Tag Archives: Fisheries and Oceans Canada

A Historic Agreement – Canada and U.S. suspend all fishing for Canadian-origin Yukon River chinook salmon

Canada and the United States are suspending all fishing for Canadian-origin Yukon River chinook salmon for seven years in an attempt to protect the dwindling species. The agreement covers the length of one life cycle of the fish and recognizes that the “persistent decline of chinook salmon” has led to an inability to meet conservation objectives in both countries. more, >>CLICK TO READ<<Canada and Alaska sign a historic agreement to protect Yukon River Chinook salmon, To ensure the protection and recovery of Yukon River Chinook salmon, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game have signed a historic seven-year agreement. more, >>Click to read<< 10:33

Canada, Alaska suspend fishing of Yukon River chinook salmon for 7 years

In a bid to help the recovery of the Yukon River chinook salmon run, the federal government and the State of Alaska have agreed to implement a seven-year moratorium on fishing the species. The suspension, in effect for one full life cycle of a salmon, includes commercial fishing and recreational angling in the Yukon River mainstem and its Canadian tributaries. Representatives from Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game signed the agreement on Monday. The number of chinook salmon crossing the international border into Canadian waters has for years plummeted, with the last two years yielding some of the worst tallies recorded on the Yukon River. more, >>click to read<< 09:06

Maritime elver fishery closure penalizes legal fishers, committee hears

The committee heard from the Canada Border Services Agency, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the RCMP, the Canadian Committee for a Sustainable Eel Fishery, and a legal elver fisherman with Shelburne Elver. “I lost my partner to cancer a few months ago,” Zachary Townsend, the elver fisherman, told the committee. “It’s been hard and unbearable at times. But to now be unemployed and facing an uncertain financial future is simply a challenge I didn’t need. “And I don’t share such sad news to vote your pity, but instead to remind you that each of us 1,100 [Maritime elver fishers] has a story and a unique set of circumstances now made worse by the minister.” The elver fishing season was cancelled in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick after Fisheries and Oceans Canada admitted it couldn’t control poaching or the export of baby eels, which sell for thousands of dollars a kilogram. more. >>click to read<< 16:42

Snow crab stock projected to remain healthy, for the most part, in 2024

Fisheries and Oceans Canada released its annual stock assessment on snow crab Tuesday in St. John’s, and the data indicates the stock remains on par with last year with no major changes.  That means the stock is projected to remain healthy for the majority of fishing areas around the province, with one exception. The 2HJ zone off the east coast of Labrador remains in the cautious zone, similar to last year’s assessment.  But the positive news may be a result of an ocean cooling period that happened between 2012 and 2018.  Snow crab flourish in colder water, allowing young crab the ability to grow to exploitable age and size. That’s between nine and 13 years old with a shell size of over 94 mm for males. Female crab cannot be retained by harvesters.  more, >>click to read<< 15:06

‘It’s definitely precedent setting:’ commercial prawn operator fined $250K

Prawning in an environmentally sensitive area off the lower Sunshine Coast resulted in a heavy fine and fishing gear seizure against a Delta man. A recent provincial court sentencing hearing in Sechelt followed the conviction of 13 violations under Canada’s Fisheries Act against Dean Keitsch in connection to incidents in July 2020 off the coastal community on board his vessel Dark Star. Fisheries officers retrieved more than 550 prawn traps set at the bottom of the Strait of Georgia Glass Sponge Reef Marine Refuge, which is closed to all forms of bottom fishing. photos, more, >>click to read<< 07:05

Wolastoqey fishers say proposed elver fishery shutdown infringes on treaty rights

Some Wolastoqey fishers say closure of the fishery for baby eels, or elvers, this year will infringe on their treaty rights and impact their right to earn a moderate livelihood from fishing. Last week, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) issued letters to commercial licence holders that it will not renew licences ahead of the elver season that typically starts in late March. DFO shut down the elver fishery in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia last April because of conservation and safety concerns, after reports of violence and overfishing by unauthorized harvesters. Tyler Sabattis, a lobster and scallop fisherman, said he got into elver fishing last year to earn extra income for his family and community in Bilijk (Kingsclear First Nation), near Fredericton. more, >>click to read<< 09:34

Swordfish are moving north in Canadian waters

“It’s still unclear whether this is becoming the new normal due to climate change or if the biomass will eventually shift back again as we think it did historically,” said Fisheries and Oceans Canada biologist Kyle Gillespie. Nineteen-hundred tonnes of swordfish were landed in Canada last year. Nearly a third of the swordfish were taken off Newfoundland, where longline fishing boats from Nova Scotia trailed kilometres of baited hooks throughout much of the summer. Gillespie said this is a rapid shift from the previous decade, when the entire Canadian catch was concentrated along the Scotian Shelf and Georges Bank off southern Nova Scotia. more, >>click to read<< 08:46

2023 was another bad year for chinook, fall chum salmon, Yukon River Panel hears

Alaska and Yukon representatives met in Whitehorse last week to discuss the 2023 chinook and fall chum salmon runs on the Yukon River, which once again failed to meet Canadian conservation goals. An estimated 58,529 chinook salmn entered the river last year, according to public presentations by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) during the Yukon River Panel’s post-season meeting. It was the second-smallest run on record — 2022 was the smallest — and not enough to meet spawning escapement goals on either side of the border. The goals set out the minimum range of fish that need to make it to their spawning areas to healthily sustain the population. more, >>click to read<< 13:51

Canada plans crackdown as trade data shows elver exports were 4 times the legal catch in 2022

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) plans to crack down on the illegal fishery for baby eels, also known as elvers, in the Maritimes next year by creating separate possession-and-export licences to track the catch from river to airport.  The effort comes as newly reported trade data shows a huge surge in elver exports leaving Canada, reaching an all time high of 43 tonnes in 2022 — four times the authorized Canadian total allowable catch. To avoid a repeat of the chaos and deter the illegal trade, DFO wants new regulations in place by March 2024, ahead of the spring elver migration and fishing season. photos, more, >>click to read<< 14:32

Tonnes of elvers were poached in 2023, but border agents didn’t find any

The disclosure came from Daniel Anson, the agency’s director of general intelligence and investigations, during a recent appearance before the standing Fisheries and Oceans Canada parliamentary committee examining illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. “We have not had any seizures of elver eels this specific year. We have effected a variety of different examinations to ensure compliance and have not found anything that was illicit or destined abroad that had been harvested illegally or the result of unreported fishing,” Anson testified last week. That was greeted with scorn by one Nova Scotia MP. Elvers are Canada’s most valuable seafood species by weight, fetching up to $5,000 per kilogram. more, >>click to read<< 11:53

Newfoundland fishermen get ‘best news’ on northern cod stocks in a generation

It’s a technical, scientific change: the Limit Reference Point, a key part of the assessment of a fish stock’s health, has been revised. Because of a change in their scientific method, officials at Fisheries and Oceans Canada now believe that Newfoundland’s northern cod stock has moved out of the critical zone for the first time in decades. When then-fisheries minister John Crosbie shut down most of the fishery in 1992, about 30,000 fish harvesters instantly lost their jobs. It was the biggest layoff in Canadian history. Fish harvesters were given $225 a week for 10 weeks to get by. The moratorium was only expected to last two years, but in the decades since, the northern cod stock never left the critical zone — until now. photos, >>click to read<< 07:44

Shrimp fishing: gloomy outlook and angry fishermen

The state of northern shrimp stocks in the estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence will not improve in the short and medium term and could even continue to deteriorate. It is this grim observation that Fisheries and Oceans Canada shared with the fishermen and processors gathered Tuesday in Quebec for the first day of the shrimp advisory committee of the Estuary and Gulf of Saint -Laurent. DFO biologists have clearly identified redfish predation as one of the main causes of the decline of shrimp stocks in the four fishing areas of the Estuary and Gulf. The warming of the water in the Gulf and the significant drop in oxygen levels also explain the drastic fall in northern shrimp stocks.>>click to read<<14:12

DFO says thousands of illegal shark fins found during Pacific patrol

Canadian fisheries officers discovered more than 3,000 shark fins while conducting a maritime surveillance and enforcement mission in the North Pacific Ocean, according to Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The agency says the fins were illegally possessed or stored on multiple vessels that were inspected during a two-month patrol of the high seas between British Columbia and Japan. Some of the fins were from threatened species, including the oceanic whitetip shark, the DFO said in news release Thursday. The annual enforcement mission, known as Operation North Pacific Guard, included fishery and coast guard officers from the United States and Japan, as well as a Canadian patrol aircraft temporarily based out of Japan. >>click to read << 16:21

Statement from Fisheries and Oceans Canada regarding lobster fishing in St. Marys Bay, Nova Scotia

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is committed to a renewed relationship with Indigenous peoples based on recognizing rights, respect, collaboration, and partnership. As part of that commitment, we are working with First Nations harvesters so that they can exercise their Supreme Court-affirmed Treaty right to fish through various DFO-authorized fisheries. These fisheries include food, social and ceremonial (FSC), and communal commercial fisheries, including interim understandings reached to fish in pursuit of a moderate livelihood. >>click to read<< 10:14

Scientists Level New Critiques of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Scientific Rigor

Twenty-five years ago, after the collapse of the Atlantic cod fishery, Jeffrey Hutchings, a preeminent fisheries scientist and professor at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, sounded the alarm that Canada’s federal fisheries department was allowing “nonscience influences” in critical decision-making. Writing at the time, he said, “There is a clear and immediate need for Canadians to examine very seriously the role of bureaucrats and politicians in the management of Canada’s natural resources.” Today, a new crop of researchers is once again imploring Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to change its ways. At the core of their concerns is a number of systemic and structural ways in which DFO gathers, parses, and handles scientific information, and how that advice is passed on to decision-makers. >click to read< 09:20

DFO says it has enough resources to monitor Indigenous lobster fishing in Nova Scotia

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) says its enforcement branch will be on the water and adequately equipped to monitor compliance of First Nations lobster fisheries this summer. The pledge follows the chaotic fishery for baby eels this spring where there was widespread illegal activity by some Indigenous and non-Indigenous harvesters. DFO shut down the legal elver fishery, affecting both commercial licence holders and Indigenous groups with fishing plans approved by the department. But “poaching”, as federal Fisheries Minister Joyce Murray called it, continued. “I want to clarify they are two very different fisheries,” Maritimes region director of conservation and protection Tim Kerr told reporters Monday in a briefing on Indigenous rights-based lobster fisheries. >click to read< 08:35

Canada: Positioning for redfish re-opening

Canada’s commercial fishery for redfish in the Gulf of St. Lawrence has remaind closed since 1995 to allow redfish stocks rebuild to healthy levels. Now the authorities are positioning to re-open the Unit 1 redfish commercial fishery in Atlantic Canada and Quebec in the near future. The announcement has been made by Minister of Fisheries Joyce Murray that in preparation for a pending commercial fishery, the 2023 experimental fishery for Unit 1 redfish will be increased from 2500 to 5000 tonnes. Twenty-four individuals and groups from Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador have been approved to participate, five of which are Indigenous groups.  >click to read< 07:48

Atlantic mackerel moratorium extended for 2023 season

Fisheries and Oceans Canada has extended the closure of Atlantic mackerel commercial and bait fishing in Atlantic Canada and Quebec for the 2023 season. In a notice to fish harvesters on Wednesday, the federal department said it was continuing the moratorium “to allow the stock to rebuild.” The moratorium has been in place since March 2022. In its notice, Fisheries and Oceans Canada said results of a Canadian stock assessment found Atlantic mackerel “declined further in the critical zone since the last assessment, with spawning stock biomass at its lowest-observed value.” The critical zone means serious harm is occurring. >click to read< 18:36

P.E.I. harbours damaged by Fiona being readied for spring lobster season

At Red Head Harbour near Morell, about 75 per cent of the harbour’s infrastructure was damaged by the late September wind and waves from Fiona, and some of the repairs are expected to take years. “We had lots of room before and everybody had to tighten up. Everyone had to take less space to allow a couple more gears in the east wharf and the south wharf,” said David Sansom, president of the Red Head Harbour Authority. Ottawa designated $100 million for urgent harbour repairs as part of a $300-million recovery package for Atlantic Canada announced in the days after Fiona. Photos, >click to read< 07:05

Good Indicators for Capelin Health, Despite DFO’s Doubling Down on Doom and Gloom

ST. JOHN’S, NL – Following DFO’s technical briefing on the 2J3KL capelin stock today, fish harvesters are optimistic that more favourable environmental conditions could lead to stock growth.  “FFAW-Unifor is not surprised with the tone of today’s technical briefing by DFO Science, which have been consistently negative, irrespective of the data,” says FFAW-Unifor President Greg Pretty. “DFO Science is supposed to be an unbiased, transparent, and evidence-based in their approach. But most of them don’t spend more than a day on the water each year. They don’t see or appreciate the qualitative observations professional fish harvesters provide, and how we can support more robust and reliable data collection for capelin and other species. Instead of contributing to a productive relationship and more informed stock assessments, we have government scientists whose sole objective is to shut commercial fisheries down, regardless of facts,” says Dennis Chaulk, fish harvester from Bonavista Bay with over 28 years of experience on the water. >click to read< 19:17

Positive signs in newest capelin stock assessment, but the tiny fish is still in the critical zone

“The capelin were in very good condition in the fall. That meant they’re longer and heavier than average. There’s lots of zooplankton, especially large zooplankton in the ecosystem,” said Hannah Murphy, a DFO research scientist and lead stock assessor. “We also had an increase in our larval abundance index this year, which is great. Larval survival is related to recruitment in capelin, so the more larvae we have and the more that survive, it’s better for the capelin stock.” Murphy said a full capelin acoustic survey happened over 2022, the first since 2019 due to the pandemic in 2020 and vessel availability in 2021. But the positivity ended there. This year, for the first time, the DFO has come up with a limit reference point for capelin. It’s set at 640 kilotons, the weight of fish in the water, and marks the boundary between the cautious and critical zones. >click to read< 17:32

U.S. announces reduced East Coast commercial mackerel quota for 2023

The United States will proceed with a commercial fishery of the depleted East Coast mackerel stock it shares with Canada in 2023. The U.S. quota was released this week, putting pressure on Canada which has yet to decide whether it will continue a total moratorium it imposed in 2022 to help rebuild the population. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. equivalent of the Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), announced on Tuesday a total allowable catch of 3,639 metric tonnes. It was 27 per cent cut from 2022 in recognition that the transboundary stock remains in trouble and is overfished. >click to read< 19:01

SEA-NL calls on Ottawa to lift moratorium on Atlantic mackerel

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador is calling on Fisheries and Oceans Canada to lift the moratorium on Atlantic mackerel in 2023 and establish a quota at least equal to the United States. “DFO’s decision earlier this year to slap a moratorium on the Atlantic mackerel fishery while American fishermen continued to fish the same stock — combined with relatively weak science, and then even less data without fishermen on the water — was wrong from the get-go,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s executive director. >click to read< 12:48

Canadian Coast Guard can’t retire old fisheries science vessels on East Coast

Canada is extending the life of its two aging offshore fisheries science vessels on the East Coast as the Canadian Coast Guard struggles to bring their replacements into service. The transition has floundered because of breakdowns, unplanned maintenance and refits on both new and old fisheries science vessels. In response, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has now postponed the planned retirement of 40-year-old CCGS Alfred Needler on Dec.31 and 34-year-old CCGS Teleost set for March 2023. >click to read< 09:18

Canada’s efforts to rebuild depleted fish stocks are flopping, says ENGO Oceana

Major spending increases and policy changes by the federal government to protect and rebuild wild fish stocks in Canada have resulted in little improvement, according to the 2022 Fishery Audit released this week by environmental group Oceana Canada. In its sixth annual audit, Oceana says fewer than one third of wild marine fish stocks in Canada are considered healthy and most critically depleted stocks lack plans to rebuild them. The audit assessed 194 fish stocks in Canada. The audit says 72 per cent of DFO’s management documents do not formally consider climate change and that needs to change. >click to read< 12:33

Moderate livelihood treaty right at centre of fishery trial in Nova Scotia

A trial involving three Mi’kmaw fishermen who say they were exercising their treaty right to fish for a living when they were charged with fishery offences is currently underway in Digby, N.S. James Nevin, 38, Logan Pierro-Howe, 24, and Leon Knockwood, 27, from the Sipekne’katik First Nation are each charged with four counts of violating the Aboriginal Communal Fishing Licenses Regulations and the Atlantic Fishery Regulations under the Fisheries Act. They’re accused of fishing and catching lobster without authorization as well as possessing lobster traps that either had unauthorized tags or no tags on them. >click to read< 08:10

Ottawa grants $4.5 million for Quebec’s fisheries sector

The federal government is granting $4.5 million for 47 projects related to the fishing industry on the the entire territory of Quebec. The Member of Parliament for Gaspésie and the Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Diane Lebouthillier, was in Rivière-au-Renard on Tuesday to make the announcement, on behalf of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and Custody. coast, Joyce Murray. With these contributions, Fisheries and Oceans Canada aims to improve the efficiency, quality and sustainable development of the Quebec fishing industry. Projects outside the maritime sector, such as technical projects or research work relating to fishing, are also part of the funded projects. >click to read< 15:05

Entangled North Atlantic Right Whale spotted off Shippagan, N.B.

The federal Fisheries Department is on the lookout for an entangled North Atlantic Right Whale in the Gulf of St. Lawrence near Shippagan, N.B. The department says the whale was observed on Saturday by a Fisheries and Oceans Canada aircraft. The whale, which has been identified as the 2021 calf of the whale known as 3720, was spotted about 48 nautical miles east of Shippagan. Officials said they do not know the type of gear that the whale is entangled in, or where it came from. >click to read< 08:14

Bloc Québécois wants more squid fishing after feds cut herring quota

Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet asked Fisheries and Oceans Canada on Sunday to allow squid fishing to compensate for the decrease in quotas for the fall herring announced a few days earlier. On Friday, minister Joyce Murray announced that the total allowable catch for the fall herring in the Gulf of St. Lawrence would decrease to 10,000 tonnes from 12,000 tonnes to preserve the population.  “We leave the fishers without notice in an economic situation that is not good for them, in a sector that is already fragile,” Blanchet said, explaining that adding squid quotas would offer them an alternative “that uses the equipment they already have and that has a domestic Quebec market that will consume all the products, while not risking biodiversity or costing the government anything. >click to read< 07:40

B.C. Commercial fishermen on tenterhooks

B.C. commercial fisherman, who had hoped for a green light today, now have to wait until next week for a go-ahead to fish for Fraser River sockeye, while American commercial fishermen are already catching sockeye. “They’re fishing on the American side, but we’re not fishing on the Canadian side,” said Mitch Dudoward, a commercial fisherman and spokesperson for the UFAWU-Unifor fishermen’s union. Returns so far appear to be healthy enough for a commercial opening this year, and fisherman had expected commercial openings to be announced today. But they now have to wait until Tuesday. >click to read< 9:16