Tag Archives: Dominic LeBlanc

$1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan – Canada takes immediate action to protect endangered whales

Today, Canada’s Whales Initiative was announced in Vancouver by the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, and Jonathan Wilkinson, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change. This $167.4 million initiative under Budget 2018 will protect and support the recovery of the Southern Resident Killer Whale, the North Atlantic right whale, and the St. Lawrence Estuary beluga whale through comprehensive actions tailored to address the unique combinations of threats. >click to read<13:02

Lobster fishermen comply with federal order and move traps to smaller area

Lobster fishermen aboard about 60 boats spent Sunday morning pulling traps from waters off Miscou Island in northeastern New Brunswick in order to comply with a zone closure put in place by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The closures in Lobster Fishing Area 23 were announced by the DFO on June 11, after five North Atlantic right whales were seen between Miscou and the Gaspe Peninsula. DFO boats were in the area monitoring the situation as the traps were hauled up. “There’s a very small block that they can kind of move into. They are limited on the amount of territory that is left for them so they’re all going to have to cram into what’s left I guess.” >click to read<10:16

LeBlanc offers fall season to fishermen squeezed by right whale measures

The federal fisheries minister says he has offered lobster harvesters from New Brunswick and Quebec a previously unscheduled fall fishing season, to make up for measures aimed at protecting endangered right whales. Dominic LeBlanc said he told the Maritime Fishermen’s Union that he plans to open a harvesting zone in the last half of September because of the 15-day closure of a 1,400-square-kilometre portion of ocean that begins Sunday. LeBlanc said the offer will go to about 62 fishing vessels in New Brunswick and 60 from the Gaspe Peninsula whose lobster harvest will be largely shut down as the whales pass through. >click to read<18:45

Latest fishing area closures raise fears about fights over shrinking territory

About 300 fishermen from across the Acadian Peninsula held an emergency meeting Tuesday to discuss the latest fishing area closure and their options. Exasperated by the federal government’s closures of fishing grounds, fishermen and plant workers from across New Brunswick’s Acadian Peninsula held an emergency meeting Tuesday on Lameque Island to discuss their options. Afterwards, some said they were worried the latest closure would lead to fights over what little territory they have left.  The meeting came after another round of fishing area closures was announced Monday, after five North American right whales were seen between Miscou and the Gaspe Peninsula. >click to read<21:41

Proposal sent to minister – Fishermen propose ‘flexible’ closures to protect whales and livelihoods

Lobster fishermen are asking Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc to consider a proposal that would allow them to continue fishing close to the shores of northeastern New Brunswick even if whales are spotted in the area. The proposal comes as fishermen become increasingly anxious about their shrinking fishing grounds as more areas close Wednesday afternoon after endangered right whales were spotted. Martin Mallet, executive director of the Maritime Fishermen’s Union, met with about 100 fishermen in Sainte-Marie-Saint-Raphaël on Tuesday evening. >click to read<13:12

Fisheries minister casts line to Ottawa for lobster poaching task force

Fisheries Minister Keith Colwell says he’s “very concerned” about the possibility of violence related to lobster poaching in southwest Nova Scotia and he’s proposing an idea he says worked in the past. Last week, representatives from several lobster associations raised the issue of poaching on the eve of the season’s close, saying they feared an escalation of tensions that last year saw several boats set on fire and threats exchanged between fishermen. >click to read<14:29

Feds limit chinook fishery to help resident killer whale recovery

The federal government is closing some recreational and commercial chinook fisheries on the West Coast in an effort to help save endangered southern resident killer whales. Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc said Thursday that a lack of prey for the whales is one of the critical factors affecting their recovery. There are just 76 of the whales left and LeBlanc said in a news release that a reduction in the total chinook fishery of 25 to 35 per cent will help conserve the orca’s main food source. The closures will be in the Juan de Fuca Strait and around portions of the Gulf Islands, the department said in the release. >click to read<08:26

Fishermen’s frustration grows as reality of protecting whales sinks in

The president of the Maritime Fishermen’s Union says there is “increasing frustration” among his members after a new temporary closure of an area east of Miscou Island on the northern coast of New Brunswick. The decision by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans comes after a surveillance flight spotted two North Atlantic right whales swimming in the area. Fishermen have until Tuesday at 4 p.m. to remove all of their gear during the 15-day closure, which could be extended if whales remain in the area. Carl Allen said those who have been fishing in the area that will be closed are in a “severe panic.” >click to read<12:26

Gulf of St. Lawrence – 6 fishing areas closing after 2 right whales spotted

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is temporarily closing several fishing areas in an effort to protect endangered right whales. In a tweet, Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc said two North Atlantic right whales were spotted in the Gulf of St. Lawrence off the coast of New Brunswick. The closures will take effect May 22 at 4 p.m. ​and all gear is expected to be removed from the water by that time. The closures are for the following fisheries: snow crab, toad crab, rock crab, lobster and whelk. The closures will also apply to winter flounder and Atlantic halibut, except where gear is not left unattended. >click to read<07:25

Ethics commissioner to investigate LeBlanc for lucrative Arctic surf clams deal

Federal ethics commissioner Mario Dion has launched an investigation of Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc’s decision to award a lucrative licence for the Arctic surf clam fishery to a group that has ties to his wife’s family and the federal Liberal party — a reversal of a decision the commissioner made earlier this month to pass on such a probe, CBC News has learned. Conservative B.C. MP Todd Doherty, the fisheries critic, alleges the government’s effort to expand ownership in the fishery — by clawing back part of an existing quota held by Clearwater Foods and handing it to a group with Indigenous representation — violates the Conflict of Interest Act because it enriches the brother of a sitting Liberal MP, a former Liberal MP, and a cousin of LeBlanc’s wife. Doherty asked Dion to initiate this examination. >click to read<18:00

Links between minister’s wife and surf clam deal lead to renewed calls for ethics probe

The ethics commissioner has rebuffed a request from a Conservative MP to investigate Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc’s decision to award a license for the Arctic surf clam fishery to a group with federal Liberal ties. But Conservatives are now asking Mario Dion to take a second look at the deal — because they say they now have evidence that a member of LeBlanc’s wife’s family had a financial stake in the winning bid. The Conservatives claim that link may have influenced LeBlanc’s decision — an suggestion the minister calls “ludicrous.” >click to read<09:58

Clearwater throws cold water on surf clam rival’s prospects in 2018

Halifax-based Clearwater Seafoods spoke for the first time Tuesday since losing a valuable arctic surf clam quota and raised doubts about whether a new Indigenous rival will be able to live up to its promise to harvest in 2018. The company suggested the licence for about 9,600 tonnes of the shellfish, worth an estimated $29 million, is on hold while the award is challenged in Federal Court. “Our understanding is with a judicial review process, the Department [of Fisheries and Oceans] would pause in issuing a licence until that process plays itself out,”,, >click to read<18:02

A seafood empire and a court battle over Trudeau’s push for Indigenous reconciliation

One of the Trudeau government’s signature acts of Indigenous reconciliation is being challenged in court, exposing the fierce competition between First Nations for a shellfish quota worth millions — and the jockeying by one of Canada’s leading seafood companies to keep control of the fishery. Hundreds of pages of records filed in Federal Court offer new insight into the controversial decision in February to award 25 per cent of Canada’s Arctic surf clam quota to Five Nations Clam Company, led by Elsipogtog First Nation of New Brunswick and its industry partner Premium Seafoods of Arichat, N.S. >click to read<09:43

Endangered species

The federal government’s decision to extend rules protecting right whales to P.E.I.’s lobster fishermen sent waves of anxiety through the industry this week. The fishermen were reacting not only to the poor timing of the decision – coming just days before the lobster season’s opening on May 1 – but, more urgently, the prospect that their livelihood may dwindle if a right whale is spotted near a fishing vessel.,,, If our fishermen can’t prosper with their catch, it means fewer jobs at the Island’s processing facilities that employ hundreds. The effects trickle down from there, from the suppliers to lobster pounds to grocery stores, the tourism industry and eventually to all of us as consumers. >click to read<19:56

Fisheries minister stands firm on disputed whale closures after meeting lobster industry

Federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister Dominic LeBlanc is standing firm on the new rules imposed on the lobster industry that were designed to protect endangered whales but left fishermen in shock and frustration. This year’s lobster-fishing plan for the Gulf of St. Lawrence region, introduced Tuesday, included many of the same protection measures announced in March for the snow crab industry, including controversial “no-fishing” zones.,, “Those right whales, make no mistake about it, are heading north,” he said. “If there were 90 identified by American surveillance, those right whales will be coming into Canadian waters in the days and coming weeks.” <click to read<18:21

P.E.I. fisheries minister, opposition concerned over new fishing rule    >click to read<

Fisheries minister meets with lobster industry today about disputed closures

Federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister Dominic LeBlanc is in Moncton on Friday to meet with the lobster industry, after new rules introduced this week to protect endangered whales left fishermen in a state of shock and frustration.,, He suggested the measures were necessary to avoid a punitive response from the U.S. and to protect the lobster industry. “Under American law, if a country does not take every reasonable and possible step to protect these highly endangered marine mammals, the American government can decide, under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of the United States, that the remedy is to close the American border to imports of fish and seafood from that country, which would have a devastating effect.”>click to read<12:10

Fishermen’s union requests emergency meeting with minister over new lobster rules

The Maritime Fishermen’s Union has requested an emergency meeting with Fisheries and Oceans Minister Dominic LeBlanc before the lobster season starts next week to discuss new measures aimed at protecting North Atlantic right whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The union doesn’t understand why the strict protective measures, which include closures and rope limits, have been sprung on lobster fishermen, said president Carl Allen.,,, LeBlanc walked past reporters Wednesday when asked about the issue.>click to read<17:44

Icebreaker dispatched to Gulf of St. Lawrence to hasten crab season — and save whales

A Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker has been called in to smash through pack ice off the northeast coast of New Brunswick in an unusual bid to help the critically endangered North Atlantic right whales expected to make their way to Canadian waters later this spring. The goal is to allow local snow crab fishermen to complete their season in the Gulf of St. Lawrence earlier than usual, which should reduce the number of ship strikes and entanglements with fishing gear that killed so many whales last year. >click to read<08:14

P.E.I. Lobster fishery reduces floating rope in hopes of protecting North Atlantic right whales

Lobster fishers on P.E.I. are taking new measures this season to help protect the endangered North Atlantic right whales from entanglement. In January, Fisheries and Oceans Minister Dominic LeBlanc announced changes to the snow crab fishery in the Gulf of St. Lawrence to protect the right whales, including reducing the amount of rope floating on the surface and mandatory reporting of all lost gear. Fishermen are also required to report any sightings of the endangered whales. >click to read<13:46

Lobster Fishing Area 41 – Clearwater Seafoods’ offshore lobster monopoly

Wedgeport lobster fisherman Lucien LeBlanc has watched the big blue Clearwater Seafoods trawler Randell Dominaux hauling lobster traps 80 kilometres off the southern tip of Nova Scotia — and looked on with envy. “If a genie popped up and I could get one wish, I’d like to have a zone all to myself. Not just to myself — I’d love to have it for LFA [lobster fishing area] 34. They have a large zone and they only use a miniscule amount of it,” LeBlanc said. The Clearwater trawler is working its side of what’s known as Lobster Fishing Area 41 — a vast area reserved exclusively for Clearwater in a lobster fishery unique in Canada. >click to read<09:10

Speed limits, snow crab season changes coming to help save the whales

Ottawa is changing the dates of Canada’s snow crab season and establishing a permanent speed limit in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in hopes of protecting the highly endangered North Atlantic right whale.,, LeBlanc’s department is adjusting the dates of the snow crab season so it starts and ends earlier. The snow crab fishery will start as soon as possible, with the help of icebreakers and a hovercraft. The southern part of the Gulf, where most of the right whales were spotted last year, will be closed to fishing after April 28. >click to read<13:55

Fisheries Minister Leblanc to make decision on northern cod fishery in April, says seals are a big factor

With cod stocks again on the decline — by a shocking 30 per cent, according to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) — the federal fisheries minister says a decision about the fishery will be made within two weeks. Dominic Leblanc said there are a series of factors at play, but one is the grey seal — an animal thought to cause as much as 50 per cent of natural deaths among full-size cod, according to DFO scientists. “There’s no doubt that the seals represent a significant challenge,”,,, >click to read<19:18

New criticism surrounds federal decision to break Arctic surf clam monopoly

One month after the federal fisheries minister announced a new licence for an important clam fishery would be awarded to a partnership of Indigenous groups from across Atlantic Canada, the government is facing fresh criticism over how it awarded the licence, and for the Liberals’ perceived ties to the winning bidder. The decision to award one-quarter of the Arctic surf clam quota to a partnership that included Indigenous communities was intended to further reconciliation by helping First Nations gain a foothold in a lucrative market and to break the monopoly on Arctic surf clams that has been held by Halifax-based Clearwater Seafoods. >click to read<10:10

Seeking a viable fishery in Twillingate – Harvester and harbour master weigh in on state of shrimp fishery

With projected quota cuts to an already curtailed fishery, some shrimp harvesters say they will not even bother chasing the species this year. Perry Collins of Seldom on Fogo Island has harvested shrimp for over 10 years. He says if quotas go lower than they already are, there will be little to no profit in taking part in the shrimp fishery. “If the quota goes any lower … they may as well close it out all together,” Collins said. “With the time you take to gear up and change over from your other fisheries, it’s really not worth going after.” >click to read<14:09

‘This process was wrong’: N.L. fisheries minister says criticism of surf clams decision is building

Provincial Fisheries Minister Gerry Byrne says there were so many problems with the way a lucrative surf clam contract was awarded that the decision should be reversed. Byrne said it’s not just the government and Indigenous communities and nations in this province taking a stand. “Indigenous nations and communities from all over Atlantic Canada and Quebec seem to be taking a much stronger, much more vocal and negative reaction to not just the decision, but how the decision was taken,” the MHA for Corner Brook, said on Thursday. >click to read<13:24

Names of Indigenous groups who won coveted Arctic surf clam quota announced >click to read<

Federal fisheries minister refuses to reverse decision on surf clam licence

Federal Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc has rejected calls to reverse his recent decision to award a multimillion-dollar Arctic surf clam fishing licence to a Nova Scotia company. LeBlanc says he understands there are hurt feelings among failed bidders, but he insisted the Cape Breton-based company and its Indigenous partners made the best case for Indigenous participation. The minister was responding to complaints from the Newfoundland and Labrador government and the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq chiefs. >click to read< 17:21

Minister should continue proportionate quota sharing approach with northern shrimp

An anticipated decrease in northern shrimp quotas in key shrimp fishing areas off Newfoundland and Labrador this year should result in the same proportionate quota sharing approach established last year, says the Canadian Association of Prawn Producers (CAPP). “Nobody likes to see a reduction in their quota, but in an area where the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) needs to be reduced, it is important that all fishers share these reductions in proportion to their share of the fishing quotas.” A major Northern Shrimp Advisory committee meeting is being held in Montreal today. >click to read<16:40

Indigenous leaders raise ‘serious questions’ about multimillion-dollar clam licence

A backlash is growing against a multimillion-dollar federal bid to promote reconciliation and economic development among Indigenous groups in Atlantic Canada and Quebec. A group that represents 13 Mi’kmaq First Nations in Nova Scotia issued a statement Friday saying it is joining politicians in Newfoundland and Labrador to demand Ottawa reverse its recent decision to award a lucrative Arctic surf clam fishing licence to a company based in Cape Breton that claims to have Indigenous partners in all five provinces.,,, “What we know to be true is that this is anything but reconciliation. This has pitted province against province, community against community, and First Nation against First Nation.” >click to read<12:36

Conservationists want emergency order to save killer whales off B.C. coast

Several conservation groups say the federal government’s failure to issue an emergency order reducing threats to endangered orcas off the B.C. coast ahead of fishing and whale-watching season could mean the species’ extinction. The organizations say Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc and Environment Minister Catherine McKenna had not recommended an emergency order to cabinet by March 1, which could have seen priority feeding refuges established, fishing restricted and speed reductions for commercial vessels put in place for the season. >click to read< 19:35

Newfoundland and Labrador calls on Ottawa to quash surf clam fishing licence

The Newfoundland and Labrador government is demanding Ottawa reverse its decision to award a lucrative Arctic surf clam fishing licence to a Nova Scotia company that says it has Indigenous partners from every Atlantic province and Quebec. Newfoundland Fisheries Minister Gerry Byrne says the Five Nations Clam Company does not have any Indigenous partners from Newfoundland and Labrador, despite a federal statement that claims otherwise. >click to read< 15:44