Tag Archives: DFO

Decaying, dangerous wharves to be fixed under $70M plan for N.B. harbours

Fisheries Minister Diane Lebouthillier announced the money at a news conference in Caissie Cape, a 30-minute drive north of Moncton and one of the harbours in need of repairs.  “They’ve been waiting for this for four years,” said Marc Gallant, president of the Caissie Cape Port Authority. “It’s good news for us because, like I said, we need it to be able to maintain and keep the fishing industry going.” The repairs to the wharf in Caissie Cape will also address a serious safety concern, he said. As is the case with many decaying habours in the province, conditions at Caissie Cape are also dangerous for local residents and tourists who regularly visit. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 06:49

Canada lifts 30-year cod fishing ban off Newfoundland and Labrador to mixed reactions

The Canadian federal government has lifted the 30-year fishing ban for Northern cod off the north and east coasts of Newfoundland and Labrador – a “historic milestone” for the seafood industry in Canada’s Maritimes. This means that commercial fishing for Northern cod will resume in NAFO Divisions 2J3KL for the 2024 season. “We will cautiously but optimistically build back this fishery with the prime beneficiaries being coastal and Indigenous communities throughout Newfoundland and Labrador,” said the Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard in a press release. “As a government, we remain steadfast in our commitment to fostering sustainable and economically prosperous fisheries that honor our shared resources for generations to come. I encourage all participants to prioritize safety and enjoy a rewarding season on the water.” more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 09:51

Who dumped a pile of lobsters alongside the highway?

Ontario Provincial Police are looking for information after a large quantity of lobsters were found dumped along Highway 17 near Bonfield. On Tuesday, police started receiving calls about the lobsters alongside the highway. Officers found a large pile of lobsters. “It did look like quite an abundant number,” Const. Renne Taylor said. “Probably over 100 lobsters were there.” How they got there? Police admit they have no idea. As a result, they’re asking the public to get in touch if they have any details. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 08:45

Herring quota in southwestern Nova Scotia, Bay of Fundy, reduced again

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has again lowered the Atlantic herring quota in southwestern Nova Scotia and the Bay of Fundy, this time for 2024 to 2027. DFO has announced the total allowable catch for the fishery will be 16,000 tonnes per season over those four seasons. The 2023 allocation was 21,000 tonnes.  “Atlantic herring, like many fisheries, faces challenges as a result of climate change, which has led to herring that are smaller in size and that have more difficulty surviving and reproducing in their ecosystem,” says a news release from the department. “We recognize the economic impacts this decision will have on the families and communities that rely on income from fishing and processing herring. But such a decision is necessary to ensure recovery and protect the resource for future generations,” said the DFO release. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 16:40

Spectre of draggers returning to cod fishery drives FFAW to call to reinstate moratorium

Newfoundland and Labrador’s fisheries union is calling on the federal government to revert its decision to end the moratorium on cod fishing and reinstate a stewardship fishery, a week after the federal Liberal government called the move “a historic milestone.” Greg Pretty, president of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers union (FFAW), told reporters in a press conference on Tuesday — the 32nd anniversary of the 1992 cod moratorium — there’s real concern that everything done over the last 32 years to rebuild the stock will be undone if offshore draggers, both Canadian and international, are allowed to fish cod in Newfoundland and Labrador waters again. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 07:38

DFO warns Canadian fishers about participating in French halibut fishery

On Friday, Fisheries and Oceans Canada issued a statement saying it has requested formal consultations under the Proces-Verbal to reach an agreement related to quota allocation. The government describes Proces-Verbal as “a treaty that has allowed Canada and France/Saint Pierre and Miquelon to cooperate on the management of fish stocks that are present in our two domestic fishing waters.” The move follows word that a French-flagged ship recently landed 30 tonnes of halibut in Saint Pierre and Miquelon that is believed to be destined for the United States via the Port of Halifax. The fish was caught outside Canada’s 200-mile limit off Newfoundland and Labrador in an area known as the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization Regulatory Area, according to industry sources. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 06:46

End of cod moratorium touted after 32 years as Ottawa approves small increase in commercial catch

Thirty-two years after the federal government announced a moratorium that shut down Newfoundland and Labrador’s cod industry, Fisheries Minister Diane Lebouthillier said Wednesday that it is reopening. But what the federal government described in a statement as the “historic return of the commercial northern cod fishery” will amount to just a small increase in fishing activity that had been allowed during the recent years of the moratorium. “Ending the northern cod moratorium is a historic milestone for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians,” Lebouthillier said in a statement. “We will cautiously but optimistically build back this fishery with the prime beneficiaries being coastal and Indigenous communities throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.”  The Fisheries and Oceans announcement comes with political overtones. Video, more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 09:40

Mass mortality: A fish scientist follows a tip about die-offs at B.C. salmon farms

A tipster had told Proboszcz, a fisheries biologist at Watershed Watch Salmon Society, that salmon farms off the coast had been experiencing mysterious and massive die-offs and nobody was saying anything about it.  “Yeah, it was a little crazy,” said Proboszcz of his decision to make the long trip. “But he didn’t know why they were dying.”  Before Proboszcz left, a colleague had tracked a number of boats that were allegedly bringing fish all the way around the south end of Vancouver Island and into the Nanaimo area. But the boats had nearly finished shuttling all the fish, according to the ­anonymous source.  Desperate, Proboszcz had tried to hire a skiff and even a helicopter to see what was going on. But ­nothing worked out, and so he decided to take matters into his own hands. Photos, more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 14:25

Sipekne’katik First Nation, federal government to begin mediation in effort to settle fishing dispute

Litigation scheduled for next year that could have helped settle outstanding questions about treaty fishing rights related to the Marshall decisions will no longer happen, after a Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge granted a joint request from Sipekne’katik First Nation and the Attorney General of Canada to instead focus on mediation. The decision stems from a lawsuit Sipekne’katik filed in 2021 that wanted a declaration from the court that the federal Fisheries Act and regulations infringe on the treaty right to fish lobster for a moderate livelihood. That includes the prohibition on catching and holding lobsters without a licence and fishing outside of a commercial season. The trial was to start in May 2025, but this April, just as witness discovery was set to begin, the two parties served notice to the court that they’d reached an agreement to focus instead on mediation. They filed a joint request to have the trial dates and all other pretrial milestones adjourned. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 12:37

DFO enforcement official says many arrested in elver fishery will face charges

A top federal fisheries enforcement official says it’s likely many of those arrested this spring for illegally fishing for baby eels along Nova Scotia and New Brunswick rivers will be charged as part of enforcement efforts to try to rein in an out-of-control fishery. Tim Kerr, the Maritime director of conservation and protection for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, said he believes deterrence is working, and the department intends to bring in new measures in an attempt to make sure next year’s season runs more smoothly. “We do expect a large number of charges and subsequent court appearances and decisions to be made against individuals who have been caught harvesting elver unauthorized this year,” he said in an interview Thursday. Stanley King, an elver fisherman, said this week the commercial sector has long been in favour of a traceability system, and is frustrated DFO would not introduce one early enough to potentially avoid this year’s shutdown. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 17:31

Lobster fishers want to see a crack down on poaching in southwestern Nova Scotia

The issue was raised during a meeting in Yarmouth among industry members and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). They’re worried more moderate livelihood fishing will dominate St. Mary’s Bay. First Nations fishers maintain their Treaty rights to fish. DFO has not authorized that fishery, but they do allow some Food, Social and Ceremonial licenses. Colin Sproul with the Unified Fisheries Conservation Alliance says catches were low in the bay during the fall season. “Everybody in southwestern Nova Scotia knows why that is. I think it’s incumbent on the government to act now, before lobster fishing in St. Mary’s Bay is a thing of the past,” said Sproul. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 05:53

NLGIDC are disappointed in DFO’s management approach for Unit 1 Redfish for 2024-2025

Late on Friday, May 31, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) unveiled its management plan for Unit 1 redfish in the Gulf of St. Lawrence for the 2024-25 period. The plan sets a Total Allowable Catch (TAC) of 60,000 tonnes for the next year (from May 15, 2024, to May 14, 2025). While this TAC level is seen as reasonable, the decision to allocate the majority of the quota to the offshore fleet has greatly disappointed inshore fleets and Indigenous groups in the Gulf of St Lawrence. “Many inshore harvesters, processing operators, and coastal communities were looking forward to a more equitable distribution of this resource among all fleets in the newly recovered redfish fishery in the Gulf,” said Bill Barry, founder and CEO of Barry Group Inc. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 14:23


Inuit harvesters threaten legal action

Monday, June 3rd, 2024 – Inuit harvesters from northern Labrador are threatening to take the Nunatsivut government to court if their 2024 inshore shrimp allocations aren’t restored, and an investigation ordered into why they were reassigned to an offshore factory-freezer trawler.  “The spirit and intent of a communal licence is to provide local inshore Inuit with jobs and connect them to their culture and traditions, and that has been broken,” says Lisa Blandford, an Inuit harvester on behalf of the group. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 10:21

Commercial redfish fishery in Gulf of St. Lawrence expected to resume later this month

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans says the reopening of the redfish fishery in the Gulf of St. Lawrence could begin as early as June 15 and has announced the total allowable catch will be 60,000 tonnes for 2024-25. DFO announced the changes in a statement Friday. The department had said previously that the minimum allowable catch for the fishery would be 25,000 tonnes, but had not provided a cap. The commercial redfish fishery closed in 1995 over stock concerns. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 13:26

DFO Doubles Down on Redfish Giveaway: NL MPs Fail to Step-Up for Provincial Fishery

Late yesterday evening, DFO released the 2024-2025 Management Plan for redfish. The cowardly move came after the close of NL business hours and doubled down by taking owner-operator resources and handing them off to corporations. Earlier this spring, the original announcement made by Minister Lebouthillier gave away nearly 60% of the Canadian redfish quota to the corporate fleet, despite the inshore, owner-operator fleet having taken the lead on science and sustainability measures in recent years. With the Gulf shrimp fishery all but closed and non-shrimpers waiting for redfish to return, this is another blow to a group that’s been in survival mode for the last several years. “Once again, FFAW-Unifor members have been maligned by our two Ministerial Marionettes, Seamus O’Regan and Gudie Hutchings,” said FFAW-Unifor President Greg Pretty. “Sadly, their strings continue to be plucked by the Offshore Groundfish Oligarchy.  >>CLICK TO READ<<11:49

DFO issues warnings about lobster trap tampering in Nova Scotia

The federal Fisheries Department is investigating reports of gear tampering in lobster fishing areas in eastern Nova Scotia. The department issued a statement late Thursday saying Indigenous fishers taking part in officially sanctioned moderate livelihood fisheries have reported tampering in two fishing areas, as have non-Indigenous commercial fishers. The lobster fishing areas in question are 26A, which includes the eastern half of the Northumberland Strait, and area 27, which extends from the tip of Cape Breton near Meat Cove to an area on the east side of the island near Garbarus. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 13:55

Lobster dispute settled a day after fishermen defy order to remove traps

A brewing battle between the federal government and lobster fishermen in northern New Brunswick appears to have come to an end. A federal closure of lobster fishing zones in the Gulf of St. Lawrence off New Brunswick’s Acadian Peninsula was being defied by hundreds of fishermen refusing to remove their traps. A news release from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans sent Thursday evening says that lobster boats will be able to fish closer to shore. “I am pleased to see DFO has adjusted the closure requirements and harvesters can now set their traps up to the 10 fathom shallow water protocol management line for the remainder of the 15-day period,” said federal Fisheries and Oceans , in the release. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 08:50

Sealing the Future: Revive and promote the seal hunt, federal report recommends

When Paul McCartney campaigned against the seal hunt in 2006, it was unclear how reliant the Inuit and some coastal community economies were on the trade. Three years later, the European Union banned all seal products. The market for seal products was decimated, and with it came the rise of poverty and suicide within Inuit communities despite exemptions for their products, Steven Lonsdale of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association told the Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans late last year. Now, a new report from that committee acknowledges the harm done by the ban and recommends Ottawa must do more to revive the struggling industry in what it has branded a call to action. more, >>CLICK TO READ 07:40

N.B. lobster fishermen defy DFO, leave traps in despite closure for North Atlantic right whales

Several fishing zones in the area were officially shut down early by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans at 5 p.m. Wednesday because of a North Atlantic right whale sighting. But at a meeting in Lamèque at the time of the deadline, about 200 members of the Maritime Fishermen’s Union decided not to remove their roughly 60,000 traps in the area. However, the fishermen say they will not go out Thursday in order to give the federal agency one more chance to negotiate. On Wednesday, a release from DFO said that the fishing zone closures, initially scheduled to last 10 days, would stay closed for the rest of the season. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 06:56

Acadie-Bathurst MP Serge Cormier says he can no longer defend his government on right whale protection issue

A northeast New Brunswick Liberal MP is joining the Maritime Fishermen’s Union in calling for a better balance between protecting endangered North Atlantic right whales and allowing commercial fishing operations. Acadie-Bathurst MP Serge Cormier criticized his government for extensive closures of fishing zones that he warned could result in “disastrous consequences” and economic losses of $25 to 30 million. “While we are trying to save an endangered species, these extreme measures are actually endangering our fishing industry and coastal communities,” Cormier said in a statement released Thursday. “I can no longer defend my government on this issue. I stand with the fishermen, the lobster and crab industry, the factory owners and workers, and the community members.” more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 13:14

Entangled North Atlantic right whale prompts fishing closure in Gulf of St. Lawrence

Fisheries and Oceans Canada has temporarily shut down part of the Gulf of St. Lawrence to non-tended, fixed-gear fishing after an endangered North Atlantic right whale with gear entangled around its mouth was spotted northeast of New Brunswick Friday. The whale was seen northeast of the Acadian Peninsula and northwest of Quebec’s Magdalen Islands during routine aerial surveillance and was many nautical miles from land, Fisheries and Oceans Canada said in a news release Monday. It’s the first sighting of a North Atlantic right whale in Canadian waters this season, according to the release. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 06: 56

MPA’s: DFO seeks to reassure fishermen after ‘scary’ map released of potential protected areas

A member of the Fisheries Department’s marine planning group was publicly challenged in Nova Scotia this week to guarantee marine protected areas will not harm the region’s inshore lobster fishery. Marty King appeared Thursday before Argyle municipal council in southwestern Nova Scotia where several areas are under consideration for protection. His appearance followed the release of DFO’s marine conservation network plan — a map with dozens of potential protected sites on the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia and the Bay of Fundy. King repeatedly stressed coastal conservation areas would have no effect on the lobster fishery. “Hopefully we’re getting the message out more and more that an MPA [marine protected area] doesn’t mean no fishing,” he said. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 08:49

Waters off Scotian Shelf are cooling while scientists wonder if decade-long warming trend is over

In recent years, warming temperatures have grabbed headlines, with record highs being set throughout the region. Recently, on the Scotian shelf, it has moved in the other direction. “It is really interesting,” Beazley said in a wharfside interview at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography. “We did see a continuation of the trend that we observed in 2023, which was the temperatures are actually returning to normal or even below normal conditions in some areas. It’s getting cooler.” Since 2012, ocean temperatures off Nova Scotia at depth have been consistently warmer — by about two degrees above normal. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 09:29

Staggered lobster starts don’t suit all fishers

For the second straight year, PEI’s north and south side lobster zones had their setting days on different dates, but not everyone agrees with it. David Sansom, port manager at Red Head Harbour in Morell, said he isn’t a fan of not starting on the same day. However, he said data shows the offshore area Morell fishes, between Naufrage and Covehead harbours, has been one of the coldest on the Island in recent years, which affects lobster movement. Starting dates are influenced by many factors, including temperature on the bottom, weather and the tides. The north side had April 29 as their tentative starting date but several days of strong north winds delayed their season by almost a week until this past Sunday. Photos, more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 08:10

Herring stock struggles continue

Herring stocks in the south of the Gulf of St. Lawrence continues to struggle as the federal moratorium on spring herring fishing passes the two-year mark. Herring in Atlantic Canada is split into two stocks, corresponding with the breeding cycles of the fish. While spring herring stocks protected by the moratorium continue to struggle, fall herring can be fished sustainably and are not under a moratorium. Herring is an ideal species for bait and is a favourite for crustacean fishers. With spring herring stocks under moratorium, fishers in Atlantic Canada are forced to turn to alternative fish stocks. Mark Prevost, one of three co-owners of the alternative bait company Bait Masters, feels strongly about sustainability and shared concerns with SaltWire about the future of other fish stocks taking the brunt of the herring stock closure. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 12:23

A personal-use mackerel fishery is coming, but P.E.I. fishers don’t know when

Lobster fishers on P.E.I. say they’re happy to hear that a personal-use mackerel fishery will open this year, but they’re not sure it will help them with bait during the spring season. “If we got a chance to go get some, we certainly will,” said Allan Cody, who fishes out of Covehead.  Mackerel is often used as bait in the lobster, halibut and other fisheries.  Cody currently buys bait from a supplier in Tignish but it comes from waters near Iceland, he said. They’re frozen and then shipped to Canada. But “the fresher the mackerel the better.” photos, more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 08:02

Southside fishers hope first haul bodes well for season

Monday’s first haul of the lobster season for south side fishers brought calm conditions on the water, with preliminary prices ranging anywhere from $7.50 to $8 a pound for canners and $8.25 to $9 for markets. Harvesters in Lobster Fishing Area 26A set their traps on Saturday after the season was delayed by a day. Setting day for the north side, LFA 24, was initially on Monday but was delayed by at least two days. DFO had a call on Tuesday but the weather was still uncertain. PEI Fishermen’s Association president Bobby Jenkins, who sails out of Annandale, said catches on Monday seemed to be on par with 2023 or maybe a little better, depending on the harbour. Photos, more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 11:02

The hunt for B.C.’s most notorious fisherman

On a Coast Guard patrol ship in nearby English Bay, Leslie Sanderson was awoken and briefed about a boat that might be fishing where it shouldn’t be. Through binoculars, a crew member quickly spied the suspect vessel, which was lit only by headlamps worn by the shadowy figures on board. The boat was listing slightly, with a trap-hauling line extending into the water. Strewn about the deck were traps containing about 250 Dungeness crabs, one of the most lucrative products in B.C. salt water. It was a haul worth several thousand dollars. Sanderson quickly identified the skipper, wrestled him to the deck, yanked off the man’s heavy fisherman’s rubber gloves and handcuffed him. The DFO had caught Scott Steer. Again. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 11:04

Five people from Maine arrested in Nova Scotia for illegally fishing baby eels

The federal Fisheries Department, (DFO), says five people from Maine were arrested in southwestern Nova Scotia last weekend for illegally fishing for baby eels. In a news release, the department says the arrests occurred April 20 and in the early hours of April 21 in the Meteghan area of Digby County. The release didn’t say whether they would face charges, but it notes that fisheries officers seized nearly 3.5 kilograms of baby eels — also known as elvers — a vehicle, three dip nets and one fyke net. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 16:14

Predators take big bite out of declining Atlantic mackerel population

Predators ate at least twice as many Atlantic mackerel as commercial fishery landings in the decade leading up to Canada’s region-wide moratorium, according to new research by Canadian and American scientists. The study also found seals are a major predator, lending credence to what many fishermen have long claimed. The modelling study was published this month by the federal Fisheries Department and the Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat. The top predators were gannets, grey seals, dogfish and bluefin tuna. In the most conservative estimate, predators removed between 21,000 and 29,000 tonnes annually between 2012 and 2021 — at least two times greater than Canadian commercial landings reported as 11,000 tonnes per year. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 12:26