Tag Archives: DFO

Scientists breathe easier as west coast ocean heat wave weakens

Nate Mantua of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the “good news” is that the area of exceptionally warm water is substantially smaller now than it was earlier this year. And while the area about 1,500 kilometres offshore between Hawaii and Alaska is still seeing high temperatures by historical standards, it is “simply not nearly as large as it was and it is no longer strong in areas near the west coast,” he said. Scientists have been watching a marine heat wave that developed around June this year,,, >click to read< 15:01

‘Find some good solutions’: governments, experts, fishermen prepare for 2020 right whale regulations

An annual roundtable meeting held by officials with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has wrapped up after discussing how to deal with the declining North Atlantic right whale population. The subject has become controversial after at least nine confirmed deaths in 2019, with several preliminary findings indicating vessel strikes were the cause. Some of the deaths came despite the Canadian government cracking down tighter on fisheries closures and speed restrictions, but the impact on the fishing industry is part of what makes regulations such a controversial topic. >click to read<  08:43

Canada-U.S. tensions expected to be big topic at right whale meeting Thursday

Canadian-U.S. trade relations and tensions around fishing regulations are expected to be top of mind Thursday at a discussion about North Atlantic right whales. Dozens of people from the fishing industry and conservation groups are in Moncton to meet with officials from Fisheries and Oceans Canada. ,, Hanging over Thursday’s meeting is the threat that in 2021, the U.S. could ban Canadian seafood imports if officials here don’t put in place equivalent protection for marine mammals.,, After six whale deaths had been reported by Canada by early July, NOAA Fisheries Assistant Administrator Chris Oliver requested an emergency meeting with Fisheries and Oceans and Transport Canada, urging immediate action. >click to read<  19:09

Past, present collide as harbour authority works to revitalize Steveston’s fishing industry

The golden era of Steveston as a fishing village may be over, but that doesn’t mean the trawling industry is a relic of the past. Steveston Harbour is by far the largest small-craft harbour in the county, home to more than 44 per cent of the buildings in the entire national harbour program. Since 2009, Fisheries and Oceans Canada has invested about $23.5 million into the harbour, with additional funding from the province. Now, plans are well underway to make it the commercial fishing hub of B.C., said Robert Kiesman, chair of the Steveston Harbour Authority (SHA). >click to read< 09:15

Nova Scotia lobsters still in sweet spot despite climate change

Canadian scientists have attempted to predict the impact of a warming ocean caused by climate change on the lucrative Nova Scotia and New Brunswick lobster fishery on the Scotian Shelf. In most areas, lobster habitat in the offshore is expected to remain suitable or improve over the next few decades, according to a study published in the journal Frontiers of Marine Science. Offshore is defined as beyond 19 kilometres from land. “Some of the climate projections suggest that it may not have a big impact over the next number of years on adult lobsters,” >click to read<  08:49

Dear editor: Government going overboard with Marine Protected Areas

The B.C. economy is set to lose hundreds of millions of dollars and few seem to be aware or care about this issue. The issue is the establishment of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Few would argue that MPAs can be beneficial, even commercial fishermen.,,, These B.C. fishermen work on the principle of sustainable yield,,,An estimate of the loss to the northern shelf alone ( north of Port Hardy) is $100 million per year! by George Dennis,
Comox  >click to read< 15:20

Fishing industry welcomes move, Emera forced to bury a third of Maritime Link’s submarine cable

Halifax-based energy conglomerate Emera buried 59 kilometres of electrical cables beneath the ocean floor between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland this past summer to protect the Maritime Link from “substantially increased” bottom fishing the company did not see coming. Completed in 2017, the $1.5-billion Maritime Link was built to carry electricity generated from the Muskrat Falls hydro project in Labrador into Nova Scotia and on to New England. The company is responding to an unforeseen explosion in the population of redfish in the Gulf of St. Lawrence,,, >click to read< 10:48

Seafood society suspends its own MSC certification over lack of stock assessment

Canadian Pacific Sustainable Seafood Society has announced the “self-suspension” of the MSC certification for B.C. wild salmon, over concerns that the proper stock assessments required to maintain MSC verification are not being done. The society fears it will lose its MSC certification anyway, since it feels DFO is failing to do the science and monitoring required to maintain the certification, so it is voluntarily suspending it for B.C. sockeye, pink and chum salmon. It may be a moot point this year, since there are no wild salmon being caught this year for consumers to buy. >click to read< 20:12

PEIFA joins MFU in seeking mid-summer lobster-fishing ban

“After 20 years of lobster research from the government of Canada and our science affiliate, Homarus, we understand just how important the mid-summer (July 7 – Aug. 7) is for the hatching and development of lobster larvae into juvenile lobsters,” MFU executive director, Martin Mallet said. ”Any fishing activity during this time has an extremely negative effect on several key biological processes for lobster, including moulting, extrusion of new eggs and hatching of eggs that are in the final stages of development.” >click to read<  08:54

Critics say federal government is wiping out commercial pink salmon fisheries

In emails obtained by the BC Wildlife Federation, British Columbia government staff and scientists say Fisheries and Oceans Canada is burying science and misrepresenting a crisis situation to the public, risking extinction of Thompson-Chilcotin steelhead trout. In the fall of 2017, only an estimated 150 Thompson fish returned alongside just 77 to the Chilcotin down from thousands just a decade and a half ago. The email chain shows the DFO changed the wording of a public scientific document that is based on peer reviewed science. >click to read<  18:40

Listuguj Mi’kmaq plan to sell lobster without commercial licence from DFO, Ottawa monitoring situation closely

The Listuguj Mi’kmaq government says Fisheries and Oceans Canada refused to grant the First Nation a commercial licence for the fall lobster fishery in the arm of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, located between New Brunswick and Quebec.,,, members took to the waters Monday without a commercial licence and will be “regulated by the community’s own law and fishing plan,” according to a statement. The Listuguj Mi’kmaq government, which signed a Framework Agreement on Reconciliation and the Fisheries with Ottawa last November, remains committed to negotiating a long-term arrangement, said Chief Darcy Gray. “But we cannot be made to wait indefinitely,,, >click to read<  20:03

“You never know the mind of a squid” – The squid’s short lifespan makes it hard to study

Late this summer, squid showed up in abundance in many bays in the province, a sight not seen in several harbours, including Holyrood, for decades. Why have the squid finally come back?,,, The squid that come into Newfoundland and Labrador waters are called northern shortfin squid. While they’ve been seen in great numbers near beaches, squid don’t come here to spawn. In fact, according to Baker, there are no known spawning sites in all of Canada. “The female squid that we see here are actually immature and maturing,” >click to read<  08:09

Maine lobster group blames Canada for most right whale deaths, injuries. Perhaps its the data doing the blaming.

McCarron claims Maine lobstermen were pressured to reach an agreement to avoid “jeopardy” from a pending and separate NOAA review of right whale risk-reduction measures for the lobster fishery, a process known as a “biological opinion.” A NOAA spokesperson said a statement from the agency that will respond to the Maine Lobstermen’s Association concerns is expected Thursday.,,, Canadian and American environmentalists expressed disappointment,,, >click to read< 10:11

First Nations along Fraser River want sport fishing closed to save at risk species

So far this season, Guerin said Fisheries and Oceans Canada (known as DFO) limited Musqueam fishers to a few hundred chinook from the river, nowhere near enough to feed the nation’s 1,300 members let alone supply funerals and other community events like ceremonies and feasts. “I’ve got elders this year, this may be their last fish, and I can’t give it to them,” he said. “That hurts.”,,, Musqueam Chief Wayne Sparrow said they want to be part of the conservation efforts, but First Nations’ needs take priority over recreational fishing according to a 1990 Supreme Court ruling. That means the sport fishery should bear the brunt of any restrictions when there are concerns about the state of salmon populations. >click to read< 08:50

DFO closes part of Bay Fundy to fishing after right whale sightings

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans closed parts of the Bay of Fundy to fixed-gear fishing Thursday after several North Atlantic right whale sightings east off Grand Manan. The closure will be in effect until further notice, the DFO said in a news release. All fishing gear had to be removed from the area by Aug. 29 at 5 p.m. Closures are in place for at least 15 days after a right whale is spotted in a particular area. >click to read<  18:45

Ocean Choice International will not be prosecuted for illegal fishing charge

In court, OCI’s lawyer argued a technicality and on Thursday, Judge James Walsh dismissed a charge of illegal fishing against the company. The charge arose from an allegation that OCI fished for Greenland halibut in the so-called Northern Newfoundland Slope Conservation area between Feb. 4-10, 2018. In a September 2018 press release, OCI said court documents from both sides — the company and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans — verified the captain wasn’t aware of the newly designated conservation area off the northeast coast of the island. >click to read< 18:47

Limited fish passage through landslide obstruction on Fraser River

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the provincial government and local First Nations set up a team to lead the response to the slide near Big Bar, north of Lillooet, after it was discovered in late June. The team says in a news release Monday that fish counting data shows some chinook salmon have been able to swim past the slide using the channels the team has created with large rock manipulation and blasting. It says as of last Tuesday, a rough estimate of 6,700 salmon have passed through the slide on their own. >click to read<  11:19

‘They’re flat broke’: Salmon fishermen demand disaster relief for failed season

The Pacific Salmon Commission is forecasting a total return of only 447,000 sockeye salmon to the Fraser, one of the world’s richest salmon rivers, this year. “This is the lowest run size ever estimated since estimates began in 1893, and lower than the previous record for lowest run size of 858,000 observed in 2016,” its report read.,, “Many of them are in debt because they got the boat and gear ready for the season and they [invested] quite heavily in doing that. And then they put fuel in their boats and went to the fishing grounds and then caught nothing.” >click to read< 15:24

Seals are overfishing at unsustainable rates! Gulf of St. Lawrence cod extinction ‘highly probable,’

“At the current abundance of grey seals in this ecosystem, recovery of this cod population does not appear to be possible, and its extinction is highly probable,” the report says. DFO fish biologist Doug Swain said the cod population is now about five per cent of levels in the 1980s, and the downward spiral is accelerating despite a moratorium on a directed cod fishery in the Gulf since 2009. The problem is an “extremely high” and “unsustainable” death rate for cod five years or older. >click to read< 11:29

Fishermen’s groups seek candidates’ stance on Nova Scotia pulp effluent

In a joint statement released Monday, the coalition, representing the Gulf Nova Scotia Fleet Planning Board, Prince Edward Island Fishermen’s Association, Maritime Fishermen’s Union and Pictou Landing First Nation, says it will be seeking the position of all local federal election candidates on Northern Pulp’s proposed effluent pipeline. The coalition maintains the pipe would, on a daily basis, release between 65 and 87 million litres of effluent into the Northumberland Strait, “one of our most important commercial fishing areas.”,,, It points out the area falls under the Canadian Fisheries Act and is the jurisdiction of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. >click to read< 12:49

Government of Canada establishes Atlantic Seal Task Team

The sustainable management of Canadian fisheries is important to fish harvesters whose livelihoods are supported by the ocean. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) ensures that the best available science is considered when making management decisions for seals. However, DFO has continuously heard concerns by fish harvesters about the relationship between seals and fish populations. Listening to these concerns, DFO is taking action to address a concern that encompasses not only Newfoundland and Labrador, but all Atlantic Canada and Quebec coasts. >click to read<16:18

Ocean temperatures off N.S. dip after record breaking year, have moved back to normal

Following a season of record-breaking surface temperatures last year, ocean temperatures in the waters around Nova Scotia have moved back to normal this summer, says the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.,,, In 2018, DFO found winter sea surface temperatures from the Scotian Shelf to the Bay of Fundy were above normal. There were also record-breaking temperatures in August and September. However, DFO’s spring survey conducted in April 2019 differed from last year’s results. “First, the surface was really cold because we had a really cold winter. It takes time for the ocean to heat up,” Hebert said. “The deeper water seemed to be back to the normal temperature.” >click to read< 09:44

Ottawa stalls on restarting controversial contest for Arctic surf clam licence

The federal government has stalled on a plan to break one company’s monopoly on a lucrative Atlantic fishery by awarding part of the quota to an Indigenous group, after a disastrous attempt last year that led to an investigation by the federal ethics watchdog. Ottawa announced a year ago that it would choose a new licence holder for 25 per cent of the Arctic surf clam quota in the spring of 2019, to begin harvesting clams in January 2020. That has not happened, and the office of Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson now says there is no timeline on the process. >click to read< 14:02

101 lost snow crab traps, 9 km of rope removed from gulf to protect right whales

Federal fishery officers and Canadian Coast Guard crews have removed 101 lost snow crab traps and more than nine kilometres of associated rope from the Gulf of St. Lawrence as part of ongoing efforts to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales. The so-called ghost gear,,, Ropeless gear holds hope, Earlier this week, during a stop in Dieppe to discuss whale protection efforts, Jonathan Wilkinson,,, “But certainly from a fisheries perspective we see that as a very, very interesting way to address and separate the issues of fishing versus the whales.” >click to read< 21:36

More needs to be done to identify travel paths of North Atlantic right whales, scientist says

The Canadian and U.S. governments need to know exactly where North Atlantic right whales are travelling to better protect them, a whale researcher says. “There have been whales in locations that the Canadian government may not have known about, at least early enough, ” said Charles (Stormy) Mayo, director of the North Atlantic Right Whale Ecology program at the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, Mass. “It’s a very thorny problem and the more that Canada can do, the better off we are.” >click to read< 20:29

P.E.I. fishermen feel unjustified blame in right whale deaths, says PEIFA

Island fishermen feel they’re being blamed in some cases of right whales becoming entangled in fishing gear and dying this year, according to the P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association. Several of the eight dead right whales found this year have been entangled in fishing gear. “This year a number of the deaths that were necropsied already show to be due to vessel strikes rather than the entanglement,” >click to read<  19:45

Dead right whale doesn’t appear to have been entangled in fishing gear

There is no evidence a North Atlantic right whale found dead last Thursday was entangled in fishing gear, according to initial findings. More results of a necropsy taking place today in Grand-Étang, Que., will be released Monday, and a full report is expected in a month.  A team of about 20 scientists, veterinarians and volunteers spent Sunday looking into the whale’s cause of death,,, >click to read< 21:56

Trapped spawning salmon to be flown over Fraser River rock slide in B.C.

Tens of thousands of spawning salmon stuck behind a rock slide on the Fraser River in a remote part of British Columbia will be flown over the barrier by helicopter. The solution was made public Saturday by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the B.C. government after weeks of speculation over how to help the trapped fish. >click to read<  08:08

Canada: Two more right whales found dead off east coast, bringing total to eight this year

One of the dead whales was first observed Thursday by an aerial surveillance flight drifting west of the Magdalen Islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans said in a news release. It was located Friday by a vessel in the area, and a necropsy is scheduled to take place Sunday. Also Friday, the body of a second dead right whale was sighted off Glace Bay, N.S., according to the fisheries department. “Neither of these whales have yet been individually identified,” the department said in a news release, adding that the government “takes this issue very seriously.”,,, No right whales died in Canadian waters last year, but 12 were found dead in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in 2017>click to read<  20:18

Scientist says DFO may be overestimating Newfoundland cod stocks by 35 per cent

A British Columbia fishery scientist says he’s worried federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans managers aren’t getting an accurate picture of the state of the northern cod stock. In fact, George Rose’s research suggests DFO science may be overestimating the biomass of the stock by 35 per cent.,,, The president of the FISH-NL union says DFO should take the criticism seriously. Cleary is calling for the cancellation of all fishing for northern cod outside the stewardship fishery, including the recreational food fishery, which is not something the union takes lightly, he said. >click to read< 19:10