Tag Archives: New Brunswick

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

Shediac, N.B., marks diamond anniversary celebration with annual Lobster Festival

The event schedule has been posted for weeks, the sound-checks are done and now all that’s left to do is wait for 7 p.m. – the official start of the 75th annual Shediac Lobster Festival. “This is the longest running festival in the province and Shediac has always been a very welcoming town, welcoming tourist town, so this is our flagship event, hands down,” said Shediac Mayor Roger Caissie. Before festivities even kicked off, several shows were already sold out. Licence plates from the Maritimes and beyond filled the parking lot and excitement was evident at the big lobster on Friday. Officials say this year’s celebration will see expand to mark the major milestone in “grand style.” The 10-day celebration runs from July 5 until July 14. Video, more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 17:09

Gliders: Scientists add more underwater robots to monitor North Atlantic right whales

In the race to protect the endangered species, researchers are bringing in more underwater robots—unmanned vehicles known as gliders that slowly patrol the Gulf of St. Lawrence, passively listening for whales. Gliders can stay at sea for months, move far offshore and work in all types of weather. They’re equipped with underwater microphones that scientists use to track the animals. The team added a third glider to its fleet this summer, expanding its ability to monitor whales’ whereabouts by sea and air. It’s collaborative effort involving researchers from University of New Brunswick, Ocean Tracking Network, Transport Canada and Woods Hole Oceanographic. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 19:37

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 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

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

Midcoast man again charged with violating Maine’s baby eel fishing laws

A Waldoboro man who nine years ago was convicted of tax evasion and underreporting hundreds of thousands of dollars in eel fishing income has been charged again with violating Maine’s elver fishing laws. Paul J. Griffin Jr., 52, has been charged with selling juvenile eels, also known as elvers or glass eels, for cash, which is a violation of laws implemented in 2013. Despite the recent charges against Griffin and a handful of others, Maine has had a relatively low number of similar violations for the past decade. It’s been a different story across the border in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, where an alleged spree of elver poaching prompted Canada to shut down the fishery this spring. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 09:46

What Canada can learn from Maine’s approach to the lucrative baby eel fishery

Authorities in Maine say they have figured out how to regulate a fishery that is so out of control in Canada, the federal government has shut it down this year — the third shutdown in five years — putting 1,100 people out of work. Baby eels, also known as elvers or glass eels, are generally fished in rivers and streams in Maine, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and a handful of Caribbean islands. They’re shipped live to Asia, where they’re grown to maturity and eaten — the dish is so popular it led to overfishing in Japan and Europe, leaving seafood wholesalers looking to Canada. Photos, more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 10:07

From tiny river eggs to ocean prey, filmmaker aims to capture life of salmon

As a child fly fishing on New Brunswick’s renowned Miramichi River, Nick Hawkins used to daydream about being able to peer under the tea-coloured water and see where the salmon were. Hawkins is one of nine winners of 2024 grants from the Trebek Initiative, named for the late quiz show host Alex Trebek. He’s getting $97,674 from two organizations that Trebek supported, the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and National Geographic Society, to film the migration of Atlantic salmon — “from their home rivers in Canada to their feeding grounds in the icy fjords of Greenland” — and to document “the passionate efforts of those trying to reverse the species’ precipitous decline.” Photos, more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 08:17

Vehicle, boat, and building all burned in separate fires at Back Bay wharf

Firefighters raced to put out three separate fires early Thursday morning at the wharf in Back Bay, a small coastal community south of St. George.  Chief Justin Johnston of the Eastern Charlotte Fire Department said a call came in around 3:30 a.m. about a vehicle on fire. When crews arrived on scene, they also discovered a large commercial fishing boat and a building at 24 Back Bay Loop Rd. were on fire too. “It was definitely a surprise when we arrived this morning,” Johnston said. The Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating. Additional crews were called to the scene, and Johnston said firefighters were able to get the fires out relatively quickly. Fishermen towed the burning boat away from other boats in the harbour to prevent further fires, he said. Photos, Video, more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 18:15

Accused poachers ‘cannot pretend to hide,’ says province’s top court

New Brunswick’s highest court has shed light on an important decision it made in a lawsuit against alleged poachers accused of stealing baby eels. The Court of Appeal delivered its reasons late last month why it had ordered the province’s registrar of motor vehicles to turn over the names of 115 vehicle owners to Rothesay businesswoman Mary Ann Holland, the owner of Brunswick Aquaculture Limited and Alder Seafood Limited. Her lawyer Barry Morrison argued in a filing last month that Holland and her staff had witnessed dozens of people illegally catching lucrative baby eels in river estuaries in the spring of 2023 after Ottawa had closed the fishery. more, >>click to read<< 07:53

Hey-Hey-Hey-Lucky! Bas-Caraquet crab fisherman claims $64M record-breaking lottery jackpot

Merel Chiasson’s winning ticket was sitting on his bedroom dresser for nearly a year. A few weeks before it was set to expire, he learned he’d won a record-breaking $64-million jackpot.  The fisherman from Bas-Caraquet, on the Acadian Peninsula, accepted the prize at the Atlantic Lottery office in Moncton on Thursday. It’s the largest lottery win ever claimed in Atlantic Canada. The winning Lotto 649 ticket was purchased in April 2023 and was set to expire next month, leading to speculation and rumours over what had happened. Some suggested it was purchased by a group of people who worked at Walmart, while another said someone had lost the ticket while hunting in the woods. more, >>click to read<< 13:22

Fishery officers make 39 arrests and seizures at rivers for unauthorized elver fishing

Unauthorized fishing is a threat to the sustainability of fish stocks and undermines the livelihoods of law-abiding fish harvesters. The elver fishery is not open for 2024 in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, therefore any harvesting is unauthorized. Should anyone choose to fish for elver they will be subject to enforcement action as per the Fisheries Act and the Maritime Provinces Fishery Regulations. Since March 6, 2024 in separate incidents across Southwest Nova Scotia, fishery officers arrested a total of 39 individuals who are under investigation for infractions of the Fisheries Act and Maritimes Provinces Fishery Regulations for the unauthorized harvest of elver. Across Nova Scotia, fishery officers also seized a total of 11 vehicles, 14 fyke nets, 78 dip nets, elver fishing equipment, eight weapons, and approximately 8.8 kg of elver, which were released live back into their river of origin. more, >>click to read<< 14:16

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

Cancelling legal elver fishery has not stopped poaching in N.S.

Nova Scotia RCMP have charged a Parrsboro man with multiple criminal counts after a night time altercation with fishery officers attempting to stop illegal elver fishing in Hubbards this weekend. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans says its officers tried to inspect a vehicle on Saturday “as part of their normal activities to deter and disrupt unauthorized elver harvest.” “An individual obstructed fishery officers from conducting the inspection and struck the officers with their vehicle while fleeing to attempt to avoid arrest. “The fishery officers involved were not injured and alerted local RCMP to the incident,” more, >>click to read<< 19:03

Gifford Cooke, co-founder of Cooke Aquaculture, dies at 85

Gifford Cooke, who founded the now global seafood company Cooke Aquaculture from its humble beginnings in southwest New Brunswick, died on Sunday at 85. Cooke founded the company with his sons, Glenn and Michael, by setting up their first salmon farm at Kelly Cove in 1985, Cooke’s website says. They purchased their first hatchery in Oak Bay in 1989, and Cooke Aquaculture was established four years later. The company’s main brand, True North Salmon, has been used since 1994. Today, the company has nearly 13,000 employees and oversees a family of 13 brands, and Cooke Aquaculture remains based in New Brunswick. Premier Blaine Higgs released a statement on Monday to express his condolences, calling the locally-based company “a global success.” Photos, more, >>click to read<< 13:33

Lobster tagged in New Brunswick caught over 250 kilometres away in Maine

Emily Blacklock was scrolling through social media when she spotted a video of a Maine fisherman hauling in an unexpected catch, a lobster with a tag from her research team found hundreds of kilometres away from where it was attached in New Brunswick. “All of a sudden I saw one of our blue tags, so I ended up messaging him,” she said. “We all know it’s possible that lobsters go from the Bay of Fundy to the Gulf of Maine, but the chance of him being the one to catch that lobster and make a video was fantastic.” Blacklock, a PhD candidate at the University of New Brunswick, is part of a team of researchers trying to find a way to identify the age of lobsters. Photos, more, >>click to read<< 16:49

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

High lobster prices could be a sign of things to come for P.E.I.’s spring fishery

The cost of the crustaceans in most stores is higher than normal for this time of year, running anywhere from $20 to $26 per pound. Most of the lobster caught last year and stored on the Island has already been sold, and fewer boats take part in the winter fishing season in nearby New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Charlie McGeoghegan, chair of the Lobster Fishers of P.E.I. Marketing Board, said there are only 2,500 boats on the water in Canada right now, compared to 7,000-plus during the spring season. “The boat prices are anywhere from $16.50 to $17.25 — [that’s] what we’re hearing.”  more, >>click to read<< 06:50

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

New Brunswick judge stays charges against Indigenous lobster fisherman

A judge in northern New Brunswick granted a stay of proceedings Thursday in the trial of an Indigenous lobster fisherman who recently launched a constitutional challenge aimed at asserting Indigenous and treaty rights. Cody Caplin, a member of the Eel River Bar First Nation, was fishing for lobster in the Bay of Chaleur in September 2018 when he was arrested by federal fisheries officers. He was charged a year later with 10 offences, including trapping lobster out of season. Judge Donald LeBlanc granted the stay saying federal Attorney General Arif Virani has the right to reopen the case within a year, but LeBlanc said he understood from the Crown that was unlikely to happen. Caplin, however, later confirmed that his legal troubles were far from over. more, >>click to read<< 08:31

My mom made waves as captain of her lobster boat. I’m proud to be her deckhand

A sou’easter blew with force, stronger by the second, making the waves choppy and short. My mom, laughing as she tends to in these situations, said, “Ya gotta drive ‘er it like you stole ‘er!”  We were sailing at a good clip to keep her lobster boat steady and skip over the waves. A bit nervously, I laughed along with her, somewhat glad that we were cutting our fishing day short as we bounced among the tumultuous whitecaps. I was sitting at the lunch table where we sometimes enjoy a meal together as a break from the day. All seemed relatively fine, albeit a bit rough, until we had to turn starboard at a point where one current meets the other in the gully. Rather than taking the waves head-on, we were suddenly being slammed port side. photos, Video, more, >>click to  read<< 07:46

Major lobster plant in Escuminac, with 135 workers, temporarily closing

A major lobster processing plant in Escuminac is temporarily closing its doors, two years after it was purchased by a private American investment firm. Raymond O’Neill & Son Fisheries employs about 135 seasonal workers each year. It was purchased in 2021 by ACON Investments, based in Washington, D.C. Luc LeBlanc, a fisheries advisor at the Maritime Fishermen’s Union, called the job losses at O’Neill & Son “another hard blow to our coastal communities.” At least 100 fishermen benefited from the factory’s activities, said LeBlanc, who was attending the same industry meeting in Moncton Thursday. more, >>click to read<< 07:37

Lobster prices rise as catches fall: ‘They’re all fighting for that product’

The price of lobster is up compared to last year, says the Lobster Fishers of P.E.I. Marketing Board. Live lobster is selling for as much as $11.50 a pound, said Charlie McGeoghegan, chair of the board, up from $6.50 to $7.50 last year.  The jump in price is partly because catches are down now for fishers in New England, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, he said. Catches in New England specifically are down about 16 per cent over the five-year average, he said. photos, more, >>click to read<< 06:48

“A bucket and a net, and you’re in business.” Looming tensions in Maritime eel fishery

Commercial harvesters of baby eels in the Maritimes say there’s little hope the poaching and violence that forced the closure of the lucrative fishery last season will subside in 2024. The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans closed the fishery for the tiny, translucent fish known as elvers on April 15 after reports of violence related to unauthorized fishing. There were accusations of assault and even shots fired along coastal rivers in parts of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. The increased illegal activity comes as demand grows for the young eels, which are sold live to aquaculture operations in Asian markets such as China and Japan, where they are grown for food. Prices had reached as high as $5,000 per kilogram in 2022, partly because sources for the fish species in Europe and Asia had begun to dry up. more, >>click to read<< 06:02

Nova Scotia MP says he faced death threats as Maritime elver fishery descended into lawlessness

MPs in Ottawa heard “alarming” accounts Thursday of failed Canadian government efforts to thwart the black-market fishery for baby eels, or elvers, earlier this year. It included a claim that 25-tonnes of the tiny, translucent eels were flown out of Canada in illicit shipments, part of an organized crime to meet an “insatiable appetite” in China where they are grown for food. “I had many constituents whose properties were being defiled, destroyed as poachers, parked and utilized their things. I had single mothers threatened by people. I had death threats, as did my wife during this time,” said South Shore-St. Margarets Conservative MP Rick Perkins. more, >>click to read<< 06:50

Constitutional challenge in Indigenous lobster fishing case moving ahead this week

An Indigenous fisherman is expected to appear Thursday in a northern New Brunswick courtroom, where he will launch a constitutional challenge that could prove pivotal for First Nations across the Maritimes. Cody Caplin, a member of the Eel River Bar First Nation, was fishing for lobster in the Bay of Chaleur in September 2018 when he and his brother Kyle were arrested and their boat was seized by federal fisheries officers. A year later, they were charged with 10 fishing offences, including trapping lobster out of season. “If we win, we could set a precedent and make some case law for other Mi’kmaq fishermen throughout the province,” he said in a recent interview, confirming that constitutional arguments will be heard at the provincial court in Campbellton, N.B. more, >>click to read<< 09:40

Loss of beloved fisherman still felt two years on

Tyrone Sock often thinks of his father when he looks at his son. Grief is a strange combination of what has happened and what won’t. Craig (Jumbo) Sock, who died after his fishing vessel went down off the coast of Nova Scotia in 2021, had two grandchildren he’ll never get to see grow up, Tyrone said. Jumbo’s loss can be felt throughout the entire Elsipogtog First Nation community, where he was a councillor and minor hockey league coach. “He was loved by everyone he crossed paths with,” said Tyrone, who spent a decade fishing with his father. “He was loved by every teammate, every player, every parent. You know what? Even the opposing teams loved him. That’s how much joy he brought to a room.” photos, >>click to read<< 15:28