Tag Archives: Maritime Fishermen’s Union

“Things could’ve been way worse”: Spring lobster season nears end amid coronavirus, “Things are stabilizing”

The Maritime Fishermen’s Union predicted a gloomy forecast for the spring season with the pandemic’s safety concerns, crushed markets and reduced processing capacity. But fishermen are taking it “day-by-day,” says the union’s executive director. “Things could’ve been way worse,” says Martin Mallet. “At least our fishermen have had a chance to go out and catch part of their catch.” Restaurants reopening is also helping market demand increase. >click to read< 08:49

UPDATED – New Brunswick: ‘This is terrible’, Val-Comeau seafood processing plant goes up in flames

A seafood processing plant in northeastern New Brunswick has gone up in flames Thursday afternoon. A plume of thick black smoke could be seen coming from Les Pêcheries de Chez Nous facility in Val-Comeau, a small coastal community now part of the regional municipality of Tracadie. Emmaneul Moyen, a representative of the Maritime Fishermen’s Union, told Radio-Canada it’s devastating news. He said about 100 local fishermen sell their catch to the plant, which had been operating at full capacity. “We are probably talking about 250 workers,” he said. >click to read the updated story< 16:47

Coronavirus: Atlantic Canada’s fishing industry calls on feds for help

Crab and lobster fisheries throughout Atlantic Canada have faced delayed season openings due to fears about the coronavirus spreading in small communities and close working conditions. A significant drop in prices due to a collapse in retail and restaurant markets in the United States, Japan and China, major export markets for Canada’s seafood, overshadow the start of the season for many. Responding to a question during Tuesday’s virtual House of Commons meeting, Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan said support for the industry would be announced in the coming days, but by Thursday no additional details were available. >click to read< 09:09

Coronavirus: ‘Extremely difficult’ for fishing industry to maintain health protocols if season proceeds: union

“Truth be told, it’s going to be extremely difficult,” says Martin Mallet, the executive director of the Maritime Fishermen’s Union. “The boats are not designed to enable social distancing.” A letter to the federal government, signed by Lobster Processors of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and more than 20 other industry stakeholders, have called for a delay of at least two weeks.,, “But on top of that, we have some extremely serious issues with the markets right now, especially for lobster,” Mallet says. >click to read< 07:54

Feds delay Snow Crab season in Gulf of St. Lawrence

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans said the decision on Thursday to pause the season will let everyone involved in the fishery to put necessary health and safety measures in place. Seafood processors in the Maritimes had called on Ottawa to delay the crab and lobster season, warning that moving ahead with fishing risks workers’ health — and the bottom line — amid the COVID-19 pandemic.,, New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs said Thursday the province hopes Fisheries and Oceans Canada will delay the spring season for a few weeks, with the possibility of federal compensation. The Maritime Fishermen’s Union, which represents 1,200 harvesters in New Brunswick, said Friday they support a delay of the lobster season until May 15 >click to read< 16:28

‘Find some good solutions’: governments, experts, fishermen prepare for 2020 right whale regulations

An annual roundtable meeting held by officials with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has wrapped up after discussing how to deal with the declining North Atlantic right whale population. The subject has become controversial after at least nine confirmed deaths in 2019, with several preliminary findings indicating vessel strikes were the cause. Some of the deaths came despite the Canadian government cracking down tighter on fisheries closures and speed restrictions, but the impact on the fishing industry is part of what makes regulations such a controversial topic. >click to read<  08:43

Lennox Island chief says First Nation has right to fish lobster in July

Chief Darlene Bernard was reacting to a statement the PEIFA issued last week indicating it supports a mid-summer ban on all lobster fishing activity in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence. A news release indicated the ban, proposed as a conservation measure, would also include the food, social and ceremonial fishery, but as far as Bernard is concerned, that’s the only fishery that would be impacted by such a ban and she is having no part of it. “It’s still rights-based,” Bernard said of the First Nations’ food social and ceremonial fishery. >click to read< 09:09

PEIFA joins MFU in seeking mid-summer lobster-fishing ban

“After 20 years of lobster research from the government of Canada and our science affiliate, Homarus, we understand just how important the mid-summer (July 7 – Aug. 7) is for the hatching and development of lobster larvae into juvenile lobsters,” MFU executive director, Martin Mallet said. ”Any fishing activity during this time has an extremely negative effect on several key biological processes for lobster, including moulting, extrusion of new eggs and hatching of eggs that are in the final stages of development.” >click to read<  08:54

N.B. fishing industry feeling effects of Dorian’s wrath

The Maritime Fishermen’s Union says the storm surge has damaged wharves and six lobster fishing boats. As Shelley Steeves reports, the union is scrambling to try and find replacement boats to salvage the season.  Video, >click to watch< 17:35

Fishermen’s groups seek candidates’ stance on Nova Scotia pulp effluent

In a joint statement released Monday, the coalition, representing the Gulf Nova Scotia Fleet Planning Board, Prince Edward Island Fishermen’s Association, Maritime Fishermen’s Union and Pictou Landing First Nation, says it will be seeking the position of all local federal election candidates on Northern Pulp’s proposed effluent pipeline. The coalition maintains the pipe would, on a daily basis, release between 65 and 87 million litres of effluent into the Northumberland Strait, “one of our most important commercial fishing areas.”,,, It points out the area falls under the Canadian Fisheries Act and is the jurisdiction of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. >click to read< 12:49

Bill C-68 will protect smaller inshore fishery operators from corporate takeover, group says

Trudeau government legislation that enshrines the independence of Atlantic Canada’s inshore fishing fleets and enhances protections for fish stocks and fish habitat has cleared the Senate. The news is a relief to Martin Mallet. “This is great news. We’ve been waiting for this for a long while,” said Mallet, executive director of the Maritime Fishermen’s Union.,,, Minister expects new Fisheries Act to pass. In North Vancouver, federal Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson also welcomed the Senate vote. >click to read<12:06

Industry challenges DFO’s assessment of Atlantic mackerel stocks

The recent Department of Fisheries and Oceans assessment places the region’s Atlantic mackerel spawning stock biomass in the “critical zone,” meaning it is in decline and must be rebuilt.,,,Scientists say the spawning population is down 86 per cent from pre-2000 levels and the number of fish surviving to breed is at all-time lows.,,,”We’ve had an immense amount of juvenile fish in the population and every year going forward since 2015 we notice more and more juvenile fish prevalent in the catch,” Langille said.,,, He is not alone. The Maritime Fishermen’s Union and fishing interests in Newfoundland and Labrador have also disputed the assessment. >click to read<08:27

Canada: Scientist, fishermen applaud loosening of whale-protection restrictions

The federal government is easing restrictions aimed at protecting North Atlantic right whales based on data from last year, when no whales were found dead in Canadian waters. Fisheries and Oceans Minister Jonathan Wilkinson and Transport Minister Marc Garneau were in Shippagan on Thursday to announce the changes, which include reducing the area that is out of bounds to fishermen.,, Lobster and crab fishing will not be allowed in the static-closure zone, where 90 per cent of North Atlantic right whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence were sighted last year. >click to read<21:45

Survey results released- Majority of P.E.I. fall lobster fishermen favour fishing curfew

Prince Edward Island’s fall lobster fishermen have voted in favour of supporting the Maritime Fishermen’s Union proposal to have the Department of Fisheries and Oceans enforce a curfew in the Lobster Fishing Area the two organizations share. The result of the mail-in vote was announced at the Prince County Fishermen Association’s annual meeting Tuesday, Jan. 22 in O’Leary. Of the 149 fishermen who returned surveys, 78 of them, or,,, >click to read<13:17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No pipe in the strait: fisheries groups and First Nations to Northern Pulp

They don’t want pulp effluent in the Northumberland Strait. An alliance has been forged among the Gulf Nova Scotia Fleet Planning Board, the Maritime Fishermen’s Union, the Prince Edward Island Fishermen’s Association (PEIFA), the New Brunswick Fisheries Association and Pictou Landing First Nation. Their purpose is to publicly and officially oppose the proposed discharge of Northern Pulp’s effluent into the Northumberland Strait – and to demand a federal environmental assessment into the matter. >click to read<13:51

Maritime fishermen’s groups pull out of meetings with Northern Pulp

Groups representing fishermen’s associations in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and P.E.I. say they won’t meet with representatives from Northern Pulp unless the paper mill provides an alternative to its plan to pump treated effluent into the Northumberland Strait. On Monday, representatives from the Gulf Nova Scotia Fleet Planning Board (GNSFPB), the Prince Edward Island Fishermen’s Association and the Maritime Fishermen’s Union went public with the decision, which was announced at a meeting with Northern Pulp last Tuesday. “They’re asking us to take all the risk. One hundred per cent of the risk is going to be borne by the fishermen. If something goes wrong, it’s our fishery,” >click to read<14:47