Tag Archives: federal government

The federal government is assuming management of salmon fishing in parts of Alaska’s Cook Inlet

Commercial and recreational salmon fishing in the federal waters of Cook Inlet will resume this summer, but under new management by the federal government, according to a rule made final this week. Until now, the state had managed salmon fisheries in both state and federal waters of the inlet. But the switch in management was ordered by federal courts, as a result of litigation stretching back a decade. The United Cook Inlet Drift Association, or UCIDA, which is made up of commercial salmon fishers, sued the federal government in 2013 for failing to develop a salmon harvest management plan for the federal waters of the inlet. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 13:11

NL Harvesters Say Thanks For Nothing, Bait Fishery Slap in the Face to License Holders

This morning, the federal government announced a bait fishery for Atlantic mackerel in Atlantic Canada and Quebec. A bait fishery for mackerel will do nothing for harvesters in Newfoundland and Labrador, and harvesters are demanding a modest directed commercial quota for the province. “Newfoundland and Labrador has a history of a fully monitored directed fishery that provided top quality product in a traditionally fall fishery. FFAW-Unifor’s proposal for a directed fishery with temporal coverage would bridge the existing information gaps,” says FFAW-Unifor Secretary-Treasurer Jason Spingle. “Moreover, today’s release is not clear what portion Newfoundland and Labrador harvesters would receive and when,” Spingle says. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 13:36

Alaska delusions – The great takeover of federal waters

Oh if only the facts were as a trio of Alaska House legislators would like their colleagues to believe. They’ve drafted a resolution calling on Congress to extend state waters to 15 miles off the coast of Alaska because this would serve the state’s interest in supporting a “seafood industry generat(ing) over $163,000,000 in revenue for state and local governments.” All those zeros make that look like a great deal of money, but in terms of state revenue, $163 million is chicken feed. The state’s now fading oil industry is forecast to produce $3 billion in fiscal year 2024 or almost 20 times more, according to state projections. Worse though, the claim to $163 million in state revenue from the fishing industry comes from a report compiled for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) that is badly outdated, and the resolution now based on that report lacks the context which even the seafood sales promotion organization felt compelled to add. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 08:56

Federal Government Picks New England Offshore Wind Power Site, Drawing Cheers and Questions Alike

The federal government on Friday designated a large area off the New England coast for offshore wind production development, setting the stage for a possible lease sale within the Gulf of Maine.  The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said in a statement that the New England zone, which renewable energy advocates have identified as crucial for the growth of wind power, “avoids important areas for lobster fishing, North Atlantic right whale habitat, and other important fishing areas and habitats.” The move came a day after the country’s first commercial-scale offshore wind farm opened off Montauk Point, New York. Environmental groups cheered the announcement, but some members of the commercial fishing industry, which has opposed wind development in areas where they trap lobsters, said they still have concerns about locating offshore wind in the area. more, >>click to read<< 12:23

State lawsuit claims federal government owes Alaska $700 billion for quashing Pebble mine

The federal government owes Alaska more than $700 billion in compensation for the 2023 Environmental Protection Agency action that blocked development of the massive and controversial Pebble Mine in Southwest Alaska, Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration claims in a lawsuit filed in a federal court. The lawsuit, filed Thursday in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in the District of Columbia, is part of a flurry of legal actions by the state and the mine’s would-be developer that seek to revive the massive copper and gold project. In its complaint filed Thursday with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, the state cited an estimate for 100 years of production to support the $700 billion figure. And it said Alaska had been depending on Pebble development for its economic future. more, >>click to read<< 09:26

Put rules in writing to fix Maritime elver fishery’s enforcement problem, say businesses

Representatives of the $45-million Maritime elver fishery are calling on the federal government to implement enforceable regulations for moderate livelihood fishing by Indigenous people. They told a Senate committee in Ottawa Thursday the failure to define or regulate moderate livelihood rights by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) is one reason for the uncontrolled harvest of baby eels on dozens of rivers in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. “Among these poachers are First Nations unwilling to work with DFO to access the fishery under a banner of moderate livelihood rights, backed by organized crime, specifically biker gangs and foreign smuggling networks. Our once peaceful industry has recently faced violent disruption,” said Genna Carey, a commercial licence holder speaking on behalf of the Canadian Committee for a Sustainable Eel Fishery, an industry group. more, >>click to read<< 09:29

Whales and other marine life are still dying. The crisis at the NJ Shore remains urgent

It’s worth noting that it has been a full year since coastal residents realized that there was something amiss in our oceans — the start of a frightening number of whale and dolphin deaths. In the New Jersey and New York area alone, there have been 38 whales and 60 dolphins and porpoises washed ashore. That’s 98 endangered marine mammals found dead. That’s almost two marine mammals per week, while others have sunk to the bottom of the ocean. Meanwhile, the federal agencies responsible to protect marine mammals have neglected their responsibility, and turned down opportunities to cooperate, be transparent and engage in meaningful dialogue. Video, more, >>click to read<< 11:48

Herring fishermen get money after decline of fish, quota cuts

Fishermen in Maine’s historic herring fishing business will receive money from the federal government to help cope with a decline in the fish’s population that has caused the industry to struggle.  The government has appropriated $7 million for the fishermen, the Maine Department of Marine Resources said Wednesday. Atlantic herring were found to be overfished via a 2020 scientific assessment, and fishing quotas were slashed after that. The nation’s catch of Atlantic herring has plummeted in the face of quota cuts and concern over the health of the stock. The loss of herring has led to a bait crunch for lobster fishermen, who have had to seek other sources of bait for traps. >click to read< 09:26

Canada gives Mi’kmaq 14% of lucrative Maritime elver fishery for 2nd year

For a second year, the federal government is giving Mi’kmaw First Nations 14 per cent of the lucrative Maritime fishery for baby eels — or elvers — without compensating commercial licence holders. The transfer implements the Mi’kmaw treaty right to fish for a moderate living, but also sets the stage for further court challenges by commercial elver licence holders. “I’m quite confident that we will be taking legal action based on this again,” said Michel Samson, a lawyer representing Wine Harbour Fisheries. Wine Harbour is one of several licence holders in federal court trying to overturn the 2022 decision, saying it was unfair and rushed. >click to read< 08:59

N.L. asks federal government for ‘immediate’ improvements to Labrador search and rescue

Labrador Affairs Minister Lisa Dempster said Friday the statement was about following up on the 17 recommendations made by the provincial public inquiry into ground search and rescue operations, in its report released in November 2021. “This statement is applying pressure for the federal government to come forward and address some of the gaps that were identified in the inquiry that was just finished,” Dempster said.  “We have around 9,000 kilometres of coastline on the island, for example, and we have more than 17,000 kilometres of coastline around Labrador and we have no resources based in Labrador.” >click to read< 14:09

Ottawa earmarks $100 million for lost fishing gear, repair to harbours – $300-million fund for Atlantic Canada not enough, fishermen say

The federal government says $100 million from its hurricane Fiona fund will be earmarked for the recovery of lost fishing gear and the repair to small-craft harbours across Atlantic Canada and eastern Quebec. The federal Fisheries Department says in a news release the money will come from the $300 million Ottawa set aside for fishers, communities and companies affected by post-tropical storm Fiona, which made landfall on Sept. 24. >click to read< $300-million fund for Atlantic Canada not enough, fishermen say – Fishermen on P.E.I. say the federal government’s $300-million fund for Atlantic Canada is a good start to recover from post-tropical storm Fiona but falls far short of what is needed. It will cost millions just to fix the wharf at Covehead Harbour alone, said Allan Coady. >click to read< 09:26

Don’t Cage Our Oceans: Fish farming may threaten rare Gulf whale

The site approved for the Velella Epsilon fish farm in federal waters west of Venice is one of just three potential aquaculture opportunity areas under consideration off Florida’s Gulf coast. There are six others — three in the central Gulf south of Louisiana and Mississippi and three east of Texas — as well as 10 in the Pacific Ocean off the California coast. It’s part of a collusive effort between fish farming companies and the federal government to divide up national waters for profit, James Mitchell, legislative director of Don’t Cage Our Oceans, said. >click to read< 13:49

Ship Strikes: Ships must slow down more often to save whales, feds say

Vessels off the East Coast must slow down more often to help save a vanishing species of whale from extinction, the federal government said Friday. Efforts to save the whales have long focused on fishing gear, especially that used by East Coast lobster fishermen. The proposed vessel speed rules signal that the government wants the shipping industry to take more responsibility. “Changes to the existing vessel speed regulation are essential to stabilize the ongoing right whale population decline and prevent the species’ extinction,” state the proposed rules, which are slated to be published in the federal register. Fishermen are unfairly being held accountable for whale deaths that occur due to vessel strikes, said Patrice McCarron, executive director of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, which is the largest fishing industry association on the East Coast. >click to read< 11:33

Federal government to increase at-sea monitoring to 100%.

At-sea monitors are workers who collect data on board commercial fishing boats to help inform regulations and management of species. The government approved the new, higher percentage of trip cover on Tuesday, said Michael Pentony, regional administrator with NOAA’s Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office in Gloucester. The rules apply to valuable species that are harvested in the Northeast such as cod, haddock and flounder. Pentony said the new rules will replace the old process of calculating a target for the level of monitoring coverage every year. The coverage target will instead be 100% for four years as long as federal funding can support agency and industry costs, he wrote in a letter to fishery managers. >click to read< 16:24

Fishery Disaster Assistance: Aid can take years to come through

The designation is supposed to unlock funds to help the communities impacted by those fisheries failures, including communities around Cook Inlet. But it can take years for the money to reach fishermen’s pockets. U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski said the timing is one of the problems with the process. “If you’ve had a disaster that happened in 2018, we’re sitting here in 2022 and you’re saying, ‘Really? You think that that’s going to help me?’ In the meantime. I’ve got a boat mortgage that I’ve got to be paying. I’ve got a crew that I’ve got to be paying. This doesn’t help me at all,” she said. >click to read< 16:49

Opinion: Federal rules are sinking Maine’s lobster industry

As a lifelong Maine lobsterman, I understand the inherent dangers of my job. I keep watch on the forecast knowing that sudden weather changes can make the difference between a successful day at work and putting my crew’s life at risk. These days, however, the hazard posed by Mother Nature does not compare with the perfect storm of regulations coming out of Washington that threaten my job, our way of life and may eventually sink a fishery that has supported communities and generations of families here in Maine. By Kristan Porter >click to read< 15:18

Canada demands $25M in COVID relief assistance back from thousands of fishers

The federal government is demanding 4,193 Canadian fishers repay $25.8 million in COVID-19 relief assistance paid out in 2020 under the Fish Harvester Benefit and Grant Program,,,  DFO said many harvesters were ineligible because they were regular wage-earning employees rather than self-employed sharepersons, as required under program rules. Travis Nickerson of Clarks Harbour, N.S., received an overpayment letter. “It’s a mess,” said Nickerson, a lobster boat crewman. “They gave me something when I really needed it, and now they want it back.” >click to read< 10:40

Canada has a Helicopter problem. Fed plan to upgrade choppers is,,, ‘unaffordable’?

The Liberal government announced plans to refurbish the CH-149 Cormorant fleet to keep the 14 aircraft flying and saving lives until 2042. It chose to sole-source the project with European aircraft manufacturer Leonardo. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan announced that an additional two helicopters would be added to the fleet. But newly-released DND docs show that the company came back with a sky-high cost estimate,,, The document did not cite the cost estimate. Just over $1.03 billion had been set aside by defence planners,,, Department awarded the contract before negotiating price,,, >click to read< 13:50

Mi’kmaq community angered at alleged government seizure of lobster traps

Federal fisheries officers seized 37 lobster traps that were set today by an Indigenous harvester. The Potlotek First Nation, located about 75 kilometres south of Sydney, N.S., issued a news release indicating the community had authorized the traps as part of its livelihood fishery.,, Earlier this year, federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan had said if bands haven’t negotiated agreements with Ottawa and received federal licences for moderate livelihood fisheries, then the government would enforce regulations. >click to read< 19:14

Ottawa, Mi’kmaq community on collision course over plan for second lobster season

The federal fisheries minister said today that enforcement officers will be in place in St. Mary’s Bay to “uphold the Fisheries Act” if Sipekne’katik fishers harvest lobster beginning on June 1. Bernadette Jordan’s comment came shortly before Chief Mike Sack held a news conference to say his band will operate a five-month season that will occur outside of the commercial season. Sack says the plan envisions 15 to 20 boats setting 1,500 traps, with a midsummer closure during the moulting and reproduction season and its own enforcement officials. >click to read< 14:18

Sipekne’katik First Nation has filed a lawsuit against non-Indigenous fishers, the RCMP and the Feds

In a statement of claim filed Friday with the Nova Scotia Supreme Court, the Sipekne’katik First Nation alleges that commercial fishermen stole and damaged hundreds of band members’ traps and engaged in a co-ordinated campaign of intimidation and harassment. The lawsuit alleges that between 75 and 100 boats operated by non-Indigenous fishers headed to St. Marys Bay near Saulnierville, N.S., where they were used in late September 2020 to “intimidate and harass one or more of the plaintiffs, and to steal or damage their lobster traps.” None of the allegations has been proven in court. A representative for the non-Indigenous fishers could not be reached for comment. >click to read< 19:01

New England: Judge Says He’ll Decide Within 2 Weeks When Feds Issue New Right Whale Protection Rules

The federal government and the lobster industry say any change should wait until May 2021 to allow for full review and public comment on new rules once they are proposed. In oral arguments before U.S. District Court Judge James Boasberg Monday, their lawyers argued that the courts should not be in the business of micro-managing the fishery.,, The conservation groups are also calling for an immediate and year-round ban on fishing with rope in an area off Nantucket where the whales have been congregating in recent years. But a lawyer for the Maine Lobstering Union, Alfred Frawley, argued that would cause unwarranted economic harm, because the whales are known to be present mostly for a limited period in the spring. >click to read< 08:14

If courts are ever going to strike down an illegal national monument, this’ll be it

Often, it seems the federal government has it out for the English language. The President and federal agencies routinely twist the words in statutes beyond recognition. For instance, PLF has long challenged EPA’s bizarre claim that dry land is “water” under the Clean Water Act. The government’s no fan of consistency, so it should come as little surprise that the President also claims the ocean is “land” when that suits his purposes. In Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association, et al. v. Ross, PLF is challenging the designation of 5,000 square miles of ocean as the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, under a statute that expressly limits designations to “land owned or controlled by the Federal Government.” The government has moved to dismiss that case arguing that the President can essentially do whatever he wants, the language of the statute be damned. Today, we filed our response to that motion. In our brief we explain that: Pacific Legal Foundation >click to read<21:52

Income bridging desperately needed for harvesters and plant workers without income due to ice

Harvesters and plant workers are struggling to feed their children and pay their bills, with some having been without income for over two months due to severe ice conditions that prevents the fishery from starting in many parts of the province. The situation has gone from bad to dire, and action in the form of income bridging from the federal government is long overdue. Having gone without any income for over two months, many harvesters feel they are left with no other option than to risk their gear and their own personal safety in order to go fishing through pack ice conditions. click here to read the press release 09:10

White Spot: Government has abandoned wild-caught prawn fishermen

THE $20 million in federal funding for prawn farmers affected by white spot is a great day for some and not so great for others if you are a commercial fishing business owner in the Moreton Bay region. There are some 300 micro and small fishing related businesses across the Moreton Bay region, including trawl and crab fishers, impacted by white spot that continue to be impacted in the wild and an ongoing movement control order on our commercial product. These businesses generate almost $20.5 million yet have received no assistance. At least 20 businesses have had their incomes severely impacted since December 2016 and still no help. The Deputy Prime Minister and Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce announced the Federal Government will give $20 million to prawn farmers impacted by white spot but said wild-catch fishermen are the responsibility of the State Government. click here to read the story 18:17

Federal government protects overabundant grey seal population over fish stocks

MONCTON, NB – Fish harvesters attending the Gulf Groundfish Advisory Committee this week in Moncton are expressing their frustrations and disbelief over the federal government’s refusal to protect groundfish stocks by controlling the grey seal population. Many species of groundfish will be unable to adequately recover without proper management of the grey seal population. The effect of grey seals on fish populations has been confirmed by scientists, yet the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has not taken adequate action to address this problem. An increased harvest of grey seals would aid in allowing groundfish species to rebound, thereby creating new economic opportunities for thousands of families in Eastern Canada. continue reading the press release here 09:08

Feds wasting too much taxpayer money on public relations efforts

thOur federal government is a master of self-promotion, comprising the second-largest public relations firm in the world, according to a new report from Open the Books, a project of the nonprofit group American Transparency. From fiscal years 2007-14, the federal government spent $4.37 billion on public relations efforts, according to the study. This sum includes more than $2.3 billion for 3,092 in-house public affairs officers – 60 percent of whom make at least $100,000 a year in base salary – across more than 200 federal agencies and $2 billion spent by 139 agencies on outside PR vendors. Read the op-ed here  10:50

Apalachicola Bay not included in Army Corps revised plan

635823327446535889-TLHBrd-04-06-2015-Democrat-1-A002--2015-04-05-IMG-APTOPIX-Florida-Oyst-8-1-3HADRCQO-L590992003-IMG-APTOPIX-Florida-OysMonday is the only day Floridians will have a chance to comment in person on an update to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manual dictating the control of water through the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River basin. It is the first time since 1958 the Corps has updated the manual for the three-river system, which starts in central Georgia and flows south to the Apalachicola Bay where a lack of freshwater has imperiled the ecosystem and the coastal economy that depends upon it. Read the rest here 20:48

Court orders new safeguards to prevent fish farm disease spreading to ocean

The federal government has been ordered to shore up its regulations to ensure diseases aren’t transferred from fish farms to the ocean. A Federal Court judge in Vancouver has struck down rules around transfer of fish between acquaculture farms and has given the Department of Fisheries four months to fix the regulations. The decision comes after a biologist accused a fish farm operator of moving diseased salmon smolts from its hatchery to a open pen fish farm on the British Columbia coast. Read the rest here  19:21

British Columbia Herring fishermen ask feds for $6 million to compensate losses

863a4ac9dc_64635696_o2Three areas were set to reopen to commercial fishing this year: Haida Gwaii, the central coast, and the west coast of Vancouver Island. Fishermen say their losses include license fees and potential catches of upwards 2,000 tonnes of herring on the West Coast of Vancouver Island,,, thetyee Read more here 21:23