Tag Archives: DFO

By-catch monitoring coming to inshore lobster fishery (some fishermen are pissed!)

For the first time, inshore lobster fishermen in southwest Nova Scotia will have someone looking over their shoulders when they head out to sea later this fall. It’s a change many are unhappy about, causing fishermen to snub their own associations — some of which have banded together to create a monitoring program. “We didn’t want this. None of the associations wanted this, but we have tried to make it better,” said Heather Mulock of the Coldwater Lobster Association on Wednesday. The federal Fisheries Department wants to gauge how many species, particularly cod and cusk, are being inadvertently caught in lobster pots. >click to read<21:34

DFO investigation leads to another lobster pound in southwest Nova Scotia

For the second time in a month, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has moved against a lobster pound in southwest Nova Scotia. RCMP said fisheries officers went to the facility to seize lobster, though it’s unclear whether any was taken. Police were asked to assist “by keeping the peace, and help to maintain open lines of communication between DFO and the fishers who were involved,” RCMP Cpl. Jennifer Clarke said in a statement. DFO would not confirm if the investigation is connected to an ongoing probe into illegal sales of lobster caught under an Indigenous food, social and ceremonial licence, which does not permit sales. >click to read<20:30

NOAA calls off active search for killer whale J50

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has called off the active search for a sick killer whale that garnered international attention. The southern resident killer whale known as J50 hasn’t been seen for several days and earlier in the week was presumed dead by a scientist, but NOAA and Fisheries and Oceans Canada hadn’t given up hope, until now. “It seems like the window of time she would likely be alive has passed,” said NOAA spokesman Michael Milstein on Saturday. Dan Bate, a spokesman for the department of fisheries, said the DFO and Straitwatch, a marine conservation organization, continued looking for J50 on Saturday, but to no avail. >click to read<10:33

FISH-NL calls on DFO to halt FFAW fishery for northern cod, leave fish for fishermen

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is calling on Fisheries and Oceans to immediately cancel this year’s northern cod quality project, and leave the fish for struggling inshore harvesters to catch. “Inshore harvesters are fit to be tied that while the northern cod stewardship fishery is temporarily closed to them, cod is still being landed through the FFAW-Unifor’s cod quality fishery — which will reduce the overall amount of quota available to harvesters,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “The cod quality projects are seen by most inshore harvesters as yet another FFAW money-making scheme,” he added. “When it comes to quality and inshore harvesters getting the most money for their fish, the No. 1 action that can be taken is to grade the fish at the wharf — not the plant.”>click to read<12:49

LeBlanc in conflict of interest over surf clam licence, Clearwater to keep monopoly until 2020

Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc was found in breach of conflict of interest rules Wednesday for approving an Arctic surf clam licence to a company that employed a family member — a violation that comes with no penalties. Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion said in a report issued Wednesday that LeBlanc knew his wife’s first cousin was involved in the Five Nations Clam Co. and knew the cousin would have benefited financially when awarding the company a multi-million dollar license in February. >click to read<

Clearwater to keep Arctic surf clam monopoly until 2020 – Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson has confirmed Clearwater Seafoods has been given the go ahead to catch the outstanding 25 per cent of the 2018 and 2019 total allowable catch (TAC) for Arctic surf clams. A statement issued by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) on Sept. 11 reiterates the plan remains to identify a new Indigenous participant for the 2020 fishery, however. >click to read<18:49

Bid to reduce right whale deaths ‘extremely effective,’ Canadian officials say

A year after the population of critically endangered North Atlantic right whales suffered devastating losses, Canadian officials say measures taken this season to protect the species have worked. With the summer fishing season in the Gulf of St. Lawrence drawing to a close, the federal Fisheries Department confirmed Friday that not one whale has died as a result of a ship strike or fishing gear entanglement — the main causes for most of the deaths last season. In all, 17 right whales died last year — 12 of them in Canadian waters,,, The federal government responded with a series of protection measures, which included speed restrictions for boats, increased surveillance and a series of closures of fishing areas where right whales were spotted. >click to read<11:36

Atlantic salmon aquaculture farmers cited as ‘likely source’ of European strain spawning in Fundy waters

Tom Smith says it’s “misleading” to blame Atlantic Canadian aquaculture farmers for European farm salmon spawning in the Bay of Fundy over the past two decades. Fisheries and Oceans Canada published a report Aug. 31 confirming the presence of European farm salmon in the inner Bay of Fundy, saying the fish spawning has created a hybrid species in the Fundy. The Atlantic Salmon Federation released a report Sept. 6 and says it’s “disturbing” that DFO research has found the fish have been spawning in the bay’s inner waters since 1997, and that it identifies Atlantic open net-pen salmon aquaculture as the “likely source.”,,, “[The industry] is in violation of New Brunswick’s Aquaculture Act and the Federal Species at Risk Act and …Canada’s international obligations under the Williamsburg Resolution…, which prevents the introduction of non-native salmon in domestic waters,”,,, >click to read<17:34

FISH-NL calls on DFO to continue direct consultations with inshore harvesters

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is calling on the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans to once again hold direct consultations with inshore harvesters. “DFO is to be commended for holding outreach meetings last winter for the first time in a generation,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL, “but the precedent has been set, and the department must hold them every year to keep its finger on the pulse of inshore harvesters.” DFO held a series of 20 outreach meetings around the province in the fall/early winter of 2017/2018 to hear directly from harvesters. The consultations were called following years of complaints that the FFAW-Unifor is no longer the voice of harvesters, which, as it turned out, was the most common theme at the outreach meetings. >click to read<14:26

Ocean Choice International says DFO delayed informing the captain he was in newly-protected area

Ocean Choice International (OCI) is accused of fishing in a conservation area during a closed time — an allegation that the company says it takes “very seriously.” According to court documents, OCI and a numbered company linked to OCI were both charged with a breach of the Fisheries Act in June. The charge stems from an incident that allegedly took place between Feb. 4-10, 2018. OCI is accused of fishing for Greenland halibut in an area off the coast of the island, which DFO calls the “Northeast Newfoundland Slope Conservation Area,” during a closed time. >click to read<14:59

Mi’kmaw woman seeks to charge Canada with theft for seizing fishing gear

A Mi’kmaw woman from Acadia First Nation in Nova Scotia has asked the RCMP to charge the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) with theft for seizing lobster traps she laid while fishing by inherent right, outside of Canadian fishing regulations. Marilynn-Leigh Francis and her three nephews dropped 19 lobster traps into St. Mary’s Bay at the beginning of August. Last week, Francis confronted DFO officers on the water after they pulled them back up. Seeing the seizure as unwarranted, Francis called the RCMP and filed a complaint asking the police to charge DFO with theft. It was the second time she had filed a complaint against DFO, she said. As far as she knows, no charges have been laid. >click to read<13:07

Fraser River sockeye finally catch a break with cooling water temps

Sockeye salmon entering the Fraser River this week will be aided by cooling water temperatures, which should decrease mortality and help them reach their spawning grounds up river in better condition. Commercial fishers are optimistic that the sockeye run will live up to early season predictions as late-season fish start to enter the river. Sockeye migrating into the river this summer are the grandchildren of the record-breaking 2010 run that exceeded 28 million fish. “The fishing we’ve had up to this point has been pretty darn good,” said Chauvel. “You have to make your money in these peak years. The years in between are subsistence, so it’s these sockeye years that put you over the top.” >click to read<22:02

Whale-watchers ask why herring fishery carries on where right whales sighted

A whale-watching tour operator and one of her customers say they are concerned nothing was done to stop herring seiners after two North Atlantic right whales were spotted in the Bay of Fundy off Brier Island, N.S. ,,”My big concern is the herring fishery,” Blackman said. “The seiners have been moving in every night. The last three nights they have been right in the place we spotted the whale this afternoon. Right in the opening between Brier Island and Long Island. “We’re watching the herring seiners come in, and they set up with these huge nets which are endangering the whale.” >click to read<09:51

Fisheries officers seize 100 crates of lobster from unnamed seafood distributor

Inspectors with the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans seized more than $50,000 worth of lobster from a seafood distributor in New Edinburgh, N.S., earlier this month.  The department says fisheries officers from the Meteghan detachment inspected the fish distribution facility on Aug. 9 and seized more than 100 crates of lobster. A spokesperson for the department said the officers believed the lobsters were caught and retained under an Indigenous food, social and ceremonial fisheries licence. >click to read<11:24

Due to abundance of capelin this summer, harvester and union director hope for improved science

With capelin flooding the beaches and nets of harvesters in numbers not seen in years, the abundance and quality of the species is turning heads across the province. Fixed gear harvester Dennis Chaulk had three days fishing capelin in Bonavista Bay from July 23-25. Like the capelin fishers in the Notre Dame Bay region of central Newfoundland, Chaulk witnessed a successful and plentiful fishery. ,, But now that harvesters and buyers across the province are saying it’s the best quality and population of capelin seen in over two decades, Broderick says this summer’s capelin fishery has shown that the science available on capelin is far from accurate and needs to be seriously scrutinized. >click to read<17:58

Fisheries and Oceans quietly cancels plans to award Indigenous surf clam licence

The federal government says it has cancelled plans to issue a controversial clam fishing licence to a First Nations company with ties to the Liberal party and several sitting Liberal MPs — including the former fisheries minister. A news release from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans says the process to issue a fourth licence to harvest arctic surf clam off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia was cancelled in early July, and that it won’t be issued this year at all. That multimillion-dollar licence was supposed to go to the Five Nations Clam Co., a company court documents suggest did not initially meet key eligibility requirements spelled out in the government’s tender process. >click to read<15:16

P.E.I. fisherman prepare for fall lobster season

Lee Knox is hoping the forecast for this Thursday’s setting day of relatively light wind of up to 15 knots holds, as it will allow for good conditions for fishermen to unload their traps.,, The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has a conference call with port representatives set for this morning to assess setting day weather conditions and make the decision on whether the season opens Thursday, as scheduled, or gets delayed. Knox is anticipating it will get started on time. Approximately 218 western P.E.I. fall fishermen share Lobster Fishing Area 25 in the Northumberland Strait with mainland fishermen from Chatham, N.B., nearly to Amherst, N.S. >click to read<

Fishing industry taking steps to protect endangered whales, says association

The president of the Western Gulf Fishermen’s Association says he is proud of the efforts undertaken by spring lobster fishermen to help prevent fishing gear entanglements by endangered North Atlantic right whales. Craig Avery said fishermen went with larger bunches during the fishing season to reduce the amount of rope in the water. Shortly after the season closed, Avery estimates more than 30 boats assisted Fisheries and Oceans personnel in a two-day sweep of the lobster grounds, looking for missing or forgotten lobster gear. >click to read<18:32

Fishermen’s group grateful DFO lays charge stemming from lobster raid

A fishermen’s association is pleased to see the Department of Fisheries and Oceans lay a charge against the owner of lobster pound in southwest Nova Scotia who is accused of selling lobster caught under an Aboriginal communal fishing licence. Colin Sproul, vice-president of the Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association, said he’s grateful DFO is taking action this summer. “Last summer, there were an incredible amount of lobsters poached in southwest Nova Scotia,” Sproul said on Thursday. “They weren’t First Nations people poaching these lobsters. They were just being poached by poachers under the guise of the FSC [food, social and ceremonial] and sold. >click to read<10:28

Harvey Jarvis – Ignore cod sentinel data at our peril

Twenty-three years ago, I helped lead a team that designed and implemented the cod sentinel inshore survey on Northern Cod (Southern Avalon, North East Coast and Labrador). The status of Northern Cod has been much in the news lately and the decision, by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), to cut the commercial quota has been met with some stiff opposition from the FFAW-Unifor. This prompted me to do a little investigating to see what cod sentinel is telling us about Northern Cod. Based on a review of cod sentinel information, by opposing the 2018 quota reduction by DFO, I can only conclude that the FFAW-Unifor and the Groundfish Industry Development Council (GIDC) appear to be ignoring the last five years of sentinel data. According to information that I have been able to piece together, cod sentinel results are as follows: >click to read<09:03

Poachers stealing lobsters from traps off Sainte-Anne-des-Monts in the Gaspé

A pilot project to determine the viability of lobster fishing near Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, off the north coast of the Gaspé Peninsula, is being bedeviled by whoever is stealing lobsters from fishermen’s traps. Four fishing boats — two belonging to the Malecite Nation and two to non-Indigenous fishermen — have been authorized by Fisheries and Oceans Canada to catch lobsters in the area this season.  It’s part of an “exhaustive scientific process” Fisheries and Oceans is carrying out to determine whether lobster fishing in the area is sustainable, said Guy-Pascal Weiner, commercial fisheries co-ordinator for the Malacites in Cacouna, near Rivière-du-Loup. >click to read<08:41

New regulations to protect marine mammals in effect for all coasts in Canada

New regulations to protect whales, dolphins and porpoises are in effect for all coasts in Canada as the Department of Fisheries and Oceans works to ensure more officers and patrol vessels are available to enforce the rules.,,,  The regulations include the requirement to report to the Fisheries Department any incident of a vessel accidentally striking a mammal or when it becomes entangled in fishing gear, Cottrell said. Under the Fisheries Act, anyone who disturbs marine mammals could be fined up to $100,000 or a maximum of $500,000 for a criminal offence, Cottrell said. >click to read<14:38

The ‘Soul’ of the Pacific Northwest is dying of starvation

“I believe we have orcas in our soul in this state.” Those were the words of Washington Gov. Jay Inslee earlier this year after forming the Southern Resident Orca Task Force, an initiative meant to keep endangered killer whales alive in the region. Scientists point to a number of factors for the dwindling number of orcas in the region, including pollution, both old and new sources, that accumulate in their primary prey, Chinook salmon. This pollution gets stored in the orca’s fatty tissues, suppressing their immune system and making the whales more susceptible to disease… “It’s an ecosystem-wide problem,” Hanson said. “Things are out of whack and we have to get them back to where we can sustain killer whales. And the clock is ticking.” >click to read<18:00

DFO Investigation: traps placed in right whale protection zones, Meanwhile In Nova Scotia, 172 traps seized

Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) are investigating whether 33 licence holders violated measures meant to protect North Atlantic right whales. The DFO confirmed that they’ve launched the investigations into licence holders after fishing traps were set in areas closed to protect the endangered species of whales. Canada has closed several fishery zones in the Gulf of St. Lawerence,,, >click to read< – The Federal Fisheries department says they’ve seized 172 lobster traps in Nova Scotia. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) issued the statement on its Twitter account, saying that its detachment in Digby, N.S., seized the traps after harvesters violated the Fisheries Act. >click to read< 15:29

Mike Hicks: Fishery closure would be devastating

In an attempt to stabilize the populations of the southern and northern killer whales, the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans is requesting feedback on its draft proposal to permanently close the Swiftsure and Laparuse banks for recreational and commercial fishing. This closure would devastate the coastal communities of Port Renfrew, Bamfield, Port Alberni, Ucluelet and Tofino and every recreational and commercial fisherman who earns their livelihood or enjoys their recreational pastime in what is considered one of the greatest accessible salmon and halibut fishing grounds in North America. >click to read<09:42

FISH-NL demands Ottawa explain itself in light of massive cuts to caplin quotas

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is demanding Ottawa explain itself in light of huge cuts to caplin quotas in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and off eastern and southern Newfoundland and Labrador. “This is a banner year for caplin in the Gulf with the federal government’s own scientists reporting an abundance of fish not seen in years, and yet the quota has been cut by 35 per cent,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “How does that make sense? It doesn’t.” “At the same time, scientists said in March that the caplin stock off eastern Newfoundland and Labrador was down 70 per cent, but the relatively small commercial fishery isn’t having an impact,” he added. >click to read<11:57

FISH-NL calls on Ottawa to release 2018 caplin management plan for the Gulf; roll over last year’s quota

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is calling on the Government of Canada to release the 2018 caplin management plan for the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and recommends a roll over of last year’s quota. “How the hell can we survive when it’s the middle of caplin season with no management plan and no quota?” says Boyd Lavers, FISH-NL’s Captain of the over 40-foot fleet, and an inshore harvester from Port Saunders on the Great Northern Peninsula. “The minister of Fisheries and Oceans is either punishing us or he’s trying to bankrupt us.” >click to read<10:47

DFO closes another fishing area in northern N.B. after right whale sighting

Another fishing area in the Gulf of St. Lawrence has been closed by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans after North Atlantic right whales were spotted. The latest closure in extends the no-fish zone farther east, well into the middle of the Gulf. The measures will see the following grid closed: GX39. Fishermen have until Tuesday at 3 p.m. to remove any fishing gear in the area. This is the seventh closure of a fishing area over the last month in the waters off northern New Brunswick that has forced crab fishermen and lobster fishermen to move their fishing gear to other areas. >click to read<11:33

Offshore ‘slipper skippers’ and local monopolies target of new fishing industry study

If you have ever purchased fish at Fisherman’s Wharf, there’s a 50/50 chance the bulk of your money will make its way into the pockets of an investor, who may not even be able to pinpoint Steveston on a map. Such investors, both foreign and domestic, own government-issued quotas and licenses and lease them to fishers for a cut of the catch. Because profit margins for fishers are already razer thin, the extra costs of the quotas and licenses means young, new and independent fishers find it difficult to get a foothold in the industry. This regulatory system is being called into question by Fleetwood Port Kells Liberal MP Ken Hardie. Fishers have long complained about the ownership structure of licences and individual transferable quotas (ITQs), or catch shares,,>click to read< 20:08

DFO orders fisheries closure in Bay of Fundy after right whale sighting

The federal government announced Monday evening the first temporary fisheries closure in the Bay of Fundy as a result of a North Atlantic right whale sighting. The area, just east of Grand Manan, will be closed to fixed-gear fishing activities starting at 11:59 p.m. Thursday, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans said in a statement. It said the closure, which affects lobster, crab, groundfish, herring and mackerel licenses, will remain in place until further notice. It’s believed to be the first closure of its kind ever in the bay, according to Laurence Cook, chairman of the Grand Manan Fishermen’s Association lobster advisory board. Cook was busy fielding calls and texts from “angry and upset” members after government informed the association around 6 p.m. Monday, he said. >click to read<11:42

Lobster fishermen comply with federal order and move traps to smaller area

Lobster fishermen aboard about 60 boats spent Sunday morning pulling traps from waters off Miscou Island in northeastern New Brunswick in order to comply with a zone closure put in place by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The closures in Lobster Fishing Area 23 were announced by the DFO on June 11, after five North Atlantic right whales were seen between Miscou and the Gaspe Peninsula. DFO boats were in the area monitoring the situation as the traps were hauled up. “There’s a very small block that they can kind of move into. They are limited on the amount of territory that is left for them so they’re all going to have to cram into what’s left I guess.” >click to read<10:16