Tag Archives: Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island lobstermen struggle through uncertain 2020 season

The fishing industry has certainly hit rough waters in the past, but the 2020 season was like few had ever seen,,, There is little doubt pandemic woes played a partial role in the fact lobster catches were down approximately 8.6 per cent compared to 2019, which was a record year. As Charlie McGeoghegan, chair of the PEI Lobster Marketing Board, puts it, much of the reason for that decrease was due to the fact the spring season was delayed two weeks. Fish plants had issues with getting out-of-province workers in due to border restrictions and self-isolation policies. >click to read< 09:55

Crown-Indigenous Relations should take the lead on the Nova Scotia lobster dispute, pointing to DFO’s lost credibility.

The Liberal government’s “new path” that has been broadly rejected by Atlantic First Nations is an “interim measure,” says Liberal MP Jaime Battiste, to address moderate livelihood fishing,,, Mr. Battiste (Sydney-Victoria, N.S.) is one of three Mi’kmaw Parliamentarians, who together offered solutions to the conflict that has persisted since September,,, For Mr. d’Entremont, part of the problem, though, is that the matter has become an Indigenous relations issue, because of the longstanding problem with DFO’s approach, and lack of enforcement. “We’ve gotten too far into Indigenous rights and what an agreement, or a treaty back in [1760] told us. It’s hard to apply it to today’s economy, in today’s fishing industry, and I don’t know how to fix that,” he said. Mr. d’Entremont acknowledged it’s a perspective that would make some “very mad.” “I recognize the right, but I understand the right can be regulated,” he said. >click to read< 18:00

P.E.I. Mi’kmaw chiefs denounce DFO’s ‘moderate livelihood’ fishery plan

A news release from P.E.I.’s Mi’kmaw chiefs Thursday called the plan “both unlawful and disrespectful.” “DFO’s continued paternalistic approach to our rights-based fishery goes against the very spirit of reconciliation,” Abegweit First Nation Chief Junior Gould said in the release. Lennox Island First Nation Chief Darlene Bernard said she was “blindsided” by Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan’s announcement, especially since she had taken part in a roundtable discussion with Jordan Wednesday during which they talked about the moderate livelihood fishery. >click to read< 09:36

P.E.I. lobster fishermen want exemption from new gear rule aimed at protecting whales

Island lobster fishermen should be be exempt from using gear designed to break free in the event of a whale entanglement, according to the P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association (PEIFA). The PEIFA wrote a letter to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) to request lobster fishermen be exempt from new rules, which are expected to become mandatory by the end of 2022. The group says sighting data shows the endangered North Atlantic right whale is rarely in P.E.I. lobster fishing grounds. >click to read< 10:46

Skipper pleads not guilty in fatal Price Edward Island lobster boat collision

The skipper of a lobster boat that was involved in a collision that killed two people has pleaded not guilty. A lawyer for Clarence Barry White, 52, of Murray River, entered the not guilty pleas Tuesday in P.E.I. Supreme Court in Charlottetown. Justin MacKay of P.E.I. and Christopher Melanson of Nova Scotia died in the June, 2018 incident, in waters off Murray Harbour. An investigation by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada found White’s boat was on auto-pilot at the time of the collision. >click to read< 13:42

Coronavirus Pandemic’s ‘second wave’ sending P.E.I. tuna prices down

Tuna fishers out of North Lake, P.E.I., are seeing the impact of rising Coronavirus case numbers in central Canada. Tuna buyer and processor Jason Tompkins said the season got off to a good and early start this year. “We had more fish go in July this year than any year in the last 20,” Tompkins told Island Morning host Laura Chapin. “A lot of guys did see the writing on the wall. They took our advice as buyers and went early, and the prices we saw in July and August were some of the highest we’ve seen in years.” But those prices have plummeted as COVID-19 cases rise. Tuna is almost exclusively exported off the Island, with restaurants the main market. >click to read< 13:16

A Tuna’s Worth – Inside a Canadian fishery that pursues them

Bluefin tuna are a luxury that feeds the egos of many, the bellies of few.,, North Lake, a community too small to support an ATM, calls itself the tuna capital of the world. In the 1960s and 1970s, anglers here regularly landed bluefin that broke world records. People came from all over the planet to hunt the storied giants, which swam faster and fought harder and grew bigger than any other sport fish. In 1979, a North Lake fisher named Ken Fraser caught the largest in history, at 679 kilograms. In a black-and-white photo commemorating the event, Fraser stands wide-eyed, blood-spattered, and completely dwarfed by the hanging behemoth—as if he were the prey, not the predator.,, On the other side of the world, in Japan, bluefin was well on its way to becoming the most expensive item on sushi menus. photos,  >Audio report, click to read< 09:57

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

Prince Edward Island Lobster fishermen prepare for fall season after challenging spring

“I’m feeling good about the season,” said Peter Hustler, who has been fishing since he was 15. “Everybody has to make an income.” Demand for lobster plummeted as the pandemic forced restaurants to close earlier this year. The price dropped as low as $3.50 per pound. “It hurts, it hurts, and it hurt this spring, too, but I think everything is going to work out,” he said. “I’d like to see the price at $4.50 or $5 … and I believe it might happen.” >click to read< 19:09

PEISPA, PEIFA disappointed with the opening date of fall lobster season

The opening day is Monday, Aug. 10. A media release issued from the PEISPA explains this date will create difficulty for lobster processors to handle the large number of lobsters that will be harvested in the first week. The release goes on to say the fall season would usually start on Aug. 9, but since that date falls on a Sunday this year, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) supported changing the opening date.  “We are very disappointed that DFO rejected our simple but impactful request to start the fall fishery on Aug. 7,” said Jerry Gavin, executive director of the PEISPA. The P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association (PEIFA) also made a formal request for an earlier start date, confirmed executive director Ian MacPherson. >click to read< 09:54

Malpeque harbour users vote in favour of new wharf at Cabot Shores

On Wednesday, July 8, Malpeque harbour users gathered in Summerside to hear proposed plans for a new wharf. Around 50 people attended the presentation given by Harbourside Consulting and MRSB, which was hosted by the Malpeque Harbour Authority before its annual general meeting. Most there were commercial fishers; some were members of the public. The navigational channel into Malpeque harbour, also called Malpeque Cove, is shallow and has needed near-constant dredging for decades.  The shallow channel is dangerous for boats and their crews who risk running aground, swamping full of water or capsizing.  >click to read< 08:09

Charges laid in 2018 P.E.I. lobster boat collision that took 2 lives

Clarence Barry White of Dover Road, 51, is charged with two counts of criminal negligence causing death.  He’s also charged with two counts of failing to keep lockout, under the Canada Shipping Act. The two lobster boats collided off Beach Point two years ago. Joel ’98 sank after White’s boat Forever Chasin’ Tail hit it, taking the lives of 20-year-old Justin MacKay from P.E.I. and 59-year-old Chris Melanson from Nova Scotia. An >investigation by the Transportation Safety Board, click< determined Forever Chasin’ Tail was on autopilot at the time of the crash. >click to read< 10:58

The 2020 P.E.I. spring lobster season that almost didn’t happen because of coronavirus, comes to an end

The spring lobster season on P.E.I. ended July 4 after a late start on May 15, in a year when fishermen faced low prices and catch limits due to a shortage of labour in processing plants. After losing the crucial first two weeks of the season, fishermen saw a glut of lobsters, pulling in more than buyers would take. There are eight processing plants on Prince Edward Island that deal with lobster. “At the end of the day, we had a season. That meant job creation and it also meant wealth creation for the province during a time when a lot of the other sectors were suffering,” >click to read< 19:30

Some P.E.I. fishermen caught flak for catching lobsters on Sundays in 1989

There was only so much lobster to go around, a fact fishermen in North Rustico, P.E.I. were well aware of. That’s part of what upset them when some of their peers started fishing for that lobster on Sundays, a habit other fishermen didn’t want to see take hold. “Over the last couple of years, more and more fishermen are ignoring traditions and are heading out on the Sabbath,” Clarence Gauthier, a local fisherman, said the change in behaviour had been gradual. >video, click to read< 08:57

“We were pumped”! Lobster fishermen find and retrieve big anchor outside of Malpeque Harbour

Matt Wall was out fishing last week, hauling lobster traps, when he noticed something unusual. “It just seemed like the traps were stuck on the bottom,” he said. Wall and the crew quickly realized they had snagged an anchor. “I didn’t think it was a big deal at the time, there’s all [kinds of] anchors out there, net anchors, small stuff,” Wall said. It was bigger than they first thought and when they pulled it up it slipped out of their grasp. But Wall marked the spot. He had a diver scheduled to come out and look for the anchor on Tuesday, but after fishing on Saturday, Wall decided to head back out and look for it again. Photo’s, >click to read< 18:30

Buyers setting catch limits, processors struggle with labour shortages, ‘Lots of lobster, but we can’t bring them in’

“Pretty good catches so far. But almost everybody’s on a quota right now,” said Gerard Whalen, a long-time fisherman in Naufrage in eastern P.E.I. “We’re seeing lots of lobster, but we can’t bring them in.” “We just can’t get rid of them,” added Lucas Lesperance, who docks a few boats down from Whalen. Lesperance said he’s pulled up about 1,000 pounds of lobster some days, but his buyer has only been accepting 600-700 pounds.  According to P.E.I.’s Seafood Processors Association, that is the big problem across the industry. Executive director Jerry Gavin said Island processing plants — which rely heavily on temporary foreign workers — are about 200 workers short this season. >click to read< 17:23

Setting day challenging but ‘better than expected’ say Malpeque fishermen

Despite a two-week delay to P.E.I.’s fishing season because of COVID-19 and added dredging challenges, Malpeque Harbour was still bustling with fishermen on setting day. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans cautioned fishermen in Malpeque Harbour that the yearly dredging effort was still ongoing, as the dredger was unable to create a clear passage through the channel that leads from the harbour to the Gulf of St. Lawrence. “After weeks of stress and sleepless nights, it went much better than expected,” said Justin Pickering, a captain who fishes from the harbour. “The wind let up last night and the dredger was able to get a little bit of a path cut through for us and we were the second boat out,” he said. >click to read< 08:13

UPDATED: It’s setting day for P.E.I.’s lobster fishery after 2-week delay

Lobster fishermen are setting their traps from ports around Prince Edward Island this morning, after a two-week delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The spring fishery on P.E.I.’s North Shore and the eastern Northumberland Strait was delayed partly because some lobster processing plants in the region were not ready,, It will be a season like no other for fishermen: they’ll be asked questions about their health daily, are not allowed to share equipment and must wear gloves at all times. They’re required to thoroughly clean frequently-touched surfaces on board vessels, and to maintain a physical distance of two metres when possible. added photos, >click to read< 07:31

IN PHOTOS: P.E.I. lobster fishers head out on setting day following delay – P.E.I. fishers hit the water early this morning to set their lobster traps. The season finally opened on May 15 following a two-week delay due to the coronavirus (COVID-19 strain) pandemic. >click to view< 13:22

Why one Islander has been giving palliative care patients lobster for two decades

In 1999 Ray Campbell dropped off his first delivery of lobsters for patients being treated at the palliative care unit in Charlottetown. It’s been an annual tradition ever since. “It’s just the right thing to do, I guess,” said Campbell.  Campbell said up until last year, he was a lobster fisherman operating out of Covehead, P.E.I. Every year he took about 10 market-sized lobsters out of his catch, cooked them and delivered them to the palliative patients.,, Campbell sold his lobster boat last year, and this year P.E.I.’s lobster season has been delayed because of COVID-19, but that didn’t prevent Campbell from making his first delivery. >click to read< 07:53

Some P.E.I. fishermen feeling left out of lobster market

This year due to considerations around the coronavirus (COVID-19 strain) pandemic, P.E.I. lobster fishers will be setting traps on May 15 instead. Beach Point fisher Brayden Handrahan says he was ready to fish April 30 as usual, and he says he’s not alone. “That’s when everybody gets the most lobster, in the first two weeks, and that’s why everybody wants to go,” he said. Federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan said her department chose May 15 after fishers in licensed fishing areas (LFAs) 24 and 26a voted on the date. Ian MacPherson, executive director of the P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association, who co-ordinated the vote, says it was close, but the majority asked for a delay. By the time the vote was underway, many felt it was too late for the season to start on time, said MacPherson. As the decision date approached, Jordan added a “new wrinkle” by including processors into her considerations, he said. >click to read< 09:50

UPDATED: Spring lobster season starts May 15. 2 different start dates being recommended for 2 P.E.I. lobster fishing areas

The PEIFA released results Tuesday from its member vote held over the weekend. Members were asked whether they preferred the season start on May 6 or May 13. Voting began on Friday and wrapped up at noon on Monday. A total of 841 votes were tallied out of the eligible 954 spring lobster licence holders. The PEIFA reported results in each of the two fishing areas, LFA 24 and LFA 26A. For LFA 24, 60.9 per cent voted in favour of the May 6 start. In LFA 26A, 51.2 per cent of voting members chose the May 13 start date. >click to read< 07:29

Spring lobster season starts May – After weeks of uncertainty, Ottawa has set a date. Spring lobster fishing season starts May 15 and ends June 30.
The announcement on fishing dates in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence, was issued Wednesday in Moncton by Fisheries and Oceans Canada.   >click to read< 20:16

Gulf lobster fishermen offer to give up season

“Three dollars a pound is what we’re hearing,” said Susan Beaton. The Cape George, Antigonish County fisher was working on her new tiny home on Thursday. It looks out over the grounds she fishes each spring from her boat The UnManned. Water she doesn’t know if she’ll be fishing in two weeks. None of the 600 lobster fishermen along most of the Northumberland Strait and the Eastern Gulf of St. Lawrence do. “We need an answer last Friday,” said Duane Boudreau on Thursday. The president of the Gulf Bonafide Fishermen’s Association wants a ruling from Fisheries and Oceans Canada on whether there will be a season this year.  >click to read< 10:06

Coronavirus: Most P.E.I. lobster fishermen want spring season to go ahead

The P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association conducted the survey starting last week, and got responses from 775 of 954 members who fish the spring lobster fishery — a more than 80 per cent response rate. When asked whether the spring season should proceed “considering what you know today on the current spread of COVID-19,” 57 per cent said yes. Then, in a separate question, members were asked whether the PEIFA should request DFO delay the opening of the 2020 season, and 70 per cent said yes. Ian MacPherson, executive director of the PEIFA, said the survey was an effort to gather feedback from fishermen, rather than a binding vote on whether to ask DFO to delay or cancel the season.  “It’s a complicated issue,, >click to read< 17:56

“If lobster people fish, then processors are going to process,” – Processors working on assumed May 1 season start

It is unlikely P.E.I.’s seafood processors will have all the temporary foreign workers they normally have to operate in time for a regular start to the lobster season.,, Jerry Gavin, executive director of the processors’ association, said there will be challenges for his members but they will get the job done if called upon., Gavin recognizes there will be some significant hurdles.”,, Probably one-third of the workforce is temporary foreign workers. Those workers are probably not going to come in here on time. So processors are looking at trying to expand the local labour.” To be ready to start May 1, temporary foreign workers would have to arrive on P.E.I. next week — because they will need to quarantine for 14 days before they can go to the plants.   >click to  read< 15:51

Prince Edward Island: Uncertainty looms over spring lobster fishing season

During a media briefing Tuesday night, Jamie Fox, Minister of Fisheries and Communities said clarity is needed on the future of the Spring fishing season from the federal government. “There is no definitive position, no consensus from any sector in this industry, or any region for that matter, as to what the best answer is. We have heard a variety of opinions from amongst fishers, from buyers, from processors – from all aspects of the sector,” King said during the briefing. “There is no consensus. Some want to go and are ready to go. Some don’t want to go. Some want to have a delay and many don’t know what to think.” The P.E.I. Fisherman’s Association, a key voice for the industry on P.E.I., has not issued a clear call whether or not they would like to see a fishing season proceed, or whether it should be delayed. >click to read< 09:23

  P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association surveying members on when, if spring lobster season should proceed – On Wednesday, the PEIFA posted a notice on its website saying a survey was coming by the end of the day. >click to read< 21:03

The $2 million fish? Jersey fishermen calling on government to allow targeting the bluefin tuna market

Don Thompson, president of the Jersey Fishermen’s Association, said Jersey should look to Prince Edward Island, the smallest Canadian province, whose industry for commercial and charter boat tuna fishing is worth about $2 million a year. In recent years, fishermen have reported seeing an ‘abundance’ of Atlantic blue fin tuna – which are classified as endangered – around the Island in the summer months but there is a total ban on catching them for Jersey vessels. No such ban applies to French boats. French newspaper Ouest France reported that 5.4 tonnes of tuna were landed at Granville market last year. A single fish can be worth thousands of pounds. >click to read< 21:18

‘No pipe’ placards popping up on P.E.I. election signs

Some federal election signs around P.E.I. are carrying an extra message — candidates are adding a second, smaller sign printed with the words “No Pipe in the Strait.” The signs are from the P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association, and they oppose a proposal by the Northern Pulp mill in Nova Scotia across the Northumberland Strait from Prince Edward Island to extend a waste-water effluent pipe into the strait, part of its plan to improve its pollution control. Nova Scotia’s environment minister has to make a decision by mid-December. >click to read< 18:43

P.E.I. lobster season closes Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019

Despite missing about 10 fishing days, including four last week due to foul weather, Miminegash lobster fisherman Thane Deagle said Tuesday he’s quite satisfied with the Lobster Fishing Area 25 fall lobster fishery, which closes Wednesday. Deagle said his catch was up over last year, and he thinks just about every fall lobster fisherman saw an increase this year.,, Catches were not the only improvement P.E.I.’s fall fishermen witnessed this year. >click to read<  12:17

‘They need to come to the table’, Lennox Island chief rejects PEIFA’s calls for July lobster fishery ban

The P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association is requesting a ban be implemented by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans on lobster fishing for part of the summer. The association is supporting the idea of a ban on all lobster fishing in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence during midsummer, mainly July.,,, Chief Darlene Bernard of the Lennox Island First Nation said they have a ceremonial fishery in the month of July for the annual St. Anne’s Sunday celebration and she has no plans to stop it. >click to read<  18:21