Tag Archives: Gulf of St. Lawrence

Snow crab season still on ice, Fishermen remain hopeful of early opening

Despite widespread interest in an early opening date, the president of the P.E.I. Snow Crab Association says weather and ice could dictate when snow crab fishermen in the Gulf of St. Lawrence get on the water. Carter Hutt said there was a desire to have the fishery open by April 20, but he noted there is still a considerable amount of ice in the gulf and the weather hasn’t been co-operating in terms of moving it out. >click to read<11:43

Striped bass population triples in Gulf of St. Lawrence

The remarkable recovery of striped bass in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence reached unprecedented levels in 2017, according to the latest assessment from the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Department scientists say the spawning population tripled between 2016 and 2017 and is now estimated at one million fish — a 100-fold increase from the 1990s. In addition to the population rebound, tagged striped bass from the Gulf were recovered from Rimouski, Que., north to Labrador for the first time in 2017. In the Forteau Bay area of Labrador, catches of tens of thousands were reported. >click to read<18:50

Ice, winds block early fishing season in Gulf of St. Lawrence

Thick ice and cold weather conditions are preventing an early snow crab fishing season that would help reduce potential ship strikes and whale entanglements in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The Coast Guard’s Sir William Alexander, a light icebreaker, was called to smash through packs of ice off the northeast coast of New Brunswick to help the critically endangered North Atlantic right whales that are expected to make their way to Canadian waters later this spring. “The ice conditions are severe,” said Douglas Roe, commander of the icebreaker. >click to read<16:43

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

Gulf of St. Lawrence snow crab fishery’s sustainability designation suspended in wake of whale deaths

Canada’s lucrative Gulf of St. Lawrence snow crab fishery has had its certification as an environmentally sustainable fishery suspended. The London-based Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) announced Tuesday it was suspending the certification — a stamp of approval for consumers — because the fishery has been linked to North Atlantic right whale deaths. Twelve of the critically endangered whales died in the Gulf St. Lawrence last year, with necropsies performed on six. >click to read< 12:11

Low numbers of endangered whales raise question about lobster industry impacts

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution scientist Mark Baumgartner said that to help the whales survive much longer, the ropes Maine lobstermen use to tend their traps have to be modified or even eliminated. And it’s not just for the whales’ sake. “I feel the industry is in jeopardy,” Baumgartner said.,,, Last month the Conservation Law Foundation’s Portland office filed a federal lawsuit against the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for violating the Endangered Species Act. >click to read< 12:10

The Room Erupted! Tensions flare at suggestion snow crab fishery close for whales

Fishermen erupted in anger Wednesday when federal officials proposed banning snow crab fishing in a large zone off the coast of New Brunswick for the entire time endangered whales are there.
The proposal came at a meeting that industry and government officials hold every year to discuss the coming snow crab season in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence. This year’s season is of particular importance after a deadly 2017 for the endangered North Atlantic right whale. Gear used in snow crab fishing is believed to have played a role in some of the whale deaths, with necropsies on three whales revealing signs of entanglement in fishing rope. >click to read< 00:27

Gulf of St. Lawrence snow crab season to be discussed at Moncton meeting

Fisheries and Oceans Canada officials will meet with snow crab industry representatives in Moncton Wednesday to discuss the upcoming season in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence. The purpose of the meeting is to “provide advice regarding global management issues in the snow crab fishery,” according to the agenda. Some of the topics to be discussed during the public meeting include the season opening and new management measures, proposed changes to the Fisheries Act and an update on enforcement of conservation and protection. >click to read< 08:14

Canada to introduce mandatory reporting of whale interactions this year

“Save the Whales” will take on new importance for Canadian fishermen in 2018 as the Department of Fisheries and Oceans introduces mandatory reporting for interactions Canada’s commercial fishing fleets have with marine mammals. The deaths of a dozen critically endangered right whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence last year is the driving force behind the effort, which has already resulted in changes in the Gulf of St. Lawrence snow crab fishery, whose gear has been implicated in some of the deaths. >click to read<08:18

Fines for violating whale-protecting speed may be inadequate, says fisheries minister

Fisheries and Oceans Minister Dominic LeBlanc says he was “surprised” by the more than 500 reported speed limit violations in the Gulf of St. Lawrence last year and questions whether penalties should be stiffer to better protect North Atlantic right whales this year. “This is my own view, that a $6,000 fine may not represent an adequate sanction, it may not represent a sufficient deterrent,” said LeBlanc. ,,, As of late last week, only 14 of the 542 cases had resulted in a fine — all of them a minimum of $6,000, Transport Canada officials have said. >click here to read< 11:10

“We’re expecting 100 per cent compliance,” New snow crab fishing rules rein in use of ropes to protect North Atlantic right whales

Fisheries and Oceans Minister Dominic LeBlanc has announced four changes to the snow crab fishery in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence to protect North Atlantic right whales from entanglement, including reducing the amount of rope floating on the surface and mandatory reporting of all lost gear. The new management measures will take effect immediately and will be enforced “very aggressively,” LeBlanc said during the news conference in Moncton on Tuesday. >click here to read<16:29

Here’s why 12 right whales died in Canadian waters — and why more will die if nothing is done

A macabre joke in the field is that there are more North Atlantic right whale researchers than actual North Atlantic right whales. The scientific community is tight-knit: on top of the hours many of them spend sardined together on research boats and survey planes, a consortium dedicated to studying and conserving the species gathers every year for a meeting that tips further towards family reunion than your average academic conference. Still, as biologists, conservationists and policy-makers began filling an auditorium at St. Mary’s University very early on a Sunday morning in late October, the emotional register of the meeting felt unusually charged. Attendees greeted each other with bracing hugs. click here to read the story 12:27

Bluefin tuna in P.E.I. are so hungry they no longer fear humans

Bobbing up and down on cold Atlantic waters, several fishermen toss scaly, silver mackerel overboard. It’s a delicious snack for a bluefin tuna — the largest species of tuna in the world, measuring more than six feet in length and weighing up to 1,600 pounds. The newcomer among them, a writer and ecologist, expects to spend the afternoon patiently waiting for a bite. Instead, the bluefin tuna here in North Lake, P.E.I. are so abundant and so hungry that within minutes their trademark yellow caudal finlets are circling the boat. click here to read the story 18:29

Pro-Active – P.E.I. snow crab industry figuring out how to protect endangered whales

Fisheries experts are on a tight timeline to figure out changes to the snow crab fishery to protect endangered right whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence before the 2018 seasons starts. The season opens in April — including 35 Island fishermen landing about $14 million dollars worth for the Island. Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) wants feedback from fishing groups in the next two to three weeks. Industry and DFO officials met in Moncton Wednesday to discuss possible solutions. One of the ideas was starting fishing earlier so fishermen could possibly reach their quota before whales arrive. click here to read the story 19:17

Transatlantic tuna may be boosting stocks in Gulf of St. Lawrence

New science released by the international body that manages Atlantic bluefin tuna suggests a theory about why there have been so many tuna in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in recent years. Katie Schleit, senior marine campaign coordinator for the Ecology Action Centre, said science released by the International Commission for the Conservation of Tuna (ICCAT) found a large number of the tuna caught in Gulf waters are from the Mediterranean region. click here to read the story 16:33

Changes can be made right now to save right whales, says fisherman

Fishermen in Nova Scotia’s snow crab industry say they are already making some immediate changes to prevent more deaths of North Atlantic right whales. Gordon MacDonald, managing director of the Snow Crab Fishermen’s Association off of southeastern Cape Breton, ​said he and other fishermen are already looking at ways to reduce the amount of slack rope attached to traps during the April-to-August snow crab season. “It’s easy, it’s quick and we can get on it right away and see how that goes and then get into other things.” He said the industry doesn’t need to wait for more study and changes to government regulations. “We can’t wait for that development to start doing things that have a positive impact,” he said. click here to read the story 09:53

Right whale deaths spur regulators to eye fishing gear modifications

This has been a tough year for North Atlantic right whales. Late in October, according to the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the badly decomposed carcass of a right whale was found ashore on Nashawena Island, south of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. It was the 16th of the highly endangered species known to have died in U.S. or Canadian waters in 2017. Starting in the early spring and continuing through the late summer months, a dozen dead right whales were found floating in Canada’s Gulf of St. Lawrence.,,, Last year, the NOAA Fisheries Large Whale Take Reduction Team (TRT) began a five-year review click here to read the story 08:23

North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium – scientists say Right whales could be 20 years away from certain extinction

Scientists at an annual meeting for North Atlantic right whales estimate the species has a little over two decades left to survive unless changes are made immediately. The North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium’s annual meeting was held in Halifax on Sunday, and all of the scientists spoke with a sense of urgency about the fate of these whales. This summer, at least 15 right whales died in Canadian and U.S. waters and scientists at the conference stressed that human activity is the primary cause of death for all right whales. click here to read the story 11:21

Fishing industry group says it’s looking for ways to prevent Atlantic right whale entanglements

The fishing industry says it’s looking for a solution to help prevent North Atlantic right whales from enduring painful, and sometimes deadly, entanglements with fishing gear. The Maritime Fishermen’s Union says a longer snow crab fishing season and an unprecedented number of right whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence created a “perfect storm” this year for a massive die-off.,,, “Our association is being proactive with this issue and there are some consultations that will be going forward with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans as soon as early November,” click here to read the story 15:24

Veterinarians release results from study of North Atlantic right whale deaths

Veterinarians examining the carcasses of six right whales found dead in the Gulf of St. Lawrence this summer say four died from blunt force trauma, one was entangled in fishing gear and the other was too decomposed to say for sure. Pierre-Yves Daoust of the Atlantic Veterinary College says there was no evidence to suggest various toxins may have played a major role in the deaths.,,, About a dozen North Atlantic right whales have died in the Gulf since June — an unprecedented number of deaths for a marine mammal that is at risk of extinction with an estimated population of just 458. click here to read the story 12:23

Statement by Ministers LeBlanc and Garneau on report released on this summer’s North Atlantic Right Whale deathsclick here to read the statement 

Enviro Groups Demand U.S., Canada Act to Save North Atlantic Right Whales

Conservation and animal-protection groups today sought action by the United States and Canada to prevent painful, deadly entanglements in fishing gear that threaten the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale. In letters to Canadian officials and the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service, the groups demanded action to reduce risks to these imperiled whales. North Atlantic right whales, one of the world’s most endangered mammals with fewer than 500 individual animals remaining on Earth, lost nearly 3 percent of their population this year. click here to read the story 14:00

Coast Guard ship fined for going too fast in Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Transport Canada has fined the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Sir William Alexander $6,000 for going too fast in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The ship allegedly violated the federal government’s 10-knot speed limit that was put in place in August to prevent further deaths of the endangered North Atlantic right whales.​ As of Sept. 16, there’s been 11 right whales confirmed dead in the Gulf. “We take the speed restriction very seriously,” Delphine Denis, a spokesperson for the federal Minister of Transport, said in an email. click here to read the story 16:41

Carcass of a North Atlantic right whale spotted in the Gulf of St. Lawrenceclick here to read the story

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

Statement by Ministers Garneau and LeBlanc on actions taken to address the deaths of whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence

“In our efforts to do everything possible to prevent further whale deaths, our government is today implementing a temporary mandatory slow down for vessels of 20 metres or more in length.  Speed must be reduced to a maximum of 10 knots when travelling in the western Gulf of St. Lawrence from the Quebec north shore to just north of Prince Edward Island.  This temporary measure is effective immediately. ,, “We have taken extensive action to ensure the protection of North Atlantic right whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, including decisions around fisheries.  click here to read the press release 08:59

Why are whales dying in the Gulf of St. Lawrence? What it means for fisheries and the future

It was about four years ago when the sightings first began. In the beginning, just a few fishermen reported seeing large black whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, in areas clustered off the coast of Cape Breton Island. With each summer came more sightings. One was seen off the north coast of PEI. Another off of Pleasant Bay at Cape Breton Highlands National Park. A couple off of Southside Antigonish Harbour. Soon, the reports were in the dozens. The sightings were initially treated as a passing curiosity. The North Atlantic right whale, a rare and endangered species distinguished by patches of roughened white skin, had been seen off the coast of the Gaspé in Quebec before – though few could recall ever seeing them in this part of the gulf.  But then came the deaths. That’s when everyone started paying attention – especially the fishermen. click here to read the story 14:47

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

Today’s Whale News. 8th right whale found dead, 1 more entangled, whale rescues resume, young Humback detangled of Cali.

An eighth North Atlantic right whale has been found dead and another is entangled in fishing gear in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the Marine Animal Response Society said in a Facebook post.
All eight deaths have occurred in the gulf since the beginning of June, which experts are calling an “unprecedented event.” click here to read the story

U.S. officials are lifting a ban on some whale disentanglement efforts after briefly banning the practice that last week led to the death of a Canadian fisherman. But the ban will stay in effect for right whales, “whose unpredictable behavior is particularly challenging during rescue attempts,” Chris Oliver, Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries, said Tuesday. click here to read the story

A crew of 20-25 people spent eight hours Tuesday freeing a juvenile humpback whale that had been entangled in fishing gear off the coast of Crescent City since Thursday. click here to read the story 11:30

 

Evidence from latest right whale necropsy points to collision with ship

Preliminary results from necropsies performed on two North Atlantic right whales on the Magdalen Islands this week suggest one of them was involved in a collision with a ship. The other whale was too decomposed and determining a cause of death was not possible. The carcasses of seven right whales have been found in the Gulf of St. Lawrence since June 6. Necropies performed on two of the other dead whales at the start of July also found evidence of collisions with ships. Another carcass showed evidence of a “chronic entanglement.” Josiane Cabana of Quebec’s marine mammal rescue network told CBC’s French-language service, Radio-Canada, that scientists have not ruled out toxic algae as a contributing factor in the deaths. click here to read the story 09:57

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