Tag Archives: DFO

Nova Scotia Lobster Fishermen Fed Up with Mis-Communication By DFO

Lobster fishermen in Southwestern, Nova Scotia are frustrated and disappointed with the lack of direction, mis-communication, and overall support from Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s (DFO) regional management. Five separate fishermen’s associations joined forces in 2017 to form the Southwest Lobster Science Society (SWLSS) to work towards a partnership-based approach to fisheries management and conservation; a move which was touted to be a historic partnership between industry, environmental non-governmental organisations (ENGOs) and regulators. Yet, the newly formed partnership has struggled to move forward as the regulators (DFO) >click to read<11:34

Crabbers face fines – Equipment seizure leads to pending charges on numerous violations

Fishery officers have seized more than 300 commercial crab traps in the Powell River area around Savary Island and Harwood Island. Since the beginning of January 2018, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) officers in Powell River have been conducting an investigation of two commercial crab vessels.,, Charges are expected to be filed in May on numerous counts in violation of the Fisheries Act, according to fishery officer Matt Conley. Owners of the boats face serious fines for failing to comply with conditions of their licenses, he said. >click to read<20:43

Broken down coast guard ship delays spring science survey; DFO’s mismanagement borders on criminal negligence

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) says the delay of the 2018 multi-species survey in waters off the province because of a broken down science vessel is yet another example of Ottawa’s ongoing gross mismanagement of the fisheries. “Most commercial stocks off our province are in free fall, and the Government of Canada still can’t get the baseline science right,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. >click to read<12:53

Striped bass population triples in Gulf of St. Lawrence

The remarkable recovery of striped bass in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence reached unprecedented levels in 2017, according to the latest assessment from the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Department scientists say the spawning population tripled between 2016 and 2017 and is now estimated at one million fish — a 100-fold increase from the 1990s. In addition to the population rebound, tagged striped bass from the Gulf were recovered from Rimouski, Que., north to Labrador for the first time in 2017. In the Forteau Bay area of Labrador, catches of tens of thousands were reported. >click to read<18:50

Pacific salmon ‘more abundant than ever’, new study claims

Pacific salmon are generally “more abundant than ever.” That is the provocative conclusion of a new paper published in Marine and Coastal Fisheries by Greg Ruggerone of Seattle’s Natural Resources Consultants and James Irvine of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The study used historical commercial catch and escapement data for the entire Pacific region for both wild and commercial hatchery salmon over a 90-year period, up to 2015. There is one caveat, however: Ruggerone and Irvine analyzed only data for pink, chum and sockeye salmon. >click to read<09:13

Ice, winds block early fishing season in Gulf of St. Lawrence

Thick ice and cold weather conditions are preventing an early snow crab fishing season that would help reduce potential ship strikes and whale entanglements in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The Coast Guard’s Sir William Alexander, a light icebreaker, was called to smash through packs of ice off the northeast coast of New Brunswick to help the critically endangered North Atlantic right whales that are expected to make their way to Canadian waters later this spring. “The ice conditions are severe,” said Douglas Roe, commander of the icebreaker. >click to read<16:43

Skeptical fishermen briefed on proposed Eastern Shore MPA, ‘could take us out of our livelihood,’

Nova Scotia’s lobster season opens on the Eastern Shore in days, but dozens of fishermen stopped prepping for it Thursday to learn about a massive marine protected area proposed for their fishing grounds. The Eastern Shore Islands, as it’s being called, has been declared an area of interest for conservation by the Trudeau government. It would be the first marine protected area along the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia and includes inshore and coastal waters. It would protect hundreds of islands that create an archipelago running from Clam Harbour to Liscomb. >click to read< 16:37

Cod facing ‘natural mortality’ or starvation?

Now that DFO has announced that the cod stocks have declined due to “natural mortality” — a nice way of saying no one is responsible — I take the liberty of posting a few shots I took in 2017 to show what I call starving cod and the contents of their stomachs.  Related story: Northern cod stock declined over last year; scientists urge minimum fishing effort >click to read< Not sure of other people’s experiences last year, but this is typical of the cod I caught. I can only speak for myself. See the sea anemones and the blackberry (zooplankton) in one photo and I was surprised to find nothing but a welk in another cod. David Boyd >click to read<22:21

Lobster Fishing Area 41 – Clearwater Seafoods’ offshore lobster monopoly

Wedgeport lobster fisherman Lucien LeBlanc has watched the big blue Clearwater Seafoods trawler Randell Dominaux hauling lobster traps 80 kilometres off the southern tip of Nova Scotia — and looked on with envy. “If a genie popped up and I could get one wish, I’d like to have a zone all to myself. Not just to myself — I’d love to have it for LFA [lobster fishing area] 34. They have a large zone and they only use a miniscule amount of it,” LeBlanc said. The Clearwater trawler is working its side of what’s known as Lobster Fishing Area 41 — a vast area reserved exclusively for Clearwater in a lobster fishery unique in Canada. >click to read<09:10

Fisheries Minister Leblanc to make decision on northern cod fishery in April, says seals are a big factor

With cod stocks again on the decline — by a shocking 30 per cent, according to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) — the federal fisheries minister says a decision about the fishery will be made within two weeks. Dominic Leblanc said there are a series of factors at play, but one is the grey seal — an animal thought to cause as much as 50 per cent of natural deaths among full-size cod, according to DFO scientists. “There’s no doubt that the seals represent a significant challenge,”,,, >click to read<19:18

Vancouver Island cholera outbreak ‘a unique situation,’ health officials say

Cholera tends to be spread by consuming water contaminated with infectious feces, but epidemics caused by infectious raw fish and seafood have also been reported, according to the health agency. The disease incubates for a few hours to several days. The cases in B.C. have been traced back to consumption of herring spawn, “a treasured traditional food source for First Nations throughout Vancouver Island,” Waters said.  >click to read<11:05

Northern cod stock declined over last year; scientists urge minimum fishing effort

Those in the province’s fishing industry hoping the northern cod would be ready for a commercial fishery in a few years’ time — a saviour to an industry suffering repeated blows from declining crab and shrimp stocks — better hold on to their hooks and nets. Northern cod this year are in the same leaky boat, having declined significantly over the past year. And that has come as a surprise to many because the northern cod stocks off the province’s east and northeast coast showed promising growth since 2012 — the first real glint of light since the dark and uncertain days of the northern cod stock collapse of the late 1980s and early 1990s. >click to read<10:10

Enviro group concerned about decline in capelin abundance in N.L.

A national conservation organization is expressing concerns about what it says is a 70 per cent decline in capelin abundance over the last two years in Newfoundland and Labrador. A news release from WWF Canada says that while environmental factors are driving the decline, it cannot rule out fishing as another factor. It says due to limitations with its surveys, the Fisheries Department cannot accurately estimate the total number of capelin in the water, and therefore cannot conclude with certainty the impact fishing has had on the stock. >click to read<11:23

DFO contemplating sweeping North Coast salmon fishery closure

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is strongly considering a total shutdown of all chinook and sockeye fishing on the North Coast. The potential 2018 fishing ban will include all First Nation food, social and ceremonial harvesting; all commercial operations; and all charter boat and recreational angling. Even the possibility of such a closure, several groups say, is nothing less than devastating. ,,DFO has been meeting with First Nations, recreational and commercial committees to determine if the closures for both sockeye and chinook are even avoidable.>click to read<17:51

Capelin decline 70 per cent but scientists not worried

Scientists with the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans found a lot fewer capelin last year during their survey of the stock — a decline of 70 per cent from the last count, done in 2015. Scientists blame late spawning for the population drop. Once the capelin larvae hatch they need tiny copepods for food, and if they hatch after the copepod population spikes, then fewer larvae will survive.,,, Last year about 20,000 tonnes of capelin were fished commercially, but scientists at DFO said fishing has little impact on the decline.,, >click to read< 16:42

Poor outlook for caplin this year: DFO – Caplin fishery does not negatively affect caplin abundance, scientist says, >click to read< 21:03

Fisheries management at ‘rock bottom’, N.L. group says

The Fishery Community Alliance is claiming fish that is landed and exported from a number of ports in Newfoundland and Labrador with cold storage facilities is not being properly traced by the province or Ottawa. In a news release Wednesday, March 7, the alliance called the lack of oversight further evidence of negligence in managing the resource on the part of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and the provincial Department of Fisheries and Land Resources. The alliance says its members found out about the issue after they became aware of increasing shipments of unprocessed fish leaving the province for final processing. >click to read< 09:21

Disabled fisherman fights ‘arbitrary’ 5-year limit on substitute fishermen

A disabled Nova Scotia fisherman says he will continue challenging a federal rule that will prevent him from hiring someone to catch lobster under his licence. Dana Robinson lives in Granville Ferry, N.S., and has had an owner-operator licence to fish in the Bay of Fundy, Area 35, since 2007. But due to a medical condition, he’s no longer able to stand for more than a few hours a day and can’t operate his boat himself. Fisheries Act regulations permit someone who has a medical issue to find a substitute to fish under their licence, but only for five years. >click to read< 16:40

Seeking an elusive, expensive catch: quotas

Dan Edwards was raised in a British Columbia household of eight kids, supported by fishing – as the family had been for generations. “It was never an easy life,” Mr. Edwards says. “My father and grandfather worked hard. But they made a living – fishing.”,,,  But what really makes fishing unprofitable for many Pacific fishermen is that about 70 per cent of the landed value (or gross revenue) of their catch can go to pay the owner of the fish. And the owner is not the province, the country, the Queen nor Njoror, the Norse god of the sea. The effective owner of B.C.’s fish is the holder of the individual transferable quota for catching them. >click to read< 22:14

The Room Erupted! Tensions flare at suggestion snow crab fishery close for whales

Fishermen erupted in anger Wednesday when federal officials proposed banning snow crab fishing in a large zone off the coast of New Brunswick for the entire time endangered whales are there.
The proposal came at a meeting that industry and government officials hold every year to discuss the coming snow crab season in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence. This year’s season is of particular importance after a deadly 2017 for the endangered North Atlantic right whale. Gear used in snow crab fishing is believed to have played a role in some of the whale deaths, with necropsies on three whales revealing signs of entanglement in fishing rope. >click to read< 00:27

Gulf of St. Lawrence snow crab season to be discussed at Moncton meeting

Fisheries and Oceans Canada officials will meet with snow crab industry representatives in Moncton Wednesday to discuss the upcoming season in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence. The purpose of the meeting is to “provide advice regarding global management issues in the snow crab fishery,” according to the agenda. Some of the topics to be discussed during the public meeting include the season opening and new management measures, proposed changes to the Fisheries Act and an update on enforcement of conservation and protection. >click to read< 08:14

Inshore shrimp harvesters, plant workers worried about 2018

It’s another year of uncertainty for harvesters and plant workers in shrimp fishing area 6.  On Feb. 16, DFO released findings that northern shrimp stocks in area 6 had declined another 16 per cent from last year. The stock remains in the “critical” zone. This information came following a year when inshore harvesters saw a 63 per cent quota cut. If the stock decrease is a sign that more quota cuts are coming, it’s looking like another difficult year for local harvesters and plant workers. Chris Rose of St. Carol’s is an inshore shrimp harvester. He is the owner and skipper of the Ashley and Brothers, a 65-footer. >click to read< 12:39

Cape Breton lobster size requirements increasing to feed American market

The Inverness South Fishermen’s Association says its members will be fishing for slightly larger lobsters over the next two years. The association has received word that Fisheries and Oceans Canada has approved an increase in the minimum carapace size in lobster fishing area 26B, said president Jordan MacDougall,,, MacDougall said it will increase to 81.7 millimetres for the 2018 season, and 82.5 millimetres in 2019, which is the minimum size to allow Canadian lobsters to enter the U.S. without processing. >click to read<09:17

New Arctic Surf Clam license to benefit First Nations in Atlantic Canada and Quebec

Enhancing access to fisheries provides an opportunity to create social and economic benefits for coastal and Indigenous communities, and further promote economic prosperity for middle class Atlantic Canadians. Today, the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, announced that a new license for Arctic Surf Clam will be issued to the Five Nations Clam Company. This decision will significantly enhance Indigenous participation in the offshore fishery in Atlantic Canada. >click to read<19:29

Fogo Island fish harvesters meet with DFO, Finally!

The third time was the charm for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) session with fishermen on Fogo Island. The meeting was cancelled twice because of weather and department members being unable to attend. The meeting finally went ahead on Feb. 13 with approximately 30 area fishermen in attendance. When talking about concerns in the fishery, they held nothing back – which is exactly what Ron Burton, area director for DFO, was looking for. >click to read< 11:50

Canada to introduce mandatory reporting of whale interactions this year

“Save the Whales” will take on new importance for Canadian fishermen in 2018 as the Department of Fisheries and Oceans introduces mandatory reporting for interactions Canada’s commercial fishing fleets have with marine mammals. The deaths of a dozen critically endangered right whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence last year is the driving force behind the effort, which has already resulted in changes in the Gulf of St. Lawrence snow crab fishery, whose gear has been implicated in some of the deaths. >click to read<08:18

Key northern shrimp stock off N.L. down again

Details of the latest northern shrimp stock assessment were released Friday with key Shrimp Fishing Area (SFA) 6 off the province’s northeast coast looking pretty grim. Fishable biomass is down 16 per cent and spawning stock biomass is down 19 per cent in SFA 6, thus leaving shrimp in that area in the critical zone of the precautionary approach framework employed by Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) science. That will likely translate into another drop in the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for the area,,, >click to read< 16:34

Federal Court dismisses Barry Group application for judicial review of 2016 DFO mackerel decision

Deciding in 2016 to wait until the fall of that year to go fishing for mackerel off the province’s west coast cost the over 65-foot fishing fleet there between $3 million and $4 million, according to information in a recent Federal Court decision. Mackerel is of higher quality at that time of the fishing season but for vessels fishing for the Barry Group Inc. there was nothing left for them to catch — the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for 2016 had already been taken during the summer months by the smaller boats in the under 65-foot fishing fleet. >click here to read< 09:48

Two Bay of Islands men fined for poaching, banned from fishing

Two men from Humber Arm South convicted of illegally harvesting lobster won’t be doing any fishing of any sort for a while. Leonard Stephen Greene, 60, and Paul Locke, 54, entered guilty pleas to poaching crustaceans when they appeared at provincial court in Corner Brook for what was supposed to be a joint trial this week.,, Greene also pleaded guilty to fishing for snow crab, without being authorized by a licence for that species, in May 2016. Locke entered a guilty plea to one offence, namely possessing illegally caught lobster in late June 2017. >click here to read< 08:45

Lots of inshore issues to talk about at DFO meeting in Shearstown

Wednesday’s meeting in Shearstown for inshore harvesters was filled to the brim with conversation, as the Department of Fisheries and Oceans allowed the event to continue well beyond its planned two-hour duration. The discussion covered an array of topics, from the future of bycatch to qualms about size restrictions for vessels and the potential for oil exploration to harm marine life. Chad Payne, a harvester from Old Perlican, brought up the bycatch issue. He said it seemed wasteful for harvesters to get rid of perfectly good fish,,, >click here to read< 20:36

Bonavista area fishers meet DFO

Dennis Miller of Burgoyne’s Cove is a typical inshore fisherman. Fishing up to 50 miles from shore in a 39-ft 11-inch boat, he makes his living from groundfish, capelin, herring, mackerel, lobster and snow crab.,, He wonders if the Department of Fisheries and Oceans will give smaller boats, like his, access to turbot by opening up fishing zones closer to shore. He was one of about 30 fishers who showed up for the meeting.,, With FISH-NL and the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW) in the same room, there was bound to be an argument. >click here to read< 14:24