Tag Archives: DFO

After years of protest, New Waterford man wins fishing quota case

New Waterford fisherman Paul Fraser has finally had his day in court and won. In a written decision released this week, Supreme Court Justice John Bodurtha ruled that Fraser is entitled to receive $264,294.98, plus interest, in compensation for the eight years his quota was used by another company along with $15,000 in punitive damages. “I am convinced after reviewing all the documentation from DFO and hearing testimony of the witnesses, that Fraser’s snow crab license was transferred to the defendant and fished for the defendant’s benefit since 2010,” concluded Bodurtha. “The defendant intentionally refused to pay Fraser for the use of his snow crab allocation from 2011 to 2018. >click to read< 20:12

More restrictions for Fraser River chinook fishermen

All but one of 13 Fraser River chinook populations assessed by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada are currently at risk. New restrictions this year include maximum size limits of 80 cm in southern marine recreation fisheries to help mitigate risks to larger females, and an expanded fishing closure off the mouth of the Fraser River. Additional closures have been added in the Strait of Georgia and Juan de Fuca Strait for protection of the Southern Resident Killer Whales. >click to read< 09:35

Government of Canada takes action to address threats to struggling Fraser River Chinook

Today, (June 19, 2020) Fisheries and Oceans Canada is releasing 2020 Fisheries management measures that will support the recovery of at-risk Fraser River Chinook populations, as well as protect the jobs and communities that depend on Chinook. The 2020 measures include additional restrictions to strengthen conservation as well as the flexibility needed where impacts to stocks of concern will be very low. These measures were developed following consultation with Indigenous communities, recreational and commercial fishing organizations, and environmental organizations. These measures are one component of a larger strategy intended to place at-risk Pacific salmon populations on a path towards sustainability. >click to read< 11:49

Here’s how to get a piece of $62.5 million in fish processors’ Coronavirus aid

It’s been two months since the federal government rolled out a $62.5-million aid package to support seafood processors affected by Coronavirus, and a $469 million program to aid fish harvesters. So far no one has seen a cent of funding from either package. Today, June 16, seafood processing companies are a little closer. Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, announced details of how the $62.5 million from the Canadian Seafood Stabilization Fund (CSSF) will be divvied up across Canada, and how to apply. Of the $62.5 million, Atlantic Canada gets the lions’ share — $38.1 million.  Seafood processors in Quebec and Western Canada will also get a share of CSSF. >click to read< 14:48

Fisherman Darren Porter has been keeping a one-man vigil at the Windsor causeway since last Thursday

The Hants County weir fisherman and marine science data collector has been floating in his open boat up to 20 hours a day to raise awareness for the lack of fish being allowed up the Avon River. “About six minutes on a tide,” said Porter of the amount of time the big gates in the Windsor causeway are opened to allow water through. That, he argues, is not enough time to allow the inner Bay of Fundy salmon, shad, gaspereau, striped bass and tom cod to get up the Avon River. That also, he argues, puts the operators of the gates (Department of Agriculture) in violation of the federal Fisheries Act. >click to read< 09:03

Big Bar Landslide: 99% of early Stuart sockeye, 89% of early Fraser River chinook salmon runs were lost

The officials with Fisheries and Oceans Canada told a Commons committee that 99 per cent of early Stuart and 89 per cent of early chinook salmon were lost. Rebecca Reid, the department’s regional director for the Pacific region, said salmon survival improved later in the summer when work started to transport fish past the slide, helping them reach their spawning grounds. It’s believed the massive landslide north of Lillooet, B.C., occurred in late October or early November 2018, but it wasn’t discovered until last June after fish had already begun arriving. Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan told the committee the volume of the slide was equivalent to a building 33 storeys high by 17 storeys wide. >click to read< 13:06

DFO closes fishing area after right whales spotted in Gulf

DFO is implementing the first season-long fishing closure of the year after North Atlantic right whales were spotted in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. DFO says a cluster of eight grids in the middle of the Gulf will be closed until November 15. In a release, the department says the closure is expected to have minimal impacts on nearby fishing areas for crab, lobster and groundfish. >click to read< 14:52

Setting day challenging but ‘better than expected’ say Malpeque fishermen

Despite a two-week delay to P.E.I.’s fishing season because of COVID-19 and added dredging challenges, Malpeque Harbour was still bustling with fishermen on setting day. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans cautioned fishermen in Malpeque Harbour that the yearly dredging effort was still ongoing, as the dredger was unable to create a clear passage through the channel that leads from the harbour to the Gulf of St. Lawrence. “After weeks of stress and sleepless nights, it went much better than expected,” said Justin Pickering, a captain who fishes from the harbour. “The wind let up last night and the dredger was able to get a little bit of a path cut through for us and we were the second boat out,” he said. >click to read< 08:13

Gulf of St. Lawrence Fishing zones closed after North Atlantic right whale sightings

The closures of the nine grids were effective Friday at 5 p.m. Fisheries and Oceans Canada had allowed a 96-hour delay of the grid closures due to the weather forecast. All of the gear affected had to be removed from the closed area before the time of closure. All gear from any fishing season that was open at the time of the closure had to be removed including snow crab, toad crab, rock crab, lobster, whelk, Greenland halibut (fixed gear) and winter flounder (fixed gear). The closures would also be in effect for Atlantic halibut (fixed gear), mackerel (gillnet) and herring (gillnet) when gear is left unattended. >click to read< 20:22

At Sea Observer – Whistleblowers say workplace abuse hides true impacts of B.C.’s trawl fishery

Under the at-sea observer program, observers are required to estimate bycatch on ships, often while mountains of fish are being dumped on deck and unwanted species are being thrown overboard. Observers are also expected to take biological samples and count and assess the condition of prohibited species, which can include valuable fish like halibut, all while staying out of the way.In early April, the Fisheries and Oceans Canada suddenly ordered the observers off the boats for 45 days due to safety concerns around COVID-19.  >click to read< 12:50

Cod Cannibalism: With natural prey like capelin and shrimp in decline, cod are eating their young

Stalled. That’s how research scientist Karen Dwyer of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans describes the northern cod stock following this year’s assessment. Ecosystem conditions appear to be the main factor, said Dwyer — especially low stocks of capelin and shrimp. “Both of those prey are very important in driving the population dynamics for cod,” she said. While there’s been an increase in different types of zooplankton, Dwyer said, there’s been a decrease in fatty zooplankton. “There used to be large numbers of large fatty zooplankton, full of fat, which are really good for young fish to eat, young fish such as capelin or even young cod,” she said. “Over time they’ve seen a decline in these large fatty zooplankton.” >click to read< 07:18

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

Salmon cannon to help fish get around landslide on Fraser River

Plans are underway for a pneumatic fish pump, also known as a salmon cannon, to be used to help fish migrate past a landslide on British Columbia’s Fraser River, officials with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans said Monday. A fish ladder is under construction that will direct salmon to a holding pool where they’ll be pumped through a series of tubes suspended above the river, said Gwil Roberts, director of the department’s landslide response team.,, The slide was discovered in the remote canyon north of Lillooet last June. Huge pieces of rock from a 125-metre cliff had sheared off and crashed into the river, creating a five-metre waterfall. >click to read< 11:46

Coronavirus brings financial and physical worry for fish harvesters

“Whatever way this goes, it’s going to be a very hard year in the fishery, I think, overall,” said Jason Sullivan, a fisherman on the Avalon Peninsula. “There’s no way to sugarcoat that.” He said DFO’s release of the snow crab management plan — which saw an average quota increase of about 10 per cent — has lifted the spirits of some fish harvesters. Still, he figures others are going to have a tough decision to make this year. “If they do open the fishery, and I says ‘well, jeez I’m not going fishing, I don’t feel safe,’ the bank is going to call me and say ‘Jason, why didn’t you make your payments,'” he said. “Do you think they’re really going to care?” >click to read< 16:34

Coronavirus: DFO implements Emergency Electronic Monitoring (EM) Pilot Program to replace at-sea observers

In an April 14 fishery notice, DFO announced that the Emergency Electronic Monitoring (EM) Pilot Program was being implemented in the groundfish trawl fishery “effective immediately,” on the advice of the Groundfish Trawl Advisory Committee (GTAC). The EM pilot program will last for the duration of DFO’s April 2 Fishery Management Order suspending the at-sea observer requirement for 45 days to help protect the health of observers and fishers from the spread of the novel coronavirus.  “Comprehensive, independent catch monitoring is an essential component of the groundfish trawl fishery’s management regime,” Girdler said. “In the absence of at-sea observers, EM may fulfill this need for comprehensive, independent catch monitoring on an interim basis.” >click to read< 09:13

2J3KL Cod Scientific Update was recently released. Important information was not included

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans released an update of the scientific assessment for 2J3KL Cod on Friday, April 17, 2020. While the Newfoundland and Labrador Groundfish Industry Development Council appreciates the effort by DFO-Science in completing this update in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, it appears that some important information was not included in the scientific deliberations. There is an internationally-accepted scientific model that has been used for this stock since 2016. This model provides information on overall stock biomass, fishing mortality, natural mortality and recruitment. All the data required to complete this analysis was available to scientists, but they chose not to run the model for this update. Contact: Jim Baird >click to read< 12:06

Northern cod growth off NL stalled, latest science indicates

Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) on Friday released it’s latest stock status assessment information on northern cod. “We continue to be concerned about the status of the northern cod stock, which remains in the critical zone,” a technical briefing document states. “Survey indices suggest that recently observed stock growth (2012-2016) may have stalled. Ecosystem conditions indicated limited productivity and reduced food availability may be limiting growth of cod. “The precautionary approach requires that removals be kept at lowest possible levels.” >click to read< Does the precautionary approach include a plan for a major extraction of marine mammals? Asking for a friend. 11:32

Frustration with DFO growing over P.E.I. lobster fishery – ‘They’re really putting an unfair burden on the industry’

P.E.I. Premier Dennis King says lobster fishermen are being asked to make an impossible choice and Ottawa needs to step up and support them. The lobster fishery off P.E.I.’s North Shore is scheduled to begin at the beginning of May, and the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans has said it will take the guidance of the industry in deciding whether to start the season on time, delay it or cancel it altogether in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. But King said the choice is not a fair one, with loss of income on one side and uncertain health risks on the other. >click to read< 12:57

Gulf lobster fishermen offer to give up season

“Three dollars a pound is what we’re hearing,” said Susan Beaton. The Cape George, Antigonish County fisher was working on her new tiny home on Thursday. It looks out over the grounds she fishes each spring from her boat The UnManned. Water she doesn’t know if she’ll be fishing in two weeks. None of the 600 lobster fishermen along most of the Northumberland Strait and the Eastern Gulf of St. Lawrence do. “We need an answer last Friday,” said Duane Boudreau on Thursday. The president of the Gulf Bonafide Fishermen’s Association wants a ruling from Fisheries and Oceans Canada on whether there will be a season this year.  >click to read< 10:06

Coronavirus: Most P.E.I. lobster fishermen want spring season to go ahead

The P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association conducted the survey starting last week, and got responses from 775 of 954 members who fish the spring lobster fishery — a more than 80 per cent response rate. When asked whether the spring season should proceed “considering what you know today on the current spread of COVID-19,” 57 per cent said yes. Then, in a separate question, members were asked whether the PEIFA should request DFO delay the opening of the 2020 season, and 70 per cent said yes. Ian MacPherson, executive director of the PEIFA, said the survey was an effort to gather feedback from fishermen, rather than a binding vote on whether to ask DFO to delay or cancel the season.  “It’s a complicated issue,, >click to read< 17:56

Nfld. & Labrador: Can you fish safely in a pandemic? Seafood industry facing hard Coronavirus questions

All commercial inshore fisheries are delayed until at least May 1,, as the department (DFO) and industry players work out protocols for safer operation of vessels and processing plants. According to Keith Sullivan, the president of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers union, plant workers and fish harvesters have many questions about how they are supposed to keep themselves and their families safe. “The vast majority of the input and the feedback and everything we’re hearing from members is that right now, with all of the advice that we have, they certainly don’t feel safe,”,,, Brenda Greenslade, physical distancing, “A harvester told me the other day, their accommodations when they sleep, their heads are so close together, they share the same dream,” she said. She’s hearing some suggestions that harvesters should be told to bring less crew out to sea, where possible. >click to read< 08:43

Feds delay Snow Crab season in Gulf of St. Lawrence

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans said the decision on Thursday to pause the season will let everyone involved in the fishery to put necessary health and safety measures in place. Seafood processors in the Maritimes had called on Ottawa to delay the crab and lobster season, warning that moving ahead with fishing risks workers’ health — and the bottom line — amid the COVID-19 pandemic.,, New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs said Thursday the province hopes Fisheries and Oceans Canada will delay the spring season for a few weeks, with the possibility of federal compensation. The Maritime Fishermen’s Union, which represents 1,200 harvesters in New Brunswick, said Friday they support a delay of the lobster season until May 15 >click to read< 16:28

Fishermen in Eastern Quebec want season postponed to avoid Coronavirus outbreak in fishing villages

Leon Keats is set to go out to sea on April 20 to harvest crab in Zone 16A, off Anticosti Island. But the fishing captain wonders how he can do his job while respecting public health guidelines to limit the spread of the coronavirus, and without endangering residents of Kegaska, the village on the Lower North Shore, where he docks his boat during the 14-week period. “It’s unsanitary, and it’s impossible for us to live by the guidelines that Health Canada is asking us to respect right now,” said Keats. “It’s utterly impossible.” Keats and other fishermen in Eastern Quebec are asking Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to postpone the fishing season to ensure workers and residents of small fishing towns aren’t unnecessarily exposed to COVID-19. >click to read< 07:44

Coronavirus: Fed temporarily waves at-sea observer requirement on Canadian fishing vessels

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) says the at-sea monitoring program poses a public health risk for both observers and crews on board. An order immediately suspending at-sea observer coverage was signed by federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister Bernadette Jordan on April 2 and will remain in effect for 45 days. Some inshore fisheries in Canada do not require at-sea observers, but they are now routinely present on larger vessels as a licensing condition in many Canadian fisheries. Fishing companies pick up the cost of the observers, who collect scientific data and monitor fishing activity and compliance with the rules. >click to read< 07:21

Coronavirus: COVID-19 concerns delays southern N.B. lobster season 1 month, other fisheries scheduled to start on set dates

Department of Fisheries and Oceans accepted a request from the Fundy North Fishermen’s Association to delay the the start of the lobster fishery in the two zones from March 31 to April 30. The association represents fishermen from St. Martins to St. Stephen including the communities of Deer Island and Campobello Island. “In light of the current circumstances, and with input and support from groups involved, DFO has accepted this request and will be delaying the start of the fishing season by 30 days,” wrote Jane Deeks, press secretary to the Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan in an email. >click to read< 18:06

DFO report says Gulf of St. Lawrence herring that spawn in the spring in deep trouble

The grim projection was shared earlier this month by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, just days before the spring herring fishery is set to open in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, P.E.I. and Quebec. Predation is killing six of 10 older fish each year and a warming ocean is knocking down a critical food source for young. Spring spawners, as the population is called, have been in trouble for many years, but data gathered in 2018 and 2019 indicates very high levels of mortality, said Francois Turcotte,,, Seals, tuna and warm water, >click to read< 17:18

Possible quota reduction on Northern Shrimp concerns Newfoundland fishers and communities

This could mean hard times in an already hard businesses, harvester Chris Rose told the Northern Pen. He is hoping to make enough this season to pay the bills. The St. Carol’s fisherman owns his own boat, with a four-member crew, and has been fishing since 1991.“Two years prior to last year I had to give my crew some of my boat’s percentage so they could get enough to qualify for EI,” Rose said. “We are down to crunching numbers that fine.” He said when he started in 1999 shrimp fishing was great, then it exploded between 2008 to 2014. It has been going steadily downhill since.“Since the peak I’ve lost 80 percent of my shrimp quota,,, >click to read< 08:42

Northern Shrimp Harvester Roland Genge questions science methodology, hoping for changes to quota rules

He’s seen the best the Newfoundland and Labrador fishery has had to offer over the past 42 years — and the worst. From buying a new boat in the 1980s, to the collapse of cod in 1992, to the rise of shrimp quotas and price, Roland Genge has taken the waves of the inshore fishery in stride. Now, the Anchor Point fisherman is concerned about last month’s shrimp assessments. “We’re going to be cut … every year on account of the way the survey is being done,” >click to read< 08:14

Asking? The Feds are asking!!! Fed asking ships to slow down in Cabot Strait to protect right whales

Transport Canada is trying a new voluntary speed limit in the Cabot Strait as a part of its plan to protect the endangered North Atlantic right whale.
First announced in February, the voluntary speed limit would see vessels over 13 metres long slow down to 10 knots in a portion of the Cabot Strait between April 28 to June 15 and Oct. 1 to Nov. 15.,, Another measure impacting the Cabot Strait and Gulf of St. Lawrence is the government’s push to get more marine mammal observers on board vessels throughout the region. Sanders said Transport Canada and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans are working closely with shipping companies, cruise lines and ferry operators to get trained observers on board. more >click to read< 07:03

Big Bar Landslide blasting resumes, In-river drilling and excavation underway.

The huge remediation project is jointly managed by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the B.C. government and B.C. First Nations, who are guided by an Indigenous leadership panel. It involves equipment operators for excavators and rock trucks, drillers and blasters, rock scalers, emergency medical, river rescue and helicopter evaluation crews, environmental specialists and archeologists. “Blasting in waterways is not uncommon and the methods the contractor is using to drill and blast rock near and in-water are well understood,” the department said. more, >click to read< 12:02