Category Archives: Canada

Lobster landings down, shore price record-setting for opening week

Shore prices were record-setting for the opening week of the commercial lobster fishery in southwestern Nova Scotia, going from $6 to $6.25 per pound on the first landing day (Dec. 2) to $8 by Friday (Dec. 7), but on the bad side the prices were driven by an estimated 30 to 40 per cent decrease in lobster landings compared to the same timeframe last year. “The price is phenomenal,” said Lockeport buyer Mike Cotter, owner of Cotter’s Ocean Products Inc. “It’s unreal. It opened at $6, $6.25 and now today it’s $8. That’s a big price.” >click to read<10:26

Why Does Halibut Cost So Much?

Dishes fly across the galley. Water gushes through the scuppers and onto the deck. Five crew members on the 17.5-meter commercial halibut boat Borealis I walk like drunkards, holding onto anything stable. “We’re going to get bounced around a bit,” Dave Boyes, the boat’s captain and owner, deadpans. My day started at first light, about six hours ago, watching the crew let out 2,200 galvanized circle hooks laced with chunks of pollock, squid, and pink salmon to soak across 13 kilometers of ocean bottom. Then, we ate breakfast and rested in cramped, cluttered bunks while the boat bounced on 1.5-meter waves and—below, in the cold unseen depths—the hooks sunk deep into the lips of the predatory halibut. Now, the crew readies for battle, cinching rubber rain gear and running crude gutting knives across electric sharpeners—a portent of the bloodshed to come. When Boyes toots the boat’s horn, it’s game on. >click to read<08:45

Husky spill consisted of two fluid releases, investigation reveals

Husky Energy’s investigation into the massive fuel spill at the SeaRose vessel last month has revealed there were actually two fluid releases containing a mix of oil, water and gas. While the final report has not yet concluded exactly what happened to allow the 250,000-litre spill — the province’s largest — from a failed flowline connector near the South White Rose Extension drill centre, about 350 kilometres east of St. John’s, on Nov. 16, the company provided an update Monday as it continues to delve into the incident. >click to read<21:10

Be merry and bright with 20th annual Port de Grave boat lights

It’s become a Christmas tradition in Port de Grave: lighting up the boats in the harbour, and wading through the thousands of people who come to see them. “We figure between 30 to 40,000,” Joyce Morgan, co-chair of the Port de Grave Annual Boat Lighting, says of the number of visitors each Christmas season. This year’s lighting happened on Dec. 7, with crowds of people showing up to watch the harbour light up. >click to read<18:38

Not Good Enough – Husky ‘deeply sorry’ for oil spill last month off Newfoundland

Husky Energy says it is “deeply sorry” for back-to-back spills that sent a total of 250,000 litres of oil, water and gas into the ocean last month, and says it is making changes to prevent anything similar from happening again. The two spills occurred within an hour of each other on Nov. 16, the oil giant revealed in a statement Monday.  Husky’s preliminary investigation is now in the hands of the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB), after the company submitted its preliminary report on Friday. The spill happened when a flowline connector failed near the South White Rose Extension drill centre, about 350 kilometres east of St. John’s, according to a media release. >click to read<15:58

LETTER: Hope doesn’t float

I write in response to the article, “Twillingate fisherman concerned about proposed changes to crab stock classification” by Adam Randell,,, I agree the proposed precautionary approach for snow crab management is a step, only more a lateral one, and given the state of a multitude of commercial species including snow crab, DFO management and science are in desperate need of a gigantic leap forward. Fisheries management strategies should no longer look at species individually, but collectively through an ecosystem approach, and the introduction of the precautionary approach for snow crab does not take into account the hammer-like impact of a massive harp seal population or seismic testing. Ryan Cleary >click to read<13:44

Whale entanglements exceeded average in 2017, report says

The number of large whales entangled in U.S. waters was a little worse than usual in 2017, but entanglements of right whales and in the Northeast were down. In a report released Thursday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration confirmed 76 large whales were found entangled in fishing gear or marine debris in U.S. waters in 2017. Six of the 76 entangled whales were found dead, 45 were presumed to be alive but still entangled, four had freed themselves and 21 were freed by good samaritans or members of the national Large Whale Entanglement Response Network. >click to read<14:35

Northern Pulp alleges death threats in legal action against fishermen

Northern Pulp says protesters preventing survey boats from working have threatened to “hunt” and “kill” subcontractors trying to work on a proposed effluent pipe in the Northumberland Strait. The details of the escalating conflict between the workers and area fishermen are described in court documents filed by Paper Excellence Canada on Tuesday.The company is seeking an injunction against fishermen who have blocked its survey vessels, saying it must be allowed to safely finish the work that is on an urgent deadline. The company alleges the final straw was on Nov. 19, when 25 boats chased a survey team to the pier and intentionally created dangerous waves, endangering the lives of the contracted employees. >click to read<20:51

Bigger loans, faster turn-around time, by loan board to help N.S. fishing industry and younger fishermen

The fishery industry in Nova Scotia is worth an estimated $2 billion annually and one important area that updated Fisheries and Aquaculture Loan Board regulations are putting a high value on is younger fishermen and new entrants. The updated regulations were announced in Yarmouth on Dec. 6 and include such things as reduced loan approval wait times and increasing lending limits from $1 million to $5 million. The goal is to expand options and to eliminate financial barriers that have prevented people – particularly younger fishermen – from taking a risk in seeking big loans to get into the sector and/or improve their enterprises. >click to read<19:40

When All Hell Breaks Loose: Years after Deepwater Horizon, Offshore Drilling Hazards Persist

This is part one of a three-part investigation into offshore drilling safety. >Read part two here. Read part three here.< They are known as the “last line of defense” against an offshore drilling blowout and uncontrolled spill. They are supposed to save the lives of oil workers and protect the environment. But, as the Trump Administration proposes weakening safety requirements for these critical defenses, a Project On Government Oversight investigation found that they are dangerously vulnerable to failure. In an emergency, the defenses known as “blowout preventers” are meant to choke off the flow of highly pressurized gas and oil rising through well pipes from deep beneath the ocean floor. However, far from being fail-safe, blowout preventers have failed in myriad and often unpredictable ways. So have the people responsible for maintaining and operating them. >click to read<17:42

CETA and Atlantic Canada’s fishery: From international trade to the outport stage

As trade grows between Canada and the European Union (EU), the results of this international partnership are washing ashore in fishing outports across the province. The fishery, which was historically the economic foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, is today an industry continuously beset by cuts, declines and uncertainties. But in recent years, words of hope and rebound are growing in the public discourse. With tariffs declining and opportunities arising, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the EU has the potential to play a key role in the livelihoods of harvesters and processors. >click to read<11:12

Feds planning 2019 protections for North Atlantic right whales

How the federal government will confirm, modify or adapt protective measures for North Atlantic right whales in 2019 remains to be seen, but officials are sharing the initial findings of 2018’s scientific surveys and studies. After a catastrophic loss of 12 right whales in Canadian waters in 2017, no right whales died here this year, but at a technical briefing Tuesday, officials from Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and Transport Canada didn’t say whether protections put in place this year were enough — or too much. ,,, Instead they shared key results of a recent peer review of new science by researchers, industry representatives, government officials — as well as scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the U.S. — who gathered in Montreal in an effort to reach evidence-based conclusions.>click to read<08:48

Cooke Aquaculture looks to expand operations – Opponents denounce expansion of fish farm in Liverpool Bay

As Cooke Aquaculture looks to expand its fish farming in Liverpool Bay, residents who oppose the project say the company is ignoring their concerns. In September, the Nova Scotia government granted Kelly Cove Salmon, a subsidiary of Cooke Aquaculture, permission to look at new sites in the bay. The company has operated one site in the area since 2011, which employs 10 people. Those opposed to the expansion have a number of concerns, including fish-waste pollution, the possibility of cage failures, the use of pesticides to control sea lice and potential negative impacts on sea creatures, like lobster. “It’s all bad. It’s an environmental and fisheries disaster, wherever they go,” >click to read<14:13

Precautionary approach a step towards stronger fisheries management: DFO – Fishermen concerned

After attending a Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) consultation with harvesters in Gander Nov. 21 about the proposed application of a precautionary approach for the species, Neil Stuckless feels his quota could be at risk. According to DFO, a precautionary approach principle would establish the overall health for snow crab in Newfoundland and Labrador. The proposal has three levels of classification – critical, cautious, and, healthy. Based on an area’s health classification, a percentage based total allowable catch (TAC) would be applied. While DFO says it has been working on this approach for some time, it’s the first area harvesters have heard of it.>click tp read<10:49

Crew safe after boat sinks on 1st day of lobster fishing season

The Charlene A. began taking on water about 1.5 kilometres off Hacketts Cove, N.S., shortly after leaving the wharf at 7 a.m. The crew turned around and started heading back to port, but the vessel sank 300 to 400 metres offshore. Michael Fralick, uncle of the boat’s captain, said the crew members are shaken up, but otherwise OK. They were in the 5 C water for 10 to 15 minutes before they were picked up, he said. “It was long enough,” Fralick said. “You wouldn’t want to be in it very long. It’s pretty numbing, very cold.” Fralick said the Charlene A. had a complete overhaul this summer, “so we’re thinking something went wrong.” >click to read<19:56

‘Get the balance back’: Amid seal and sea lion boom, group calls for hunt on B.C. coast

For the first time in decades, a small-scale seal hunt is taking place on Canada’s West Coast — all in the hopes that it leads to the establishment of a commercial industry to help control booming seal and sea lion populations and protect the region’s fish stocks.,,, The hunting of seals and sea lions — which are collectively known as pinnipeds — has been banned on the West Coast for more than 40 years. It’s one reason their numbers have exploded along the entire Pacific coastline of North America.,,, Fisheries scientist Carl Walters, a professor emeritus with UBC, believes culling the regions sea lions and seals could dramatically boost salmon stocks. He points to numerous studies showing how pinniped populations have been increasing, while salmon numbers have been plummeting. >click to read<17:14

Dumping Day! Lobster fishery finally underway in southwestern N.S. – Crew safe after boat sinks

Shrouded in darkness, hundreds of fishing boats left the wharves in communities across western Nova Scotia early Saturday morning for the first day of lobster fishing season. Dumping Day, the day fishermen drop their traps into the water, is often regarded as one of the most dangerous days of the fishing season, since boats are loaded full of traps and rope and ride lower in the water than usual. >click to read<

Crew safe after boat sinks on 1st day of lobster fishing season – Four crew members are safe after their boat sank and they were rescued by another vessel on the first day of lobster fishing season on Saturday morning. The boat sank off Hacketts Cove, N.S., taking all the fishing gear with it,,, The JRCC confirmed it was notified of the sinking, and all crew members were wearing personal flotation devices. >click to read<09:53

FISH-NL: Ottawa’s delay of harp seal count unacceptable

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) says a delay by Fisheries and Oceans in carrying out a count of the harp seal population is unacceptable.
Further, Ottawa’s failure to adopt an ecosystem approach to fisheries management — which would include the massive impact of harp seals — undermines its commitment to rebuilding East Coast fish stocks. “The federal government seems to be purposely downplaying the impact of harp seals at the continued peril of Newfoundland and Labrador’s commercial fisheries,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. >click to read<12:52

We’ll take your lobsters, eh? Canadian imports from US soar

Trade hostility from across the ocean was supposed to take a snip out of the U.S. lobster business, but the industry is getting a lifeline from its northern neighbor. Heavy demand from Canada is buoying American lobster as both countries head into the busy holiday export season, according to federal statistics and members of the industry. It’s a positive sign for U.S. seafood dealers and fishermen, even as the industry struggles with Chinese tariffs.,,  >click to read<12:05

Get fresh herring and help kids battling cancer this Saturday

Come get your fresh herring! For the 8th year in a row the Finest at Sea and ‘Fishermen Helping Kids with Cancer’ are hosting a fundraiser for kids battling cancer. But this isn’t just any fundraiser, it’s a fresh herring sale, and it’s put together purely by the passion of volunteers who know that 100% of the proceeds go directly to kids with cancer. Last year’s sale raised $106,598! The annual fundraiser was inspired by the 17-year-old daughter of a commercial BC fisherman who was battling cancer. >click to read, buy some herring!<07:36

Yarmouth and Shelburne County fishermen rally to help one of their own

Fishermen in Yarmouth and Shelburne counties have rallied together to help one of their own after the vessel The Extreme One sunk at the Lower East Pubnico wharf late Wednesday afternoon, just days before the lobster season is set to begin. Fishing boat captain Brandon Surette and his crew had just finished loading all their lobster pots and gear when the incident happened on Nov. 28.,,, Hundreds of fishermen and community members filled the wharf helping with the recovery effort, including the East Pubnico Volunteer Fire Department.“It’s a big community effort,” said Malone. Lots of photo’s of lots of wonderful people. >click to read<16:54

Canada considers mandatory EPIRB’s on all fishing vessels, shift Coast Guard from DFO to Transport Canada

An emergency distress beacon should be made mandatory on all commercial fishing vessels in Canada within two years, according to a Senate study released Thursday that looks at Canada’s search and rescue system at sea. “We believe the time has come. They are mandatory in other countries. It should be mandatory here,” said Sen. Jim Munson, a member of the Senate fisheries committee, which issued the report.,,  The Senate report recommends a pilot program to test using commercial helicopter search and rescue in Newfoundland and Labrador, and the North. The report suggests a private company could offer round-the-clock service. >click to read<15:58

Following weather delay lobster fishery will get underway on Saturday, Dec. 1

The lobster fishery in southwestern Nova Scotia and along the province’s south shore will open on Saturday. Under ideal weather conditions the season would have begun on Monday, Nov. 26, but winds this week pushed the start of the season back to Dec. 1. In LFA 34 (which takes in all of Yarmouth County and parts of Shelburne and Digby counties) boats will leave their wharfs at 6 a.m. on Saturday. In LFA 33, which extends from Shelburne County to Halifax County, boats will depart at 7 a.m. >click to read<12:40

Lobster season off southwest Nova Scotia postponed again due to bad weather

The federal Fisheries Department confirmed today that industry representatives from Lobster Fishing Area 33, which extends from Halifax to the southwestern tip of the province, have decided to open their season on Saturday at 7 a.m. About 700 fishing boats are expected to dump their traps that day, unless the weather again turns foul. In Lobster Fishing Area 34, which includes 970 boats that work the waters off the province’s western edge, fishermen and federal officials decided today to put off their final decision until a conference call is held Thursday morning. >click to read<17:31

ICCAT Meeting Ends After ‘Spectacular Failure’ to Protect Bigeye Tuna

The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) concluded its annual plenary meeting on November 19 after a spectacular failure to arrive to a comprehensive agreement on badly needed management measures to address the present poor state of Atlantic bigeye tuna stock. Bigeye tuna is highly coveted by sashimi markets worldwide, similar to bluefin tuna. ICCAT’s eight-day meeting, held this year in Dubrovnik, Croatia, was attended by over 700 people representing 52 countries. The U.S., Canada, South Africa and a handful of other nations strongly advocated for the adoption of measures that would end overfishing immediately and rebuild the stock within 10 years. However, >click to read<20:21

Northern Pulp – Senators want full assessment of plan to dump mill effluent off Nova Scotia coast

A group of Independent senators is calling on the Trudeau government to do a full environmental assessment of a “dangerous” plan in Nova Scotia to take effluent from a pulp mill, pipe it 10 kilometres out into the Northumberland Strait, and dump it. In the Red Chamber on Monday, Sen. Mike Duffy called it “a looming environmental crisis in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.”,, Last week, along with Sen. Diane Griffin, a conservationist from P.E.I., they met with representatives of fisheries groups from all three Maritime provinces. “If this scheme is allowed to proceed, it could damage the fishery in the three Maritime provinces, Quebec’s Magdalen Islands, and beyond,” >click to read<18:25

Not prepared – If there is ever a deepwater oil blowout, help could be weeks away

It could take weeks to get a disaster-stopping piece of equipment to Newfoundland and Labrador in the event of a subsea oil blowout, according to documents filed by Statoil, now known as Equinor, the company behind the province’s first foray into deepwater oil development. Documents filed by the company to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency in relation to an application for exploratory drilling projects in the Flemish Pass, near the newly-announced Bay du Nord project, indicate that if a well blew, a capping stack — a device used to reign in blowouts — would have to be shipped in from Norway or Brazil. >click to read<11:16

Crews re-float sabotaged coast guard ship in Nova Scotia fishing village

The Canadian Coast Guard has refloated one of its ships after it was cut from its cradle at a Nova Scotia shipyard over a week ago. The CCGS Corporal McLaren had been partially submerged with 2,600 litres of diesel fuel in its tanks and 400 litres of hydraulic fluid on board after it was allegedly sabotaged in an incident reported to police Nov. 17. Keith Laidlaw, the Coast Guard’s deputy superintendent for environmental response, says the operation started Monday afternoon and was complete by late evening, after the shipyard and salvage team pumped thousands of litres of water out of its hold. >click to read<10:47

Redfish making a big comeback in the Gulf of St. Lawrence

“We won the lottery.” That’s not a phrase you normally associate with someone doing stock assessments for Fisheries and Oceans Canada. But DFO biologist Caroline Senay is excited by the amount of redfish they’re tracking off the island’s west coast in the Gulf of St. Lawrence: about 2.5 million tonnes of fish in an area referred to as unit 1. By comparison, Iceland has a total redfish biomass of 430,000 tonnes. >click to read<09:00

Solution to deal with B.C.’s sea lion surplus? Harvest them, group suggests

Sea lion populations have been on the rise for years and wreaking havoc on commercial fishermen’s catches and equipment, according to the Pacific Balance Pinniped Society. Adult male California sea lions can grow to as big as 800 pounds and consume massive quantities of fish as they grow. “Out in the waters and in our rivers, the pinniped populations have just exploded and we know they’re targeting mainly salmon, steelhead, trout and other fin fish species,” said Thomas Sewid. He believes seals and sea lions are over-abundant in B.C. waters and is spearheading a solution to deal with them. “Not just the natives want to start harvesting pinnipeds,” said Sewid. “This is an industry that can explode throughout coastal British Columbia.” >click to read<21:08