Tag Archives: Gulf of St. Lawrence

Feds planning 2019 protections for North Atlantic right whales

How the federal government will confirm, modify or adapt protective measures for North Atlantic right whales in 2019 remains to be seen, but officials are sharing the initial findings of 2018’s scientific surveys and studies. After a catastrophic loss of 12 right whales in Canadian waters in 2017, no right whales died here this year, but at a technical briefing Tuesday, officials from Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and Transport Canada didn’t say whether protections put in place this year were enough — or too much. ,,, Instead they shared key results of a recent peer review of new science by researchers, industry representatives, government officials — as well as scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the U.S. — who gathered in Montreal in an effort to reach evidence-based conclusions.>click to read<08:48

Northern Pulp – Senators want full assessment of plan to dump mill effluent off Nova Scotia coast

A group of Independent senators is calling on the Trudeau government to do a full environmental assessment of a “dangerous” plan in Nova Scotia to take effluent from a pulp mill, pipe it 10 kilometres out into the Northumberland Strait, and dump it. In the Red Chamber on Monday, Sen. Mike Duffy called it “a looming environmental crisis in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.”,, Last week, along with Sen. Diane Griffin, a conservationist from P.E.I., they met with representatives of fisheries groups from all three Maritime provinces. “If this scheme is allowed to proceed, it could damage the fishery in the three Maritime provinces, Quebec’s Magdalen Islands, and beyond,” >click to read<18:25

Redfish making a big comeback in the Gulf of St. Lawrence

“We won the lottery.” That’s not a phrase you normally associate with someone doing stock assessments for Fisheries and Oceans Canada. But DFO biologist Caroline Senay is excited by the amount of redfish they’re tracking off the island’s west coast in the Gulf of St. Lawrence: about 2.5 million tonnes of fish in an area referred to as unit 1. By comparison, Iceland has a total redfish biomass of 430,000 tonnes. >click to read<09:00

Fisheries minister meets with stakeholders to discuss right whale protections

The federal fisheries minister met with fishermen, industry representatives and marine scientists Tuesday to discuss the impact of restrictions put in place to protect North Atlantic right whales and whether they may be needed for the coming fishing seasons. Jonathan Wilkinson sat down with dozens of stakeholders at a hotel in Dartmouth, N.S., to discuss measures introduced earlier this year that were aimed at shielding the marine mammals against fishing gear entanglements and ship strikes — their greatest threats. >click to read<13:31

Feds review this year’s right-whale protections

It was enough. But was it too much? That’s the question Fisheries and Oceans Canada wants to answer after a season of unprecedented measures to protect North Atlantic right whales — including mandatory ship slowdowns and fisheries closures. To date, none of the critically endangered whales has died in Canadian waters in 2018, unlike in 2017, when 12 died in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, largely due to ship strikes and entanglements in fishing gear.,,, On the East coast, the department (DFO) is now holding regional meetings with members of the fishing industry to gather feedback on those management measures. >click to read<15:03

Measures to protect North Atlantic right whales have been effective, official says

Representatives of the fishing industry and Fisheries and Oceans Canada met in Moncton over the weekend to look at the impact protection measures were having on the North Atlantic right whale — and to help decide what should happen next year. The 2018 fishing season has been controversial, with fishermen in the Acadian Peninsula protesting the new federal measures that were put in place to protect the North Atlantic right whale. Some of those measures included closing several fisheries where whales were present in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, speed restrictions for boats and increased surveillance. >click to read<15:34

Fishermen weathering effects of climate change

The lobster off western Cape Breton didn’t get the memo about thriving in colder water. “They should have told the lobsters that this year,” said John Phillip Rankin, a fisherman from Mabou Coal Mines. “By the first of July, it was warm and they started snapping but we were after putting our traps on the wharf. They start jumping when it gets warmer. They do all right in cold water. It was a decent season but it was cold-water trapping, you could tell. Last year, it was warm right through, a better season. The landings were quite a bit higher.” >click to read<14:35

FISH-NL calls on DFO to take direct control of scientific quota of redfish in the Gulf of St. Lawrence

“The FFAW-Unifor should not be controlling science quotas,” says Boyd Lavers, an inshore harvester from Port Saunders on the Great Northern Peninsula, and Captain of FISH-NL’s over 40-foot fleet. “The only fair way to deal with this experimental quota is for it to be handled directly by DFO, so the FFAW doesn’t get a chance to show favouritism as to who fishes the quota, or to take a cut from the sale of the fish.”,,, Further, harvesters have been told by the union they will have to sell the redfish to a plant of the FFAW’s choosing, and pay the union half the money from the sale of the fish. >click to read<18:35

Bid to reduce right whale deaths ‘extremely effective,’ Canadian officials say

A year after the population of critically endangered North Atlantic right whales suffered devastating losses, Canadian officials say measures taken this season to protect the species have worked. With the summer fishing season in the Gulf of St. Lawrence drawing to a close, the federal Fisheries Department confirmed Friday that not one whale has died as a result of a ship strike or fishing gear entanglement — the main causes for most of the deaths last season. In all, 17 right whales died last year — 12 of them in Canadian waters,,, The federal government responded with a series of protection measures, which included speed restrictions for boats, increased surveillance and a series of closures of fishing areas where right whales were spotted. >click to read<11:36

Scientists and fishermen team up to help save North Atlantic right whale

Whale researchers and fishermen are out at sea together on a two-week mission, combining efforts to help save the endangered north Atlantic right whale. These two worlds have usually stayed far apart, but for the first time scientists are onboard a crab boat to do their field work. Crab fisherman Martin Noel, captain of the Jean-Denis Noel boat in Shippagan, agreed to take scientists out in the gulf to help them carry out their research this year. “We don’t want to be called whale killers,” Noel said. “We want to be called fishermen that are implicated in the solution.” All season, fishermen begged Ottawa to involve them in fisheries management. They felt the federal government was imposing overly strict measures without consultation with industry. >click to read<09:28

DFO closes more fishing zones after right whale sighting

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has closed portions of four fishery grids after right whales were spotted in the area. The affected grids are in the extreme south of the speed reduction zone and will begin at 10 a.m. on Friday. The closure marks the 20th fishery closure this year related to the North Atlantic right whale. No right whales have been found dead in Canadian waters since last year but a right whale was spotted last week off Miscou Island partially entangled. It has not been spotted since. >click to read<18:33

FISH-NL demands Ottawa explain itself in light of massive cuts to caplin quotas

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is demanding Ottawa explain itself in light of huge cuts to caplin quotas in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and off eastern and southern Newfoundland and Labrador. “This is a banner year for caplin in the Gulf with the federal government’s own scientists reporting an abundance of fish not seen in years, and yet the quota has been cut by 35 per cent,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “How does that make sense? It doesn’t.” “At the same time, scientists said in March that the caplin stock off eastern Newfoundland and Labrador was down 70 per cent, but the relatively small commercial fishery isn’t having an impact,” he added. >click to read<11:57

Bay of Fundy fishery has whale of a problem

I’ve worked for the Grand Manan Fishermen’s Association for 25 years. It’s been a good career; there’s always something new in the fishery. I’ve gotten to know some great people both locally and across the country. I come from a fishing family: my father, brother and brother-in-law are all fishermen. I have a strong attachment to what I do and why I do it.,, The right whales ventured north to the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Things were bad last summer. Twelve whales were found dead. Two were entangled in fishing gear. The rest: blunt force trauma or unknown causes, though none of those had fishing gear on them. Government swung into reactionary precautionary mode. We watched amazed and horrified from the other side of the Maritimes while fishery after fishery closed.
Then last week it was our turn. by Bonnie Morse >click to read<21:25

DFO closes another fishing area in northern N.B. after right whale sighting

Another fishing area in the Gulf of St. Lawrence has been closed by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans after North Atlantic right whales were spotted. The latest closure in extends the no-fish zone farther east, well into the middle of the Gulf. The measures will see the following grid closed: GX39. Fishermen have until Tuesday at 3 p.m. to remove any fishing gear in the area. This is the seventh closure of a fishing area over the last month in the waters off northern New Brunswick that has forced crab fishermen and lobster fishermen to move their fishing gear to other areas. >click to read<11:33

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