Tag Archives: Cape Breton

Mi’kmaq community angered at alleged government seizure of lobster traps

Federal fisheries officers seized 37 lobster traps that were set today by an Indigenous harvester. The Potlotek First Nation, located about 75 kilometres south of Sydney, N.S., issued a news release indicating the community had authorized the traps as part of its livelihood fishery.,, Earlier this year, federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan had said if bands haven’t negotiated agreements with Ottawa and received federal licences for moderate livelihood fisheries, then the government would enforce regulations. >click to read< 19:14

Snow crab market heats up with Record-Breaking Prices in northern Cape Breton

Soaring demand from the U.S. has resulted in snow crab coming in at over $8 a pound. The price was closer to $4.25 this time last year. Dave Donovan fishes out of Neils Harbour on board the Krista & Megan. “Eight dollars is a big bonus,” he said. “I guess it’s the best price I’ve ever seen since I’ve been in the fishery.” Donovan said the hot market this year is welcomed by all on the wharf, and in the processing plant. The high price is a surprise to Osborne Burke, “We didn’t anticipate this,” >click to read< 14:14

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

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

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

1 dead, another presumed dead after fishing boat capsizes off Cape Breton

Four crew members from the Tyhawk fishing vessel were rescued from the water Saturday evening and taken to hospital. But one, identified by community members as Seth Monahan, died. The vessel’s captain, Craig Sock, is missing and presumed dead after an unsuccessful overnight search.  The Tyhawk belongs to the Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick, according to band councillor Ruth Levi. She said Monahan was originally from  nearby Metepenagiag, N.B., and had been living in Elsipogtog for many years. He had two young children, she said. Levi described Sock as a “gentle soul” who loved hockey. He was known as “Jumbo” to his friends. >click to read< 20:42

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

Cape Breton First Nation’s plan for early fishing forced hand on new regulations

A spokesperson for DFO says the department was preparing the new regulations for the early May start to the commercial lobster fishing season, but was rushed into action by Potlotek First Nation’s plan to start fishing in mid-March. “We can’t have what happened last year in St. Peter’s Bay, where there was a fishery plan for combined Eskasoni and Potlotek for about 1,000 traps and we saw almost three times that in the water. We can’t have that again, it’s not sustainable,” said DFO spokesperson Jane Deeks. Chief Wilbert Marshall strongly denies that claim. In her statement, Jordan cites Marshall II, the amendment made to the Supreme Court Marshall decision that allows for treaty rights to be regulated on the grounds of conservation. >click to read< 18:42

Federal fisheries minister concerned about size of Mi’kmaq fishery in Cape Breton bay

Bernadette Jordan said Friday that while the government recognizes the Mi’kmaq treaty right to fish, the scale of the lobster harvest in the bay is exceeding proposals made by Indigenous fishers. “While lobster stocks are generally healthy, monitoring has recently indicated that fishing activities have significantly increased in St. Peters Bay,” the minister said in a statement. >click to read< 09:32

N.S. Seafood Alliance declares opposition to out-of-season moderate livelihood fishery – The Nova Scotia Seafood Alliance said it supports the treaty right, but it must be subordinate to limits set and policed by the government of Canada. >click to read<

Blood in the Water: A True Story of Revenge in the Maritimes

Scofflaw Phillip Boudreau of Isle Madame, off the southeast coast of Cape Breton, was the kind of guy who would threaten to burn down your house if he had a grudge. He’d steal your lobsters, sell them, and then tell you to your face what he’d done.,, Boudreau was on the water in his speedboat, apparently cutting lines to lobster traps set by the crew of the fishing boat Twin Maggies. an enraged James Landry fired four shots from a 30-30 rifle at Boudreau before captain Dwayne Samson ran him over. It became known as the “murder for lobster” case.  But that description, Silver Donald Cameron argues, comes nowhere near capturing the complexities of the crime and its effects on the local community. >click to read< 16:24

Potlotek moderate livelihood lobster fishery is peaceful, but tensions aren’t far from surface

Potlotek First Nation launched the fishery under its own management plan in St. Peters Bay on Oct 1. Local non-Indigenous fishers have not interfered, but that doesn’t mean they support it. “Commercial fishermen and Aboriginal fishermen have worked side by side, and co-operatively,” he said. “That’s breaking apart right now.” For their part, the Mi’kmaq say they are tired of waiting for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to work with them to define what constitutes a moderate livelihood. >click to read< 08:32

Membertou First Nation Chief Paul leaves Assembly of Mi’kmaq Chiefs in split over moderate livelihood

Chief Terry Paul has stepped down from the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs due to a disagreement over how moderate livelihood negotiations are being conducted. Paul, who is chief of Membertou First Nation in Cape Breton, had served as the fisheries lead for the assembly’s negotiation arm called the Kwilmu’kw Maw-klusuaqn Mi’kmaq Rights Initiative (KMKNO). Negotiations fell apart last week between that body and Fisheries and Oceans Canada over the implementation of a moderate livelihood fishery by the Mi’kmaw. Paul said Wednesday that the KMKNO is not adequately representing all of the province’s first nations. “I feel that not all the communities are being treated the same way,” >click to read< 13:34

Mi’kmaw fisherman intends to fight illegal fishing charges

Ashton Bernard, 30, of Eskasoni First Nation, said in a telephone interview Monday he will rely on the 1999 Supreme Court of Canada decision in the Donald Marshall Jr. case., A subsequent clarification of the court’s decision, however, also affirmed Ottawa’s right to regulate the fishery to ensure conservation of the resource. Bernard said he believes the first portion of the Supreme Court decision will prevail. “I wasn’t going to wait around for the government to tell us when to fish or not.”I told the boys, ‘Let’s go out and see how it goes,’ and now we’re into court.” >click to read< 17:10

Potlotek First Nation celebrates Treaty Day by launching its own rights-based lobster fishery

Potlotek First Nation in Cape Breton marked Treaty Day this year by launching its own Mi’kmaq-regulated rights-based lobster fishery. The celebration in St. Peters Bay on Thursday drew about 100 people and comes just two weeks after another Mi’kmaw community began operating a similar fishery in southwest Nova Scotia. Wilbert Marshall, chief of Potlotek, said launching a fishery on Treaty Day underscores the importance of the Peace and Friendship Treaties that were signed many years ago and still matter today.  >click to read< 19:05

Mi’kmaw parliamentarians call for new body to deal with conflict over lobster fishery – Three Mi’kmaw parliamentarians are proposing a new approach to the conflict over the lobster fishery in Atlantic Canada that would bypass the system in use at Fisheries and Oceans Canada. >click to read<

Sipekne’katik First Nation issuing own lobster licences

After a blessing of its fleet on Thursday morning, the Sipekne’katik First Nation will issue lobster fishing licences at the Saulnierville wharf. On Tuesday, the Potlotek First Nation in Cape Breton sent its plan to begin a rights-based moderate livelihood lobster fishery on Oct. 1 to federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan. They weren’t asking her permission, but rather for her to consult them on what they intend to do. “We’re tired of waiting and we’re tired of being poor,” Potlotek chief Wilbert Marshall said on Wednesday. >click to read< 08:26

Cape Breton snow crab fishery escapes impact of right whale closures, Different story in New Brunswick

While a right whale sighting earlier this month triggered a closure to the snow crab fishery in western Cape Breton, the closure had virtually no impact. But unlike closures in other parts of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, these shutdowns had virtually no impact on the area’s lucrative fishery.  “That’s something we’re discussing. Are we lucky or are we just in that sweet spot?” said Basil MacLean, a Cape Breton snow crab fisherman and president of the Area 19 Snow Crab Fishermen’s Association. In New Brunswick, where the boats and quotas are larger, it’s been a different story in 2020. “24 out of 45 members from the Acadian Crabbers Association each left significant amounts of crab in the water this spring,” >click to read< 19:15

The public is credited with helping Cape Breton fishermen through Coronavirus impacted lobster season

Herb Nash, president of the 4Vn management board, said catches were decent this year and those prices made the crustaceans a meal for everybody instead of simply a rare treat. “Instead of lobsters $7-$7.50 lb at the end, lobsters were $5 pound, so people were buying them,” the 55-year-old fisher said. “The local markets helped a lot this year.” This year, people could purchase lobster for $45-$50 a dozen compared to $70-$75. “If the local market wasn’t as good as it was, more lobster would have had to be shipped out to sell and I think we would have been swamped with lobsters.” Nash said with the pandemic affecting the community and businesses, they were grateful to get through it and get a paycheck.,, ”While this season was a historically difficult one, Nash can recall the 1970s when the lobster catches were bad back then — sometimes 15-25 pounds per day. >click to read< 18:13

Glace Bay Fisherman celebrates 80 consecutive years of working on the water

In a year that has been anything but normal, Jim Munden continues to be a figure of both consistency and longevity on the Glace Bay wharf. The longtime fisherman, who will celebrate his 89th birthday this summer, still plays an active role in the former coal mining community’s other big industry. And this year marks the 80th consecutive year that Munden has taken to the coastal waters off Cape Breton to ply the trade he first experienced as a nine-year-old boy.,,,  When asked about the beginnings of his lifelong career, Munden likes to mention that it all started in a foreign country. “I was born in Newfoundland back in 1931 when it was still part of England,” he recalls.,, they moved to Glace Bay when I was a boy.” That’s where he started fishing. And at his side the entire time has been Dot (Billard), his childhood sweetheart, wife of almost 70 years and mother of their six children. >click to read< 10:54

Bad lobster season affects everyone in Cape Breton

At this time of year, the local fishing wharfs are feeling the effect of the coronavirus on their bottom line. Lobster fishers are facing the reality of an overseas market that has dried up causing prices to plummet to an all-time low.,, When lobster fishermen have a bad year, everyone suffers. Car dealerships can’t count on the fishermen up-dating their trucks at the end of the season. Those new trucks will remain on the lot. The local fishermen are a generous group who give readily to local causes. You can’t give what you don’t have. A bad season affects us all. What can we do to help out? Start by eating more lobster. When lobster is cheaper than ground beef, now is the time to get a good feed. Treat yourself to lobster every week until the season is over. Order a few extra dozen and freeze for the Christmas season. By Yvonne Kennedy, >click to read< 16:08

Cape Breton lobster fishermen struggle – ‘This is the first year I had to tell my fishermen I couldn’t move their product,’

There is a lack of demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the price for lobster has dropped to $4.25 a pound. In some areas, buyers are restricting the amount they purchase from fishermen. Marlene Brogan, the manager of Ballast Grounds Fisheries, a lobster buyer in North Sydney, said they’ve had to tell fishermen they can’t buy their catch some days. “We’ve been in business 21 years and this is the first year I had to tell my fishermen I couldn’t move their product,” said Brogan. She said there have been many days the fishermen at their wharf haven’t gone out to fish. >click to read< 14:19

‘A drink and a good yarn’: Neils Harbour man reveals the secrets to a life well lived, as he turns 100

Ron Ingram of Neils Harbour will celebrate a love of hard work, a life at sea and the occasional ‘nip of rum’ when he celebrates his 100th birthday later this month. It won’t be quite the celebration he’d hoped for. Ingram’s family had planned an open house. Ingram, who still lives on his own, was hoping people could drop by. Those visits from friends are what he misses most during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ingram moved to Neils Harbour, a small fishing village in northern Cape Breton, about 75 years ago. Born and raised in Grand Bruit, N.L., he started fishing when he was nine, according to daughter Kathy MacKinnon. He moved to North Sydney at 18. Newfoundland was part of the British Empire then, he said, and he had no choice but to continue fishing. photos, >click to read< and Happy Birthday, Ron Ingram!

Coronavirus: Uncertainty faces lobster fishermen as season opens in Cape Breton on Friday

The lobster fishing season will begin in area 26B and 27 on Friday, but the uncertainty of the world market has left many wondering what the season will hold for them. “The world market has collapsed, things are opening a little bit, so we’re seeing a little bit of hope,” said Marlene Brogan of Ballast Ground Fisheries in North Sydney.  “Should the second wave of this virus hit, we don’t know where it’s going to leave us, so it’s concerning.” For the past six weeks, Brogan has had numerous conference calls with processors, fish organizations, fish harvesters and buyers from the local area, all hoping to receive further guidance from the federal government. “The federal fisheries minister (Bernadette Jordan) has not offered anything to the fishers,” said Brogan. Video, >click to read< 19:31

Cape Breton: Lobster fishermen protest delay to the season

About 75 lobster fishermen took to the Canso Causeway Monday, protesting the delay of the lobster season. The fishermen – who motorists going by said weren’t interfering with traffic — held signs on the Cape Breton side, while a few were beyond the bridge behind the guardrail. “The season hasn’t opened, that’s the main reason they are upset,” said Jordan MacDougall, president Inverness South Fisherman’s Association, adding May 1 is their usual season opening. “The Gulf area and P.E.I. have been delayed until May 15. Everyone’s upset about that.” >click to read< 20:12

Northern N.S. lobster fishermen fear impact of Coronavirus on communities

Leonard LeBlanc says his phone has been ringing off the hook. The retired fisherman now the president of the Gulf Nova Scotia Fishermen’s Coalition, “Last night I had a call from a fisherman’s wife who was crying on the phone,” LeBlanc said. “She said ‘I don’t know what I’m going to do this spring. My husband is going to have to be separated from me for the entire fishing season. We have two young kids and he doesn’t want to take the chance to infect the kids with the virus.’” Fish harvesters and processors have been deemed an essential service by the federal government, but some are concerned going ahead with the season would be a recipe for disaster for their families and communities. >click to read< 11:43

“There are a lot more boats coming and bigger boats,” Tensions rise after suspected sabotage of Eskasoni fishing boat

The RCMP are investigating the apparent act of sabotage at the St. Peter’s Canal and have copies of recordings from video cameras there. The Eskasoni fishermen were catching lobster under the banner of a moderate livelihood fishery. While the right was acknowledged by the Supreme Court of Canada in its 1999 Marshall Decision, Fisheries and Oceans Canada has yet to reach an agreement with the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs on how to implement it. Meanwhile, tensions rise as First Nations fishermen on the Northumberland Strait, Cape Breton, Eastern Shore and South Shore have started to fish outside of the normal commercial seasons. >click to read< 07:44

Lobster prices range from $7 to $8 per pound in Cape Breton

Lobster fishermen in Cape Breton are getting $7 or more a pound for the last two weeks of the season.  Starting prices were $7 and they dropped to $6.50 for a couple of weeks before rising again to $7 for many Cape Breton lobster fishermen. However, some are getting $7.50 or $8 a pound based on who the buyer is. “I don’t understand why in parts of Nova Scotia (like the South Shore) they get fifty-cent more than we do when we’re supposed to have the best product here in Eastern Nova Scotia,” said Garren O’Neil who fishes out of Main-à-Dieu and gets $7 a pound. >click to read< 12:29

Taking a risk off the shores of Cape Breton, Recent mishaps remind fishermen of the dangers

Jack Billard gazes off into the middle distance as he silently prods his memory for details of his closest brush with death. The 79-year-old retired fisherman, who spent more than six decades hauling lobsters, crabs, fish and other creatures from the sea, returns to the moment and voices what he can recall of an incident that occurred when he was a teenager just starting his career on the boats. >click to read<13:21

Cape Breton snow crab season short but lucrative

Glen Burns doesn’t bother kicking himself over it too much anymore. “I was never much of a gambler,” said Burns. “You won’t see me at the casino or down at the fire hall.” It was 2002, he had a one-year-old son and lobster gear he’d just taken over from his father. What the Margaree Harbour fisherman didn’t have was $120,000 to buy three crab traps worth of quota to add to the handful he’d taken over with his dad’s licence. And what neither he nor anyone else knew at the time was how valuable the crustacean would become to Cape Breton’s west coast. >click to read<

Volunteers clean up Cape Breton beach of debris left by storm

You wouldn’t have been able to tell from Saturday’s weather, but just days ago, lobster fishermen in Cape Breton lost thousands of dollars of gear in a wind storm. CTV’s chief meteorologist Kalin Mitchell said a peak wind gust of 91 kilometres per hour was recorded in Sydney during Tuesday’s storm. On Saturday the community came together to collect lobster traps, broken fishing gear, and trash of all kinds from the shores of Schooner Pond Beach in Donkin. >click to read<

Cape Breton lobster fishermen trying to salvage traps after wind storm

Lobster season has taken a devastating turn in Cape Breton after strong winds and rough seas caused thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to traps and gear. CTV’s chief meteorologist Kalin Mitchell says a peak wind gust of 91 kilometres per hour was recorded in Sydney on Tuesday. Since then, lobster fishermen from Sydney to Louisbourg have been finding their equipment scattered along the shoreline of eastern Cape Breton, and now they’re trying to salvage whatever they can. “Trying to find everything, can’t find nothing,” said one fisherman in Glace Bay on Wednesday. “It’s all up on the beaches. It’s terrible.” Video >click to read<13:45