On the Waterfront – September 2015

Bill and Stanley Oyster Company Increasing Production

Bill and Stanley Oyster Co. Ltd. will be better equipped to meet the ever-growing domestic and international demand for Prince Edward Island oysters, thanks to support from the federal government.

The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency will be providing $701,932 in repayable assistance for two projects for Bill and Stanley Oyster Co. Ltd.

These projects will help the company purchase new oyster grading and aquaculture equipment to expand their current operation, improve efficiency and productivity, and meet growing market demand for their product. The new technology will enable the company to reduce costs and grow revenues.

The oyster industry on Prince Edward Island operates in the spring and a fall seasons, and employs approximately 1,300 people each year.


NEWDOCK Wins Contract for CCGS Edward Cornwallis Refit

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans recently awarded a $2.6-million contract to NEWDOCK St. John’s Dockyard Limited for important refit and maintenance work for the CCGS Edward Cornwallis.

The Canadian Coast Guard Ship (CCGS) Edward Cornwallis is a high-endurance multi-tasked vessel, light icebreaker and buoy tending vessel based in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. It was named for Lieutenant General Edward Cornwallis, the first Governor of Nova Scotia and founder of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Funding for this project is provided under the Federal Infrastructure Initiative announced in November 2014. Under this initiative, the Canadian Coast Guard received $183 million for repair, life extension, and procurement of vessels and small craft.

Maintenance work includes refurbishment of the hull, galley deck, tanks, propeller tail shaft and auxiliary and domestic systems. Work was scheduled to begin in August 2015 and be completed by October 2015.


Love Our Lobster Campaign Continues to Grow

The support by Islanders and tourists for Prince Edward Island lobster is clear from the continued success of the Love our Lobster campaign, says Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Alan McIsaac.

“Since Love our Lobster began, we have seen a huge growth not only in the number of retailers participating but the number of people getting out and buying lobster,” said McIsaac.

“The lobster industry is an important contributor to the province providing jobs in our rural communities and helping expand the provincial economy. It is great to see such support for our Island fishers and the industry.”

More than 1,200 fishers are involved in the lobster fishery. In 2014, 29.7 million pounds were landed with an overall landed value of $117 million.


ASF Salmon Tracking Tags Found on Shores of Greenland and Ireland

Researchers with the Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) have been able to locate two missing satellite pop-off tags used in salmon tracking research.

The tags were found on beaches in Greenland and Ireland, thousands of kilometres from where they were first released in New Brunswick on wild Atlantic salmon last year.

Each year, ASF researchers surgically attach pop-off tags to selected salmon allowing them to track their movement from the river to feeding grounds in the ocean. The tags measure light, depth and temperature to calculate a daily position for the fish. They store the data until a pre-determined date when they pop off and begin transmission. ASF researchers are using the data to pinpoint the reasons for high mortality at sea.

On May 10, 2014, ASF researchers tagged a 93-centimetre, 6.1-kilogram kelt in the Red Bank area on the Northwest Miramichi River in New Brunswick. The fish was one of eleven tagged that year.

“The tagged fish descended the river and spent the next several months in the western Gulf of St. Lawrence before heading to the North Atlantic via the Strait of Belle Isle,” said ASF Biologist Graham Chafe.

“It wandered out to the edge of the continental shelf briefly before heading back somewhat closer to the coast of Labrador. At the northern tip of the province, it headed in a generally eastern direction to Greenland’s western coast where it spent the month of September last year. The tag later popped off the fish as it was programmed to do and then transmitted its recorded data to us via ARGOS satellites. The fish was alive and well at the time of pop-off.”

For the next three weeks, ASF researchers were able to track the pop-off tag as it drifted out on the open sea between Greenland and Baffin Island, but the battery eventually died and transmission ceased. A few weeks ago, it was found on the shores of Greenland in Disko Bay and returned to ASF.

A second pop-off tag, also from a salmon tagged in 2014, was found on the shores of Ireland last month by a family travelling on vacation just north of the Shannon estuary. The family has been in contact with Chafe via email and he is hoping to see that tag returned in the near future.


Yarmouth-based Crew Rescued Off Coast of Massachusetts

On July 20, the U.S. Coast Guard rescued the crew of the 16-metre fishing boat Scotia Provider about 240 kilometres off the coast of Cape Cod, Mass., when its engine room began taking on water.

The three men — 74-year-old captain Artie Dakin, Gordon Crowley and Michael Pyne — abandoned ship and took shelter in a life-raft.

The owner of the ship, Georges d’Eon of Yarmouth, told media the crew left Denis wharf Saturday around 10 p.m. in search of red fish.

D’Eon said the vessel lost all power about 12:30 p.m. Monday, leaving the crew with no electronics and no engine. There was no way to pump out the half metre of water that was flooding the engine room.

The coast guard command centre in Boston received the beacon and two aircraft from Air Station Cape Cod were sent. A number of fishing vessels in the area and a U.S. Coast Guard cutter diverted to help in the rescue.

This is the second time crew member Crowley had to be rescued after his vessel sank. In June, the Bear Cove Point sank on Georges Bank and the crew, along with Crowley, were picked up by another boat.


N.L. Team Frees Right Whale off Nova Scotia

A first-ever deployment of Newfoundland’s Whale Release and Strandings group to the waters off Nova Scotia resulted in a chance encounter with an entangled rare right whale.

Wayne Ledwell and assistant Everett Sacrey were in Nova Scotia responding to a call for assistance to free an entangled humpback whale in the waters off Ingonish, Nova Scotia.

Fisheries officers had placed a satellite tagging device on the gear attached to the whale.

However, the humpback kept moving farther offshore and eventually beyond the safe range for them to continue.

That’s when Ledwell spotted another whale in distress. It was a right whale that had become entangled in the ropes attached to a large crab pot.

North Atlantic right whales are among the rarest of all marine mammal species, with their population estimated at between 400 and 500.

Ledwell told media it was tangled in the heaviest rope he’d ever seen and the rope was embedded deep into its flesh.

It took a couple of hours, but the large male was eventually freed.


Tidal Research Projects Worth $1.43 Million Involve N.S. Venture With U.K.

Nova Scotia is working with the United Kingdom on two new projects to further research and technology in the tidal energy industry.

The projects were announced in a statement from the Offshore Energy Research Association of Nova Scotia in July. The combined $1.43-million cost was funded in part by independent non-profits, energy companies and research centres.

The tidal energy sector is still quite new and researchers for the two projects will be working to figure out the mechanics of the technology as well as its potential environmental impact.

One of the projects, according to a news release, will centre on developing sensor systems to measure turbulence in strong currents, in order to build sufficient equipment to withstand the ocean forces.

The other will be anchored at the Cape Sharp Tidal centre in the Bay of Fundy and will study the impact of tidal turbines on marine wildlife.

The only way to track the fish and mammals is through sonar technology.

“The water is too murky to put a camera down there and too deep to dive,” said Stephen Dempsey, executive director of the offshore research association, one of the financial backers of the projects. “The only thing you can do is listen.

“There’s no off-the-shelf sensor technology that will work. In high-flow environments, there’s too much background noise to pick out the animal sounds. New technology has to be developed to separate sound origins.”

The turbines used are akin to a jet engine, but on a much larger scale. Each device weighs over a thousand tonnes and is over 16 metres in diameter.

Both of the research projects will be carried out in the Bay of Fundy, as well as in Scotland’s Orkney Islands, the other hub of tidal technology development on the opposite side of the Atlantic.


Groundfish Recovery Continues in North Sea

Cod and plaice in the North Sea have recovered from the brink of collapse after tighter controls were introduced, a study has found.

Cod stocks in the region are growing so rapidly that they could soon be removed from the ‘fish to avoid’ list produced for shoppers by the Marine Conservation Society. Strict limits were imposed on North Sea catches of cod in 2006 after decades of overfishing.

The latest assessment of fish stocks across the northeast Atlantic by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, a scientific body that advises governments, suggests that the British fishing industry has a long-term future if it continues to fish sustainably. The council said that plaice in the North Sea was at a “record high level” and that the breeding stock of cod was recovering well.


It Tastes Like Bacon!

Oregon State University researchers have patented a new strain of a succulent red marine algae called dulse that grows extraordinarily quickly, is packed full of protein and has an unusual trait when it is cooked.

This seaweed tastes like bacon.

Dulse (Palmaria sp.) grows in the wild along the Pacific and Atlantic coastlines. It is harvested and usually sold for up to $90 a pound in dried form as a cooking ingredient or nutritional supplement.

But researcher Chris Langdon and colleagues at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center have created and patented a new strain of dulse — one he has been growing for the past 15 years.

This strain, which looks like translucent red lettuce, is an excellent source of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants — and it contains up to 16 percent protein in dry weight, Langdon said.

The technology of growing abalone and dulse has been successfully implemented on a commercial scale by the Big Island Abalone Corporation in Hawaii.


First U.S. Electric Vessel to Be Launched in 2016

The first all-electric passenger boat in the U.S., the Tongass Rain, is scheduled to be on the water in Juneau, Alaska next year.

Once its propulsion system is signed off by the Coast Guard, building of the 50-foot eco-tour boat will get underway at Armstrong Marine in Port Angeles, Washington.

The company is also looking at adapting the technology for fishing vessels, but says chillers and compressors for the fish hold are a big power draw and the lithium batteries do pose challenges.

Another challenge right now is price — the Tongass Rain, for example, will use 10 five kilowatt batteries at $5,000 each.

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