Tag Archives: Prince Edward Island

P.E.I. bait company puts seal meat plans on ice, fearing U.S. fallout

Bait Masters Inc. started producing bait sausages in its $1.4-million facility in Nine Mile Creek in April 2021, using a mix of fish, fish oil and other organic matter inside a biodegradable casing. In March, the company did a test run of sausages using a seal-mackerel mix and the results were promising. However, as word spread that the bait would contain seal byproducts, that triggered some red flags in the fishing industry because of U.S. rules around the seal harvest, laid out in the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act. Prevost received an email that was being circulated to people in the lobster industry, warning of the implications if seal were to be used in trap bait. Photos, >click to read< 07:29

North Atlantic right whales causing ‘mess’ for P.E.I. lobster crews forced to move traps

Due to federal protocols, fishers had until Tuesday at 5 p.m. AT to move their gear out of waters deeper than 10 fathoms, about 18 metres, to protect the whales sighted late last week. The measure will last for 15 days, unless the whales are still in the area. Then the fishing area would be closed for at least another 15 days. “That’s not going to be good,” said Tony Clements, who fishes out of Northport. “We’re hoping for the best,” said David Henderson, who also moved 120 of his traps out of the closed zone. Out of 1,260 fishers, about 700 have already fully or partly converted to the whale-safe gear that will be mandatory by 2024. >click to read< 16:57

‘Aggravation’ expected when part of lobster fishing area closes

Chris Wall is among those being asked by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to remove all their gear from a portion of lobster fishing area 24 before it closes on Tuesday at 5 p.m. due to the confirmed sighting of a North Atlantic right whale. “It will affect the bottom line because I think you’re going to find more people in a smaller area trying to catch the same amount of lobsters,” Wall said. “So … it will affect everybody. It’s just going to cause some aggravation, for sure.” Wall isn’t aware of any right whale ever getting caught in lobster fishing gear on P.E.I., he said. >click to read< 08:56

Right whale sighting shuts down lobster fishing section for at least 15 days

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is asking lobster fishers to remove all gear in a portion of Lobster Fishing Area 24 within the next 96 hours due to the confirmed sighting of a North Atlantic right whale. The whale was at the 10 and 20 fathom line in LFA 24 off the Island’s northern coast, the P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association said in a release. Charlie McGeoghegan, chair of the P.E.I. Lobster Marketing Board, said the early closure is “very disappointing.”  “It’s the heart of our season.” >click to read< 11:36

For Atlantic Canada, Fishing Season Brings Yet More Violence

In the early morning dark of April 12, 2023, violence erupted along a Nova Scotia riverbank after a man engaged a woman and a youth in a heated argument. Soon after, seven people arrived. One allegedly assaulted the man with a pipe while another stood nearby wielding a knife and a taser. When the RCMP later arrested two members of the group a short distance away, the officers found two shotguns and a taser. Conflict around elvers is not new, nor is it the only fishery in Atlantic Canada that’s seen so much turmoil. Whether it’s around elvers, lobsters, or something else, “this will continue to play out, and play out, and play out, until the government deals with the issues on the table.” >click to read< 08:05

How warming waters around P.E.I. could affect snow crab and lobster

Research scientist Joël Chassé says as the atmosphere warms, the ocean waters around P.E.I. are also heating up. “Changes are happening. It’s not deniable anymore. And if the these changes don’t slow down, we will have to adapt to these changes.” Chassé said there are implications for some fish species, some positive and some negative. Fisheries and Oceans biologist Tobie Surette said that while lobster is a warm water coastal species, snow crab prefer deeper, colder waters. “Lobster has largely benefited from the warming climates, at least so far,” he said. Surette said they don’t know exactly why that is. (Snow Crab) And for now, they are doing well: “We’re at the third-highest biomass in the history of the survey right now.” But Surette knows that could change. He has been in contact with snow crab scientists from Alaska. Photos, >click to read< 18:51

P.E.I. snow crab fishers thankful for big catches as price plummets

Snow crab fishers on P.E.I. say the price they’re getting for their catch is lower than it’s been in years. Crab fishers were getting $8 a pound at the wharf last year. This year, the price has plummeted to $2.25. Fishers in some other parts of the Atlantic region are staying off the water because of the low price. Meanwhile, Island snow crab fishers have wrapped up their season. Carter Hutt, who heads the P.E.I. Snow Crab Association, said the catch was so good this year, he made his full quota in just a couple weeks. The Northport fisherman said that with the price so low and expenses so high, it was the one thing that saved him from losing money. “If you make a trip for 5,000 pounds or come in with 20,000, it basically costs you the same amount for that trip,” he said.>click to read< 19:42

No excuse for low lobster prices

The prices being paid to PEI lobster fishers a week into the 2023 season are underwhelming, with most getting $6.50 a pound for canners and $7 for markets. Last year fishermen were paid anywhere from $7 to $9 a pound, while in 2021 prices soared as high as $11. At Graham’s Pond, Travis Graham’s crew has been getting $6.50 for canners and $7.25 for markets. He said he doesn’t think much of those rates, but he’s optimistic things will get better. Edwin McKie, who fishes out of Fortune Harbour, said his crew has also been getting $6.50 to $7 on their tickets. But he expects things to get better. A friend in Maine told him prices there dropped from $10 to $7, and there isn’t a lot of lobster coming to shore there either. >click to read< 11:21

P.E.I. fishers call spring lobster prices ‘a slap in the face’

Harvesters say they’re getting between $6.50 and $7 per pound from processors — less than last year, and about half what they were getting a few years ago. “That price we got in 2006, and you could buy a fishing fleet in 2006 for $200,000 and now they’re $1.5 million to $2 million. Everything has gone up … bait, fuel, engines, pickup trucks, rope, traps, buoys, everything,” McGeoghegan said. “So to expect us to go fishing for a price that’s 18 years old is a slap in the face. And we know for a fact … that the demand is high, higher than it’s been in the last 10 years, and supply is the lowest it’s been in 10 years.” Photos, >click to read< 07:52

Lobster fishers set traps off Covehead, P.E.I., with Fiona still on their minds

In many ways, Saturday was like any other setting day for lobster fishers at Covehead Harbour, P.E.I. There was some good-natured teasing as the captain and deck hands heaved the 50-pound traps onto the boats over and over until there was just enough room to squeeze themselves in before starting the engines and heading off to sea. But, thanks to post-tropical storm Fiona last fall, it was also not like any other setting day. But how the storm affected the lobsters crawling along the ocean floor was something on the mind of Allan Coady, a member of the Covehead Harbour authority whose family has been fishing lobster for four generations. “We’re really anxious to get out there and get our first pick and see what they look like because after that storm nobody really knows,,, Photos, >click to read< 19:41

Lennox Island, DFO strike deal for 2023 moderate livelihood lobster fishery off P.E.I.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans says it has struck a deal with Lennox Island First Nation for a treaty-protected lobster fishery off P.E.I.’s North Shore for the 2023 spring season. In a statement to CBC News, DFO says the one-year interim understanding was reached on Wednesday. The band had said its boats would begin to set about 1,000 lobster traps on Saturday with or without DFO approval. “The Government of Canada is committed to advancing First Nations’ Supreme Court-affirmed treaty right to fish,” DFO officials said in a statement sent to CBC News on Friday. “Designated community members are authorized to fish up to 1,000 traps total in Lobster Fishing Area (LFA) 24 during the spring 2023 commercial lobster season … >click to read< 15:40

PHOTOS: Setting Day 2023 at eastern PEI harbours

Lobster fishers in south side harbours, LFA 26A, set their traps on Wednesday morning to kick off the spring season for 2023. Graphic reporters visited harbours in Fortune, Graham’s Pond, Murray Harbour, Souris, Montague, Beach Point and Annandale. The north side, LFA 24, will set sail on Saturday morning. Graham’s Pond wharf was still shrouded in darkness as the Katie & Kelcie lobster boat, captained by Mackie Dixon, headed for open water with their first load of traps. Josh Lewis photo, >click to see 8 photos< 10:25

‘It’s the best time of year’: P.E.I. 2023 lobster fishing season opens on south shore April 26

The 2023 spring lobster fishing season opens this week along P.E.I.’s south shore, and excitement is building for what could be one of the nicest setting days in years.  This year, there will be two opening days for the spring lobster season. Setting day for harbours along the south shore will be on Wednesday, April 26 – four days earlier than the traditional setting day of April 30. general manager for the Souris Harbour Authority, told SaltWire during an interview on April 24 he is excited about the early start. “It’s the best time of the year,” Daggett said. “We’d give up Christmas for it. It’s the best.”  >click to read< 11:17

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

Impact of bait closure heightens

The Atlantic spring herring fishery will not reopen this year, and while no decision has been made on mackerel yet, the stock remains deep in the critical zone.  When the closure was announced in 2022, fishers already had bait stored up from the previous year. This year they expect to feel the full effects with the higher cost of sourcing alternatives. Allen Fay, a former bait fisherman out of North Lake who now fishes lobster, tuna and halibut, says the bait bill could double. It will be especially hard on younger fishers just getting into the industry who are already paying a lot for gear. Like many fishers, as well as the PEI Fishermen’s Association, he feels the closure doesn’t make sense because Americans will continue to fish the same mackerel stocks. >click to read< 11:53

P.E.I. company adding seal meat to produce ‘Cadillac’ of baits

Bait Masters started producing bait sausages in its $1.4-million facility in Nine Mile Creek in April 2021, using a mix of fish, fish oil and other organic matter in a biodegradable casing. Now the recipe is changing. “Part of that decision came from fishermen who requested it, and part of it came from the abundance of seal, and needing to find a use for… the product,” said co-owner Mark Prevost. “So far, I think seal would probably be one of the higher end as far as quality goes, with oil and fat. I would consider it the Cadillac of all the baits that we’ve tried to make. Photos, >click to read< 07:47

P.E.I. fishermen concerned mackerel fishery won’t open in 2023

P.E.I. fishermen are worried they won’t be able to fish mackerel to use for bait this spring. Last March, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans put a moratorium on commercial fishing for mackerel across the East Coast. At the time, DFO said mackerel stocks were low and needed time to recover. Some fishermen say it’s impacting landings, and that not being able to fish their own mackerel for bait is hurting business. “With the U.S. fishing, I mean, they already issued their quota for the year and here we are not knowing yet, but you know, what we don’t catch they’re gonna catch and it’s actually worse for the fishery,” said Trevor Barlow, lobster fisherman and co-chair of the mackerel committee with the P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association. >click to read< 08:55

Meet the next generation boatbuilder taking over the family business – Jaxen Doucette has been an entrepreneur since age nine

“I always wanted to do something with business and never, ever wanted to work for somebody else. I always wanted to do my own thing. And here we are.” Now, he runs the fibreglass boat-building business in Miminegash, P.E.I., with his family’s name over the door. Doucette’s Boat Building builds 45-foot fibreglass fishing boats and employs 12 people year-round, though they take an extended break in the summer due to the heat.  The company usually has four boats on the go, Doucette said, and finishes one per month. The company was founded in 1990 by Jimmy Doucette, Jaxen’s grandfather. He took over earlier this year after the elder Doucette died.  “He built six or seven of his own wooden boats and then they took a mold off the last wooden boat, which gives us our fibreglass boat.” Photos, >click to read< 10:39

Fisheries Department scrambled to claw back ‘ill-timed’ lobster tweet during Fiona

Some people can’t see the forest for the trees. Others can’t see the hurricane for the lobsters. On Sept. 24, around 9 a.m. Atlantic time, a few hours after Hurricane Fiona had slowed slightly into a post-tropical cyclone and slammed into Nova Scotia, the federal Fisheries Department issued two preplanned posts on Twitter and Facebook. The first urged everyone to avoid the coastline and stay safe. The second warned them off helping themselves to wayward lobsters. “As well, if you find lobsters washed up on the shore after the storm, remember it is illegal to harvest them,” it read. “Simply leave them there.” >click to read< 10:17

P.E.I. fishermen getting more time to start using breakaway lines that protect right whales

When the deaths of dozens of right whales made headlines in 2017, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans took notice. It saw that whales were getting tangled in fishing gear and dying when they couldn’t escape. So, the department set a deadline for Canadian fixed gear (trap) fisheries to begin using breakaway lead lines that would allow anything weighing 1,700 pounds or more to break free. That deadline was extended last year until 2023, and last month it was extended for another year, said Melanie Griffin, a marine biologist with the P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association. >click to read< 10:48

P.E.I. fishermen welcome extension on deadline for gear to protect whales

Some members of the P.E.I. fishing community are welcoming DFO’s decision to extend the deadline for break-free fishing gear until 2024. This is when fishers will be required to use gear designed to break under 1,700 pounds to help species like the endangered North Atlantic right whale escape during an entanglement. “I mean, we’re certainly happy to see it extended,” said Marvin Jollymore, a lobster and eel fisher from New London, P.E.I.  “There’s so many questions as to, you know, how long does [the gear] last? You put it in, does it last one season? Does it last two seasons, does it last forever? Is it only good for half a season?” >click to read< 07:59

Remains found in P.E.I. those of N.B. teen who fell off fishing boat: RCMP

Police say human remains found in Prince Edward Island in September are those of a teenage boy who fell off a fishing boat in New Brunswick in August. The RCMP responded to a report that human remains had been found in the water near Skinners Pond, P.E.I., around 11:30 a.m. on Sept. 29, 2022. At the time, police said it was possible the remains could be connected to the disappearance of 15-year-old Justin Landry. On Monday, the RCMP confirmed the remains have been positively identified as those of Landry. >click to read< August 30, 2022 – RCMP divers take over search for teen who fell overboard from fishing boat>click to read<

Looking to get into lobster fishing? You’ll need deep pockets

Mark Hackett is a broker who works with people looking to buy and sell fishing licences, boats and gear, such as traps.  He recently retired after 50 years of fishing for lobster out of Seacow Pond in western P.E.I. Hackett said these are the highest prices he’s ever seen — up to $1.8 million in some cases. “I never ever thought they’d be as high as they are now. It could start dropping, or it could go higher. I have no idea. Seems like there’s no downturn yet. It could drop right down, depending on the interest rate,” he said.  It was different when Hackett got into the fishery. >click to read< 07:56

One wharf to be ready by spring at Red Head Harbour

When fishers at Red Head Harbour assessed the damage to the north side port after Hurricane Fiona in September the outlook appeared grim. But work that is set to begin in the new year should have one wharf ready for the 2023 spring lobster season, said Harbour Authority president David Sansom. The east wharf, which was the least damaged infrastructure at the harbour in Morell will be addressed first. Repairs were necessary following an unprecedented tidal surge inside the bullpen. There are 32 lobster fleets and up to eight mussel and oyster boats that call the harbour home. >click to read< 11:27

How do you show a lobster some love? A Cape Breton researcher has plenty of ideas

Michelle Theriault, a marine biologist at Université Sainte-Anne, tells her students to heap loving care on lobsters destined to markets in Auckland and Athabasca – and everywhere in between. So, how do you dote on lobsters? I dropped in on one of Theriault’s Zoom classes for lobster exporters to get some answers to that question. And while she was narrow-casting her class from the University’s Marine Research Centre at Petit-de-Grat, Cape Breton, lobster fishers were headed to sea to dump their traps on the opening day of the winter season south of Halifax. >click to read< 16:22

Is Sausage the Missing Link in the Great Bait Debate?

Imagine you’ve got a lobster in front of you, bright red and softly steaming. There’s a fish in that picture, too, though you can’t see it—the fish that was tucked into a trap to lure in the lobster that could end up on your dinner plate. There’s no fish visible in the thick sausage Wally MacPhee lifts off the top of a half pallet of cardboard boxes either, even if it smells of the sea and has a piscine give to it when squeezed. But he’s hoping lobsters won’t know that—for the fishers’ sake, and for the sake of the small silvery baitfish this partially frozen cylinder is meant to replace. >click to read< 09:14

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

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

After Fiona’s wrath, Atlantic fishing communities look to rebuild livelihoods

All week, fishermen across Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were left to reckon with the damage left in Fiona’s wake, and to the region’s industry, which exports more than $4.5-billion worth of seafood each year. But as officials plan for the future, they face two competing priorities: the need to rebuild fast to be ready for the coming fishing season and the need to rethink infrastructure entirely in the face of climate change – a costlier, and potentially slower, approach.  “PEI’s a mess. Newfoundland’s a mess. Nova Scotia’s a mess. And it’s all the same people who are fixing them,” said Leonard LeBlanc, President of the Gulf Nova Scotia Fishermen’s Coalition >click to read< 10:03

With thousands of traps lost to Fiona, N.B. lobster fishermen ask for extended season

The fishing season for Zone 25, which includes fishermen along the Northumberland Strait in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, began on Aug. 9 and was scheduled to end on Oct. 12, said Luc LeBlanc, an advisor with the Maritime Fishermen’s Union. However, with early reports those fishermen may have lost about half of all of their lobster traps, LeBlanc said the plan is to ask the Department of Fisheries and Oceans for the season to be extended until at least Oct. 15. LeBlanc said there are 388 lobster fishermen in Zone 25, with each using 250 traps at a time. That means around 42,000 traps are unaccounted for. >click to read< 07:35

Body found as Canada struggles to restore power after storm – ‘Everything is unusable’

Hundreds of thousands of people in Atlantic Canada remained without power Sunday and officials said they found the body of a woman swept into the sea after former Hurricane Fiona washed away houses, stripped off roofs and blocked roads across the country’s Atlantic provinces. After surging north from the Caribbean, Fiona came ashore before dawn Saturday as a post-tropical cyclone, battering Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Quebec with hurricane-strength winds, rains and waves. >click to read<

‘Everything is unusable’: Fishers, farmers assess damage as Fiona wreaks havoc on industry – Officials have said areas exposed to storm surges have seen the most severe damage from the storm. In Morell, the Red Head Harbour wharf was almost completely totalled. Ken Drake was one of the fishers who spent Friday night there keeping an eye on their boats. He said all the boats have at least some damage. >click to read< 08:05