Tag Archives: Maritime Fishermen’s Union

DFO: moderate livelihood fisheries must occur during commercial season

The Trudeau government will announce conditions for the authorization of moderate livelihood fisheries Thursday, including the expectation that those fisheries take place within existing commercial seasons. The Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Chiefs did not respond to a request for comment, but Mi’kmaw leaders and some academics have insisted the moderate livelihood fishery poses no risk to stocks because it is too small. The office of Fisheries and Oceans Minister Bernadette Jordan declined to comment in detail on DFO’s position until it is released Thursday, except to say the decision is based on conservation. >click to read< 07:10

‘There’s Death Threats’: Indigenous Fishers Nervous as Nova Scotia’s Commercial Lobster Season Opens

Some Mi’kmaq have fished alongside commercial fishermen on these wharves for years but this year, after violence erupted in the past few months, they’re now divided largely by race—the white Acadian fishermen at Meteghan, and the Mi’kmaq at Saulnierville, with each flying their own flags. A court injunction, sought by the Mi’kmaq, has further separated the two groups, in an effort to prevent any more aggression and harassment towards band members on the Saulnierville wharf and on the water as they continue to fish until Dec. 17, the end of their moderate livelihood plan. The commercial inshore lobster fishery, expected to launch later this week, runs until the end of May. >click to read< 20:37

For Acadian fisherman, early Mi’kmaq fishery in N.S. bay can ‘never’ be respected

As he stands calmly splicing anchor rope, Roger LeBlanc describes the anxiety, anger and suspicion over a Mi’kmaq lobster fishery that is coursing through his small Acadian community. The threat perceived by LeBlanc, 61, is the launch of a lobster fishery by Sipekne’katik First Nation in September,,, In the weeks that followed, Indigenous traps were cut, a boat burned, vehicles were destroyed, and one lobster pound that handles Indigenous catch was damaged while another was burned down. The actions by groups of up to 200 people have drawn condemnation from across party lines in Parliament. >click to read< 13:40

‘We are not racist’: Nova Scotia fishing communities call for action again from feds to resolve lobster fishing dispute

By daybreak, they numbered in the hundreds. Men and women from coastal communities throughout southwestern Nova Scotia gathered in the parking lot of the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans building in Barrington Passage on Monday morning to once again ask for action from the federal government to resolve the ongoing lobster fishing dispute with Sipekne’katik First Nation. They also wanted to set the record straight. “We want to have dialogue. We need to have dialogue and that’s not happening. In my mind it’s the federal government that is painting us as racist and First Nations. That is not us. That is not on us. We want to be able to prosecute the fishery under the same rule of law.” >click to read< 16:54

Peaceful protest, peace offering in disputed First Nations lobster fishery

There were peaceful protests Friday in Nova Scotia by commercial fishermen, following a symbolic gesture of peace the day before between some commercial fishermen and the First Nations band at the centre of a disputed lobster fishery. Gordon Beaton, the president of Local 4 of the Maritime Fishermen’s Union, said fishermen are worried where the fishery is headed.,, “We don’t argue the treaty,” said Beaton. “We’re not arguing the fishing rights that they have. They have a right to First Nations fishery, but we want the right to be executed in a way that’s sustainable for everybody.” >click to read< 16:09

Feds distribute first of 322 dormant commercial fishing licences to Maritime First Nations

The federal government has started to distribute dormant, or “banked,” commercial fishing licences to First Nations in the Maritimes to finally implement a 1999 Supreme Court ruling that First Nations are entitled to earn a moderate livelihood from the fishery. The first 10 “banked licences”, out of a pool of 322 available in the Maritimes, were issued this month to Elsipogtog and Esgenoôpetitj First Nations in New Brunswick as part of historic Rights and Reconciliation Agreements signed in August 2019.,, The pool of 322 banked licences cover a wide variety of species including lobster, scallop, swordfish, herring and oysters. The total breakdown per province: 99 licences in Nova Scotia, 122 in New Brunswick and 101 in Prince Edward Island. There is a complete list,,,  >click to read< 17:34

Consultation lacking on decision to reactivate licenses for Indigenous communities

The reactivation of dormant lobster fishing licences by the federal government has prompted a terse statement from the P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association (PEIFA) and the Maritime Fishermen’s Union (MFU). The two organizations say they were left out of consultation over the reactivation of 10 lobster licences by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) in the Lobster Fishing Area (LFA) 25, located on the western end of the Northumberland Strait between P.E.I. and New Brunswick.,,, The statement said fishermen were “frustrated” by the lack of consultation prior to the decision and called for the federal government to bring together Indigenous and non-Indigenous fishermen’s organizations. >click to read< 09:54

“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