Tag Archives: Gulf of St. Lawrence

Canadian Hurricane Centre says Hurricane Fiona will be ‘historic, extreme event’

The Canadian Hurricane Centre says Hurricane Fiona will make landfall in eastern Nova Scotia as a powerful post-tropical storm early Saturday. In a Friday afternoon briefing, Bob Robichaud, a warning preparedness meteorologist with the centre, cautioned people not to focus on the hurricane’s track since its effects will be felt across a swath of eastern Canada. Environment Canada says this includes much of Nova Scotia, P.E.I., southeastern New Brunswick, western and southwestern Newfoundland, and some parts of Quebec bordering the Gulf of St. Lawrence. >click to read< – Current Hurricane Conditions – Environment Canada (weather.gc.ca)  13:54

Innovative ropeless fishing gear helps prevent whale entanglements

When fishing zones get closed down due to whale sightings, fish harvesters now have a new place to turn. Can Fish is a program set up by the Canadian Wildlife Federation to allow fishers to test out and use groundbreaking ropeless technology for free. The North Atlantic right whale is one of many marine species being impacted by the changing ocean temperatures in a warming world. The whales have been swimming northward moving from the Bay of Fundy to the Gulf of St. Lawrence,,, The Canadian Wildlife federation is trying to lessen this risk by popularizing the use of ropeless fishing gear through its newly introduced Can Fish program. At a warehouse in Halifax, Nova Scotia, fish harvesters can show up and borrow innovative ropeless fishing gear for free. The catch? These fishers need to provide data collected as they use the innovative technology in order to help build future designs of the equipment. Video, photos, >click to read< 17:30

Entanglement blame game good for wallets, not for whales

In response to the dissemination of “misleading and false information” about the Maine lobster fishery and their interaction with right whales, not even the federal government (NOAA/NMFS) attributes a right whale death to the Maine fishery. In fact, only two whales have ever been seen in Maine lobster gear and the last one was 18 years ago. A red marker found on gear in 2012 could have come from anywhere in New England. Maine lobstermen voluntarily changed their marker color to purple in 2020 to clearly differentiate themselves from the other New England states and to avoid any further allegations. Deaths and serious injuries in Maine lobster gear have remained constant at zero since right whale observations were initiated. To improve on that is impossible. >click to continue reading<, By Jack Merrill 15:35

Planes can’t find entangled whale in search Wednesday

Planes and boats searched the Gulf of St. Lawrence on Wednesday, looking for a young North Atlantic right whale entangled in rope and other gear.  An airplane saw the calf of a right whale known as 3720 last weekend, 48 nautical miles east of Shippagan, trailing fishing rope and buoys. The Department of Fisheries said at the time that it wasn’t known how long the yearling had been entangled. Whale expert Philip Hamilton of the New England Aquarium said lots of challenges come with finding a whale such as this one, which had previously last been spotted in March off Provincetown, Mass. (Where is the photo of the calf wrapped in fishing gear the plane didn’t take?!!) >click to read< 12:23

Entangled North Atlantic Right Whale spotted off Shippagan, N.B.

The federal Fisheries Department is on the lookout for an entangled North Atlantic Right Whale in the Gulf of St. Lawrence near Shippagan, N.B. The department says the whale was observed on Saturday by a Fisheries and Oceans Canada aircraft. The whale, which has been identified as the 2021 calf of the whale known as 3720, was spotted about 48 nautical miles east of Shippagan. Officials said they do not know the type of gear that the whale is entangled in, or where it came from. >click to read< 08:14

Bloc Québécois wants more squid fishing after feds cut herring quota

Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet asked Fisheries and Oceans Canada on Sunday to allow squid fishing to compensate for the decrease in quotas for the fall herring announced a few days earlier. On Friday, minister Joyce Murray announced that the total allowable catch for the fall herring in the Gulf of St. Lawrence would decrease to 10,000 tonnes from 12,000 tonnes to preserve the population.  “We leave the fishers without notice in an economic situation that is not good for them, in a sector that is already fragile,” Blanchet said, explaining that adding squid quotas would offer them an alternative “that uses the equipment they already have and that has a domestic Quebec market that will consume all the products, while not risking biodiversity or costing the government anything. >click to read< 07:40

Regulations coming to Atlantic Canada could ensure safety of endangered right whales

Last month, Sierra Club Canada held a web discussion where it talked about the endangered North Atlantic right whale population in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and how new changes coming to the fishing industry could help protect them. DFO has been working to develop rope systems that are designed to release if too much force is applied suddenly. Currently, there are no regulations for fisherman to use low-bearing gear. Jenn Michael Lewis, who helps catch lobster in St. Peters Bay, said the response from fishermen in the community about the new rope regulations will likely be a negative one.  “It has been a point of tension. There isn’t many right near St Peters Bay, many fishermen don’t see the point in switching,” Lewis said. >click to read< 08:10

Concerns on P.E.I. about the risk foreign bait might pose to ecosystem

In March, DFO put a moratorium on commercial fishing for herring in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and mackerel across the East Coast, saying urgent action is required to allow those fish stocks to recover. That moratorium led to fears of a shortage of bait for use in the lucrative Maritime lobster fishery. Mark Prevost, the co-owner of the Bait Masters alternative bait company in Nine Mile Creek, P.E.I., appeared before a federal fisheries committee earlier this week. He is calling on the federal government to regulate the kinds of fish being used for bait. >click to read< 15:36

P.E.I. fishermen seek province’s help in wake of herring, mackerel moratorium

In March, the federal DFO put a moratorium on commercial fishing for herring in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and mackerel across the East Coast, saying urgent action is required to allow the stocks to recover. Fishers were not pleased, and said a complete moratorium goes too far. “This has been a devastating and direct blow for these fishers,” said Molly Aylward, the association’s executive director, appearing before a legislative standing committee on natural resources. The P.E.I.F.A. represents independent core fishers who depend on the commercial herring and mackerel fishery for their main source of income, as well as lobster fishers who use the fish for bait, often fishing it themselves to keep their costs down. >click to read< 09:17

Grey seals eat into another fish population in the Gulf of St. Lawrence

Grey seals are eating into another fish species in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence, driving a serious decline in the abundance of yellowtail flounder, according to a new report from Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO). Federal scientists assessed the flatfish species in the southern gulf over the past 25 years up to 2020 and projected the population to 2030. The results are stark. The number of yellowtail flounder six-years and older is believed to have declined by 95 per cent since the mid-1980s. There is a 100 per cent probability the population will remain in the critical zone where serious harm occurs whatever the level of commercial fishing, the report says. >click to read< 08:39

DFO: Atlantic Canada Grey Seal population is slowing

The grey seal population in Atlantic Canada continues to grow and is now estimated at 366,000, according to the 2021 stock assessment released Thursday by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. But DFO says the population is growing at a much slower rate than in previous years and for the first time in 60 years it is believed pup production has decreased on Sable Island. Scientists used a new model to estimate the population in the latest report. It converted pup production numbers from aerial surveys to total population by combining reproductive and survival rates with the small number harvested by humans. Applying the new modelling to its 2016 estimate produced a sharply lower result. >click to read< 13:44

Search underway for entangled North Atlantic right whale spotted in Gulf of St. Lawrence

The whale has been identified as a 14-year-old female, known as Sundog (EG 3823), according to a news release issued Friday. Marine mammal response partners are on standby. “If the whale is located, and weather and sea conditions allow, efforts may be made in the coming days to attempt disentanglement,” the release states. “We do not yet know the type of gear that the whale is entangled in or where the gear came from.” The whale was last seen on March 11, near Cape Cod, Mass. >click to read< 18:09

Woefully inadequate – DFO’s science on impact of seal population doesn’t go nearly far enough

Efforts by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to measure the impact of the massive seal population in Atlantic Canada are “woefully inadequate,” according to a newly released task force report. The industry-led report, which was commissioned by DFO, disputes the department’s claims that, for the most part, seals are not harming fish populations. Industry has long argued that seals are having significant impacts on groundfish stocks, pelagic stocks, shellfish and salmon. >click to read< 09:13

1st Right whale of season spotted in Gulf of St. Lawrence, triggers fishing closure

A surveillance aircraft spotted the whale in the Gulf, north of the Magdalen Islands, on Tuesday, the federal government announced Wednesday afternoon. There is now a 15-day fishing closure in specific fishing grids in the southern Gulf, north of the islands, according to a news release issued by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard. In March, the Canadian government announced its fishery and vessel management measures for the 2022 season to protect the endangered whales from entanglements and ship strikes as they migrate into Canadian waters. >click to read< 18:22

DFO says seals not having a significant impact on lobster bait stock

With mackerel and herring fisheries, key sources of bait for lobster fishermen, shut down this spring, some lobster fishermen are casting the blame on growing seal populations in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. P.E.I. lobster fisherman Charlie McGeoghegan suggested targeting the fishery is the wrong approach. “The seals have caused this problem and DFO has ignored it for over 25 years, because we’ve been telling them the whole time that their population is exploding and we know what they eat, based on science. They open them up and we know that they eat herring and mackerel and lots of it.” >click to read< 10:23

Minister Ignores Established Precautionary Approach for Shrimp – Slashes Quotas in Struggling Fishery

Minister Joyce Murray’s decision today to slash quotas in the Gulf of St. Lawrence shrimp fishery is a significant blow for harvesters and plant workers who have already experienced drastic cuts over the last number of years. A cut of nearly 20 per cent in Shrimp Fishing Area (SFA) 8 in the Gulf of St. Lawrence is contrary to the recently established Precautionary Approach (PA), showing Minister Murray’s lack of commitment to collaborative fisheries management. >click to read< 08:58

Will Atlantic Canada lobster season break another sales record? Or will inflation curb consumer appetite,,,

Roger Fowlow is paying a lot of attention to the long-range marine forecast these days. Lobster season opens soon and he’s hoping the unsettled spring weather will ease off, giving him light winds to set his lobster pots. He used to catch cod, but with quotas so low, cod prices stalled for years at less than a dollar a pound, and fuel prices soaring this year. He said it’s not worth bothering with. Lobster is the money maker, and the last few years have given him good catches and good prices. Fowlow is confident of good catches again this year. But on the question of the price he might get paid, he’s not so certain. For P.E.I. lobster fisher Bethany McCarthy, inflation is already driving up the cost of running her boat. In addition to higher prices for fuel, she’ll have to shell out more money for bait this year, thanks to DFO’s decision to kill the mackerel fishery. photos, video, >click to read< 12:15

Why Canada shuttered some mackerel and spring herring fisheries in Québec and Atlantic Canada

The announcement by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to suspend fishing for Atlantic mackerel and spring herring in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence made waves as the fishing season opened. This decision will have repercussions on the fishing industry at several levels since these species are fished not only for commercial purposes, but are also used as bait in the lobster, snow crab and Atlantic halibut fisheries. The latest stock assessment of Atlantic mackerel and spring herring in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence revealed high mortality rates among adult fish. In addition to high fishing pressure, the natural mortality of fish by predation also increased rapidly, The grey seal, now 16 times more abundant than in the 1960s, is the main predator of herring. >click to read< 18:38

DFO enacts new regulations aimed at depleted fish stocks

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has enacted new regulations that bind its minister to rebuilding Canada’s depleted fish stocks and ensuring healthy ones stay that way, a move that comes weeks after it closed down two East Coast fisheries in the name of sustainability. The regulations are the teeth behind amendments to the Fisheries Act passed in 2019 and have been closely watched by the commercial fishing industry and environmentalists. The changes were posted Wednesday in the Canada Gazette. It identified 30 major fish stocks that will require a rebuilding plan,,,  The minister for the department will have up to three years to produce a rebuilding plan once the stock has hit the limit reference point. >click to read< 16:32

Political pressure for an early opening of the Gulf crab fishery

Quebec urges Ottawa to authorize the opening of the snow crab fishing season as soon as possible in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence, in which crabbers from the Magdalen Islands, Gaspé and New Brunswick participate. In a letter sent on March 28 to his federal counterpart Joyce Murray, a copy of which was obtained by the QMI Agency, the Quebec minister responsible for fisheries, André Lamontagne, points out that the early opening of the snow crab fishery in the Gulf is, so far, “the most effective adaptation measure that reconciles the protection of Right whales and fishing activities”. >click to read< 10:17

Bait Crisis: Lobstermen worry fishery closures will create bait supply issues

Last week, Fisheries and Oceans Canada shut down commercial harvesting of herring in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Atlantic mackerel in Atlantic Canada and Quebec amid dwindling stocks. The two species are important sources of bait for the lobster industry. Some Island fishermen say they were caught off guard by the announcement as they prepare for setting day about a month from now. “It’s tough on fishermen because … we need the bait to fish lobster,” said Mallory Harris, who fishes in North Lake. Other fishermen said they’re already seeing the price of bait for lobster traps increase. >click to read< 08:14

Atlantic Canada snow crab fishery hopes for another banner year

But concern over high fuel prices, fear of U.S. recession dampens hopes for one Nova Scotia processor. The snow crab fishery in Atlantic Canada is gearing up in hopes of another banner season in 2022, buoyed by expectations of more quota, high prices and less competition from rival nations. But will rising inflation, especially in the United States, and uncertainty over the war in Ukraine dampen the spectacular returns in 2021 when the fishery was valued at nearly a billion dollars? >click to read< 10:04

Right whale protection measures to return ahead of migration into Canada

The federal government has announced its fishery and vessel management measures for the 2022 season to protect North Atlantic right whales as the endangered animals migrate into Canadian waters. Officials said in a statement Thursday the Fisheries Department will once again implement seasonal and temporary fishing area closures in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the Bay of Fundy and other “critical habitat areas” where whales have previously been sighted. They also say Transport Canada is again enforcing vessel traffic measures, including speed restrictions for vessels over 13 metres long, throughout much of the Gulf starting on April 20 to better respond to right whale presence. >click to read< 08:29

Demand is going to be strong! Remarkable snow crab season ahead for Gulf of St. Lawrence crabbers

The snow crab industry in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence can expect an excellent 2022 fishing season, both in terms of catches and prices. The preliminary report of the most recent scientific assessment of the stock, carried out by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, shows a growth of 4% in the commercial biomass made up of males of 95 mm and over, compared to last year. It is now valued at close to 81,000 metric tons (MT). “We consider that we have a good breeding stock and that the stock is healthy,” >click to read< 09:14

Atlantic Canada seafood sectors surged in 2021

In Riverport on Nova Scotia’s south shore, lobster fisherman Jason Conrad remembers when the pandemic hit in the spring of 2020 and the price of lobster plummeted to $4 a pound — below what it cost him to catch a lobster. Last month, Conrad was getting over $14 a pound — a sign of industry recovery that began at the end of 2020. “It rebounded way faster than I thought it would,” he said. Snow crab increases huge, A Banner year for lobster, More money for repairs, new boats >click to read< 10:25

COVID-19 saves right whales by sinking cruise ships

Canada created the Shediac ship restricted zone in April 2020 just a couple weeks before Holland America’s Zaandam was scheduled to sail through that zone on a shipping lane used only seasonally by cruise ships as a shortcut to Quebec City. However, a COVID-19 no-sail order in March 2020 superseded that restriction. Consequently, there was not one Canadian ship right whale strike death in two years and only one Canadian crab entanglement death,,, Zero whales were killed by lobster gear. There has not been one death from lobster gear in the U.S. and only a couple in Canada in over 20 years but the Center for Biological Diversity, with no supporting data, claims the whales are going extinct based on lobster entanglements. >click to read< By Jim O’Connell 07:31

North Atlantic Right Whale: Extinction Is Looming. Everyone’s Fighting.

This May, new rules created for the lobster industry by the National Marine Fisheries Service will become official policy for boats operating in right whale territory. The agency estimates that lobster and Jonah crab traps are responsible for 95 percent of vertical end-line ropes in the areas where whale protections apply and therefore pose the most risk for entangling whales. The Fisheries Service says these changes will reduce the risk of death and serious injury by 69 percent. But in the months after the rules were finalized, the agency has seen pushback from conservation groups, who argue the new protections aren’t enough, and lobster fishing crews, who say the rules will harm their business. >click to read< 14:22

Minister reaffirms DFO’s authority to regulate Mi’kmaw fishery, while also addressing other issues

Joyce Murray reaffirmed the federal government has the authority to regulate M’ikmaw moderate livelihood fishing as she made her first visit to Atlantic Canada this week as the minister of fisheries and oceans. The Vancouver MP used her time on the East Coast to meet with provincial governments, industry, Indigenous leaders and environmentalists. Murray also touched on the reopening of the commercial redfish fishery, the fish harvester benefit repayment, and also discusses MPA’s. >click to read< 18:18

Redfish return sparks Atlantic race to cash in on reopening of commercial fishery

The centre of attention is a large section of the gulf known as Unit 1, stretching from the western coast of Newfoundland across to Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula and down toward the northern tip of Cape Breton. A federal Fisheries Department moratorium on commercial fishing of redfish was imposed in the area in 1995 and has remained in place ever since. But from 2011 to 2013, research showed that three robust redfish cohorts had propelled growth in the overall stock. “There’s probably more redfish in the Gulf of St. Lawrence now than we’ve ever seen in our recorded history,” >click to read< 07:19

Quebec joins Nova Scotia in seeking historical share of redfish quota

Companies from Quebec hold a little under one-third of the offshore quota, while it’s around 50 per cent in Nova Scotia. The fishery was effectively shut down to protect the species in 1995. However, a now booming population is about to set off a huge harvest in an area known as Unit 1, which encompasses the Gulf of St. Lawrence and portions of the Cabot Strait. Quebec said it’s essential for the federal government to maintain the historical share of quota when large-scale fishing resumes in several years, even if the industry there is not ready. >click to read< 09:14