Editorial 52 results

PFDs: A Regulatory Disconnect

On September 5, 2015, the fishing vessel Caledonian capsized 20 nautical miles west of Nootka Sound, British Columbia. At the time, the vessel was trawling for hake with four crew members onboard. Following the capsizing, the master and mate climbed onto the overturned hull and remained there for several hours. When the vessel eventually sank, the master and mate abandoned it and the mate swam toward and boarded the life raft. The Canadian Coast Guard subsequently rescued the mate and ...

Dealing with Trends and Countertrends

As the end of this decade starts to draw closer, climate change and the subsequent warming of the world’s oceans, notably the Northwest Atlantic Ocean, continues to be a major concern for the North American fishing industry. Nowhere is this warming phenomenon more present than in the nearby Gulf of Maine. The Gulf of Maine stretches from Cape Cod to Nova Scotia and it is a key intersection between cold water masses from the Arctic and warm water masses from the Gulf Stream. The National ...

A Small Fish in a Big Pond

For generations in Atlantic Canada, the fishery was a small, insular industry where fishermen harvested fish and sold it to a local merchant. The fishing seasons changed, but the process remained pretty much unchanged for hundreds of years. However, as technology changed and advanced at a near incomprehensible pace in the last few decades, fishermen in this region are waking up to find themselves involved in the huge juggernaut that is the international fishing industry. It is always ...

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 ...

2018: The Sharper the Blast, the Sooner it Will Pass?

Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us: American author Hal Borland. So good readers, were any lasting lessons learned in 2018 that will better the fishery of the future? What events transpired over the last 12 months that could impact the way the commercial fishery evolves in the years and decades to come? Perhaps the best analogy one could use to describe the fishing year that was is to compare it to the ...

Fishing Safety: Much Work to be Done

The winter season is nearly upon us. While some fishermen are hauling up their boats, storing gear and evaluating the season that was, many harvesters are just getting started. In just a few weeks, more than 1,600 harvesters in lobster fishing areas (LFAs) 33-34 will be hitting the water to prosecute one of the largest and most lucrative lobster fisheries on the planet. The countdown to dumping day 2018 is on. The planning and preparation for this multi-million-dollar fishery is ...

Wilkinson’s Marching Orders

It has now been nearly three months since Jonathan Wilkinson was appointed the new Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Canadian Coast Guard by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. By now, Minister Wilkinson’s handlers have been working overtime getting him up to speed on the numerous contentious and ever-changing files in this closely watched and oftentimes controversial department. Just ask his predecessor. It would be an understatement to say that numerous decisions by New Brunswick native ...

Frequency and Severity of Storms a Growing Concern for Industry

When the wind is in the east, it’s good for neither man nor beast. When the wind is in the north, the old folk should not venture forth. When the wind is in the south, it blows the bait in the fishes’ mouth. When the wind is in the west, it is of all the winds the best. If only the science of climatology was as simplistic as this old weather saying. The only thing predictable about the weather in Atlantic Canada is its unpredictability. That statement is not exactly going to shock ...

It is Time to Upset the Apple Cart

For the hardcore Harry Potter fans out there, you probably already know that the motto of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus — translated as “never tickle a sleeping dragon.” For the second year in a row, it appears the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) is taking no chances in tickling any of the dragons that regularly participate in the annual recreational groundfish fishery. Once again, DFO has balked at the idea of implementing ...

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 ...