Category Archives: Canada

Fish processor seethes in court over RCMP actions during Shippagan riots

The former owner of a Shippagan crab processing plant testified Thursday about the damage caused by rioters during the 2003 protests. Newfoundland’s Daley Brothers are suing the RCMP for $38 million, alleging the force didn’t do its job during the fires that destroyed their fish plant, warehouse, several crab fishing boats and hundreds of traps. Hundreds of angry fishermen from the Acadian Peninsula descended on Shippagan that May to protest against the federal government’s move to reduce their crab quotas to recognize First Nations’ right to live off fishing. >click to read<13:30

Fish processor testifies against RCMP over Shippagan riots that destroyed his plant

A Moncton court has begun hearing a lawsuit against the RCMP that alleges the force didn’t do its job during the 2003 riots in Shippagan that destroyed the Daley Brothers fish plant and warehouse, several crab fishing boats and hundreds of traps. Hundreds of angry fishermen from the Acadian Peninsula descended on Shippagan in May 2003 to protest against the federal government’s move to reduce their crab quotas to recognize First Nations’ right to live off fishing. >click to read<14:47

DFO ‘complacent’ on fish kills at Nova Scotia’s turbines, biologist says

A former Fisheries and Oceans Canada scientist is accusing his former employer of skewing research to allow for the continued operation of Nova Scotia Power’s Annapolis Tidal Turbine. “The Fisheries Act says you shouldn’t destroy fisheries habitat,” said Michael Dadswell, On Wednesday, members of a Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat panel tasked with reviewing existing scientific literature to help determine whether the tidal turbine is violating the Fisheries Act were supposed meet at Acadia University to review their draft report. >click to read<20:01

FISH-NL pleased with DFO move to increase seal licences; first step in addressing population

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is encouraged that Fisheries and Oceans has finally moved to increase the number of  — the first step to combating the massive population. DFO issued an advisory to harvesters earlier today to say that new applications for commercial assistant sealers will be considered.,,, The Harp seal population in the northwest Atlantic was last estimated in 2012 at 7.4 million animals — almost six times what it was in the 1970s.,,, Groups in British Columbia have called for a cull of the estimated 110,000 harbour seals and sea lions off that province for the impact they’re having on Pacific salmon stocks. >click to read<16:36

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 47′ MDI Gillnet/Lobster, CAT 3406, Permit available


Specifications, information and 24 photos >click here< To see all the boats in this series, >click here<12:12

Northern shrimp stock plunges off the coast of Labrador

The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ latest northern shrimp assessment shows a dramatic drop in the offshore Labrador stock, with a slight increase for the inshore fishery in Newfoundland. New data from DFO Monday reveal a 46 per cent drop in the fishable biomass — defined as the weight of all the shrimp larger than 17 millimetres — between 2017 and 2018 in Shrimp Fishing Area 4, along Labrador’s northernmost coast, to 42,100 tonnes. Heading south down Labrador’s coast to Shrimp Fishing Area 5, the biomass has dropped 43 per cent, to 80,100 tonnes. >click to read<

FISH-NL: Escalating war between fish processors/buyers exposes fact inshore harvesters have been ‘royally screwed’ on price of fish

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) says the existing system of setting fish prices in the province is broken beyond repair, and must be scuttled. “What’s absolutely clear from the escalating fight between processors and buyers is that inshore harvesters have been getting royally screwed on the price of fish,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. On Jan. 2, the Seafood Processors of Newfoundland and Labrador (SPONL) — representing 15 small, mostly lobster processors/buyers with a combined export value of roughly $40 million — lodged a complaint against Royal Greenland with the federal Competition Bureau, and asked for an intervention. >click to read<22:02

Small shrimp biomass increase off Newfoundland’s northeast coast

The latest news about the state of the northern shrimp stock in key Shrimp Fishing Area 6 off the province’s northeast coast is a bit more uplifting this year than about the same time last year. Last year the news was grim — this year, although the shrimp stock remains listed in the critical zone, the fishable biomass has increased by three per cent between 2017 and 2018, and there’s a 27 per cent increase in spawning stock biomass between 2017 and 2018. >click to read<19:33

What I learned working with misfits, oddballs and hardened fisherman

I’ve always had a strange fascination with challenge and adventure. It’s a cliché, I know, but it has led me on some interesting journeys. Sometimes these journeys give me fragments of insight into the sneaky mysteries of life. For these reasons, I signed up to spend six weeks on a commercial fishing vessel last winter. I had never been to sea before, but – thanks to a family friend – I was able to get a job on one of the largest Black Cod fishing operations in the world. I left in early January, sailing the stormy winter waters of northern British Columbia near the Alaskan border. I joined a 13-person crew – 12 men and one woman – on a ship that was capable of handling hurricane-like weather. Brandon Kornelson >click to read<18:16

Lobster’s underbelly is as tough as industrial rubber

Flip a lobster on its back, and you’ll see that the underside of its tail is split in segments connected by a translucent membrane that appears rather vulnerable when compared with the armor-like carapace that shields the rest of the crustacean. But engineers at MIT and elsewhere have found that this soft membrane is surprisingly tough, with a microscopic, layered, plywood-like structure that makes it remarkably tolerant to scrapes and cuts. This deceptively tough film protects the lobster’s belly as the animal scuttles across the rocky seafloor. >click to read<11:10

Fisheries official says 2018 saw a ‘reasonably good return’ despite low numbers

The number of sockeye salmon that made it up the Fraser River last fall was lower than originally predicted, prompting a conservation group to blame the federal fisheries regulator for allowing the area to be overfished. “This year, it was the lowest run or spawning return they’ve seen on record on this cycle,” Greg Taylor told CBC Radio’s Daybreak Kamloops host Shelley Joyce. “They were very disappointing,” said Taylor, a senior fisheries advisor for the Watershed Watch Salmon Society.,,, A DFO representative told Joyce on Thursday that, while the numbers were lower than predicted, the return numbers were not out of the ordinary >click to read<20:14

Salmon are going the way of the buffalo! West coast group campaigns for seal, sea lion harvest

A group lobbying for a commercial harvest of harbor seals and sea lions on the West Coast is encouraged after meeting with federal fisheries officials. Richmond-based Pacific Balance Pinniped Society is pressing Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to consider a managed Indigenous fishery for seals and sea lions. Society members are convinced that a pinniped explosion is a contributing factor to declining populations of wild salmon and other finfish along the B.C. coast. “Our salmon are going and will go the way of the buffalo unless we do something,” said Thomas Sewid, founder of the society. “It’s not just fish, it’s a way of life.” >click to read<12:32

Clearwater pulls plug on storing lobster traps at sea

North America’s largest shellfish producer, Halifax-based Clearwater Seafoods, says it has stopped storing lobster traps at sea. Clearwater’s practice of leaving thousands of pots on the ocean floor for weeks at a time earned it a conviction for a “gross violation” of Canadian fishery rules. Unlike every other lobster fishery, there is no season and Clearwater has been awarded a quota of 720 tonnes, which it says represents about 15 percent of all lobster it sells. >click to read<12:58

Efforts Underway to Reduce Lobster Fishing Gear to Help Rare Whale

Interstate fishing managers are starting the process of trying to reduce the amount of lobster fishing gear off the East Coast in an attempt to help save a declining species of rare whale. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission announced this month that it would consider options designed to reduce vertical lobster fishing lines in the water by as much as 40 percent. The commission said it would try to reduce the amount of gear with a combination of trap limits, seasonal closures, changes to gear configuration and other methods. The rules are under development and it will take months before they come up for public hearings. >click to read<10:45

B.C.-led international expedition to probe ailing Pacific salmon stocks

An unprecedented international collaboration could revolutionize salmon science and fisheries management, return forecasting and even hatchery output. Nineteen scientists from Russia, Canada, the United States, Japan and South Korea are set to probe the secret lives of five Pacific salmon species with a four-week grid search and test fishery across the Gulf of Alaska. The expedition begins next week aboard the Russian research ship MV Professor Kaganovsky. “We know virtually nothing about what happens to salmon once they leave near-shore waters in the Salish Sea,” said expedition organizer Dick Beamish. >click to read<13:56

MSC Sustainability rating drops for Clearwater’s offshore lobster fishery

Clearwater Seafoods’ offshore lobster fishery in Eastern Canada has lost its “recommended” rating from Ocean Wise, a seafood sustainability recommendation program of the Vancouver Aquarium. It’s more fallout from a 2018 conviction for what the Crown called a “gross violation” of a Canadian fisheries regulation by Halifax-based Clearwater. In a separate action, the Marine Stewardship Council, another much larger eco-sustainability organization, has moved up its scheduled “full surveillance audit” of Clearwater’s offshore lobster fishery by two months to April. >click to read<11:00

Bay of Islands fishermen supports opening market to outside buyers

A Bay of Islands fisherman believes a little competition among buyers can be a win for harvesters in this province.
In a news release issued earlier this week FISH-NL president Ryan Cleary questioned whether the province supports inshore harvesters being paid top dollar for their fish. ,,, Rick Crane is a member of the FFAW-Unifor (Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union) — because there is no choice not to be — and a supporter of FISH-NL. He said he sees both sides of the issue. >click to read<11:42

Down Memory Lane: The Blue Wave and Blue Mist tragedies

Grand Bank, like most other smaller communities in this province, has always depended on the sea for its very existence. From the days of small schooners and punts — powered only by the wind and sails — to the larger offshore banking schooners and then the wooden and steel trawlers, the men of that town have always looked to the nearby ocean to provide a livelihood.  The Bonavista Cold Storage fresh fish plant opened in Grand Bank in the early 1950s, just as the days of the wooden schooner deep-sea salt fishery were coming to an end. The first two steel side-trawlers purchased by the company came from the United Kingdom and were designed for the North Sea fishery. >click to read<14:13

Sustainability: a flawed concept for fisheries management?

The concept of sustainable fishing is well ingrained in marine conservation and marine governance. However, I argue that the concept is deeply flawed; ecologically, socially and economically. Sustainability is strongly related, both historically and currently, to maximum long-term economic exploitation of a system. Counter-intuitively, in fisheries, achieving this economic exploitation often relies on government subsidies. While many fish populations are not sustainably fished biologically, even ‘sustainably harvesting’ fish results in major ecological changes to marine systems. These changes create unknown damage to ecosystem processes, including carbon capture potential of the ocean. The spatial scale of commercial fishing processes can also lead to social and food security issues in local, coastal communities that rely on fish for dietary needs. A radical alternative proposal is provided to the current situation.,,, MSY, however, has been a mainstay of fisheries policy since the term was introduced in 1954 (Schaefer, 1954), and is covered in many basic ecological textbooks (e.g., Begon et al., 2006). The concept is simple: By Richard Stafford>click to read<21:13

Coast guard’s $227M ships rock ‘like crazy,’ making crews seasick, unable to work

Canada’s $227-million fleet of mid-shore coast guard vessels are rolling “like crazy” at sea, making crews seasick and keeping some ships in port during weather conditions where they should be able to operate, CBC News has learned.  Canadian Coast Guard records and correspondence obtained under federal access to information legislation raise questions about the patrol vessels’ seagoing capability and reveal a two-year debate — still unresolved — on how to address the problem. At issue is the lack of stabilizer fins — blades that stick out from the hull to counteract the rolling motion of waves — on nine Hero class ships that were built by the Irving Shipyard in Halifax between 2010 and 2014. >click to read<19:03

Brazen thieves are pinching lobster from East Coast fishermen

As lobster fisherman Ken Wyatt rang in the new year with 40 friends in his sprawling shed, four kilometres away at the end of a winding, unlit dirt road, thieves in the tiny Nova Scotian fishing community of Port Medway positioned themselves for a heist. Unbeknownst to Wyatt, as he and his crew clinked beer bottles—and many others around the world feasted on lobster from these waters—thieves were pushing a small boat down a seaweed-covered slipway. The booty that night: 800 lb. of premium lobsters being stored out in the black, icy waters of the Atlantic. “They knew we were partying,” says Wyatt, 53. “They had balls to go down there. They scouted it out.” >click to read<16:12

FISH-NL questions whether complaints against Royal Greenland smokescreen to cover the fact local processors underpaying fishermen

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) questions whether the Dwight Ball government supports inshore harvesters being paid top dollar for their fish. “Local processors and buyers have been screaming bloody murder because Royal Greenland is paying harvesters more for their product — forcing them to increase their prices,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “That tells us the minimum negotiated price is too low, and reinforces our stand that the province should open the door to outside buyers.” “It’s time for the provincial government and the FFAW-Unifor to say which side they’re on — with inshore harvesters and free enterprise, or against them.” >click to read< 14:54

Record Lobster Production Defies Alarmist Climate Scare

Marine fisheries data show New England lobstermen are benefiting from a new golden age of lobster, thanks in large part to a warming Earth. Yet Democrats in Congress and even lobster lobbyists asserted in House climate hearings earlier in February that global warming is causing a lobster apocalypse. Thankfully, facts and scientific evidence can help us put this latest global warming scare to rest. On February 7, Democrats in the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife held hearings with the purpose of raising concern about global warming. >click to read<14:33

Subcommittee Hearing: Healthy Oceans and Healthy Economies: The State of Our Oceans In the 21st Century – Video, >click to watch<

Ottawa: Ruling that prevents corporate takeover of inshore fishery upheld

In a decision released Friday, the Federal Appeal Court sided with a 2017 Federal Court decision that upheld Ottawa’s right to prevent the corporate takeover of inshore fisheries in Atlantic Canada and Quebec. At issue are controlling agreements used by companies to get around longstanding policies that local fishermen control inshore licences and the profits that come from them. The ruling revolves around the case of Labrador fisherman Kirby Elson, who entered a controlling agreement in 2003 with Quinlan Brothers Ltd. and Labrador Sea Products Inc. that gave the companies total control over every aspect of a licence — even in death. >click to read<

Boat that sank off Eastern Passage raised as part of investigation

In a community where many make a living on the sea, the loss of a boat — and a life — means watching and waiting. On Thursday, people in Eastern Passage, N.S., watched as crews worked to recover the MV Captain Jim, which sank off Devil’s Island, near the mouth of Halifax Harbour on Jan. 29. The MV Captain Jim sank around 2 a.m. after the commercial boat began taking on water and lost power. After a massive search effort, two people were rescued from the icy water, but one crewman was missing. ?click to read<16:56

Please donate to the Max Hinch Memorial Fund – >click here<

FISH-NL calls for resurrection of arm’s-length body to bridge massive divide between science and inshore harvesters

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is calling on Ottawa to resurrect the Fisheries Resource Conservation Council (FRCC) to bridge the enormous divide between fishermen and scientists over the state of fish stocks — northern cod in particular. “DFO scientists and inshore harvesters are once again complete strangers, just like in the early 1990s when the commercial fisheries failed,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. >click to read<13:38

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

Fishermen push back on new approach to determine health of snow crab stocks

Fishermen are pushing back this week at a Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) plan to bring in a precautionary approach principle to help determine the overall health of snow crab stocks around Newfoundland and Labrador. The approach is used to assess the health of other fishery stocks. The proposal has three levels or zones of classification — critical, cautious and healthy. >click to read<17:15

US, Canada agree on 2019 halibut harvest limits

American and Canadian halibut fishermen finally have an approved set of catch limits for the 2019 season. With the discord of its last annual meeting hanging in the air, the International Pacific Halibut Commission agreed on a set of total allowable catch limits for Pacific halibut in American and Canadian waters during its meeting from Jan. 28 to Feb. 1. The overall catch limit of 38.61 million pounds is slightly up from the 2018 quota — about 1.4 million pounds more. That’s up from 29.9 million pounds in 2016 and from 31.4 million pounds in 2017.,,, >click to read<20:45

RCMP looking for pair suspected of stealing $1K in lobster from boat in Lunenburg, N.S.

Nova Scotia RCMP are looking for two men suspected of stealing $1,000 worth of lobster from a boat in Lunenburg, N.S. According to police, two suspects entered a boat that was along the dock at a business on Jan. 26 between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. About 130 pounds of lobster was taken. >click to read<19:37