Category Archives: Canada

DFO enforcement official says many arrested in elver fishery will face charges

A top federal fisheries enforcement official says it’s likely many of those arrested this spring for illegally fishing for baby eels along Nova Scotia and New Brunswick rivers will be charged as part of enforcement efforts to try to rein in an out-of-control fishery. Tim Kerr, the Maritime director of conservation and protection for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, said he believes deterrence is working, and the department intends to bring in new measures in an attempt to make sure next year’s season runs more smoothly. “We do expect a large number of charges and subsequent court appearances and decisions to be made against individuals who have been caught harvesting elver unauthorized this year,” he said in an interview Thursday. Stanley King, an elver fisherman, said this week the commercial sector has long been in favour of a traceability system, and is frustrated DFO would not introduce one early enough to potentially avoid this year’s shutdown. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 17:31

Fishery co-op plans on hold after province freezes processing licences 

June 13th, 2024 – The Fisheries Protective Co-operative has put organizing efforts on hold following a decision by the provincial government to institute a freeze on the issuance of new fish processing licences. “We hit a wall that we didn’t see coming,” says organizer Ryan Cleary. “The plan is to move forward when the freeze is eventually lifted,” added Merv Wiseman, another key co-op organizer. The FPC was preparing an application to process groundfish at a seal-processing facility in Fleur de Lys on the Baie Verte Peninsula when an official with provincial Fisheries revealed this week that a licence freeze is in effect. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 09:12

Lobster fishers want to see a crack down on poaching in southwestern Nova Scotia

The issue was raised during a meeting in Yarmouth among industry members and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). They’re worried more moderate livelihood fishing will dominate St. Mary’s Bay. First Nations fishers maintain their Treaty rights to fish. DFO has not authorized that fishery, but they do allow some Food, Social and Ceremonial licenses. Colin Sproul with the Unified Fisheries Conservation Alliance says catches were low in the bay during the fall season. “Everybody in southwestern Nova Scotia knows why that is. I think it’s incumbent on the government to act now, before lobster fishing in St. Mary’s Bay is a thing of the past,” said Sproul. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 05:53

Explorer Ernest Shackleton’s last ship found off Labrador’s south coast, says expedition

The last vessel helmed by famed Anglo-Irish explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, lost for more than 60 years, has been discovered on the ocean floor, less than half a kilometre off Labrador’s south coast, says the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. Expedition leader John Geiger, the society’s CEO, said the wreck was found in the Labrador Sea, lying at a depth of 390 metres. He added it was in the vicinity of where the ship had been reported to have sunk. ”This is a very important vessel. Historically it was the final expedition ship of Sir Ernest Shackleton,” he said Wednesday morning at a news conference at the Marine Institute in St. John’s. “As many of you know, he died on this ship on his final expedition of the Shackleton–Rowett expedition, which set out to initially explore Canada.” Using sonar operated by Marine Institute staff, the international team say they found the Quest off the coast near Battle Harbour, on Sunday, five days into its expedition, which left June 5. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 12:24

N.S. spends $6.5M on fund to reduce emissions from boats, commercial fisheries

Nova Scotia is seeking to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions from the seafood sector with a greenhouse gas emissions. According to a news release from the province, the Fisheries and Aquaculture Energy Efficiency Innovation Fund will support initiatives to reduce emissions from boats, buildings, aquaculture operations and commercial fisheries. “Our industries are already leaders in fighting climate change through the investments they’re making to reduce energy use,” said Kent Smith, minister of fisheries and aquaculture, in the release. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 07:18

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 36′ Wayne Beal Gillnetter/Lobster Boat

To review specifications, information, and 10 photos’, >click here<, To see all the boats in this series, >click here< 06:07

Atlantic herring suffering in warming Gulf of St. Lawrence

Decades of research show a slow decline in herring stocks in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and scientists are linking that decline to waters that are warming with climate change. Recent research from NASA found that about 90 per cent of global warming is occurring in the ocean. In the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Joël Chassé, an oceanographer with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, said 11 of 12 months last year had warmer than normal surface temperatures, and he expects a similar pattern this year. “Fishermen in northern New Brunswick, the Baie des Chaleur region, were having difficulty finding the fish,” said Jacob Burbank, a researcher in fish ecology with Fisheries and Oceans Canada. “They weren’t seeing Atlantic herring where they normally would see Atlantic herring. They kept waiting for them to come in for their spawning and they just didn’t see them.” more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 11:40

Canadian Independent Redfish Harvesters Trash Minister’s Harvest Plan: Disconnect Has Never Been More Evident

Following the announcement of the Unit 1 Redfish Management Plan and a follow-up to the Redfish Advisory Committee on Wednesday, the 3Pn4R Advisory Committee convened on Thursday night to review the proceedings. The consensus was unanimous in support of a resolution from FFAW President Greg Pretty: “Shred the document and appoint a recovery team including industry experts to ensure we have a plan that can work.” Earlier this spring, the original announcement made by Minister Lebouthillier gave away nearly 60% of the Canadian redfish quota to the corporate fleet, despite the inshore, owner-operator fleet having taken the lead on science and sustainability measures in recent years. New measures announced this week further limit harvesters by implementing unreasonable seasons, depths, gear, observer coverage, and by-catch rules. The restrictions effectively limit owner-operator participation from the inshore fleet. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 10:11

To the Greatest Generation, Thank you for your unselfish sacrifices.


GCIFA calls for seal population controls

The head of the Guysborough County Inshore Fisherman’s Association (GCIFA) is calling on the federal government to bring in aggressive, new “controls” on millions of hungry grey and harp seals whose sheer numbers, she says, are weakening the east coast fishery. GCIFA Executive Director Ginny Boudreau made the comment to The Journal in an interview after the release last week of the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans’ report, Sealing the Future, which criticized federal authorities for mismanaging the rising numbers of the animals over the years and called for an increase in their annual harvest. “It’s huge that scientists are now considering the impact of [the more than] seven million seals in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the [nearly] 500,000 here in the Scotia-Fundy region,” Boudreau said. “It’s only ever been about the impact of the harvesters. As more accurate data comes in, I think we’re going to see the seals as the main predator.” more, >>CLICK  TO READ<< 10:42

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 40′ X 16′ Novi Lobster/Gillnetter

To review specifications, information, and 28 photos’, >click here<, To see all the boats in this series, >click here< 07:32

Meet one of the young faces of Steveston’s spot prawn industry

The best part of spot prawn season, according to Reid Thornton, is the “tight-knit” community. Now in his fifth season, the 21-year-old Steveston resident started working in the industry fresh out of high school. Thornton is the sales manager and a deckhand at Steveston Spot Prawns & Seafood. With the exception of Thornton himself, most employees in the company are third-generation Japanese-Canadian fishermen. He had heard of spot prawns prior to starting his job, but he had no idea about the extent of its popularity. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 06:38

NLGIDC are disappointed in DFO’s management approach for Unit 1 Redfish for 2024-2025

Late on Friday, May 31, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) unveiled its management plan for Unit 1 redfish in the Gulf of St. Lawrence for the 2024-25 period. The plan sets a Total Allowable Catch (TAC) of 60,000 tonnes for the next year (from May 15, 2024, to May 14, 2025). While this TAC level is seen as reasonable, the decision to allocate the majority of the quota to the offshore fleet has greatly disappointed inshore fleets and Indigenous groups in the Gulf of St Lawrence. “Many inshore harvesters, processing operators, and coastal communities were looking forward to a more equitable distribution of this resource among all fleets in the newly recovered redfish fishery in the Gulf,” said Bill Barry, founder and CEO of Barry Group Inc. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 14:23


Inuit harvesters threaten legal action

Monday, June 3rd, 2024 – Inuit harvesters from northern Labrador are threatening to take the Nunatsivut government to court if their 2024 inshore shrimp allocations aren’t restored, and an investigation ordered into why they were reassigned to an offshore factory-freezer trawler.  “The spirit and intent of a communal licence is to provide local inshore Inuit with jobs and connect them to their culture and traditions, and that has been broken,” says Lisa Blandford, an Inuit harvester on behalf of the group. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 10:21

Commercial redfish fishery in Gulf of St. Lawrence expected to resume later this month

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans says the reopening of the redfish fishery in the Gulf of St. Lawrence could begin as early as June 15 and has announced the total allowable catch will be 60,000 tonnes for 2024-25. DFO announced the changes in a statement Friday. The department had said previously that the minimum allowable catch for the fishery would be 25,000 tonnes, but had not provided a cap. The commercial redfish fishery closed in 1995 over stock concerns. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 13:26

DFO Doubles Down on Redfish Giveaway: NL MPs Fail to Step-Up for Provincial Fishery

Late yesterday evening, DFO released the 2024-2025 Management Plan for redfish. The cowardly move came after the close of NL business hours and doubled down by taking owner-operator resources and handing them off to corporations. Earlier this spring, the original announcement made by Minister Lebouthillier gave away nearly 60% of the Canadian redfish quota to the corporate fleet, despite the inshore, owner-operator fleet having taken the lead on science and sustainability measures in recent years. With the Gulf shrimp fishery all but closed and non-shrimpers waiting for redfish to return, this is another blow to a group that’s been in survival mode for the last several years. “Once again, FFAW-Unifor members have been maligned by our two Ministerial Marionettes, Seamus O’Regan and Gudie Hutchings,” said FFAW-Unifor President Greg Pretty. “Sadly, their strings continue to be plucked by the Offshore Groundfish Oligarchy.  >>CLICK TO READ<<11:49

DFO investigates after dozens of lobster traps belonging to Mi’kmaw fisherman damaged

Charles Francis fishes under a moderate livelihood authorization between DFO and Mi’kmaw harvesters, which allows designated First Nations community members to catch and sell lobster during the commercial season without increasing the number of traps licensed in lobster fishing areas (LFAs). “We couldn’t believe it. At first, we thought everything was all right in this area because nobody said anything to us and nobody paid attention to us,” Francis said in an interview after landing his catch at the Louisbourg wharf last week. “All of a sudden, we come fishing Saturday and everything just turned upside down for us.” more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 08:17

DFO issues warnings about lobster trap tampering in Nova Scotia

The federal Fisheries Department is investigating reports of gear tampering in lobster fishing areas in eastern Nova Scotia. The department issued a statement late Thursday saying Indigenous fishers taking part in officially sanctioned moderate livelihood fisheries have reported tampering in two fishing areas, as have non-Indigenous commercial fishers. The lobster fishing areas in question are 26A, which includes the eastern half of the Northumberland Strait, and area 27, which extends from the tip of Cape Breton near Meat Cove to an area on the east side of the island near Garbarus. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 13:55

Catches up as LFA 33/34 season ends

Catches are up as lobster season comes to a close. Fishers will haul up their traps Friday for the last time until late November. Dan Fleck is the executive director of the Brazil Rock 33/34 Lobster Association. He says prices have fallen to over eight dollars a pound. “The past several weeks, catch rates have increased. It’s believed this is due to the water warming up. We believe the lobsters were there in the fall, but they weren’t crawling because the water was so cold,” said Fleck. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 08:01

Storm Brewing over French Halibut Fishery in Atlantic Canada

The Canadian halibut industry is accusing France of seeking an exorbitant share of the fishery in negotiations with Canada on quotas for the valuable groundfish that migrate across the jurisdictions of both countries. Canadian fishermen from Nova Scotia to Nunavut would be the losers if France prevails, said Bruce Chapman, executive director of the Atlantic Halibut Council, representing both inshore and offshore Canadian harvesters. French territorial waters extend into the Atlantic from the islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, 25 kilometres from the southern coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 06:41

Positive signals for Stornoway fishing fleet

With the Stornoway fleet expanding and good earnings available, the industry is again seen as an attractive option while vessel owners need to recruit locally as the supply of migrant labour dries up. The three-week courses will offer a grounding in the industry leading to potential careers. The training includes four mandatory one-day courses which are legally required to enable working on a fishing vessel. These are about sea survival, health and safety, first aid and firefighting.  “There are now 12 trawlers working out of Stornoway and landing to Goat Island. That includes four which are completely new to the fleet within the past couple of years”. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 11:11

A Very Dire Situation: Downward spiral for Atlantic cod continues in Gulf of St. Lawrence

The latest assessment of Atlantic cod fish stocks in the Gulf of St. Lawrence continues to paint a bleak picture for the future of the species. Fisheries and Oceans Canada issued a warning five years ago saying extinction of the species in the gulf was not just possible, but probable. The first assessment since then has been released. “We are not seeing any recovery of the spawning stock biomass of that stock. It is still experiencing really high levels of natural mortality, especially at the adult stage of life,” said federal Fisheries and Oceans biologist Daniel Ricard. Between 60 and 70 per cent of cod in the southern gulf do not survive beyond age five and are likely being eaten by the huge herds of grey seals in the region, Ricard said. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 11:17

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 45′ Novi Clammer/Scalloper/Lobster Boat, Cat 3408

To review specifications, information, and 9 photos’, >click here<, To see all the boats in this series, >click here< 06:18

Lobsters prices fall. Crates of crustaceans pile up on Cape Breton

There are so many lobsters ready for processing or live sale in some eastern Cape Breton harbours that they’re being stored temporarily in large flotillas of plastic crates. Some seafood buyers have stopped buying altogether and others are implementing daily limits on the amount of lobster they will buy. Fishermen worry the oversupply is driving down the price and while some in the industry say it could be a sign of longer term problems, one buyer says the backlog is evidence that lobster conservation efforts are working, and it will ease off in a couple of weeks. “Our processing facility is maximized daily, seven days a week and our holding facility is pretty darn full as of Saturday night,” said Osborne Burke, general manager of Victoria Co-operative Fisheries in New Haven, northern Cape Breton. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 11:41

First Nations advocates resolve to put traditional fishing rights under international spotlight

First Nations delegates from Japan, Taiwan, Canada, Alaska, and Australia have met on the lands of Walbunga Yuin people on the NSW far south coast for the International Indigenous Fishing Symposium. Indigenous fishing rights activists in NSW are working with First Nations groups around the world to put a global spotlight on the battle to protect traditional fishing rights and cultural practices. The groups plan to work together to lobby the United Nations. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 07:56

New cod migration data: Study co-author George Rose says northern cod have returned to historical migration patterns

The co-author of a new study in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences says Newfoundland and Labrador’s northern cod have returned to their historical migration patterns with potentially major implications for the provincial fishery. George Rose, co-author of the study with the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries at the University of British Columbia, says the new data suggests a return to the commercial cod fishery one day is possible. The study followed 90 large northern cod equipped with tags that transmitted data to satellites for over a year. Researchers found northern cod have re-established historical migration patterns and confirmed capelin can influence their timing and duration in inshore waters. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 06:42

Inuit inshore harvesters of northern Labrador have scheduled a protest for Tuesday morning, May 28th, at 8 a.m.

Inuit inshore harvesters of northern Labrador have scheduled a protest for Tuesday morning, May 28th, at 8 a.m. (8:30 a.m. in Newfoundland) outside all Nunatsiavut Government buildings in the province. “We encourage all Inuit harvesters, their families, and non-harvesters alike to support us against this grave injustice,” says organizer and Inuit harvester Lisa Blandford. In past years the Nunatsiavut government has distributed its annual federal allocation of shrimp off northern Labrador to more than 20 inshore harvesters or designates. This year, however, seven Inuit harvesters say the Nunatsiavut government has denied them a 2024 share of northern shrimp quota in favour of an Inuit designate with a factory-freezer trawler, displacing as many as 40 inshore harvesters along the north Labrador coast. The inshore harvesters have also raised questions of conflict of interest involving current and past members of the Nunatsiavut government and have DFO documentation from 2003 that dictates shrimp quota to be assigned specifically to the inshore. DFO is expected to open the shrimp fishery off northern Labrador in fishing zones 4 and 5 any day. Contact Lisa Blandford: 709 897 7531 – 13:20

FFAW President Greg Pretty not seeking re-election, will retire

Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW) union president Greg Pretty is retiring after more than 40 years with Newfoundland and Labrador’s largest private sector union. Pretty presided over the fisheries’ union during a tumultuous term that included two contentious tie-ups in back-to-back snow crab seasons. When asked on Friday if he would do anything differently, Pretty said no. “We had to have tie-ups to move this agenda. It was contrary to regulations and legislation, but it had to be done and it paid off,” he said. “We’re in a much better situation right now in 12 short months. So no, I don’t have any regrets.” Video, more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 11:38

Lobster dispute settled a day after fishermen defy order to remove traps

A brewing battle between the federal government and lobster fishermen in northern New Brunswick appears to have come to an end. A federal closure of lobster fishing zones in the Gulf of St. Lawrence off New Brunswick’s Acadian Peninsula was being defied by hundreds of fishermen refusing to remove their traps. A news release from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans sent Thursday evening says that lobster boats will be able to fish closer to shore. “I am pleased to see DFO has adjusted the closure requirements and harvesters can now set their traps up to the 10 fathom shallow water protocol management line for the remainder of the 15-day period,” said federal Fisheries and Oceans , in the release. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 08:50

Sealing the Future: Revive and promote the seal hunt, federal report recommends

When Paul McCartney campaigned against the seal hunt in 2006, it was unclear how reliant the Inuit and some coastal community economies were on the trade. Three years later, the European Union banned all seal products. The market for seal products was decimated, and with it came the rise of poverty and suicide within Inuit communities despite exemptions for their products, Steven Lonsdale of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association told the Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans late last year. Now, a new report from that committee acknowledges the harm done by the ban and recommends Ottawa must do more to revive the struggling industry in what it has branded a call to action. more, >>CLICK TO READ 07:40