Tag Archives: Nova Scotia

Fisheries and Oceans quietly cancels plans to award Indigenous surf clam licence

The federal government says it has cancelled plans to issue a controversial clam fishing licence to a First Nations company with ties to the Liberal party and several sitting Liberal MPs — including the former fisheries minister. A news release from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans says the process to issue a fourth licence to harvest arctic surf clam off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia was cancelled in early July, and that it won’t be issued this year at all. That multimillion-dollar licence was supposed to go to the Five Nations Clam Co., a company court documents suggest did not initially meet key eligibility requirements spelled out in the government’s tender process. >click to read<15:16

Mightier Than the Swordfish: Nova Scotia’s Harpoon Fishermen

A hundred miles off the coast of Nova Scotia, fishermen are in offseason mode. If it were wintertime, they’d be hauling lobster in closer to shore. But now, in July, they’re far from the familiar topography of Shag Harbor. They’re on the lookout for swordfish, and they’re using a deadly tool rarely seen in Western waters anymore: harpoons.,, He’s looking for one thing: a fin as it “nicks” the surface. The swordfish’s crescent-shaped dorsal fin is distinct from that of a sunfish or dolphin, but more easily confused with a shark’s. If the fin seems worth pursuing, the captain steps on the gas, and the harpooner prepares to “stick” the fish. Video, >click to read<09:04

Squid washing ashore by the hundreds ‘live fast and die young’

An alarming number of squid are washing ashore along parts of Nova Scotia’s coast. Experts say although it’s unusual to see such mass die-offs, the deaths are part of the creatures’ “live fast and die young” reproductive cycle. Kent Smedbol is a scientist with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and works with monitoring fish and invertebrate populations. He said northern shortfin squid are common in the waters off Nova Scotia. They range from the mid-United States right up to around Iceland. “They’re a highly mobile species, highly migratory and they only live for about a year,” said Smedbol. “So, they live fast and die young.” >click to read<10:34

2 dead after fishing boat capsizes in Nova Scotia

Two people are dead after a boat capsized off the coast of Port Medway in the Region of Queens Municipality, N.S. The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Halifax says rescuers responded to a call Saturday morning reporting an overturned crabbing vessel. A woman, 55, was found unresponsive on the beach and was pronounced dead after being taken to hospital. A man, also 55, was found near the boat by a vessel and was also unresponsive. >click to read< 16:04

Nova Scotia Lobster Fishermen Fed Up with Mis-Communication By DFO

Lobster fishermen in Southwestern, Nova Scotia are frustrated and disappointed with the lack of direction, mis-communication, and overall support from Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s (DFO) regional management. Five separate fishermen’s associations joined forces in 2017 to form the Southwest Lobster Science Society (SWLSS) to work towards a partnership-based approach to fisheries management and conservation; a move which was touted to be a historic partnership between industry, environmental non-governmental organisations (ENGOs) and regulators. Yet, the newly formed partnership has struggled to move forward as the regulators (DFO) >click to read<11:34

Skeptical fishermen briefed on proposed Eastern Shore MPA, ‘could take us out of our livelihood,’

Nova Scotia’s lobster season opens on the Eastern Shore in days, but dozens of fishermen stopped prepping for it Thursday to learn about a massive marine protected area proposed for their fishing grounds. The Eastern Shore Islands, as it’s being called, has been declared an area of interest for conservation by the Trudeau government. It would be the first marine protected area along the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia and includes inshore and coastal waters. It would protect hundreds of islands that create an archipelago running from Clam Harbour to Liscomb. >click to read< 16:37

FISH-NL reiterates call for province to allow in outside buyers after panel sets 2018 snow crab price at far less than the mainland

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) says the decision of the Fish Price Setting Panel to set the 2018 price for snow crab at $4.55 a pound — well below the price paid to crab harvesters in the Maritimes — supports the call to open the provincial market to outside buyers. “When you learn the price of crab in Newfoundland and Labrador has been set at $4.55 a pound on the same day that a crab fisherman in Louisbourg, Nova Scotia is paid $6 a pound it’s very disheartening,” says Jason Sullivan, Captain of FISH-NL’s under 40-foot fleet. >click to read<18:24

Nova Scotia’s Dirty Secret: The Tale of a Toxic Mill and The Book Its Owners Don’t Want You to Read

The story of Pictou Landing is one of desperation, of corruption and incompetence. So perhaps it’s no surprise that when Canadian journalist and anthropologist Joan Baxter tried to tell it, old forces of power moved in to silence her. The mill’s owners tried to banish Baxter and her book The Mill: Fifty Years of Pulp and Protest from local bookstores. Of course, that backfired in spectacular fashion: The Mill sold out two printings and became the best-selling book in Nova Scotia Chapters and Coles book stores the month it was released. >click to read< 10:14

Helicopter lands on Frying Pan Shoal as rescuers try to save fishing captain

There are questions about why the captain of a fishing boat in trouble off the northeast coast of mainland Nova Scotia was not rescued Wednesday when the other crew members were picked up. Fisherman’s Provider II started sinking Tuesday after running ground on a rocky shoal about four kilometres off Canso. There were four people on board at the time. Another fishing vessel, the Miss Lexi, came to the stranded men’s aid and managed to get three of the fishermen off the vessel. But the captain refused to leave and stayed on the boat. >click to read< 14:11

DUMPING DAY DELAYED: Forecasted winds cancel Nov. 27 start of lobster season

The opening of the lobster fishery off southwestern Nova Scotia has been delayed due to the forecasted high winds. The season, which was to have started on Monday, Nov. 27, with dumping day, will only start Tuesday at the earliest. A decision to postpone the start of the LFA 34 (southwestern Nova Scotia) and LFA 33 (south shore of NS) seasons was made during Saturday morning conference calls to review the forecasted weather. Anything forecasted winds above 25 knots automatically cancels the start of the season. Sometimes the opening of lobster fishing off southwestern Nova Scotia goes off without a hitch. And sometimes not. Here’s a look at some past season openings over the years. click here to read the story 11:39

Northern Osprey III named at Tersan

The new Arctic shrimp trawler Northern Osprey III, built at the Tersan yard in Turkey to Skipsteknisk ST-118 design, is close to completion at Tersan Shipyard in Turkey. Owners MV Osprey of North Sidney, Nova Scotia ordered the new vessel at Tersan Shipyard in November 2015 after intense design development with Skipsteknisk. Northern Osprey III is the third vessel built by the Norwegian emigrant Ulf Snarby at MV Osprey based on ST-design. The first was the Northern Osprey (1992) and the second was the newly sold Northern Eagle (1996). click here to read the story 15:01

Boudreau family makes local shipbuilding history

The largest modern fishing boat ever manufactured on Isle Madame hit the water in October. Father and son duo Adolphe and Shawn Boudreau completed construction on the fishing vessel All Segments, which was purchased by the Everett family of Digby. The hulking 50-foot by 30-foot boat weighs in at 90 tonnes. click here to read the story w/photos 16:30

DFO raid facility, seize 3 tonnes of lobster as part of probe into unlicenced fishing

Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has intercepted 3 metric tonnes of Nova Scotia lobsters on Monday, shortly before they were reportedly scheduled to be shipped to Asia. The DFO only released the information after Global News attempted to confirm information they’d received from other sources. “An investigation is currently underway into the sale of fish not harvested under a commercial licence,” said a DFO representative. click here to read the story 19:08

Marine Protected Areas – Fishermen say Ottawa not clear on what potential protected areas will mean for fishing grounds

Cape Breton snow crab fisherman Basil MacLean speaks for many in coastal when he complains Ottawa has not been clear about what a potential marine protected area (MPA) will mean in his fishing grounds. “We’ve got no clarity. We got no idea what they want to protect,” he says. Earlier this year, officials with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans revealed an area known as the Cape Breton Trough in western Cape Breton is a potential candidate for designation as a marine protected area. The Trough overlaps the lucrative snow crab grounds known in DFO bureaucratise as Area 19. click here to read the story 11:41

Lobster wars

Burned out fishing boats, thousands of pounds of dumped, dead lobsters and allegations of a booming black market for the popular crustacean have drawn federal investigators to Nova Scotia’s most lucrative fishing grounds in the lead-up to lobster season. Tensions have been running high in recent weeks along the small wharves in the communities that dot St. Mary’s Bay, a well-known breeding ground for lobsters during the summer. While conservation laws prevent lobster fishers from harvesting the shellfish during breeding season in order to safeguard stocks, stunned locals watched thousands of pounds of lobsters that appeared to be commercial loads pass over their docks though the summer months. click here to read the story 10:53

Indigenous, commercial lobster fishermen clash in Digby County

The Sipekne’katik Band is accusing southwestern Nova Scotia lobster fishermen of throwing native fishing rights overboard. “There has been protesting and people are interfering with my people exercising their rights,” Chief Mike Sack said Thursday of a fleet of about 10 boats operated by the band that has been fishing lobster from different wharfs in St. Mary’s Bay in Digby County. “It has been escalating quickly over the last little bit.” Sack said local non-native fishermen from Lobster Fishing Area 34, the most lucrative lobster waters in Canada that encompasses an area from Baccaro Point to just below Digby, do not recognize native treaty rights to fish out of season. click here to read the story 22:57

EDITORIAL: It’s time to share marine protection

Nova Scotia has already paid an upfront price for being an environmental pioneer. So it’s time to carefully consider the long-term impact of the aggressive implementation of new environmental measures and policies, including the creation of additional Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) recently announced the boundaries of the new St. Anns Bank Marine Protected Areas, offshore Cape Breton. Roughly 4,400 acres in size, it will be forbidden ground for oil and gas activity. Limited commercial fishing will be allowed on about 25 per cent of the area. MPAs are rightly seen as ocean regenerators, areas in which marine ecosystems can thrive, and fish habitat can be protected.  That’s all good.  What’s puzzling is that little Nova Scotia, with its ocean-dependent economy, is being asked to bear a disproportionate share of the burden for Canada’s MPA initiative.  click here to read the story 12:48

DFO will talk to Nova Scotia about growing number of Marine Protected Areas

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans will meet with the province to discuss its concerns about the growing numbers of marine protected areas being designated off Nova Scotia, a department spokesman says. In April, the province asked Ottawa to stop making additional designations until other provinces and territories reach the same numbers achieved off Nova Scotia. The McNeil government is concerned the creation of more marine protected areas will have a negative impact on Nova Scotia’s economy. Marine-protected designations restrict human activities like fishing and offshore energy development. click here to read the story 11:30

Some industry members fear confusion as Nova Scotia launches its own seafood brand

Nova Scotia’s decision to create its own seafood brand is getting mixed reviews, with praise from some exporters and a pan from one industry association concerned it could cause confusion in the marketplace. Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Keith Colwell unveiled the $150,000 branding effort Thursday at the Halifax airport cargo hangar where tonnes of live lobster are flown to Europe, Asia and the Middle East. “We realized sometime ago we have to have a unique brand for Nova Scotia,” Colwell said.,, The Halifax-based Lobster Council of Canada is not on board with the new brand. The council has spent years promoting the region’s exports as Canadian lobsters. “We believe  it will lead to confusion in the marketplace,” said executive director Geoff Irvine. “We would prefer Nova Scotia processors use the Canadian brand.” Read the story here 11:25

Lobster thieves are back at work in Nova Scotia — two fishing boats were hit a week apart.

RCMP Const. Rob James says the first cache of crustaceans was taken from a boat tied up alongside the wharf in Port Mouton on Feb. 12. Another 135 kilograms was taken in a similar fashion at the same wharf on Feb. 18, bringing the total amount of stolen lobster up to 270 kilograms, worth about $6,000. James says it’s not clear if there’s a connection between the two thefts, and it’s not unusual to see people try to make off with the pricey delicacies. In an incident last January, police say 48 crates of live lobster were stolen from an outdoor pound at a business on Cape Sable Island. The theft followed a similar incident in late 2015, when 14 crates of lobster were stolen from a secure compound on Morris Island near Yarmouth, N.S. Link 15:54

The hidden danger of Dumping Day in Nova Scotia

On Dumping Day, the hundreds of fishing boats that hit the water at the start of lobster season to set their traps can act as camouflage for a vessel in distress and hinder search and rescue efforts. In 2015, that camouflage led search and rescue technicians to jump out of a plane and miss a boat that needed their help, according to the Transportation Safety Board (TSB). Back on Nov. 30, 2015, the Royal Canadian Air Force’s Joint Rescue Coordination Centre dispatched a Hercules plane and Cormorant helicopter after two boats ran into trouble off Nova Scotia’s southwestern shore. The Cormorant and its crew managed to rescue two men who had fallen overboard from one vessel. In his report, Morrow determined that if rescue crews can’t accurately identify a vessel in distress from above, critical search and rescue operations may be delayed. Read the story here 09:08

Six pilot studies test sea urchin farming in Canada

Federal scientists and others are exploring the possibility of sea urchin farming in Canada, with at least six pilot studies using Norwegian technology that proponents hope will turn “zombie” urchins which can denude kelp beds into profitable seafood. The first of the studies, conducted by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, is expected to start next week in waters off Vancouver Island, with others planned for Newfoundland, Quebec and Nova Scotia. Wild urchins are harvested in B.C. and elsewhere, but aren’t farmed commercially anywhere in Canada — yet. But the efforts to birth a new aquaculture industry are already running into questions about the ecological cost. Read the story here 09:11

A ‘Confluence of events’ may have caused mysterious fish kill off Nova Scotia

A federal scientist says the recent high-profile fish kill off southwestern Nova Scotia may have been caused by a “confluence of events,” including fish behaviour, weather, and various ecological factors such as predators. However, Alain Vezina says it’s still not known what caused thousands of herring and shellfish to wash ashore at several points between late November and through December. Vezina, who is regional director of science for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), says causes such as pollution, pesticides, and naturally occurring toxins have been ruled out. He says overall the kill was a “small and localized event” that occurred over a 100 kilometre swath from St. Marys Bay to Tusket. Read more here 14:47

Most southwest Nova Scotia beaches now clear of dead herring, latest round of tests find no viruses

Fisheries officials say the flood of dead herring washing up on southwest Nova Scotia beaches has slowed. Fisheries and Oceans Canada says it is monitoring for “evidence of new incidents” in areas where thousands of dead herring have been found since November, and more recently scores of starfish, clams and lobster. Read the story here Meanwhile, The latest round of tests from fish kills in southwest Nova Scotia have not found any viruses. “The viral tests, the long-term ones we were waiting for, all of them came back negative,” said David Jennings, a spokesman for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in Halifax. Jennings said recent patrols confirm most beaches from Tusket in Yarmouth County around to inner St. Marys Bay are clear of dead herring. The majority of those that remain on shore are located from the mouth of the Sissiboo River to the Plympton area, he said. “We have a few new wash-ups of herring being identified, but not to the extent reported [on] earlier.” Read the story here 17:28

Sometimes the opening of lobster fishing off southwestern Nova Scotia goes off without a hitch. And sometimes not.

lobster-startsIn the present day, there are 979 licences in Lobster Fishing Area (LFA) 34, which is slated to see its season start with Dumping Day on Monday, Nov. 28. The neighbouring LFA 33 along the province’s south shore also opens the same day. As fishermen gear up for the start of another lobster season, he’s a look back at some season starts of years gone by. 2015: Good start, good price Last year’s lobster season got off to a good start with decent opening day weather and better yet, a better price than in previous years. Fishermen were being paid around $6 a pound for their landings. 2014: Six-day weather delay,,, Read the rest here 10:05

Warning sent to illegal foreign lobster licence buyers

1632_lobster%20licensesA Canadian fishers’ federation is firing a warning shot across the bow of foreign buyers for allegedly trying to illegally buy inshore lobster fishing licences. After an advertisement appeared in two newspapers in southern Nova Scotia, the Canadian Independent Fish Harvesters’ Federation became alarmed foreign investors could be scooping up these licences. A classified ad in the Lobster Bay and Clare Shoppers, newspapers published by Marc Graff, asked lobster fishing boat operators if they were looking to retire. The ad then makes a claim. “We have foreign buyers looking to buy district 33,34, 35 and other lobster fishing areas,” the ad reads. Those are the areas for the inshore lobster fishery in southern Nova Scotia. The ad also lists a telephone number for interested parties. But there was no reply to a voice mail message left on it Tuesday. And while the newspaper publisher did identify the advertiser behind that classified ad Tuesday as Novi Marine Brokers in Yarmouth, the director of operations at that company denied any knowledge of it. “I know nothing about that ad,” Tammy Ward, Novi Marine Brokers’ director of operations, said Tuesday. Read the story here 11:01

Nova Scotia fishermen are concerned about proposed Marine Protected Areas (they should be!)

nova-fish-boatThe federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans wants to double the number of marine protected areas around Nova Scotia next year. DFO is holding a series of consultation meetings with the public to get feedback to the idea. It identified 52 special areas within the 475,000-square-kilometre region along Nova Scotia’s Atlantic coast and in the Bay of Fundy that are in the running for the designation including the Sambro Ledges, Port Joli and Eastern Shore islands. Marty King, an oceans biologist with DFO, said the government will choose at least two areas to protect by next spring. But the proposed protections have fishermen worried. “They feel like they’re under siege sometimes,” said Peter Connors, president of the Eastern Shore Fishermen Protective Association.  “I’m quite concerned.” “There’s fear of exclusion from the fish,” said Connors. “I think there’s a certain amount of evidence that that will take place.” Read the rest here 09:21

Last-in first-out policy squabble pits Nunavut and Labrador against Nova Scotia

800px-PandborealisindThere’s a danger that Nunavut’s already inadequate share of offshore shrimp quota could get even smaller if the Department of Fisheries and Oceans continues to apply its last in, first out approach to allocating shrimp quotas, Nunavut Senator Dennis Patterson said last week. “All Nunavut asks for is to be treated fairly and to have the terms of their constitutionally protected Nunavut land claim respected,” Patterson said. Patterson’s contribution to the campaign comes at a time when various entrenched interests, especially long-established fishing fleets in Nova Scotia, are fighting to hold on to their total allowable catch in the face of shrimp stocks that are declining because of climate change. “Last-in, first-out,” or “LIFO,” is a federal policy that’s been applied to the northern shrimp fishery since at least 1997. Read the rest here 17:36

Nova Scotia to enforce mandatory life-jacket rules for fishermen

robert-culling-nate-king-fishermen-life-jacketsOfficials with Nova Scotia’s Labour Department will be hitting wharves and docks in 2016 to remind commercial fishermen that wearing a life-jacket at sea is the law in this province. “We are going to be seeing what the compliance level is and offering advice as to what they should wear, showing them the products that are out for personal floatation devices and let them know about our regulations,” said Tom LeBlanc, the department’s northern regional director.  The campaign will start on the Northumberland Strait and western Cape Breton. Read the rest here 19:53

Nova Scotia lobster buyers must take a lobster handling course for licence renewal

Nova Scotia lobster buyers will have to take a lobster handling course this spring to have their licences renewed, the provincial fisheries minister said Thursday. Proper handling of lobsters should mean fewer crustaceans lost, said Fisheries Minister Keith Colwell. He said buyers were not consulted before introducing the new mandatory licence requirement.  “If we would have waited … every day we lose not having proper handling practices in place on lobsters means we’re losing revenue for the province of Nova Scotia and for rural communities in Nova Scotia,” Colwell said.”If that lobster doesn’t make it to market for whatever reason, then that’s revenue that we’ve lost.” Read the article here 20:45