Tag Archives: Prince Edward Island

P.E.I.’s snow crab season wrapping up as right whale protection begins 

An early start to the season is paying off for many P.E.I. snow crab fishers, with good catches and better prices than last year. An added bonus: for the second straight year, most will have caught their quota before endangered North Atlantic right whales move into the Gulf of St. Lawrence, prompting protective measures to prevent entanglement in fishing gear. Alden Gaudet said fishers are much better prepared this year than they were two years ago in case of closures due to right whales.   “This year, we’ve lobbied to be able to immediately remove our buoys from these traps and use this ropeless, on-demand [system, without having to wait 48 hours to reset back in these areas. So it will make things a lot easier,” he said. Photos, Video, more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 07:42

P.E.I. harbours face challenges with approach of lobster season

The spring lobster season on Prince Edward Island is just a few weeks away, but some harbours are facing challenges as Island fishermen prepare to head out and set their traps. At Malpeque Harbour, windy weather has slowed down efforts to clear the winding channel that they will take on setting day. “They’ve had a real hard time this year due to weather,” said fisherman Timothy Wall, who has been fishing for 30 years, following the occupation of his father and grandfather. “They’ve been on the site for two weeks already, and they can’t even get to the outside of the harbour, just the weather hasn’t been fit. Moving the harbour deeper into Malpeque Bay, where there is less moving sand, could be an option, said Wall, but there are no certain answers. Video, photos, more, >>click to read<< 11:12

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

P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association calls for more timely, better monitoring in wake of federal report

Executive director Ian MacPherson said a recent report from the federal environment commissioner underlined the importance of doing more, and better science, especially as the crucial herring and mackerel fisheries remain closed to Island fishers.  “Herring and mackerel are the big ones here on Prince Edward Island, important fisheries to us, and we’d like to get them reopened — and we realize these are science-based decisions, but you need accurate and timely information,” MacPherson said. >>click to read<< 06:38

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

P.E.I. company excited by new report promoting electric lobster boats

AKA Energy Systems is hoping to launch its own all-electric lobster boat within the next year, following up on its work with hybrid vessels. “We got our first hybrid boat out in the summer, so that’s something that we’ve been working on for a couple of years,” said Jason Aspin, AKA’s CEO. The Oceans North report said the key to jumpstarting the shift is for governments to set a “market signal” by setting clear targets for emission reductions, as has occurred in the motor vehicle sector.  The study calls for Ottawa to include commercial fisheries in its marine climate action plan and set the goal of having “at least 10 per cent of the lobster fleet, about 300 boats, powered by electricity or zero-emission fuels such as green hydrogen by 2030.” >>click to read<< 08:33

P.E.I. fisherman fined for catching both undersized and female lobsters with eggs attached

An eastern P.E.I. fisherman has been fined more than $8,000 for having both undersized and female lobsters with eggs attached in his catch. Thang Quoc Tran, 66, pleaded guilty to the two charges under the federal Fisheries Act on Aug. 24 in provincial court in Georgetown. Federal Crown attorney Matthew Bradley told the court that on May 31, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) officers were at the Launching Harbour (fishing area 26-A) conducting compliance inspections. Tran’s fishing vessel was inspected, and officers located 77 undersized lobsters and three female lobsters with eggs. One of the female lobsters was also undersized. >>click to read<< 14:58

PEI Fishermen’s Association seeks vendor proposals for pilot hybrid vessel propulsion program

“What we’re looking at is alternative propulsion sources for fishing boats, which will include electric or some component of electric,” says Ian MacPherson, senior adviser for the Prince Edward Island Fishermen’s Association (PEIFA). As the representative organization for all core fishers in PEI, the PEIFA’s work includes advocating for members and exploring ways in which to improve operating efficiency. This project was hatched four years ago after discussions between MacPherson and PEIFA President Bobby Jenkins on modifications to increase onboard operating efficiency. To that end, the PEIFA is now requesting proposals from companies for marine propulsions systems that are suitable for 45-foot inshore fishing boats. The selected equipment will be tested in a pilot program. It will run in the spring and fall of 2024, with cost-shared funding provided by the Atlantic Fisheries Fund. >click to read< 14:45

‘Alarm bells should be going off’: P.E.I. fishers reflects on low prices, poor weather throughout 2023 spring lobster season

Charlie McGeoghegan, chair of the P.E.I. lobster marketing board, wants answers as to why the price of lobster per pound was so low throughout the 2023 spring season.  According to McGeoghegan, the price of lobster was $13.50 per pound up until the start of the season when it suddenly dropped by more than six dollars. As a result, fishers in the province lost more than $300 million in revenue, as the yield last year was more than 47 million pounds.  “Alarm bells should be going off with the province as well, that’s a lot of revenue,” said McGeoghegan.  Lobster fisher Art MacDonald of Souris said he’s had a hard time remembering a colder and wetter fishing season.  >click to read< 17:07

Unfavourable forecasts continue to keep P.E.I. lobster boats off water

Wednesday was supposed to be trap setting day for the fall fishery, which operates in the Northumberland Strait along the south coast from North Cape to Victoria-by-the-Sea, as well as off northern New Brunswick. But crews and officials decided to delay the start of the season during a weather conference call with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Tuesday. Another call Wednesday afternoon ended with no consensus on a Friday opening, so another call will be held at 10 a.m. AT Thursday to consider updated forecasts. The P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association says that means Saturday will be the earliest possible opening day. >click to read< 10:43

Fall lobster fishers hoping for a prosperous season

“We always look forward to going fishing,” said Mark Arsenault, president of the Prince County Fishermen’s Association. “It’s a gamble, you look to see if you’ve got a winning hand or not.” While prices have been looking good in the lead up to the season that starts on Aug. 9, one concern on the minds of fishers is if there will be any more grid closures should any more North Atlantic Right Whales be spotted in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. “There’s an area that’s closed and it looks like it’s going to be closed until November,” said Mr Arsenault. “It’s deep water, from the 24/25 line to probably close to Miminegash. We’re trying to get a two week closure instead of a seasonal closure, but time will tell how that will go.” >click to read< 08:54

Cutting-edge hybrid boat built by a P.E.I. company goes to its new home in New Brunswick

The vessel and the green technology were developed by P.E.I. engineering company Aspin Kemp & Associates.  The lobster boat is called Hybrid One. Company CEO Jason Kemp said making a hybrid system work in smaller fishing vessels has been a challenge. “Because on the bigger vessels, a million dollar or multi-million dollar system can be justified as a cost, where on a small fishing vessel, it’s not. So we had to take a couple of decades of learning, and apply that to this concept to get those costs down and shrink the physical size of it down to integrate it into the repulsion system,” he said. Panmure Island lobster fisher Dana Lavers has been testing out the vessel for Aspin Kemp for the past few months. Photos,>click to read< 10:49

Expect more temporary closures of P.E.I. lobster fishery, DFO says

Future in-season closures of the P.E.I. lobster fishery are not out of the question as more endangered right whales are spotted in shallow waters, says Fisheries and Oceans Canada. A portion of Lobster Fishing Area 24 was shut down in May after two right whales were spotted off P.E.I.’s north shore. It was the first time DFO had to close off that part of the area due to a whale sighting, and it meant lobster crews had to move their traps to shallower waters. It’s likely not the last time it will happen, said Brett Gilchrist, DFO’s director of national programs. Video, >click to read< 15:25

P.E.I. fishermen compete for $1,000 in lobster trap stacking competition in Summerside

Sweat dripped down Ryan Murphy’s face as he caught his breath after winning the Journal Pioneer Lobster Trap Stacking Competition in Summerside on July 6. “The last one, I couldn’t feel my legs there. They were a little bit rubbery,” said Murphy, laughing. Altogether, only four of P.E.I.’s toughest lobster fishermen tested their strength and competed for a grand prize of $1,000. The competition has been part of the Summerside Lobster Carnival at Credit Union Place for a number of years. The fisherman had to move eight lobster traps about nine metres across the fairgrounds on a sweltering summer evening. >click to read< 11:12

Canada: Positioning for redfish re-opening

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

Lobster catches down – ugly spring brings wind and cold

North Lake fisher Kent Poole, who is also the president of the Eastern Kings Fisherman’s Association, said there were struggles along different harbours, particularly on the north shore where last fall’s hurricane left a path of destruction. “They were seeing a lot of damaged lobsters, shells broken and half shells coming up in the traps. Whether you could attribute that to (Hurricane) Fiona, I’m not sure, but they’d never seen it before,” Mr Poole said. On the south side, Souris fisher Max MacDonald said the water temperature remained low. “It was a slow start for about the first three weeks and things kind of got rolling after that and it has been pretty steady,” the captain of Strait Ahead said. >click to read< 09:03

23% of P.E.I. lobster boats inspected by DFO in May blitz violated Fisheries Act

Thirty-one out of 135 lobster fishing boats inspected in a blitz investigation in P.E.I. were found to be in violation of the Fisheries Act. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans conducted the inspection in Lobster Fishing Area 24 (North Shore), and 26A and 26B (East Point to Wood Islands to Victoria) between May 30 and 31. Written warnings are given in circumstances like a fisher not having a copy of their fishing licence on the boat at the time of inspection. But four of the violations were for summary offences. >click to read< 12:56

Areas closed to protect North Atlantic Right whales ready to re-open Friday in western P.E.I.

Charlie McGeoghegan, the chair of the Lobster Fishers of P.E.I., said the re-opening is good news. “They were fishing in 80 to 100 feet of water, a lot of them, and the lobster had just started to come on in that area. And then they were forced to pull all the gear out of that area and move it into 60 feet of water or less,” he said. “There’s basically 400 boats in that area or close to it. If you take all those boats and put them in a little narrow strip between the shoreline and 60 feet depth of water … it’s an over-congestion of gear.” McGeoghegan said losses over the past two weeks could be significant for some crews. >click to read< 14:28

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