Category Archives: Canada

Lobster fisherman says he was at the wheel during fatal boat collision

A lobster fisherman says he was at the wheel of his boat when it hit another vessel in a fatal collision in 2018. Clarence Barry White, 52, testified Tuesday before Justice Gregory Cann in P.E.I. Supreme Court in Charlottetown where he is on trial on two counts of criminal negligence causing death. Those charges relate to a collision on June 9, 2018 that killed Chris Melanson and Justin MacKay who were onboard the Joel ’98. White was captain of the Forever Chasin’ Tail and testified he didn’t give any warning before his boat hit the other vessel. >click to read< 21:40

Expert says Captain not practicing ‘good seamanship’ in fatal boat collision, did not have a proper lookout

The boat that sank after a fatal collision in 2018 should have been visible to the captain of the vessel that hit it, an expert testified Monday. That testimony came during the trial for Clarence Barry White, who appeared before Justice Gregory Cann in P.E.I. Supreme Court in Charlottetown on two counts of criminal negligence causing death. Those charges stem from a collision on June 9, 2018 when the Forever Chasin’ Tail hit the Joel ’98 near Beach Point. Justin MacKay and Chris Melanson died after the collision. >click to read< 10:30

Seafood wholesaler, boat master fined for obstruction

The fines resulted from what DFO describes as “a serious case of obstruction,” which included the co-owner of the wholesaler eating a receipt rather than give it to a DFO officer. A B.C. provincial court judge has found Tenshi Seafood Ltd. and the company’s co-owner, Dishi Liu, guilty of violating the Fishers Act. The company was fined $75,000; Liu was fined $25,000. The judge also handed a $10,000 fine to Thuong Nguyen, master of the commercial fishing vessel Dream Chaser, for obstructing a fisheries officer. >click to read< 17:47

Nova Scotia: The hidden fight for baby eels – Court docs reveal why DFO shut down the elver fishery for all of 2020

The federal department had been closely monitoring, and in some cases prosecuting, the unauthorized sale of baby eels harvested by Mi’kmaq under Food, Social and Ceremonial (FSC) eel licences since 2017. The appearance of more than 110 Indigenous fishermen at the beginning of April 2020, up from 21 across the region in 2019, quickly forced a shutdown of the little known but lucrative fishery throughout the Maritimes, the documents state. DFO was in the middle of a collision between Mi’kmaq asserting treaty rights and commercial harvesters anxious to protect a fishery worth $38 million in 2019. >click to read< 08:32

Newfoundland: A Discussion of the Impact of Seals on Cod Stocks

Those in the industry feel more needs to be done to track the impact seal predation is having on cod stocks in the province. The latest DFO modelling shows 3Ps cod deep in the critical zone, prompting meagre quotas to be cut in half.,, “Most fear if we don’t do anything” Sullivan says, “it’ll be the story of what’s going on with the neighbouring cod stock.” He says scientists working in the Gulf of St. Lawrence noted a few years ago that fishing or no fishing, seals were going to devour all the cod and the species could become extinct. >click to read< 09:10

“It’s excellent,” – Court hears testimony that vessel involved in fatal collision had good visibility

A fishing boat involved in a fatal collision that killed two people had good visibility from its cabin, a P.E.I. Supreme Court judge heard Friday. That testimony came during the fourth day of the trial for Clarence Barry White who appeared before Justice Gregory Cann in Charlottetown. White is facing two counts of criminal negligence causing death in connection with a collision on June 9, 2018, that killed Justin MacKay and Chris Melanson. During Friday’s proceedings, the court heard testimony from a Transport Canada employee who took White’s boat, the Forever Chasin’ Tail, out for a sea trial days after the collision. >click to read< 13:14

Changing environment may be to blame for reduced fish populations – Seals, Professor? Regulatory changes?

A new study aimed at determining how best to boost recovery of Atlantic cod has researchers pondering whether ongoing fishing and environmental changes, rather than evolution, are behind failed recovery of many stressed fish populations. (Seal predation?!!) Research published Monday, April 5 by Rutgers University, including genetic sequencing of this iconic species, offers major implications for ocean conservation, says Malin Pinsky, an associate professor in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. “Fish populations around the world have collapsed and many have not recovered,” said Pinsky. >click to read 09:43

Absolute Inequity – Family of lost fisherman denied Workers’ Compensation survivor’s benefit

The mother of a fisherman who died when his scallop boat sank says she was shocked to learn his family won’t receive an accidental death benefit because he was single and had no children. Aaron Cogswell, 29, was one of six men who died when the Chief William Saulis sank off the coast of Delaps Cove, N.S., in December. His mother, Lori Phillips, said she recently learned that the Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia will not pay the $15,000 lump sum survivor’s benefit to the family. “A survivor is a survivor, if it’s a wife or,,, Phillips said she asked the board to put the denial in writing, so she knew exactly why >click to read< 10:48

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

P.E.I. lobster boat captain said he was at the wheel during fatal collision

The captain of a boat that crashed into another in a fatal collision that killed two people told an investigator he didn’t know how he didn’t see the other vessel. Clarence Barry White is facing two counts of criminal negligence causing death in connection with the June 9, 2018, collision that killed Chris Melanson and Justin MacKay. On Thursday, White’s statement to a Transport Canada investigator was played in P.E.I. Supreme Court in Charlottetown during the third day of his trial. White was the captain of the Forever Chasin’ Tail when it collided with the Joel ’98, which Melanson and MacKay were on. During the interview, White said he couldn’t understand how he didn’t see the Joel ’98 before the collision. “It’s surreal to me, but I cannot explain it,” he said. >click to read< 20:24

Mi’kmaw community requested a crab season opener delay from DFO prior to boat sinking

The fisheries manager for Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick says the community asked the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to delay the opening of the crab season days before a boat capsized off Cape Breton killing two crew members. According to Dawn Levi, the season started too early and a request was made to delay it. “We had a call last Thursday, on the call were industry representatives including DFO, I requested a delay in the season until it was safe for all our boats to be out there,” According to Levi, DFO said the season was starting because of “protocol.”. >click to read< 12:47

FV Tyhawk: Missing fisherman’s brother says he drowned trying to save others

As Derek Sock raced to his brother’s sinking fishing boat on Saturday, Craig Sock was fighting to save his shipmates in the frigid waters 16 nautical miles off the coast of Nova Scotia. The Tyhawk was making its second run of the day to set lobster traps when it began to take on water. As the crew tried to ready the life raft, the Tyhawk suddenly capsized, trapping Jumbo, as Craig Sock of Elsipogtog First Nation was known, and another man in the wheelhouse. Jumbo managed to toss that man out a window and both men surfaced. Derek said his brother lost his life trying to save his crew mate. >click to read< 07:57

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 49’2″ X 22’6″ Millennium Marine Lobster Boat, 1000HP Cat C-18

To review specifications, information, and 37 photos of this vessel, and watch the video, >click here<, To see all the boats listed here with the Boat of the Week feature,  >click here<11:36

PEI fishermen to integrate ‘weak rope’ in 2023

Gear adjustments regarding the North Atlantic Right Whale for the 2021 fishing season are consistent with last year. Rope markings on fishing gear, first implemented in 2020, are designed to help pinpoint where right whale entanglements in gear take place. The fact there haven’t been any entanglements since the marking became mandatory is positive, Melanie Giffin, Program Planner with the PEI Fishermen’s Association, said. “It is kind of a good news story that we don’t know if they are working or not,” she said. According to Barre Campbell, DFO Media relations, there were no North Atlantic Right Whale entanglements or deaths reported in Canadian waters in 2020. However, there is a plan to follow,,, >click to read< 23:08

Coronavirus: Data shows pandemic landed blow on P.E.I. lobster fishery in 2020

P.E.I.’s lobster fishery in 2020 never quite recovered from a late start caused by the pandemic, although sellers were able to quickly change gears to keep export sales close to 2019 values. The P.E.I. lobster fishery had record landings in 2019, well over 40 million pounds, but landings were down 8.6 per cent in 2020, according to preliminary numbers from the provincial government. The start of the spring season was delayed two weeks,,, >click to read< 08:25

Some question if early crab season is to blame for FV Tyhawk tragedy

Concerns are being raised about what an early snow crab fishing season could mean for smaller vessels after a boat capsized on Saturday off the coast of Cape Breton, N.S. The Tyhawk belongs to the Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick. Four of its crew members were rescued from the water but one, identified by community members as Seth Monahan, died. Captain Craig Sock is still missing after bad weather halted the search on Sunday, he is also presumed dead. “The government decided in their infinite wisdom that in order to save the whales and interaction with them with the fishing gear and that, that they would go early,” said Jody Pratt, harbour master with the Richibucto port authority.  >click to read< 19:19

Scientists, First Nations team up in fresh attempt to revive struggling B.C. herring stocks

For decades, the fish were viewed as a virtually inexhaustible resource. They were canned, frozen, used as fertilizer, and even rendered into slippery goo to grease logs being skidded out of the forest. But the once coastal-wide bonanza is fizzling out. This year, most of the waters off B.C. were closed to commercial herring boats, with the only quota being allowed in the Strait of Georgia, along Canada’s southwest coast. The first collapse of the stocks happened in the 1960s, due to overfishing. They were allowed to recover but have had ups and downs in recent decades. The herring fishery in Eastern Canada has also been facing tough times. >click to read< 13:48

Search suspended for missing fisherman off coast of Nova Scotia

The search for a missing fisher who had been aboard a boat that capsized and sank off the west coast of Cape Breton was suspended indefinitely on Sunday night, hours after a First Nation reported that two of the vessel’s crew members had died. The decision to suspend the operation was made “based on the results of the search over the last 25 hours,” a tweet from the Halifax Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre reads. >click to read< 07:50

Births rates up among North Atlantic Right Whales

North Atlantic right whales gave birth over the winter in greater numbers than scientists have seen since 2015, an encouraging sign for researchers who became alarmed three years ago when the critically endangered species produced no known offspring at all. Survey teams spotted 17 newborn right whale calves swimming with their mothers offshore between Florida and North Carolina from December through March. One of those calves soon died after being hit a boat, a reminder of the high death rate for right whales that experts fear is outpacing births. >click to read< 08:58

4 crew members found, Search ongoing for missing fisherman off the coast of Cape Breton

A search is ongoing in the waters off the coast of Cape Breton for one of five people from the Tyhawk fishing vessel, A CH149 Cormorant helicopter and a CH130 Hercules aircraft, along with two Coast Guard ships, were sent to search for the missing vessel, which was believed to be about 30 kilometres west of Chéticamp, N.S., according to Owens. Owens said a local vessel was in the area and found four of the people who had been on boat holding onto the hull of the capsized vessel. Ruth Levi said the boat and its crew left waters near the community early on Saturday to fish snow crab off Chéticamp.  >click to read< 07:16

UPDATE: Search ongoing – The two helicopters have since been grounded and one coast guard ship departed the area due to deteriorating weather conditions. Owens said freezing rain and low cloud cover is making for poor visibility. >click to read< 10:20

Crab fishing season off to early start on the Acadian Peninsula

New Brunswick’s snow crab fishers have begun their season. At the wharf in Shippagan, boats prepared to take to the Gulf of Saint Lawrence late Friday despite frigid temperatures and the presence of ice in some places. The season officially began at midnight. For Capt. Renald Guignard, it marked the continuation of a family tradition. The Acadian Peninsula received help from icebreakers from the Canadian Coast Guard and contracted boats to allow access to the waters before endangered North Atlantic right whales arrive. >click to read< 17:30

Tension over stocks – 3Ps Cod fishery closure ‘not going to happen on my watch,’

Fish harvesters rallied in Clarenville on Wednesday, voicing their fears that the federal government may shut down the cod fishery along Newfoundland’s south coast, a move the local member of Parliament says he won’t support. Dozens of members from the Fish, Food & Allied Workers union protested on the doorstep of the office of Liberal MP for Bonavista-Burin-Trinity, Churence Rogers, filling the parking lot with signs and the air with strong words about the fate of the fishing grounds 3Ps. Fish harvester Brian Careen said he’s spent most of his life fishing in the area, and told the crowd he feared it will be taken away by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. >click to read< 10:58

“DFO operates in denial of Reality”- Scientist says seal predation not having a significant impact on spawning cod stocks 

Instead, Karen Dwyer, weighing in on the contentious debate over the health of cod stocks, said Thursday that environmental factors and a limited supply of the cod’s primary food source — capelin — are more to blame.,, Trinity Bay fisherman Keith Smith said DFO continues to downplay the impact of seal predation on cod. “It’s like DFO operate in denial of reality,” Smith said. “Fishing mortality is at an all-time low while natural mortality, likely led by the growing seal population that consumes vast amounts of both capelin and cod, remains high,”,,, >click to read<  11:04

Groundbreaking co-management decision by B.C. First Nations, DFO protect crab for Indigenous food, social and ceremonial purposes

After 14 years of collecting data and aligning Indigenous knowledge and fisheries science, the federal department, DFO, and the Kitasoo/Xai’xais, Heiltsuk, Nuxalk and Wuikinuxv nations decided to close the commercial and recreational fisheries in those areas indefinitely. The decision was the first made as part of a collaborative governance framework that will guide future management decisions for several species in the region over the coming years. “There’s a lot riding on this type of decision-making,”  >click to read< 18:11

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 44’11x 20′ Fiberglass Lobster boat

To review specifications, information, and 15 photos>click here<, To see all the boats in this series >click here<11:48

‘You can’t touch the union boat’- Part III: ‘Where did all the f—ing money go?’

Former offshore trawlermen demand investigation into what happened to millions of dollars generated from offshore crab quota meant to support them, and how it was sold without their knowledge for fraction of value to Conne River First Nation  The controversial offshore snow crab quota fished by “the union boat” for almost 20 years, generating revenues estimated at between $30 and $60 million, was quietly sold late last year to the  Miawpukek First Nation at Conne River for $1 million.,, The news raises the question why the offshore crab quota that reached as high as 500 tonnes (1.1 million pounds) sold for millions of dollars less than market value? The going rate today for a small supplementary crab licence (65,000 pounds) is more than $2 million.,, Bateman worries that nothing will come from his whistleblowing. “If a Fishery Officer feels as strongly as I do to come forward publicly and nothing is done, then maybe there’s no hope.” >click to read< 10:48

John Gillett: Fishery mismanaged while people go hungry

Canada is doing the world a big injustice by mismanaging our Newfoundland and Labrador fisheries. If our fisheries were managed right, we could supply a million tonnes of fish protein to the world and still have enough for our own country. Canada refusing to address the predation of millions of tonnes of fish a year by 10 million seals is criminal to me. Canada, under the UN food security program, has an obligation to share food with the world, not let it be wasted by not controlling the seals that are destroying what fish harvesters harvest and causing an ecological marine disaster. >click to read<  09:10

Sipekne’katik First Nation has filed a lawsuit against non-Indigenous fishers, the RCMP and the Feds

In a statement of claim filed Friday with the Nova Scotia Supreme Court, the Sipekne’katik First Nation alleges that commercial fishermen stole and damaged hundreds of band members’ traps and engaged in a co-ordinated campaign of intimidation and harassment. The lawsuit alleges that between 75 and 100 boats operated by non-Indigenous fishers headed to St. Marys Bay near Saulnierville, N.S., where they were used in late September 2020 to “intimidate and harass one or more of the plaintiffs, and to steal or damage their lobster traps.” None of the allegations has been proven in court. A representative for the non-Indigenous fishers could not be reached for comment. >click to read< 19:01

‘You can’t touch the union boat’- Part II – FFAW crab licence

When Fishery Officers Jason Bateman and Ryan Legge inspected the F/V Katrina Charlene in late June, 2011 at the wharf in St. Lawrence word spread immediately up the chain of command within the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) in Newfoundland and Labrador. Managers themselves with the department’s Enforcement and Conservation division specifically referred to the fishing vessel as “operating under the FFAW crab licence. ”On June, 27th 2011, the day the skipper of the Katrina Charlene was charged with illegally fishing undersized snow crab, an email,,, It read: “Kevin, A heads up that we are in the process of an inspection in St. Lawrence on the F/V Katrina Charlene operated under the FFAW crab licence. >click to read< 10:33

‘You can’t touch the union boat’- Former Fishery Officer alleges DFO kept 2012 Katrina Charlene conviction quiet

The Katrina Charlene and the crab quota it was built to fish have been in the news for almost 20 years for their connection to the FFAW. The story made national news in February when a Fishery Officer alleged DFO kept quiet a conviction against the trawler, so as to not embarrass the union. Today, there’s news the quota sold recently for $1 million, a fraction of its estimated value, to Conne River First Nation. The boat and quota have been sold, but questions remain. What happened to the tens of millions of dollars generated by the crab quota? Fisherman’s Road lays out the story as it’s never been told. First of a three-part series. By Ryan Cleary >click to read<  11:59