Tag Archives: Gulf of St. Lawrence

Report: 4 of 5 Gulf of St. Lawrence area right whale deaths investigated last year were caused by ship strikes

The report, compiled by the Marine Animal Response Society and Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative, says vessel strikes caused four out of the five whale deaths investigated last year. A total of nine right whales were found dead in and around the Gulf of St. Lawrence in 2019. The report released Wednesday focused on the necropsy results for five right whales, all found dead between June and July 2019. It found vessel strikes caused the death of four of them, but the necropsy investigation could not determine the cause of death of the fifth. >click to read< 14:42

Ships not complying with right whale protections in Cabot Strait

Oceana Canada has released one week of results from its ongoing study, which is assessing data from vessels travelling inside speed restriction zones. Between May 19 and May 25, 72 per cent of vessels recorded passing through the strait between Newfoundland and Nova Scotia were observed travelling at speeds above the requested 10 knots, with the highest observed at 21.1 knots. The findings will be part of a fuller study to be released in July that will look at the first trial period of the speed restriction. >click to read< 17:55

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

UPDATED: It’s setting day for P.E.I.’s lobster fishery after 2-week delay

Lobster fishermen are setting their traps from ports around Prince Edward Island this morning, after a two-week delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The spring fishery on P.E.I.’s North Shore and the eastern Northumberland Strait was delayed partly because some lobster processing plants in the region were not ready,, It will be a season like no other for fishermen: they’ll be asked questions about their health daily, are not allowed to share equipment and must wear gloves at all times. They’re required to thoroughly clean frequently-touched surfaces on board vessels, and to maintain a physical distance of two metres when possible. added photos, >click to read< 07:31

IN PHOTOS: P.E.I. lobster fishers head out on setting day following delay – P.E.I. fishers hit the water early this morning to set their lobster traps. The season finally opened on May 15 following a two-week delay due to the coronavirus (COVID-19 strain) pandemic. >click to view< 13:22

Gulf of St. Lawrence Spring lobster season begins at 6 a.m. on May 15

Fisheries and Oceans Canada says this year’s spring lobster fishery in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence will open May 15 and close on June 30. The decision released today delays the traditional April 30 start of the season by about two weeks. The new start date covers fishing areas 23, 24 and 26A and B along the northern coasts of New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, as well as a section of the Northumberland Strait. The season will begin at 6 a.m. on May 15 as long as weather conditions allow. >click to read< 07:34

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

Fate of spring lobster fishery up in the air

“We recognize that current market conditions facing our industry are challenging, and the need to ensure that logistical support systems are in place to facilitate the movement and sale of seafood products.” The statement then points to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit that will pay $2,000 a month to anyone put out of work with COVID-19 as a mitigating factor. But with lobster licences going for nearly a half-million dollars in many harbours along the shore and the right to fish crab inshore going for around $130,000 per trap, that benefit doesn’t relieve the stress of recent buy-ins to this debt-driven industry. Buyers and processors also rely upon debt. >click to read< 09:19

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

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

Canada unveils 2020 protection measures for North Atlantic right whales

Over the past several years, Canada has put in place comprehensive measures to help protect this species from interactions with fishing gear and vessels.,, announced the enhanced 2020 measures that will help reduce the risks to North Atlantic right whales during the 2020 season from April to November. To help prevent entanglements with fishing gear, Fisheries and Oceans Canada: will implement new season-long fishing closures in areas where whales are aggregating in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, expand temporary fishing closure areas into the Bay of Fundy, more >click to read< 07:59

DFO: Season-long fishing closures possible under new North Atlantic right whale protections

On Thursday, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans announced more protections in an effort to prevent future entanglements. “These new measures build on that work, and are informed by the latest research and technology,” said Federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan in a release.,, This year, from April to November, Fisheries and Oceans Canada will be closing fishing in areas of the gulf where whales are gathering in large numbers. If whales are detected in an area of the gulf more than once during a 15-day period, that fishing zone will be closed for fishing until the end of the season on Nov.15. Previously, the zone would be re-opened after 15 days. >click to read< 15:58

North Atlantic Right Whale: How to kill a species with Fake News, from National Geographic of all places!

“Fishing without vertical lines is what is going to save this species.“ says CT Harry of the IFAW who work hand in hand with NOAA. A ridiculous statement in view of the 18 cruise ship strikes in the Gulf of St. Lawrence (GSL) in the past few years, in all of NE over 20 years. ¼ whale per year by the lobster industry. Eighteen ship strikes in the GSL over the past 3 years averages 6 per year. These people are killing 24 whales while those people kill one. by Jim O’Connell  >click to read< 13:22

   Most likely Carnival Cruise Lines is responsible for 18+ Right Whale deaths in the past 3 year, at which rate they would soon be extinct. – Human caused Right whale deaths have suddenly, in sync with a plummeting whale birthrate, put the right whale on the path to extinction. Why their birth rate, births per year, declined since a tremendous surge in 2000-2009 from 350 to 500 is unknown. In 2018 it hit bottom as no calves were born.  >click to read<

The Risk of Ship Strikes: Maine Congressional Delegation Ask Feds To Shift Focus Of Right Whale Protections

In a letter to top officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) this week, the delegation calls on the agency to provide more information about reducing the risk of ship strikes off the United States and Canada – strikes that they say are as much a threat to the whales’ survival as entanglement with lobster fishing gear. >click to read< 10:13

  Most likely Carnival Cruise Lines is responsible for 18+ Right Whale deaths in the past 3 year, at which rate they would soon be extinct>click to read<

US elected officials discuss Canadian crab embargo

In a letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, a member of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet, four elected officials from Maine stand up for their state’s lobster fishing industry. They argue that measures to protect the North Atlantic right whale imposed on American fishermen for several years have saved the species from extinction, but also increased its population. However, they add, the mortality of right whales “directly related” to commercial shipping and fishing activities in Canadian waters “continues to increase”. A total of 12 right whales died in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in 2017 and at least 9 in 2019, out of a population of around 400 individuals. >click to read<14:13

Des élus américains évoquent un embargo sur le crabe canadien>click to read<

Most likely Carnival Cruise Lines is responsible for 18+ Right Whale deaths in the past 3 year, at which rate they would soon be extinct.>click to read<

Energy conglomerate spent $14.5M to bury subsea cables as result of unexpected redfish population boom!

It’s a fish story no one saw coming, at least not Halifax-based energy conglomerate Emera. The parent company of Nova Scotia Power disclosed this week to the Utility and Review Board that it spent almost $14,492,000 this summer to bury its Maritime Link cables lying on the floor of the Cabot Strait between Newfoundland and Cape Breton. The cables were protected because an unprecedented explosion in the redfish population in the Gulf of St Lawrence is about to trigger a corresponding boom in bottom trawling in the area. >click to read< 10:09

Science Advances report says marine protected areas may not be enough to preserve biodiversity

The paper published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances said climate change will erode the effectiveness of “static” marine protected areas across the globe, and “dynamic ocean management” is needed to preserve biodiversity when species or ecosystems move because of a changing ocean. When the critically endangered whales appeared unexpectedly in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in 2017, the results were disastrous. Twelve right whales whales died and Canada implemented speed limits in shipping lanes and temporary fishing-zone closures. Nine more died this year. >click to read< 09:05

Editorial: Without ‘share the seas’ pact, Canada risks crab boycott

We can’t wait until the boycott is unleashed, as Canada did with the Brigitte Bardot/Greenpeace-led boycott of seal products. Then it’s too late. Public opinion, once formed, is often impossible to rewind. The European Union is no longer interested in seeing seal products for sale in Europe, and with that, the entire predatory hierarchy of the Gulf was thrown off kilter and remains so to this day. Human beings are predators. Remove the largest predator from an ecosystem and there will be an immediate problem, as was demonstrated here. We risk the same kind of disaster with the crab fishery if the Canadian government does not take the American threat seriously. by Clive Doucet  >click to read<  08:13

‘Find some good solutions’: governments, experts, fishermen prepare for 2020 right whale regulations

An annual roundtable meeting held by officials with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has wrapped up after discussing how to deal with the declining North Atlantic right whale population. The subject has become controversial after at least nine confirmed deaths in 2019, with several preliminary findings indicating vessel strikes were the cause. Some of the deaths came despite the Canadian government cracking down tighter on fisheries closures and speed restrictions, but the impact on the fishing industry is part of what makes regulations such a controversial topic. >click to read<  08:43

Fishing industry welcomes move, Emera forced to bury a third of Maritime Link’s submarine cable

Halifax-based energy conglomerate Emera buried 59 kilometres of electrical cables beneath the ocean floor between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland this past summer to protect the Maritime Link from “substantially increased” bottom fishing the company did not see coming. Completed in 2017, the $1.5-billion Maritime Link was built to carry electricity generated from the Muskrat Falls hydro project in Labrador into Nova Scotia and on to New England. The company is responding to an unforeseen explosion in the population of redfish in the Gulf of St. Lawrence,,, >click to read< 10:48

Seals are overfishing at unsustainable rates! Gulf of St. Lawrence cod extinction ‘highly probable,’

“At the current abundance of grey seals in this ecosystem, recovery of this cod population does not appear to be possible, and its extinction is highly probable,” the report says. DFO fish biologist Doug Swain said the cod population is now about five per cent of levels in the 1980s, and the downward spiral is accelerating despite a moratorium on a directed cod fishery in the Gulf since 2009. The problem is an “extremely high” and “unsustainable” death rate for cod five years or older. >click to read< 11:29

2 Canadian Coast Guard ships fined for speeding in right whale slowdown zone

Two Canadian Coast Guard vessels were among the six ships fined Monday after being caught violating speed restrictions aimed at protecting North Atlantic right whales. Transport Canada fined the coast guard ships Cape Edensaw and Cap d’Espoir $6,000 and $12,000 respectively for violating the temporary mandatory slowdown in the shipping lanes north and south of Anticosti Island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. >click to read< 09:10

How Ship Strikes Have Become The Greatest Threat To Right Whales

This is the first of a two-part report explaining how vessel strikes happen, why they’re increasing and what’s being done to stop them. In the last month, eight North Atlantic right whales have been found dead in Canada’s Gulf of St. Lawrence, including two members of the critically endangered species this past week. Canadian authorities say work to determine these new whales’ cause of death is ongoing. Whatever the cause of these latest deaths, researchers worry collisions with ships are increasingly to blame. >click to read<  20:24

International shipping industry under increased scrutiny as whale death toll grows

The shipping industry is under increased scrutiny after two cargo ships were fined for sailing too fast through the Gulf of St. Lawrence, where the rising death toll among endangered North Atlantic right whales has been partly blamed on collisions with vessels. There have been eight deaths reported since early June, and examinations of five of the carcasses showed three of them had injuries consistent with ship strikes, a leading cause of death for these rare mammals. 227 vessels exceeded speed limit in 3 months >click to read< 11:23

Experts track right whale behavior in new trouble spot

Scientists from the U.S. and Canada have returned from a North Atlantic right whale survey trip in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence where they found dense reserves of zooplankton that have drawn 70 or more of the critically endangered marine mammals to the region this summer. They now expect the right whales to move farther north in the coming summers to follow the movement of the food they consume,,, Many of the right whales that visit Cape Cod Bay and south of the islands in the late winter and early spring migrate northward as they follow the movement of zooplankton, especially a rice-sized copepod called calanus. >click to read< 09:58

Mills’ stand on fishing rules praised by lobster industry

As Executive Director of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association (MLA), I applaud Gov. Mills’ July 11 Message to Maine’s Lobster Industry acknowledging the federal government’s “disturbing lack of evidence connecting the Maine lobster industry to recent right whale deaths.”,,, What is often lost in this debate is that the population of North Atlantic right whales was only 295 in 1997 when federal regulators first required U.S. fishermen to implement conservation measures. In the ensuing years, the right whale population increased to more than 450 whales. >click to read<  11:17

Fishermen volunteer to become 2nd right whale rescue team

Ferron is one of three crab fishermen who volunteered to form a new rescue team based in Shippagan. He, Martin Noël and Rémi Guignard have been training since last winter. The objective is to eventually have a boat to respond quickly to disentanglement calls in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.,,, Jean Lanteigne, director of the Regional Acadian Federation of Professional Fishermen, said the Campobello Whale Rescue team first approached the fishermen to see if anyone was interested in volunteering. Fifteen fishermen showed up for the information session, but three had the time to commit to the training schedule. >click to read< 17:18

More needs to be done to identify travel paths of North Atlantic right whales, scientist says

The Canadian and U.S. governments need to know exactly where North Atlantic right whales are travelling to better protect them, a whale researcher says. “There have been whales in locations that the Canadian government may not have known about, at least early enough, ” said Charles (Stormy) Mayo, director of the North Atlantic Right Whale Ecology program at the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, Mass. “It’s a very thorny problem and the more that Canada can do, the better off we are.” >click to read< 20:29

Canada: Two more right whales found dead off east coast, bringing total to eight this year

One of the dead whales was first observed Thursday by an aerial surveillance flight drifting west of the Magdalen Islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans said in a news release. It was located Friday by a vessel in the area, and a necropsy is scheduled to take place Sunday. Also Friday, the body of a second dead right whale was sighted off Glace Bay, N.S., according to the fisheries department. “Neither of these whales have yet been individually identified,” the department said in a news release, adding that the government “takes this issue very seriously.”,,, No right whales died in Canadian waters last year, but 12 were found dead in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in 2017>click to read<  20:18