Tag Archives: Maritime Fishermen’s Union

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

Changes to act mean more fishing wealth headed back to Pictou County

A local fisherman is cheering proposed reforms to the federal Fisheries Act that he says will bring more industry profits back into Pictou County. The changes mean that fishermen may only hold one licence for each species and must make their own catches, taking wealth away from big fishing corporations in favour of local independent owner-operators. That’s according to Ronnie Heighton, a River John fisherman and president of the Northumberland Fishermen’s Association. >click to read< 10:40

Yarmouth Sea Products outlines extensive safety steps taken following serious injury to crewmember in 2015

It was just supposed to be another ordinary fishing trip, except that on the water things don’t always happen the way they’re supposed to. But that can change. An accident onboard the scallop dragger Compass Rose II in June 2015 left a crewmember (Clayton Joudrey) with permanent injuries. In a room of fishermen and others 28 months later, the owners of that vessel, Yarmouth Sea Products Ltd., gave a presentation on the extensive safety steps that have been undertaken to prevent such an accident from happening again. The presentation was ordered by the court as part of the penalty,,, click here to read the story 13:43

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

Some N.B. lobster fishermen tie up in protest over price

Some lobster fishermen in eastern New Brunswick have tied up their boats in a protest over the prices they’re getting for lobster. Fishermen in ports such as Pointe Sapin and Richibucto remained at the docks Thursday, saying landings are down and prices are low. Michel Richard, an organizer with the Maritime Fishermen’s Union, says processors suggested much higher prices before the fall season began on Aug. 8, but instead they’re paying about $2 per pound lower. Fishermen say right now they’re being paid about $4.25 a pound for canners and $4.75 a pound for market lobsters. Richard says fishermen are upset because they aren’t getting a clear answer from the buyers and processors on a reason for the lower prices. link 12:22

Lobster fishermen tie up boats after meeting processors about low prices – Fishermen have been getting paid, but none have received official pay stubs, so Richard said there is no proof of what the current prices really are. click here to read the story 16:37

N.B. lobster fishermen discouraged by lower prices

The Maritime Fishermen’s Union is voicing concerns about the low prices its members are getting paid for their catches in southeastern New Brunswick this season and suggesting protests could follow. Wages currently sit at $4.75 a pound per market lobster and $4.25 a pound per can of lobster — nearly $2 less than what was expected, according to MFU organizer Michel Richard. There is “no excuse for such a low price,” Richard told CBC’s Information Morning Moncton on Monday, as lobster season entered its second week. “It’s very troubling, and our fishermen are trying to reason why this is happening, and the excuses are not realistic,” he said. click here to read the story 18:33

Fishing groups say lobster fishery would be better off with industry-led by-catch monitoring system as opposed to something DFO imposes

If the reality is that it’s coming anyway, three local fisheries organizations say fishermen and industry would be better off to handle it themselves as opposed to having it handed down by DFO. Such is the case with a proposal that could see by-catch monitoring happen in the lobster fishery by the fall of 2018. Three local organizations – Coldwater Lobster Association, the Maritime Fishermen’s Union and the Bay of Fundy Inshore Fisheries Association – have joined efforts to get the message out that industry is willing to develop a monitoring system that would be better for the fishery in terms of cost and time.,,, Another proposal being thrown around is cameras on fishing boats. These three associations are all strongly opposed to such a Big Brother approach, saying not only would it be extremely expensive, but it would not generate any useful scientific data. click here to read the story 11:16

DFO plan for at-sea observers met with skepticism by lobster fishermen

A federal government proposal to introduce mandatory at-sea observers on board the southwest Nova Scotia lobster fleet is getting a cold shoulder from representatives of three fisheries groups.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans wants observers to monitor bycatch of cod and cusk caught inadvertently in lobster traps. Bernie Berry of the Coldwater Lobster Association said the plan would require all fishermen to notify the government every time they plan to leave port — a process known as hailing out. Some would be randomly selected to have an observer from an existing monitoring company meet them at the dock prior to sailing. click here to read the story 11:37

Christian Brun, Maritime Fishermen’s Union official one of 2 men killed in Miramichi crash

christian-brunThe director general of the Maritime Fishermen’s Union was one of two men killed in a head-on collision Monday morning on Route 11 in Lower Newcastle, Radio-Canada reported. Christian Brun, 46, of Cormier Village was the driver of a car that collided with a car driven by a 69-year-old man from Miscou. The name of the older man was not available. “The Acadian community has just lost a great person,” Gilles Thériault, a fisheries consultant, who was visibly shaken by the news of Brun’s death, told Radio-Canada in French. Thériault called Brun a leader in the fisheries industry, a poet and an artist. We extend our deepest condolences to Christian Brun’s family and friends. Read the story here 19:45

Lobster season on Nova Scotia’s southwest coast delayed by bad weather

ns-lobster-season-20121127-topixThe lobster season on Nova Scotia’s southwest coast has been delayed by one day due to high winds a rough seas. The season was supposed to start Monday but has been put off until Tuesday morning at 6 a.m., said Graeme Gawn president of local 9 with the Maritime Fishermen’s Union. “It’s always frustrating because everybody is ready to go and they want to go, but nobody wants to get hurt and nobody wants to see their crews get hurt.” Gawn said the Department of Fisheries and Oceans made the decision Sunday morning on a conference call. The first day of the lobster season, referred to as dumping day, is when fishermen first set their lobster traps, it’s considered one of the most dangerous days of the entire season. Most fishermen are more than happy to wait until the weather is more cooperative to head out on the water, said Gawn. Read the rest here 12:24

TSB says more needs to be done to ensure safety of commercial fishermen – Maritime Fishermen’s Union responds

hi-christian-brunThe Maritime Fishermen’s Union is responding to criticism from the Transportation Safety Board that there are still too many fatal fishing accidents every year in Canada. The union says it’s doing its part to try and make the fishing industry safer but points out fishing is a dangerous job and unfortunate things happen. “The reality of this industry is there are many factors that are uncontrollable and unpredictable. That is something we sometimes forget,” said Christian Brun, MFU’s executive secretary. Brun was responding to the recent release of the Transportation Safety Board’s Watchlist 2016 and in particular, the portion on commercial fishing safety that calls for stakeholders, industry and government to act on longstanding recommendations. Read the story here 08:10

Maritime Fishermen’s Union invests $300k in lighter life jackets to save lives

andre-landryNew Brunswick lobster fishermen were handed free life jackets on the first day of lobster season, with the hopes of getting more of them to actually wear the life-savers. The fishermen’s union started handing out the jackets, estimated to be worth approximately $300 each, to about a thousand fishermen in Southeastern New Brunswick. The move is an effort by the union to get its fishermen to take safety more seriously. Despite repeated boating accidents, some fatal, getting fishermen to wear life jackets on the job has been a constant struggle — especially when it comes to the older generation. “It’s still difficult,” said  Christian Brun, executive director of the Maritime Fishermen’s Union. Read the rest here 12:02

Nova Scotia fishermen win back right to operate as Local 4 of Maritime Fishermen’s Union

pro_union_bumper_sticker-r5386e95db31e4d338255c00df66cb141_v9wht_8byvr_324A Nova Scotia fishermen’s local has won a court case to get back its union accreditation. “It means we can get back to the business of representing our fishermen on fishermen issues instead of spending, as we did, almost two years battling to maintain our organization’s accreditation,” said Gordon Beaton, president of Local 4 of the Maritime Fishermen’s Union on Friday. That battle began when the province’s fisheries and aquaculture minister informed the local that its membership was too small and revoked its accreditation. The minister at the time was Queens-Shelburne MLA Sterling Belliveau. Beaton’s group represents about 45 people who fish in Region 1, which stretches from Pugwash to Cape North. That’s a small portion of the 600 or so fishermen in the region. Under the 2011 Fish Harvester Organizations Support Regulations, the local needed 100 members or 15 per cent of the fishermen in the area. However, the court found that Local 4 was accredited in 2002 under an earlier act. It was nearly 10 years later that the new legislation, with membership minimums, came into effect. It also included a grandfather provision for organizations accredited under the old legislation. Read the rest here 18:09

Winners and Losers – The politics of fisheries decisions in Lobster Fishing Area 25

hunter-tootooWith just about any political decision there are winners and there are losers. A tax break helps some while others pay through a reduction in service somewhere else. There are also winners and losers, or at least a perception of such, in the case of Federal Fisheries Minister Hunter Tootoo’s decision last week to increase the minimum lobster carapace size in Lobster Fishing Area 25. The Maritime Fishermen’s Union in New Brunswick can claim to be the winner, in that it had been lobbying for an increase, while the Prince County Fishermen’s Association in P.E.I. is taking the loss as it had been arguing in favour of leaving the size limit unchanged. Read the rest here  12:15

Survival of local fleets, communities – Maritime Fishermen’s Union supports DFO owner/operator and fleet separation policies.

The Maritime Fishermen’s Union Cape Breton Island including Englishtown where people depend on the fishery for their livelihood.(MFU) has been pushing for stricter enforcement of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans owner operator and fleet separation policies. Squires said that in order for fishermen to get a fair price, there needs to be competition at the wharf level for the purchase of their fish. “If a fish buying company owns the fishing boats, the buying stations and the processing facilities, they have no reason to pay a good price at the wharf level — they just make their profit somewhere along the line.” Read the rest here 08:36