Tag Archives: DFO

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

Op-Ed: Something fishy is going on in the Bay of Fundy

If you thought the massive fish and marine animal die-off that took place in Nova Scotia back in December is all cleared up, you’re dead wrong. There have been two more die-offs, but these latest ones are different because they are being caused by man. Besides the massive kill that took place in December that encompassed an area from Annapolis to Yarmouth, there was the mutilated fish brought up in gill nets earlier this month in the Minas Basin area. Now everyone is looking at Nova Scotia Power (NSP) as being the culprit in these latest fish kills. click here to read the story 20:02

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