s lucrative Arctic surf clam

Halifax-based Clearwater Seafoods is losing its monopoly on Canada’s lucrative Arctic surf clam. Federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister Dominic LeBlanc announced Thursday that DFO will give 25 per cent of the current quota to a new entrant after a request for written proposals closes in November. Currently all three Arctic surf clam licences are held by Clearwater. The government says the fourth licence holder it is seeking must be majority Canadian-owned and be an Indigenous entity based in Atlantic Canada or Quebec. The licence will be for 2018. click here to read the story

Arctic Surf Clam – Decision to Reconfigure Access in 2018 – The new entrant in this fishery will be selected as a result of an Expression of Interest. Interested parties wishing to participate in this fishery must send a proposal to Jacinta Berthier through one of the options below: click here to read the press release 18:52

Scientists find Bluefin tuna quick to swim away after catch and release

Early results of a new study show catch and release has little impact on tuna. Gary Melvin, a research scientist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and a team of researchers are catching, tagging, releasing and tracking the mortality and movements of bluefin tuna throughout the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Last week, the research team was tagging tuna off of Tignish, P.E.I. “It’s always the big question when you hook a fish and they fight, what happens? And it’s common thought that they recover and swim away,” Melvin said. click here to read the story 10:21

Fisheries and Oceans Canada has granted an extension to the halibut fishing season for the first time. 

The move was made to allow Island fisherman an opportunity to fill their quota for the year. As of the end of last week, the 330 registered fishermen on P.E.I. had only caught half of the allowed number.  Bobby Jenkins, president of the P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association, said catches haven’t been what they were. Fisheries and Oceans is allowing fishermen two more days next week and another two the following week, and then the P.E.I.F.A. will reassess. click here to read the story 09:53

Crab-fishing boat runs aground on Rose Spit

A crab-fishing boat ran hard aground on Rose Spit this morning (8/31). All four people on board the boat, the Prince Rupert-based Carmanah Light, managed to get to the beach safely wearing survival suits. No injuries have been reported. Search-and rescue volunteers with Archipelago SAR drove to Rose Spit and picked up the stranded crew. Masset Marine Rescue, BC Parks, DFO, Haida Fisheries and the Canadian Coast Guard are also responding on land and water. Masset Mayor Andrew Merilees, also a volunteer with Archipelago SAR, was the first on scene. click here to read the story 07:29

Biologist slams U.S. vessel for running aground in Witless Bay Reserve

Oil from a U.S. fishing vessel killed a number of birds inside the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve on Friday, and a seabird biologist says the boat had no business being so close to Green Island to run aground in the first place.,, The Canadian Coast Guard’s environmental response team cleaned up Friday, and DFO said no pollution was reported in Witless Bay. Transport Canada is investigating. Montevecchi said the Eyelander, an American fishing boat, was apparently too close to Green Island early Friday morning and ran aground. click here to read the story 20:46

No oiled birds spotted in Witless Bay area – In a statement Tuesday, the Canadian Coast Guard said its environmental response surveillance flights — and surveys by boat of the area on Saturday along with the Canadian Wildlife Service — confirmed there was no pollution in the area. Meantime, two dive surveys have been completed on the fishing vessel with no sign of diesel or oil leakage. click here to read the story 8/28 16:39

Judge orders DFO monitoring reports of rival fishing vessels to be disclosed to the court

The Nunavut fishing company Masiliit Corp. has won a small victory in trying to prove it was following industry standards when fishing for turbot in Davis Strait in October 2012. Masiliit Corp., a member of the Arctic Fishery Alliance, and its ship master, Captain George Hudson, have been charged under the Fisheries Act for fishing outside of Canadian waters. But in what has become a long and drawn out legal affair, their lawyers have argued that because of Davis Strait’s “narrow fishing channel, unpredictable and strong currents and an irregular international fishing boundary,” it is not unusual, “for fishing nets to drift after they have been set,” Nunavut Justice Sue Cooper summarized in her written judgement. click here to read the story 09:59

Canada, U.S. launch joint investigation into deaths of 13 right whales

The United States and Canada are launching a joint investigation into the deaths of the endangered North Atlantic right whales, after the United States’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) declared the die-off an “unusual mortality event,” or UME, on Thursday night. Confirmation of the investigation came on Friday, during a phone conference involving representatives of NOAA and Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). According to NOAA officials, a UME declaration is only triggered when there is significant die-off in a population and one that demands a significant response. click here to read the story 15:59

Commercial Crab Vessel Skipper Fined $15,000

On April 10, 2017, Van Tan Le, skipper of the commercial crabbing vessel Vitamin Sea Vl, pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act by harvesting Dungeness crab, between June 21 and June 30, 2015, in a closed area. Judge H J Seidemann III ordered Mr. Le to pay a total of $15,000, with $14,000 of that to be used for fisheries preservation and conservation projects in and around Haida Gwaii and Hecate Strait. The charges stem from Mr. Le setting more than 49 crab traps inside the Soft-shell Management Area 10 – McIntyre Bay closure area. A routine audit of the vessel’s logbook and electronic monitoring data revealed possible fishing violations and triggered a DFO fishery officer investigation in the summer of 2015. click here to read the story 13:48

St. Anthony harvesters told they can’t keep their crab

Frustrated crab fishermen gathered outside the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) office in St. Anthony early Wednesday morning. While the crab fishery officially ended on July 30, many harvesters left their final pots of the season in the water until now because of rough weather conditions. Late Tuesday evening, however, fishermen received calls that due to the delay in taking up their pots, any crab caught would have to be thrown back in the ocean. It was the cause of mass frustration that sent over 18 harvesters outside the DFO office the following morning.,,“They’re saying we got to throw away the crab, the crab that were starving for,” said Alyward. “Everybody out there got a couple thousand dollars of bait in those pots, and now we have to throw it all away. It’s pretty sick, that’s what I call that.” click here to read the story 09:10

NL Fish Harvesters Welcome Minister’s Commitment to Protect the Independence of the Inshore Fishery

The Fish, Food and Allied Workers’ Union (FFAW-Unifor) applauds Minister Dominic LeBlanc’s announcement that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans will pursue amendments to the Fisheries Act that will protect the independent owner-operator fishery. “The best way to build a strong middle class, create jobs and protect and strengthen the economy in coastal communities is through enforcing the owner-operator and fleet separation policies,” said Keith Sullivan, President of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW-Unifor). “Today’s announcement is the result of consistent calls from FFAW-Unifor and other fisheries organizations across Canada to keep fishing licenses in the hands of those who actually fish by taking concrete steps to enforce existing policies.” click here to read the press release 08:12

Shrinking northern shrimp catch sparks worry for one of Eastern Canada’s most important fisheries

The northern shrimp population in the Gulf of St. Lawrence has dropped by 50 per cent in the past 10 years, according to Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Commercial fishermen brought in roughly 30 per cent fewer shrimp between 2015 and 2016. While the exact portrait of what is happening with shrimp stocks may be complex, the warming temperatures of the Gulf of St. Lawrence have been fingered as a potential problem for northern shrimp, a cold-water-loving shrimp species found in the northwest Atlantic. Another factor is the increasing number of redfish, also known as the ocean perch, a species that prefers warmer temperatures. Redfish compete with the shrimp for food when they are young, and feed on them when they are older. click here to read the story 11:08

FISH-NL recommends DFO immediately suspend extra cod to south coast inshore harvesters 

“The priority must be to ensure all inshore harvesters have the opportunity to at least catch their basic IQs (Individual Quotas),” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. It’s rumoured that more than 60 per cent of the 6,500-tonne cod quota that’s been set this year off the south coast (fishing zone 3Ps) has already been taken. A DFO official said late Wednesday afternoon the Department has noticed an increase in landings, and is “monitoring” the situation. While south coast harvesters are assigned IQs, they’re also allowed to catch even more cod — this year it’s up to one full extra IQ, which local harvesters refer to as a “bump”. Rumour also has it that Ocean Choice International is currently gearing up its offshore vessels to catch south coast cod this fall. click here to read the story 23:43

The Atlantic wolffish — a face only a mother could love

What is striped, grows to be five feet long and has big chomper teeth all over the roof of its mouth? The Atlantic wolffish.,, There are three types of wolffish: spotted, northern and striped. The first two types are threatened and the third, the one that most interests Novaczek, is of special concern. In partnership with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), Novaczek has been studying striped or Atlantic wolffish in Conception Bay since 2014…“In 2014 and 2015 we mapped Atlantic wolffish habitat in Conception Bay, with detailed characterization of some dens near Bauline. The dens are really important for wolffish — they pair, spawn and guard their eggs in these dens. Feeding debris at the den openings indicates they are also foraging in this habitat.” click here to read the story 10:12

FISH-NL calls on DFO to extend snow crab season off eastern Newfoundland and southern Avalon 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 14th, 2017 – The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is calling on the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans to extend the snow crab fishing season in fishing zone 3L off eastern Newfoundland and the southern Avalon for at least two weeks in light of the delayed start to the season. “Severe ice conditions set most inshore harvesters back, and they need to make up that time on the water,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “Inshore harvesters are also experiencing slower catches because of the caplin and herring coming in over the fishing grounds, so that must be taken into account.” As it stands, the snow crab season is slated to close in 3L on July 31st. FISH-NL has made an official request to DFO on behalf of harvesters to extend the season. 12:18

DFO closes a gulf fishery early to help protect right whales

Fisheries and Oceans Canada closed part of the snow crab fishery two days early on Wednesday as part of efforts to save the remaining population of North Atlantic right whales. The department announced several steps to protect the whales two days after the death of Joe Howlett, who was killed Monday after freeing a North Atlantic right whale that had been entangled in fishing gear in the Gulf of St. Lawrence near Shippagan, N.B.,,, DFO said it will review fisheries in the area of the gulf where right whales have been showing up in greater numbers, with some encountering danger. click here to read the story 09:33

Baby lobster abundance suggests strong harvests will continue

Lobster fishermen and government officials are seeing indications are that lobster stocks will be plentiful in the Gulf of St. Lawrence for the next few years at least. Fishermen have been reporting a lot of smaller lobsters in their traps this year, which Fisheries and Oceans Canada preliminary monitoring has confirmed. Amelie Rondeau of Fisheries and Oceans said the abundance of lobsters has been building in the last five years, with lobster landings going up as well. “All the stars are aligned: favourable environmental conditions, combined with proper management of the stocks,” said Rondeau. click here to read the story 14:01

EDITORIAL: It’s time to share marine protection

Nova Scotia has already paid an upfront price for being an environmental pioneer. So it’s time to carefully consider the long-term impact of the aggressive implementation of new environmental measures and policies, including the creation of additional Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) recently announced the boundaries of the new St. Anns Bank Marine Protected Areas, offshore Cape Breton. Roughly 4,400 acres in size, it will be forbidden ground for oil and gas activity. Limited commercial fishing will be allowed on about 25 per cent of the area. MPAs are rightly seen as ocean regenerators, areas in which marine ecosystems can thrive, and fish habitat can be protected.  That’s all good.  What’s puzzling is that little Nova Scotia, with its ocean-dependent economy, is being asked to bear a disproportionate share of the burden for Canada’s MPA initiative.  click here to read the story 12:48

Carcass of right whale being towed to P.E.I. to determine cause of death

The Canadian Coast Guard and Fisheries and Oceans Canada were expected to beach a dead right whale on a Prince Edward Island shore Wednesday in a bid to learn what killed at least six of the endangered mammals in recent weeks. Tonya Wimmer of the Marine Animal Response Society said the carcass was being towed to shore at Norway, P.E.I., with the intention of conducting a necropsy on Thursday. “For the coast guard and Fisheries and Oceans … it is a very slow process to ensure the safety of the people on the boats and also make sure they don’t lose the animal midway coming in. Some of these animals are coming from quite a ways away,” Wimmer said. click here to read the story 15:22

DFO plan for at-sea observers met with skepticism by lobster fishermen

A federal government proposal to introduce mandatory at-sea observers on board the southwest Nova Scotia lobster fleet is getting a cold shoulder from representatives of three fisheries groups.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans wants observers to monitor bycatch of cod and cusk caught inadvertently in lobster traps. Bernie Berry of the Coldwater Lobster Association said the plan would require all fishermen to notify the government every time they plan to leave port — a process known as hailing out. Some would be randomly selected to have an observer from an existing monitoring company meet them at the dock prior to sailing. click here to read the story 11:37

DFO will talk to Nova Scotia about growing number of Marine Protected Areas

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans will meet with the province to discuss its concerns about the growing numbers of marine protected areas being designated off Nova Scotia, a department spokesman says. In April, the province asked Ottawa to stop making additional designations until other provinces and territories reach the same numbers achieved off Nova Scotia. The McNeil government is concerned the creation of more marine protected areas will have a negative impact on Nova Scotia’s economy. Marine-protected designations restrict human activities like fishing and offshore energy development. click here to read the story 11:30

DFO concerned by deaths of 5 endangered North Atlantic Right whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is working with marine mammal experts, scientists, and fishery officers from across Atlantic Canada to determine what has caused the recent deaths of several rare North Atlantic Right whales in eastern Canada. At least five dead Right whales have been seen recently in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. This situation is very concerning. The cause of death is unknown at this time and DFO is committed to finding out what happened to these animals and to protecting this species. DFO is reaching out for assistance from a broad range of expertise from the Marine Animal Response Society, the Canadian Whale Institute and wildlife pathology veterinarians from the Atlantic Veterinary College and the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative to find answers. DFO is also working with partners including Transport Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, the USA’s National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) (as this is a cross border issue) and commercial area fishermen. click here to read the press release 09:21

Feds announce emergency funding for ice-impacted harvesters in N.L., Quebec

The federal government has finally stepped in to provide emergency financial assistance to fish harvesters impacted by severe ice conditions in Newfoundland and Labrador.Fisheries and Ocean Minister Dominic LeBlanc announced Friday up to $5 million has been allocated for payments for eligible applicants in Newfoundland and Labrador, and Quebec, under the Ice Assistance Emergency Program. Application forms for the program will be available on the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) website as of June 23. They will also be available at DFO and Service Canada offices in the ice-affected areas.,,, In response to the announcement, the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW-Unifor) union called it unacceptable to not include fish plant workers in the income support program.,,, “Better late than never,” FISH-NL president Ryan Cleary said in a news release, adding the group has been lobbying for emergency funding since April. click here to read the story 09:53

Arnold’s Cove plant owner anxiously awaiting decision on offshore 3Ps

Alberto Warehem is both frustrated and worried. The owner of Icewater Seafoods Inc. in Arnold’s Cove has yet to receive his allocation of offshore 3Ps Cod, even though the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) announced cod quotas for that fishing zone on Friday, May 19. For the 2017-18 season, the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for 3Ps cod is 6,500 tonnes. This is a nearly 50 percent reduction from the 2015-2016 TAC of 13,490 tonnes. Wareham needs more detail, however, on how the quota reductions will impact his business. He has 200 workers who depend on the offshore cod quota. For the past several years, the offshore quota of cod gave them 10-12 weeks of work each season; or about 30-40 percent of their annual employment. click here to read the story 19:14