Tag Archives: Nova Scotia

Potential move to electric lobster fishing boats hauls in opposing opinions

Lobster fishing captain Andrew Arbuckle wants to buy an electric boat. One problem, they don’t exist yet. The boat building industry is on the cusp of new electric options. Companies are inventing new designs and investing in unique ideas. But adoption could be slow, since the biggest group of customers, fishing crews in Southwest Nova Scotia, generally reject the idea. Aboard a prototype diesel-electric hybrid fishing boat, Sue Molloy, CEO of Glas Ocean Electric, lifts a floor panel from the deck. She points to a metal driveshaft that runs along the centreline of the boat, disappearing towards the propeller. Not everyone agrees that electric boats are the future. Fishing crews in the Pubnico area agreed with Fleck’s assessment. “It’s wishful thinking,” said Reynold d’Entremont. “It ain’t gonna work.” Photos, >>click to read<< 11:50,

Video – Electric fishing boats are coming but many captains still skeptical, >>click to watch<<

TD Bank’s very bad year in the Maritime seafood business

A bankruptcy and insolvency court in Halifax granted Chester Basin Seafoods more time to restructure late last week in order to save its business exporting silver hake, a relative of cod. The order approved a loan from the company founder to get two of its fishing boats out of a Meteghan shipyard where they are undergoing repairs. Secured creditor Toronto-Dominion Bank reluctantly went along with reprieve. It was TD’s decision earlier this month to call in $5.5 million in loans that triggered the creditor protection proceedings. In Halifax on Friday, TD lawyer Gavin MacDonald asked bankruptcy and insolvency registrar Raffi Balmanoukian “where did all [Chester Basin’s] money go.”  “There is next to nothing in working capital and two busted vessels.” >>click to read<< 08:20

Dumping Day delayed in parts of Southwestern N.S. due to weather

The province’s lucrative lobster fishery is being setback by an approaching weather system. Dumping Day for lobster fishing areas 33 and 34 in Southwestern Nova Scotia typically take place on the last monday of November. While LFA 33 area fishers took advantage of a two-day flexibility window and started the season early Sunday, officials in LFA 34 say they’ll hold off until at least Wednesday. While it is a big day for a major industry in our province, government is stressing the importance of safety as fishers head out on the water. >>click to read<< 07:37

Last southwestern N.S. lobster season one for the record books: But not in a good way

From delayed season starts to low shore prices, foul weather and an out-of-control wildfire as a grand finale, the 2022-23 season in Lobster Fishing Areas (LFAs) 33 and 34 has been dubbed the worst season in more than 20 years. The LFA 34 fishery opened on Dec 5, 2022, after a one-week delay to the season start due to weather. The LFA 33 fishery opened on Nov. 29, 2022, after a one-day delay. Both seasons are always scheduled to start on the last Monday of November. The season opened with a $7 shore price, compared to the record-setting opening shore price of $10 to $11 a pound in 2021. The shore price peaked at $13.50 during the slowest part of the season in mid-winter, closing at $8.30 at season’s end on May 31. Photos, >>click to read<< 08:47

Safety paramount for lobster season opening in southwestern N.S.

Opening day protocol for the two lobster fishing districts dictates that any winds above 26 knots will delay the scheduled season start of the lobster fishery. Last season, LFA 33 opened after a one-day delay, while dumping day in the LFA 34 opening was delayed by a week. “The decision on whether to advance or delay the opening date considers weather forecasts provided by Environment Canada and advice from the LFA advisory committees,” says Sankey. Opening day protocol for the two lobster fishing districts dictates that any winds above 26 knots will delay the scheduled season start of the lobster fishery. Last season, LFA 33 opened after a one-day delay, while dumping day in the LFA 34 opening was delayed by a week. Photo’s, >>click to read<< 12:27

Nova Scotia government retreats on plan to fast-track wind farms in coastal bays

“We’re pausing any consideration of waters within provincial jurisdiction until the framework for jointly managed offshore areas is in place,” Natural Resources and Renewables Minister Tory Rushton said in a statement issued Wednesday. The decision to focus first on jointly managed waters — in essence a go-slower approach — capped several months of lobbying by fisheries groups concerned that wind farms inside bays would displace already crowded fishing grounds. “I would say that the fishing industry is very, very pleased that the province has listened to the many, many voices both within our industry and other industries,” said Ginny Boudreau, executive director of the Guysborough County Inshore Fishermen’s Association. >>click to read<< 09:57

F/V Tyhawk: Report says deck modification led to fatal capsizing of First Nation fishing vessel

Canada’s transportation safety agency says modifications to the deck of the Mi’kmaq fishing boat Tyhawk led to the fatal capsizing in 2021. The Transportation Safety Board says in a report released today that Transport Canada needs to better define the rules on stability assessments of fishing boats after vessels undergo “major” modifications. The recommendation is one of three the board released in relation to the capsizing off western Cape Breton on April 3, 2021, which occurred on the first day of crab season. The report says the boat, based in Elsipogtog First Nation, accumulated water as it was struck by waves and that traps shifted on its deck, causing the vessel to roll over.  >>click to read<<  More, Search Results for F/V Tryhawk >Click here< 12:58

Nova Scotia lobster pound owner wins appeal of ‘grossly disproportionate’ 2-year suspension

The Nova Scotia Supreme Court has overturned a two-year ban from the lobster business imposed on a pound owner caught with lobster harvested under an Indigenous licence that does not permit selling the catch. Justice Pierre Muise said the penalty imposed on Tyler Nickerson, owner of Fisher Direct in Shag Harbour, N.S., was overkill. “The grossly disproportionate severity of the sanction imposed in the case at hand, and the lack of any discernible reasonable justification for it, make it such that the minister’s decision was arbitrary,” Muise said in a decision released Tuesday. >>click to read<< 15:08

N.S. First Nations to exercise right to moderate livelihood during upcoming lobster season

For the third consecutive year, four First Nations in southwestern Nova Scotia will exercise their treaty right to fish for a moderate living when Canada’s most lucrative lobster fishery opens next week. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans announced Monday that it has again issued an interim authorization to Wasoqopa’q (Acadia), Annapolis Valley, Bear River and Glooscap First Nations. DFO insists that moderate livelihood fishing must occur during commercial seasons — a limitation that some Mi’kmaq do not accept. The right to earn a moderate living was recognized — but not defined — by the Supreme Court of Canada more than 20 years ago in the Marshall cases. >>click to read<< 07:53

Nova Scotia Fishermen happy with aid offer but not with timing of announcement

The largest wildfire ever in Nova Scotia hit fishermen Kasey DeMings hard. “I built something for 10 years and I watched it all get taken from me in about four hours,” he recalled. The Shelburne Forest fire tore through the gear he was storing outside, next to his home in Carleton Village, N.S. He estimated he lost nearly 400 traps, over 100 herring nets and related gear along with this house. “It wiped one fishery right out,” he said. Fishing gear stored outside is not eligible for insurance. Although he still had about 240 traps that were in the water the day the fire swept through his home community, DeMings said he has been unable to head back out on the water since then. >>click to read<< 16:32

Authorities crack down on commercial lobster fishery inside Halifax harbour

Lobster fishing inside Halifax harbour will be sharply restricted when the season opens next week as federal authorities move to enforce existing prohibitions. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans will not allow traps to be set within 300 metres of any wharf, pier or boat structure inside the harbour. The restriction was included in DFO lobster fishing licence conditions for the first time this year at the request of the Halifax Port Authority, which has the same rule on the books. That’s bad news for Craig Hartlen, a lobster fisherman based in Eastern Passage, a small port on the outer edge of the harbour. >>click to read<< 08:11

EDITORIAL: Safety plans for fishing vessels crucial to prevent further deaths in dangerous industry

There have been many tragedies on the water in recent years. During last year’s lobster fishery, Christian Atwood, 27, died when he was lost overboard on Boxing Day from the fishing vessel MV Little Weasel II near Cape Sable Island, N.S. The previous March, Jeremy Hart, 35, died after falling into the water as members of his crew were being transferred from a life raft they had launched from their sinking vessel, Mucktown Girl, off of Canso. But it was the sinking of the scallop vessel Chief William Saulis in December 2020, and the deaths of all six crew aboard, that prompted the changes to the 2023-24 season. Capt. Charles Roberts, Aaron Cogswell, Daniel Forbes, Michael Drake, Geno Francis and Leonard Gabriel were all tragically lost in that event. >>click to read<< 12:29

N.S. lobster facility temporarily halts processing, blames lower catches

The Montreal-based owners of Riverside Lobster International at Meteghan, N.S., say the plant will not process lobster this fall and winter, citing lower catches in Maine and the Maritime provinces. “It’s an unfortunate situation, but right now that’s about all that we know. We’re not running this fall and there’s been no decision yet in terms of what’s going to happen for the spring,” “We’re seeing lower landings and not necessarily just in this area. We’re seeing it from Maine to New Brunswick to Nova Scotia. It’s affecting processing facilities and not just not just Riverside.” >>click to read<< 11:25

Canada, Nova Scotia move to improve fishing vessel safety

On the eve of the most lucrative fishery in Canada, federal and provincial authorities are ramping up fishing vessel inspections in Nova Scotia seeking proof of safety procedures and annual inspections of hoists and other lifting devices. Lobster season in southwest Nova Scotia opens in two weeks. Some of the increased scrutiny is being attributed to the sinking of the Chief William Saulis, a scallop dragger that went down in heavy seas near Digby in December 2020. All six men on board died. Transport Canada has served notice that its marine inspectors want to see written safety procedures on board and proof crew members are familiar with them. “Failure will result in a deficiency notice or detention of the vessel,” says spokesperson Sau Sau Liu. Video,>>click to read<<  07:08

Fishermen in Maine lobbied to keep wind farms out of crucial fishing grounds. Will it happen in N.S.?

A no-compromise lobbying campaign by Maine lobster harvesters has helped keep wind farms out of a crucial lobster fishing area in the Gulf of Maine. And that has some fishermen in Nova Scotia casting an envious eye south of the border. “I’m pleased to see that happen in Maine. We’d like to see the same sort of diligence taken in Nova Scotia,” said Tommy Amirault, a fisherman from Pubnico and president of the Coldwater Lobster Association. “Maine obviously has concerns. It would be nice to see both provincial and federal governments take our concerns into practice,” Amirault said. “We didn’t mince words that we opposed offshore wind anywhere in the Gulf of Maine. It’s one of the most productive ecosystems in the world. And we really didn’t think that this is the place to solve the renewable energy crisis,” said McCarron. In Nova Scotia, the process has just begun. He said it’s no surprise fishermen have concerns about where it happens. >>click to read<< 06:57

More than 50 Indigenous fish harvesters in the Maritimes charged or on trial

Three years after a First Nation started a self-regulated lobster fishery that sparked protests and violence in Nova Scotia, federal prosecutors are pressing ahead with charges against dozens of Indigenous fishers, some of whom are planning constitutional challenges. On Sept. 17, 2020, the Sipekne’katik First Nation issued five lobster licences to its members, saying they could trap and sell their catch outside the federally regulated season.  The bold move came exactly 21 years after the Supreme Court of Canada affirmed the treaty right of Indigenous groups in Eastern Canada to hunt and fish for a moderate livelihood, but interpretations of that landmark ruling remain in dispute. >>click to read<< 09:25

Gear-lending program has harvesters working through closures and trying ropeless fishing gear without commitment

Snow crab fishers in one area of Nova Scotia had a new visitor this season and found themselves closed out of their fishing waters. “We got a 37 percent cut in our quota and [Northern right] whales presented themselves in our zone for the first time ever so [it was] quite stressful,” said Marc Lefort, a snow crab harvester in western Cape Breton Island and a member of Area 19 Snow Crab Fishermen’s Association in Cheticamp, N.S. He’s been fishing for 19 years in the area. “It was a challenging season.” The Northern right whale is critically endangered and conservation efforts have targeted fisheries using fixed gear, or traps connected to buoys by rope. Because whales can be entangled in the fishing gear, fisheries for lobster and snow crab have been forced to think of new measures – and new fishing gear – to protect the marine mammals. >>click to read<< 12:24

Deadliest Catch star visits Pictou to promote technology combatting ghost fishing gear

Any fisherman understands that keeping the waters clean will help ensure a viable future for the industry. “If you want a future, you have to invest in that future,” said Capt. Sig Hansen from Discovery Channel’s The Deadliest Catch. “So why not try to keep our oceans clean? That’s our responsibility.” Hansen has partnered with Resqunit (pronounced “rescue unit”), lending his star power to an endeavor they hope will assist in helping to protect the environment in which fishermen and women ply their trade. The Resqunit is a lost gear retrieval unit that can be attached to a line of traps, in case a fisher loses a buoy because of storms, accidents or by other means. It includes a user-controlled timer release that is set by using on an app on your phone. If needed, the unit will deploy after a set length of time, rise to the surface and allow fishers to retrieve their traps. >>click to read<< 14:04

Observer companies dumped from monitoring of N.S. lobster fishery

This season, DFO will rely solely on an inshore industry association to assess what other species are being accidentally captured — what’s known as bycatch — in the lobster fishery from Halifax through the Bay of Fundy. Observer companies Javitech Atlantic in Dartmouth and Halifax’s Atlantic Catch Data have been part of the bycatch monitoring program since it was launched in 2018 to assess and demonstrate sustainability in the fishery worth half a billion dollars. Both companies are out for now. In recent years, they have not delivered anywhere near the sampling provided by the Yarmouth-based Southwest Lobster Science Society, which was created by five fishing associations to provide bycatch monitoring. >>click to read<< 08:30

RUBENSTEIN: The endless Maritime lobster war

Nova Scotia has a series of historic treaties with the Mi’kmaq dating back to the 1720s, 150 years before any of the numbered treaties in the rest of Canada. These agreements are known as the Peace and Friendship Treaties and were designed to reduce warfare and to regulate trade between the indigenous and settler populations. While these treaties contained few monetary and no land transfer provisions, they guaranteed hunting, fishing and land-use rights for the descendants of the indigenous signatories. These Peace and Friendship Treaties remain in effect today but were regularly but improperly denied or ignored by the Crown during much of Nova Scotia’s past. Today, those ignoring the treaties and court rulings stemming from them are the Mi’kmaq themselves. >>click to read<< 10:27

DFO calls for calm in St. Mary’s Bay as enforcement continues

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans calling for safety and patience in St. Mary’s Bay. Tensions have been rising once again due to out of season lobster fishing taking place. In a statement, DFO says they’re committed to a renewed relationship with Indigenous peoples, so they can exercise their Treaty rights to fish. They say many are exercising that right through the Food, Social and Ceremonial fishery, authorized by DFO. But they say it has to comply with the Fisheries Act, and they are seizing gear and laying charges for those who don’t follow the rules. DFO has been getting flack from local commercial fishers and opposition leaders, demanding that they do more to enforce the rules.  >>click to read<< 08:43

RCMP respond to Saturday boat fire at in Digby County, N.S.

The Digby RCMP officers and fire fighters responded to a report of a fishing boat that caught fire at the Sandy Cove wharf in Digby, N.S., Saturday. In a news release Sunday, police say the fire did spread from a 36-foot fishing boat to a second boat also docked at the wharf. Once the fire was extinguished, police conducted an investigation into the cause. After reviewing evidence, which included statements and video surveillance, RCMP determined a failure of electrical components on board the boat was to blame. Police say the fire was not deemed suspicious, and the investigation has been concluded. >link< 12:14

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

Nova Scotia fishers, Indigenous stakeholders call for more dialogue amid violence

As Nova Scotia RCMP continues to investigate violence on a wharf in St. Mary’s Bay, stakeholders on both sides are calling for more conversation instead of violence.  The Maritime Fishermen Union called on all levels of government, including fishers on both sides to get to the table. “Our largest concern is the conservation of the stock on St. Mary’s Bay,” Ruth Inniss, a fisheries adviser with the Maritime Fishermen Union, said. “We tried to bring all the players of the problem to the table to solve the problem. The problem clearly hasn’t been solved.” Video, >>click to read<< 09:04

‘Enforce the laws’: N.S. Liberals to feds, province on lobster dispute

As the conflict over Sipekne’katik’s moderate livelihood fishery once again heats up in St. Marys Bay, the provincial Liberal party has split from their federal counterparts. On Tuesday, Nova Scotia Liberal Leader Zach Churchill called for the provincial government to start revoking the licences of any buyers found to be purchasing lobster caught without a licence issued by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO). And he called out the federal government for a lack of enforcement of the Fisheries Act.  “We are talking about hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars of lobster being landed illegally. There has to be a disincentive. … DFO also has to enforce the laws of the land which prohibit large-scale poaching.” >>click to read<< 12:34

RCMP investigate assault, theft from First Nation lobster harvester near Digby

RCMP in Digby, N.S., are looking for suspects in an alleged theft and assault of a lobster harvester from the Sipekne’katik First Nation earlier this month in St. Mary’s Bay. The Mounties say four people stole a crate full of lobster worth $400 from a boat at the Weymouth North wharf near Digby on Aug. 2. When confronted by the owner, a Sipekne’katik woman, they dumped the lobster into the water and allegedly threw the empty crate at the owner hitting her on the arm. The victim was uninjured. The details released by the RCMP match those in an incident described by Sipekne’katik harvester Sheyanne Francis and captured in a video by Indigenous broadcaster APTN. >>click to read<< 22:03

Frustration mounting over unauthorized lobster fishing in southwestern Nova Scotia

Frustration is mounting as some fishermen and politicians in Nova Scotia speak out about the scale of unauthorized lobster fishing in the southwestern part of the province. In an interview Tuesday, Colin Sproul, of the Unified Fisheries Conservation Alliance, called the current situation in St. Marys Bay, near Digby, N.S., “outrageous” and dismissed reports of enforcement by federal fishery officials as “patently untrue.” “There is an industrial level commercial fishery taking place in St. Marys Bay,” said Sproul, although he wouldn’t say for certain by whom. Sproul didn’t mince words, however, about what he said was a lack of enforcement by the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Video, >>click to read<< 14:34

Tensions rise again over unauthorized lobster fishing in Nova Scotia

Tensions are rising in southwest Nova Scotia over unauthorized lobster fishing this summer in St. Marys Bay near Digby, with commercial fishermen and local MPs likening the situation to 2020 — when violence erupted over unauthorized Indigenous harvesting. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) said in social media posts it is monitoring lobster fishing in the area and has seized 321 lobster traps this summer. The commercial season there is closed. DFO did not respond when asked if anyone had been charged. Lobsters were released live back in the ocean, but the number of traps seized is a fraction of what is being harvested illegally, says Colin Sproul of Unified Fisheries Conservation Alliance, which represents some commercial fishermen. >>click to read<< 07:30

N.S. fishing industry, conservation groups at odds over new herring quota

Nova Scotia’s fishing industry and conservation groups are at odds over a new herring quota set by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) this season. The quota, or total allowable catch (TAC), off southwestern Nova Scotia and New Brunswick is now limited to 21,000 tonnes for 2023, an 11 per cent reduction from the previous year. The commercial herring fishery is worth about $19.5 million, according to DFO. But the new quota doesn’t sit well with Oceans North and the Ecology Action Centre. Ian McIsaac, president of the Seafood Producers Association of Nova Scotia, said the industry is disappointed that the quota was cut. >click to read< 16:31

Fall fishery finally gets underway

On calm waters on a beautiful August morning, the fall lobster season in LFA 25 finally opened on Sunday following several delays due to weather conditions. The fall fishery was scheduled to open on Aug 9, but last Monday the Department of Fisheries and Ocean (DFO) decided to delay the opening until at least Aug 10 because of unfavourable forecasts. On Aug 11, it was confirmed that the LFA 25 fall lobster season would open at 6 am on Sunday, but only to set the gear. An agreement was made there would be no lobster fishing on Sunday. Photos, >click to read< 08:44