Tag Archives: DFO

Should the next fisheries minister come from central Canada?

On election night, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s first cabinet casualty came early as Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan tumbled to defeat in Nova Scotia’s South Shore, St. Margarets riding. Her defeat means her successor will inherit the unresolved dispute over Nova Scotia’s Indigenous moderate livelihood lobster fishery. And that potentially means a clean slate for negotiations between all parties involved. And the chief of the band at the centre of that fishery says maybe the best way to establish that clean slate would be to enlist a fisheries minister from the interior, rather than the coasts, where they would be exposed to the pressures of their community. >click to read< 20:33

DFO returns patrol boats back to the wharf in Meteghan

After a confusing week for both commercial and aboriginal fishers DFO’s patrol vessels have returned to the wharf in Meteghan. After stories on the move ran in The Chronicle Herald and Globe and Mail, the boats were returned on Sunday. Both commercial and First Nations fishers are glad they are back, though for different reasons. Chief Mike Sack said Friday they wanted a federal presence to prevent a repeat of the violence Sipekne’katik’s fishermen were subject to last fall. Commercial fishermen, meanwhile, want DFO to prevent what they allege is a large scale commercial fishery happening outside their season under the guise of a food, social and ceremonial fishery. “There’s a treaty right but where does it end and where does it begin,” said Nathan Cooke, a buyer who owns Atlantic Canada Seafoods. >click to read< 17:26

B.C. fish harvesters protest salmon fisheries closures

The Canadian Independent Fish Harvesters’ Association addressed the media near Vancouver’s Granville Island on Sep. 15. The organization is upset over DFO’s salmon closures at the end of June. According to Bernadette Jordan, the move was made as “an initial step towards longer term reductions in fishing pressure on stocks of conservation concern.” DFO’s Salmon Integrated Fisheries Management Plan will likely reduce B.C.’s commercial harvest by 60 per cent this year. Commercial fisher James Lawson says “I started behind almost $70,000 and at the last second I found out I’m not going to be able to fish; so that’s not a great position to be in and there’s no light at the end of the tunnel.” Video, >click to read< 19:14

DFO is responding to allegations from the Sipekne’katik First Nation

On Thursday, the band said they had lobster traps tagged ‘Food, Social and Ceremonial,’ confiscated by DFO officers in St. Mary’s Bay. DFO says of the 10 traps they seized that day, none had FSC tags, and no vessels were seized. The department says respectful, constructive dialogue is the best way to advance reconciliation, and implement rights-based fisheries. They say their officers take a progressive approach on the water, including education, issuing warnings and laying charges, while using discretion as they take situational factors into consideration. >click to read< 08:36

Grand Chief of Assembly of First Nations tells DFO – ‘Stop criminalizing our treaty rights’

The Grand Chief of the Assembly of First Nations is calling for an end to what she calls intimidation over the Sipekne’katik First Nation’s lobster fishery. So far this summer, hundreds of traps have been seized from St. Mary’s Bay and Archibald was on a boat that was boarded by DFO officers Thursday afternoon, who then seized the traps of the fisherman she was with. “Two DFO zodiacs with eight enforcement officers encircled and boarded the boat and later traps were pulled, confiscated and loaded onto a Coast Guard boat,” Video >click to read< 19:50

SEA-NL: Province to review foreign investment in fishery

SEA-NL is encouraged by news that the province has finally commenced a review of its policies related to foreign investment in the fishery, with consultations planned for this fall. “Our message now is for complete transparency,,, Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture Minister Derrick Bragg wrote SEA-NL on Friday, Sept. 3rd, to reveal his department has begun work on a review of its policies regarding foreign ownership in the fishery. Bragg advised that consultations with industry stakeholders are scheduled for late October-November. The minister’s letter was in response to one written by Cleary to Premier Furey on Aug. 23rd requesting the province investigate foreign control/corporate concentration in the fish processing sector. >click to read< 10:29

Chiefs in N.B. say DFO officers ignoring fishing rights

Indigenous chiefs in New Brunswick say the federal Fisheries Department is preventing members of the St. Mary’s First Nation from feeding their families after officers last week seized a lobster fishing boat operating in the Bay of Fundy. Canada is ignoring Indigenous rights to fish for food, social and ceremonial purposes and to a livelihood fishery, the six chiefs of the Wolastoqey Nation said Wednesday in a news release. “St. Mary’s First Nation members are being prevented from feeding their families by DFO enforcement, and at the same time DFO seems intent on escalating the situation,” the chiefs wrote. “This is creating dangerous conditions for everyone on the water.” >click to read< 12:06

Mismanaged Since 1949 II: DFO wants to clear the air about the role of seals and focus on ecosystems. Lol.

DFO estimates the Northwest Atlantic harp seal population at 7.6 million, the highest on record (based on 2017 data), at more than triple the population of 50 years ago and still steadily increasing. But Mr. Russell’s concerns are at odds with DFO science, which says the harp seal population is not a major factor in declining fish stocks. Instead, DFO officials offer a different explanation, one that’s harder for local fishermen to accept: that climate change is at the root of the problem. DFO officials held a technical briefing at the end of June to address what they described as misinformation about the impacts of seals on fish such as Atlantic cod and capelin in Newfoundland and Labrador waters. During the one-hour briefing, geared toward media, the officials presented the North Atlantic seal as less of a scoundrel and more of a scapegoat.  >click to read< 21:12

Mismanaged Since 1949! – A primer on fishing failures

Both the federal and municipal elections heighten our interest in whether or not fishery issues will, at last, be tackled in this province. Perhaps those running for elected positions need a primer on how our fishery was decimated over the past 70 years since Canada took over management of this resource following Newfoundland and Labrador’s Confederation entry in 1949. Hopefully, it will counter the current PR that is being disseminated by DFO, which wants Canadians to believe that it is not the department that has failed our province and our communities, but that the destruction has come from climate change, changes in water temperatures and other uncontrollable factors accounting for the demise of our once great fishery resource. There are still many, including myself, who have worked in the industry all these decades and witnessed first-hand and know full well that DFO has mismanaged our fishery since 1949. >click to read<, By Gus Etchegary, St. John’s 13:30

Bad faith, beads and trinkets negotiations by DFO obstructs court-affirmed fishery

The lack of good faith negotiations by Fisheries and Oceans Canada in its dealing with five First Nations on the West Coast could result in the criminalization of Nuu-chah-nulth fishers who exercise their court-affirmed right to a commercial fishery, asserts First Nations leadership. “The federal department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) continues to stonewall negotiations and acts as if it is above the law,” reads an Aug. 24 press release from the five nations impacted, Ahousaht, Hesquiaht, Ehattesaht/Chinehkint, Mowachaht/Muchalaht and Tla-o-qui-aht. The nations have said they will fish according to their own fishing plans, pitting Nuu-chah-nulth fishers against DFO officers patrolling Nuu-chah-nulth waters, because DFO hasn’t come to the table to negotiate a plan for the season. >click to read< 08:14

SEA-NL: Investigation into foreign control/corporate concentration in fish processing sector required

SEA-NL is calling on Premier Andrew Furey to launch an investigation into foreign control/corporate concentration in the province’s fish processing sector to coincide with a similar ongoing federal review of offshore fishing licences. The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) is currently reviewing foreign ownership/corporate concentration of offshore licences to prevent foreign interests from establishing effective control over licence-holders. “Ottawa’s review of offshore licences is only half the story, and only half the issues that must be addressed in the province’s fishery,” says Ryan Cleary, interim Executive Director of Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador. “The whole story about potential illegal control of offshore and inshore fish quotas won’t be told until the Premier launches a parallel investigation.” >click to read, including the letter< 20:16

Arrested by the Feds! Chief Mike Sack busted “for promoting an illegal fishery.”

The chief of Sipekne’katik First Nation has been arrested by federal fisheries officers on the day the band’s new treaty fishery launched in southwest Nova Scotia. Chief Mike Sack was arrested on Monday, taken to the Meteghan fisheries office and later released. DFO has not provided details of why Sack was arrested, or whether he could face charges under fisheries legislation. ‘Why would you arrest me? I haven’t done anything here,'” he said. “It just seems to be all scare tactics for the fisheries, to try to stop what we have going on.”  >click to read< 15:59

Tensions renew over “unauthorized” lobster fishery in Nova Scotia

Tension over a growing Indigenous lobster fishery remains high on the wharfs and bays of southwestern Nova Scotia, where Sipekne’katik First Nation plans to launch their second season of a self-regulated commercial fishery this week. A year ago, violence erupted after the Sipekne’katik fleet began fishing lobster outside the federally regulated season which begins in November in St. Marys Bay,,, Colin Sproul, “The feds knew about the potential for violence last year, and did nothing.  “There is a large-scale commercial fishery taking place right now, outside the law, no matter what the fisheries minister says. Our communities are seeing tractor-trailer loads of lobster leaving the area at night.” Mr. Sack said he’s worried more clashes will come if commercial fishermen don’t back down. >click to read< 07:51

A virus that flourishes in fish farms is now threatening wild populations.

Wild salmon in British Columbia are in trouble. According to one estimate, some populations have dropped by as much as 93 percent since the early 1990s. Lately, the situation has grown dire.,, Last year, the number of sockeye returning to spawn in the Fraser River crashed to a record low. It’s hard to say exactly why this is happening, though logging, climate change, and overfishing all seem to play a role. Among the most controversial potential factors, however, is the virus Piscine orthoreovirus, or PRV. The virus isn’t necessarily fatal, but infected fish may be weakened and unable to swim as fast, making them more likely to be eaten by predators or fail to migrate upriver in order to spawn,,, Not everyone agrees. Among the dissenters is Fisheries and Oceans Canada-DFO,,, >click to read<  Killing Sea Lions to Save the Salmon, February 1,1925, Dorothy G. Bell, >click to read< 19:39

Five Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations demand fishing rights

“Our 5 Nuu-chah-nulth Nations demand reconciliation and recognition of their rights as affirmed in the constitution and declared by the Courts. They can not wait any longer for Canada to work with them on fishing plans and will be fishing under the authority of their Ha’wiih and asserting their rights as they have done since time immemorial,” said Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council President Dr. Judith Sayers,, The joint-statement demands that the five Nations have the right to fish and sell fish and adds that that right is “second only to conservation and has priority over the recreational and commercial sectors.” >click to read< 08:50

DFO and fishing vessel safety – A Damning Indictment of its safety culture

Fisheries and Oceans’ decision not to extend the halibut fishery in the Gulf of St. Lawrence for the province’s inshore harvesters who didn’t catch their quotas due to poor weather is a damning incitement of its safety culture, says Merv Wiseman, an outspoken search and rescue advocate. “DFO is telling fishermen if you don’t go to sea because of bad weather you’re going to lose your fish,”,,, “Putting extra pressure on fishermen to make decisions contrary to safety is a recipe for disaster that we’ve seen play out too many times.” A Transportation Safety Board report into the 2016 drowning of four Shea Heights fishermen found they took a risk in going out in questionable weather in order to land their weekly cod quota, and to recover fishing gear before deadline. >click to read< 07:34

Commercial salmon fishers reeling from sweeping closures

Fourth-generation fisherman Jordan Belveal of Nanaimo was ready to head north on his boat Blue Bayou to catch coho July 1 in Dixon Entrance, between B.C. and Alaska, when he heard about the widespread closures. Although he says he doesn’t mind keeping his boat tied to the dock if it means preserving some runs, Belveal opposed the closures, saying some fisheries with a good abundance of salmon have been cancelled. Losing the  coho fishery has had a “major effect on us,” said Belveal, who operates Island Wild ­Seafoods with wife Catlin, selling hook-and-line caught ­sustainable wild seafood to Vancouver Island ­customers. Belveal is now counting on the Aug. 12 chinook fishery off Haida Gwaii, which would normally have opened in June but was delayed to allow fish to head to their home rivers on Vancouver Island and to the Fraser River, >click to read< 09:56

Water content deductions keeping harvesters sitting out the summers sea cucumber fishery

Sea cucumbers represent a $10-million industry in Newfoundland and Labrador, according to Fish Food & Allied Workers president Keith Sullivan. The creatures are a delicacy in Asian countries and other markets, and fetch a price of 70 cents per pound, according to the province’s fishery pricing panel. When catches are landed, processors drain the water inside sea cucumbers to remove the weight of the sea water from the buying price.  Harvesters used to deduct 23 per cent of the sea cucumber’s weight across the board to account for the water, but that percentage has been changed in the past year, and Sullivan says the harvesters’ bottom lines are being impacted. “Whereas other years you might be getting paid for 80 per cent or close to that of the animal, this year in a couple of cases we’re talking just over 50 per cent,” >click to read< 11:43

Could B.C. commercial salmon fishery closures affect Southeast Alaska?

Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the federal agency that manages Canada’s fisheries, effectively ended the 2021 commercial salmon season on the West Coast in late June. Canada’s fishing industry was stunned, says B.C. Seafood Alliance Executive Director Christina Burridge. “First Nations have harvested salmon forever. And post-contact, salmon canneries are what in the sense built this province. To be now in this situation seems really tragic to me.” The closure came just weeks after Canada announced a more than half-a-billion dollar plan to revitalize its flagging Pacific salmon stocks in B.C. and Yukon Territory.,, The Chinook on the transboundary rivers Unuk and Chilkat are among the current Southeast stocks of concern.  >click to read< 10:11

Mi’kmaw harvesting lobster in Nova Scotia under heavy police, DFO presence

Mi’kmaw harvesters are back on the water fishing for lobster and following their own food, social and ceremonial fishery plan. But the large contingent of police and fisheries officers is intimidating and infringing on their Treaty Rights.,, Boats with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans can be seen going by a local wharf with lobster traps on board. Sipekne’katik lobster harvesters are fishing for food and ceremony. Francis says there have been more police and fisheries officers present in the last few weeks. Video, >click to read< 21:22

DFO’s sweeping salmon fishery closures leave workers reeling – Commercial fishers are paying the price,,,

“When we got that news, we’re like, shit, what do we do? And then there’s a little glimmer of hope, they didn’t say Area 4 was going to be closed for sure. That’s where I’m sitting now.” Carpenter, who is 54 years old, said waiting for the federal Fisheries and Oceans Department’s next move is a “huge gamble.” He said he has things he can do to earn money and fill his freezer if he can’t go out and fish but he’s worried about some of the older fishers who don’t have the same options. “What are they supposed to do? They’re going to go home, they may drink themselves to death or they may lose their marriages, their houses, sell everything. Who knows?” >click to read< 17:57

DFO Fishery Closures – ‘radical course of action’ will devastate salmon harvesters and coastal communities

A coalition of 13 members partnered in the media statement issued by UFAWU, decried the Department of Oceans and Fisheries (DFO) announcement of closures as “a radical course of action to combat the salmon crisis,”. “Many harvesters were freshly geared up, fees paid and deckhands aboard, heading their vessels to the salmon openings they were told to expect,,,  “These closures will devastate salmon, harvesters, and coastal communities alike. The only gain will be the political favour of those who’ve been fooled into thinking this is the answer to the salmon crisis,” UFAWU stated >click to read< 14:29

Should DFO rein in sport fishing to help save salmon?

Conservation groups want Ottawa to dramatically curtail the recreational fishery as it did with the commercial fishery last week in order to save wild salmon on the West Coast. But the sport sector, equally keen to protect the prized but diminishing chinook salmon, wants Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to make sure any further measures and restrictions this year are backed by science, and provide stability and results for the embattled fishers and the fish population. The federal government failed to address the recreational fishery, which also impacts salmon returns, despite making historic and dramatic reductions to the commercial fleet on the West Coast, said Jeffery Young, science and policy analyst with the David Suzuki Foundation. >click to read< 08:47

On the Brink of Extinction: DFO salmon closures sink dreams of Pacific fishermen

Geoff Millar’s livelihood is on the brink of extinction after DFO closed roughly 60 per cent of B.C.’s commercial salmon fisheries. The closures, DFO stated, will last “multiple generations” of fish to save tumbling salmon populations. The decision leaves Millar, along with hundreds of other commercial fish harvesters on the B.C. coast, in despair and in difficult financial straits. “These closures have absolutely devastated us,” affirmed James Lawson, a Heiltsuk fish harvester based in Campbell River, B.C.,, “We’ve been forced into a corner, and the only option is retirement, that seems to be DFO’s goal.” >click to read< 07:35

29 years of northern cod moratorium have cost NL at least $26 billion

In his 1992 book, No Fish and Our Lives, Some Survival Notes for Newfoundland, Cabot Martin wrote that a rebuilt northern cod stock could support annual harvesters of 400,000 tonnes (881 million/lbs).The moratorium remains the biggest layoff in Canadian history, and while there’s a small-scale inshore stewardship fishery, Fisheries and Oceans does not set a total-allowable catch (TAC), and it’s not considered a full-fledged commercial fishery. Where are we today? All three commercial cod stocks adjacent to Newfoundland and Labrador are categorized by DFO scientists as in the critical zone, meaning removals are to be kept to a minimum. >click to read< 25 Years ago Today – The Northern Cod Moratorium – Sunday, July 2,   marks a quarter of a century since then federal fisheries minster John Crosbie announced what was planned to be a two-year moratorium on the northern cod fishery. It continues on today, though it has often seemed lost in the wake of a lucrative crab and shrimp fishery that remarkably saved the industry and many communities. But back in 1992, a province settled and built on the back of the mighty cod fishery, >click to read< 11:20

Significant Commercial Fisheries closures in BC – DFO to offer licence buyback to those ready to call it quits.

Federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan today announced “an initial step towards longer-term reductions in fishing pressure on stocks of conservation concern with significant commercial salmon closures for the 2021 season.” Jordan also announced there will be a federal fishing licence buyback offered to commercial fishers who are ready to call it quits. DFO’s Salmon Integrated Fisheries Management Plan for 2021-22 will result in closures to about 60% of commercial salmon fisheries in B.C. for 2021. >click to read< 15:22

Feds told again to allow Indigenous commercial fisheries

Canada must stop controlling how five First Nations in B.C. harvest and sell salmon, halibut, and dozens of other marine species, a B.C. court has ruled. The decision marks the end of a 15-year legal battle waged by the federal government to prevent the Nuu-chah-nulth Nations, a coalition of five First Nations on the west coast of Vancouver Island, from reclaiming their traditional commercial fisheries decimated by colonial policies. “We are just trying to establish a commercial fishery that provides income to the families,”, “That’s the message we’ve been trying to give DFO as the Mi’kmaq fisheries on the East Coast have tried to do as well.” >click to read< 09:35

Mi’kmaw harvester wants lobsters seized by DFO accounted for

A Mi’kmaw lobster harvester wants to know what happened to his lobster after finally getting his fishing gear back from DFO,,, The gear had been sitting in a federal fisheries compound since then, and Matt Cope of Millbrook First Nation spent months trying to get it back. When Cope unloaded his gear this week, he was shocked to find damaged traps with ropes cut. “Traps aren’t cheap, ropes not cheap,” he said. “When they’re taking it for months at a time, and just all of a sudden giving it back when it’s all damaged, there’s no way we can fish like that.” >click to read< 08:50

Pacific salmon recovery report gives 32 recommendations to reverse declines

Wild salmon stocks are being affected by a range of impacts throughout their life cycle, which span from freshwater streams and rivers, to coastal ‘foreshore’ areas and deepwater marine environments, per the report. These threats include habitat degradation, impacts of flood control measures, predation, fishing activity, and threats of disease from fish farms. Based on these findings, the committee provided 32 recommendations to reverse salmon declines, which one witness, Richard Beamish, Scientist Emeritus at DFO’s Pacific Biological Station in Nanaimo, calls the “international Pacific salmon emergency.” >click to read< 07:58

DFO seized and released hundreds of short lobster from a First Nations vessel in Cape Breton

DFO said enforcement officers inspected a vessel Tuesday night in St. Peters canal operating under a communal food, social and ceremonial licence. The lobsters were released that night. Noel d’Entremont, acting director of conservation and protection in the Maritimes region, said no charges have been laid, but an investigation is continuing. A portion of the incident was captured on video and posted to social media showing lobsters being tossed back in the water by DFO officers. The FSC licence being fished was for a Cape Breton band, which DFO declined to identify. >click to read< 17:07