Tag Archives: Gulf of St. Lawrence

New DFO orders ‘hard pill to swallow’ for N.B. lobster fishermen

Lobster fishermen off the coast of Miscou Island, N.B., will spend Sunday morning hauling gear from the waters in order to comply with the latest fishing zone closures imposed by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. On Friday afternoon, the DFO re-opened four areas previously closed to fishing due to the presence of right whales. But with more closures being imposed on Sunday, frustrations continue to mount. Carl Allen, president of the Maritime Fishermen’s Union, organized the most recent protest and met with LeBlanc on Friday.,,”I have a lot of respect for Minister LeBlanc, but we just don’t agree with the basis of the whole plan — it’s a hard pill to swallow,” he said.,, LeBlanc did offer the fishermen an alternative, however. He offered a paid training program for crew members and plant workers affected by these closures. >click to read<18:20

Lobster harvesters unfairly blamed of harm to North Atlantic right whales

Much has been written about the ongoing challenge of protecting the North Atlantic right whale along the eastern seaboard of the U.S. and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The impact the 18 reported deaths in 2017 has had on the entire right whale population cannot be understated. The issue in many cases has been a lack of substantiated facts with regard to specific fisheries and the ongoing commitment by key fisheries to protect the right whale. The Canadian lobster fishery is one of those key fisheries that has, until now, remained silent about our role and our ongoing commitment to North Atlantic right whale protection. Our harvesters and processors do what’s needed to ensure a sustainable fishery without fanfare. >click to read<08:28

Lobster fishermen create wall of empty traps at protest against closures

Nearly 500 fishermen brought empty lobster traps to Caraquet on Thursday to protest against the closure of fishing areas in the Gulf of St. Lawrence while endangered whales swim there. The protest came after another round of fishing area closures was announced by Ottawa this week because five North American right whales were spotted between Miscou and the Gaspé Peninsula. “We’ve never entangled one in lobster gear in these areas, ever,” said Carl Allen, president of the Maritime Fishermen’s Union, who organized the protest. Allen said the closures not only hurt fishermen and processing plant workers but also local economies on the Acadian Peninsula. >click to read<22:03

Ottawa considers help for Gulf of St. Lawrence fisheries after right whale protection measures

“At the moment we are not talking about compensating with actual financial compensation the fishermen,” LeBlanc said in a telephone interview. New Brunswick Fisheries Minister Rick Doucet called Monday for measures to address lost revenue, and LeBlanc said that is “entirely consistent” with his department’s approach to the developing situation in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. LeBlanc said it includes looking at ways to help processing plant workers qualify for Employment Insurance, and a possible fall opening of the lobster fishery to make up for lost days. >click to read<Meanwhile, Lobster and crab fishermen in Quebec ‘out of options’ as more zones closed off – “I don’t know how we’re going to get out of this one,”  said O’Neil Cloutier, the general manager of the professional fishermen’s association of southern Gaspé. >click to read<19:39

Fisheries minister urges Ottawa to help fishermen make up for revenue lost to Gulf closures

New Brunswick’s fisheries minister is calling on Ottawa to find ways to make up for lost revenue in the fishing industry in light of a growing number of closures in the Gulf of St. Lawrence designed to protect North Atlantic right whales. Rick Doucet issued a statement on Monday night after Fisheries and Oceans Canada announced 10 new grids will be temporarily closed, effective June 15 at 4 p.m. AT, due to the presence of whales. The affected areas include: GV32, GV33, GV34, GV35, GX32, GX33, GX34, GW32, GW33 and GW34. Fishermen and fish processors alike are concerned about lost revenue, said Doucet. >click to read<23:39

DFO will not change fishing area closures, despite proposed exemptions

In a statement released Friday, department officials said they had received proposals from the Maritime Fishermen’s Union and from the Regroupement des Pêcheurs professionnels du Sud de la Gaspésie asking the department to consider exempting shallow waters from temporary closures. However, the department has concluded that the measures will remain in place to protect the North Atlantic right whales from gear entanglements. “This course of action is based on the best science information available about the presence of right whales in our waters,” the statements said. >click to read<11:19

Notice of fisheries closures – Fishermen told to remove gear from gulf areas to protect right whales

Fishermen have until Wednesday to get their gear out of the water in five newly closed fishing zones of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has gotten reports of North Atlantic Right Whales in the area prompting the closure of more fishing zones. DFO said crews must remove their gear by 5 p.m. AT on Wednesday, June 6. The next 24 hours will bring high winds, so DFO is allowing a longer notice than usual.  “All gear must be removed from the closed area before the time of closure,”>click to read<DFO notice>click here<08:04

‘Everybody’s losing’: Crab fishermen prepare for more closures this week

With nine more fishing areas to close this week as endangered whales arrive in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, New Brunswick snow crab fishermen are braced for a turbulent season. “We don’t know what’s going to happen today, tomorrow and for the coming days,” said Jean Lanteigne, general manager of the Regional Federation of Professional Fishermen, based in Shippagan. On Wednesday at 4 p.m., nine more “grids” or portions of grids will close to protect North Atlantic right whales from getting tangled up in fishing gear. That number is in addition to the six that closed last week. “It’s impossible to fish in there,” said Lanteigne. >click to read<18:01

How ropeless fishing traps could protect North Atlantic right whales — and the fishing industry

Tensions between Atlantic fishermen and conservationists escalated this week as the Department of Oceans and Fisheries closed six fishing grounds off the coasts of New Brunswick and Quebec.,, The whales’ arrival left many Canadian fishermen scrambling to remove their equipment from the affected waters amidst concern over what the closures could mean for their quotas. But scientist and veterinarian Michael Moore is advocating for a new technology that could appease both groups: ropeless fishing traps. >click to read<Who is Michael Moore, >click to read<09:52

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

Ottawa considers dozens more marine protected areas in Maritimes that have not been made public

Ottawa is considering dozens more marine protected areas in Maritime waters, according to maps and other data shared by the federal government with stakeholders. The maps show 24 proposed marine protected areas (MPA) on the Scotian Shelf, including the entire Bras d’Or Lakes in Cape Breton and dozens more in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The maps show 24 proposed marine protected areas (MPA) on the Scotian Shelf, including the entire Bras d’Or Lakes in Cape Breton and dozens more in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. >click to read<18:53

Crab fishermen struggle as season begins under strict new regulations making some fishing grounds off limits

Snow crab fishing began last week in northern New Brunswick, the first season under strict new regulations by Ottawa to protect the endangered North Atlantic right whale. The most drastic of the new measures has been the closing of a zone off the province’s northeastern coast to fishing, a location where 90 per cent of the whales had migrated to last summer. That area is also an area rich in snow crab. As many boats came back from their first trip out to sea, some fishermen couldn’t help but feel anxious about what the season would bring. >click to read<16:11

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

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

New rules sprung on lobster fishermen to protect whales

Parts of the water off the coast of New Brunswick will be closed to lobster fishing this season to protect the North Atlantic right whale, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has told lobster fishermen.,, But Tuesday’s notice reveals many of the same measures announced in late March for the crab fishery will be applied to lobster fishing in the gulf as well. Lobster fishermen reacted with surprise and disappointment and suggested the new rules were mostly about the federal department’s public image. >click to read<17:48

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