Editor’s Notebook 50 results

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

Lobster Settlement Numbers Still a Concern

Last August, The Navigator reported on some potentially disturbing findings that emerged from the 2016 American Lobster Settlement Index (ALSI). The University of Maine-based ALSI is an annual monitoring program that quantifies the pulse of newly-settled lobsters that repopulate rocky, coastal nursery grounds in New England and Atlantic Canada. Examining this segment of the lobster life history, according to the Index, is especially valuable because it is the only time when one can identify, ...

Plant Worker Shortages Still a Chronic Problem

Everyone knows that the lobster industry is far more complex than simply setting and retrieving traps. The multi-billion-dollar Canadian lobster business is a complex web of enterprise with many imperative cogs needed to make the entire system operate smoothly, efficiently and profitably. And if one or more of these cogs is disrupted for some reason, the entire industry can suffer the effects. One such scenario played out in New Brunswick in 2016 involving a severe shortage of processing ...

Management Policy Should Never Impact Safety

On June 16, 2015, the small fishing vessel CFV 130214 was reported overdue from a fishing trip in Placentia Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador. The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre-Halifax initiated a search of the area. The next day, search and rescue personnel recovered the three deceased crew members on Bar Haven Island. The vessel was not found and is believed to have sunk. With only a few weeks left in the fishing season and none of his crab quota filled, the master was under increased ...