A Call for Cross-Border Collaboration
Canada’s Commitment to North Atlantic Right Whales
Since 2017, many of us in the Canadian lobster industry feel like we’ve been trapped in a South Park episode.
There has been a steady drumbeat eager to blame Canada for the plight of North Atlantic right whales (NARWs). The unfair red-listing by Seafood Watch just adds fuel to the fire.
Right whales were rarely observed in the Gulf of St. Lawrence until recently. Historically, they never ventured much beyond their norther...
Tracking Whales With Sound
This Could Be a Promising Innovation, Provided it is Used Properly
The presence of North Atlantic right whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence comes with major challenges: understanding where these whales are found, how many there are and what they do.
Several techniques exist to obtain answers to these questions, including observation from vessel and aerial surveys, tagging and even drones. Another major category of solutions lies in acoustic devices, whether they are underwater ...
Roseway Basin Closure Brings Halt to Fishing for Some in Southwest Nova Scotia
For the third year in a row, the presence of North Atlantic right whales has prompted the temporary closure of the Roseway Basin in southwestern Nova Scotia.
“This is the first time this season North Atlantic right whales have been detected and temporary closures triggered in Roseway Basin. Similar detections and closures have occurred in Roseway Basin in 2018 and 2019,” said Barre Campbell, DFO media relations.
The Roseway Basin temporary closure came on Sept. 14, bring a halt to ...
The Fisheries Problem from Hell: Right Whales and Gear Entanglement
The North Atlantic right whale population is hovering at the brink of failure, with around 400 surviving individuals.
In some years, there has been some population increase and in other years not. But the fact is that unintentional killing of right whales through both ship strikes and gear entanglements is preventing the population from increasing to a safer level and exacerbating the risk the entire species will go extinct.
Although the population increased between 1990 and 2010, since ...
No Dead Whales in the Gulf — Now What?
For many fishermen, the 2018 snow crab fishery in the Gulf of St. Lawrence will probably be filed away as one to forget.
The 2018 season was delayed in opening by the presence of heavy ice in the bays and ports of the region. And once the fishery finally opened, catch rates were much lower than 2017.
However, the biggest disruption to the valuable fishery was the closure of crab fishing areas due to the arrival of right whales in the Gulf. At least 18 North Atlantic right whales had been ...
Right Whales: Reason Needs to Outweigh Reaction
I have worked for the Grand Manan Fishermen’s Association for 25 years.
It’s been a good career; there’s always something new in the fishery. I’ve gotten to know some great people both locally and across the country.
I come from a fishing family; my father, brother and brother-in-law are all fishermen. I have a strong attachment to what I do and why I do it.
While as a fishing community, we have the same seasonality markers as most places (Christmas, Easter, Canada Day, ...
Protecting the Right Whale Must be a Collaborative Effort
Much has been written about the ongoing challenge of protecting the North Atlantic right whale (NARW) along the Eastern seaboard of the U.S. and in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.
The impact the 18 reported deaths in 2017 has had on the entire NARW population cannot be understated.
The issue in many cases has been a lack of substantiated facts with regards to specific fisheries and the ongoing commitment by key fisheries to protect the NARW.
The Canadian lobster fishery is one of those key ...
More Input Needed Before Fishery Closures Implemented
I have recently been watching the federal government in Ottawa and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans from the comfort of my home.
“Robust, science-based, coherent measures to protect these highly endangered North Atlantic right whales. We’re really playing Russian roulette with the entire future of the Canadian fish and seafood industry,” Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc was quoted to say.
Very strong words. But wait a minute. Don’t we live in Canada? What about our ...
Ropeless Fishing Gear Technology Surfaces Once Again
The conservation efforts of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) to protect North Atlantic right whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence continue to delay, interrupt or even shut down numerous valuable fisheries.
To date, fisheries involving snow crab, toad crab, rock crab, lobster, whelk, turbot, winter flounder and halibut have, in some way, been negatively impacted by new right whale-related restrictions. As long as right whales continue to be seen in the Gulf, such restrictions will ...
Gulf Crab Fishery in Disarray
To say this year’s snow crab fishery in the Gulf of St. Lawrence has been a challenging one, would be an understatement.
The 2018 season was delayed in opening by the presence of heavy ice in the bays and ports of the region. And once the fishery finally opened, catch rates were much lower than last year.
However, the biggest disruption to the valuable fishery was the closure of crab fishing areas due to the arrival of right whales in the Gulf. At least 18 North Atlantic right whales ...