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* DFO official denies coverup on steelhead study

* Shark derbies kill top predators

* DFO allows fish farms despite knowing risks

* NL Fisheries Minister challenges DFO on salmon

* Can Canada save its fish habitat before it's too late?

* Lobster fishery in trouble

* Another collapse possible under DFO watch

* NL biologist critical of DFO capelin fishery policy

* DFO conflict of interest in salmon farming questioned

* Oceana Canada finds fishery mismanagement

* DFO rejects endangered label for bluefin tuna

* DFO action plan falls short of Cohen recommendations

* Heiltsuk force DFO to reduce herring quota

* DFO sides with LNG company on BC plant

* Oil lobbyist hired to advise DFO

* DFO signs MOU with NEB on fish protections

* Canada poised to gut fish protection

* DFO and Coast Guard budgets slashed

* Muzzling scientists not the answer

* DFO no longer enforcing

* DFO to protect only fish of interest to fishermen

* Journalists give DFO 'F' for free expression

* Salmon Confidential: A follow up

* Canada making poor fishery decisions

* Spreading sea lice and killing seals and sea lions

* DFO failed to protect sockeye salmon

* DFO opposes protecting salmon

* Salmon population collapse on DFO watch

* DFO putting salmon in jeopardy

* Short-sighted caplin management

* Lobster conservation needed

* DFO war on owner-operators

* DFO turns blind eye to bottom trawling dangers

* Grey seal hunt - more mismanagement

* Commercial fishing of depleted cod allowed

* Endangered species listings fall short

* DFO officer accepts bribes

* Grey seal slaughter illegal

* DFO criticized in Senate



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The Failures and Fatuities of Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans

DFO Mismanagement of the Ocean Ecology

How Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans is destroying marine ecosystems

The DFO isn't only driving the seals toward extinction, they're working on many other species, too...

Note: This is a work in progress. There is simply too much DFO incompetence to present all the evidence here at once...besides, the DFO hasn't given up on ruining the ocean ecosystems yet.



Fisheries official denies coverup allegations over research into endangered B.C. steelhead

DFO didn't publish assessment into recovery potential and edited advisory report, wildlife advocate says
Winston Szeto · CBC News · Posted: Aug 05, 2022

British Columbia - A senior official of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has denied allegations that the federal government covered up scientific findings on a unique kind of rainbow trout in B.C. in an attempt to justify continuing commercial fishing that endangers the species.

The allegations come in part from B.C. Wildlife Federation executive director Jesse Zeman, who said the federal government still won't make public peer-reviewed scientific research that concludes that fisheries should be restricted in order to save steelhead in the Thompson River and Chilcotin River from extinction.

Read the full text here.



Nova Scotia fishermen want to kill grey seals in an effort to restore cod stocks and other fish stocks. Sharks eat grey seals, along with many fish. Why kill a predator of seals if you think the seal population is too large?

Nova Scotia's shark derbies: Outdated or essential research tool?

In 2019, 77 blue sharks were landed in the province's four derbies

Katie Hartai · CBC News · Posted: Jul 25, 2021 6:00 AM AT

The only shark derbies in Canada will resume in Nova Scotia next month and they're expected to once again attract hundreds of anglers vying for the top prize in the annual events.

But some people are calling for the derbies to be cancelled, citing concerns about the long-term impacts on shark populations.

The derbies, which were cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, are scrutinized closely by DFO officials. Scientists say they offer an important window into the status of blue sharks, the species the derbies target.

Read the full text here.



Feds approved fish farms despite known concerns: documents reveal

StarMetro Vancouver
Thurs., June 14, 2018

VANCOUVER—Government documents provided to the Star this week show Fisheries and Oceans Canada was aware proposed salmon farms could have serious consequences for wild fisheries, including a prime shrimp trawling area, before issuing licenses for the B.C. projects.

The documents, obtained through Access to Information by biologist Alexandra Morton, outline concerns raised between 2014 and 2015 that proposed salmon farms could affect a long-term sea cucumber research site, and reduce the shrimp trawling area used by local fishermen.

Read the full text here.


Here DFO tries to limit recreational salmon fishing but NL's provincial fisheries minister is defiant.

‘The stakes are high’ as Newfoundland challenges Ottawa over dwindling Atlantic salmon

By Holly McKenzie-Sutter
The Canadian Press
June 24, 2018

Liberal governments in Ottawa and St. John’s are in a power struggle over the province’s fast-dwindling wild salmon.

Newfoundland and Labrador’s salmon population has declined by 45 per cent since 2015, according to an Atlantic Salmon Federation report this month.

The province, which wants more control over the recreational salmon fishery, for the first time this year set its own catch-and-release limits, on top of Ottawa’s.

But the federal and provincial limits aren’t in synch – the feds have a three-fish-a-day limit, while the province is allowing 10 fish up to July 20. Both allow fishermen to keep a single salmon.

Read the full text here.



Can Canada Save Its Fish Habitat Before It’s Too Late?

By James Wilt
Desmog Canada
November 14, 2016

Thirteen years ago, Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) issued almost 700 authorizations to projects that would negatively impact fish habitat, mostly in the resource extraction sector: forestry, mining, oil and gas.

By last fiscal year, that number had dropped to 74.

One would think that’s a positive sign. Perhaps the DFO approved far fewer projects, echoing its ambitious 1986 commitment to “no net loss” of fish habitat?

That wasn’t the case.

Read the full text here.



MEEK: All we are saying is give fish a chance

By Jim Meek
October 7, 2016


Nova Scotia's lobster fishery replaced cod as the most valuable aquatic species in Canada. The value of the fishery was over $310 million in 2014 and was expected to rise to $400 million in 2016.

The lobster stock is not being managed sustainably, according to an audit by the Julie Gelfand, the federal commissioner of the environment and sustainable development. Problems include not accounting for the effects of warming oceans, the impacts of new fishing methods, and the use of dockside fishery observers who are funded by companies in the industry.




Another cod-like collapse possible under DFO watch, says federal audit
'From my perspective, we are still at risk of having another stock potentially go into collapse'

By Paul Withers
CBC News
Oct 05, 2016

A new federal audit report warns another fish species collapse could happen again under the watch of Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

"From my perspective, we are still at risk of having another stock potentially go into collapse, similar to what happened to the [Northern] cod," said Julie Gelfand, federal commissioner of the environment and sustainable development, who released the audit this week.

Working on behalf of the federal auditor general, the commissioner looked at the management of wild fisheries in Canada between 2013 and 2016 and concluded DFO lacked the key information it needed to manage major fish stocks.

Among the findings:

  • Of 15 depleted stocks deemed "critical" because continued fishing poses a threat, the audit found only three had required rebuilding plans.
  • Of the 154 major stocks, 44 were missing required integrated fish management plans, or those plans were out of date.
  • The department failed to carry out planned scientific surveys due in part to mechanical problems on board coast guard vessels.
  • There are "systemic" problems with fishery observer programs — a vital source of information on catches at sea.

Read the full text here



Leading biologist in Newfoundland calls for end to capelin fishery

The problem with capelin fishery is that it focuses on catching female with eggs so "you're essentially fishing the next generation,” said a leading biologist in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Canadian Press
Aug. 23, 2016

HALIFAX—They are tiny fish that feed the mightiest of mammals — and they’re in trouble.

Capelin travel in large schools off Canada’s east coast and are the preferred food of many species of whales, but these silver, smelt-like fish experienced a population crash in the early 1990s from which they have yet to recover.

A leading biologist in Newfoundland and Labrador says the recovery of capelin is so important that the province’s commercial fishery for capelin roe — known as masago among sushi fans — should be stopped.

“It essentially feeds all of the large vertebrate predators in the Northwest Atlantic,” said Bill Montevecchi, a well-known research professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. John’s.

“But the population crashed, for reasons we think have to do with their food, climate change and (other factors). Nothing has been normal with capelin for two decades ... Things are out of whack.”

Read the full text here.



DFO not in conflict of interest for promoting salmon farming, minister says

Geordon Omand
The Canadian Press
August 9, 2016

VANCOUVER - Canada's fisheries minister is dismissing concerns from stakeholder groups over suggestions the government agency tasked with conserving wild fish stocks is in a conflict of interest by also being in charge of championing the salmon-farming industry.

Removing industry advocacy from the purview of Fisheries and Oceans Canada was one of the key recommendations from a 2012 report by B.C. Supreme Court Justice Bruce Cohen into the 2009 collapse of sockeye salmon in British Columbia's Fraser River.

The public mandate letter from the prime minister to the minister of fisheries and oceans, a portfolio Dominic LeBlanc took over in June, directed him to "act on recommendations of the Cohen commission on restoring sockeye salmon stocks in the Fraser River."

However, LeBlanc said the ministry's mandate to preserve fisheries is fundamental to its responsibility to promote a viable, long-term salmon-farming industry.

Read the full text here.


Here’s the Catch: How to Restore Abundance to Canada’s Oceans
New research reveals the real state of Canada’s fisheries

Oceana Canada press release
June 2016

It’s easy to say that we’ve learned from the mistakes that led to the collapse of Atlantic groundfish and other species. But have we?

To find out, Oceana Canada commissioned renowned fisheries scientists Dr. Julia K. Baum and Dr. Susanna D. Fuller to assess the state of Canada’s fisheries. The resulting report represents the most comprehensive and up-to-date public analysis ever conducted on the state of Canada’s fish.

We found that although Canada has a long history and diverse culture that connects us to our vast oceans, our fish populations are still severely depleted. Decades after the cod collapse we still have not recovered our ocean abundance. The report also outlines the extent to which overfishing and decades of poor management practices continue to impact Canada’s fish populations.

Some key findings of this report include:

  • Only 24% of Canada’s fish stocks are considered healthy.
  • The health of 45% of Canada’s fish stocks cannot be determined due to a lack of data.
  • Canada’s seafood industry, although economically prosperous, is dependent on a small number of shellfish species. The lack of diversity makes coastal communities and the Canadian seafood industry vulnerable, as communities could have little to fall back on if these stocks decline.

Now, armed with this information, we need to act. Oceana Canada calls on the government and all Canadians to protect and rebuild our nation’s fisheries and the oceans that support them.

Read a summary of the report. Read the individual species stock assessments.



Fishermen relieved Atlantic bluefin tuna dodges endangered species label
Species-at-risk designation would have 'significant socioeconomic cost,' says DFO

By Paul Withers
CBC News
Aug 29, 2016

Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans has rejected advice to list the Atlantic bluefin tuna as an endangered species.

The long-awaited recommendation should preserve the region's $10-million bluefin tuna fishery, industry representatives say.

The department says western Atlantic bluefin tuna stocks have been rebuilding since 2011, when the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada said tuna should be listed as an endangered species under federal species-at-risk legislation.

Read more.


DFO lands in Richmond to announce action plan on fish
But Minister stops short on all Cohen recommendations as 2016 sockeye run could dip below one million

Graeme Wood / Richmond News
August 12, 2016

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada announced Tuesday it is taking “further action” on the 75 recommendations of the 2012 Cohen Commission, which sought to address declining Fraser River sockeye salmon runs.

Twenty-nine new employees will be hired for the Pacific Region to help implement many of the recommendations, according to Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard Hon. Dominic LeBlanc said

However, there was no commitment that all of the recommendations will be fully implemented yet.

Read more.



Bella Bella herring fishery to re-open with much smaller catch
Agreement comes after First Nation's occupation of DFO offices in March 2015

Jan. 19, 2016
By Radio West
CBC News

Less than a year after members of the Heiltsuk First Nation occupied federal fisheries offices in Bella Bella, the two parties have reached an agreement over the Pacific herring fishery.

Last March the Department of Fisheries and Oceans opened up the herring roe fishery in the Spiller Channel, which the Heiltsuk Tribal Council said should have remained closed to preserve herring stocks.

Eventually, after a tense few days, the federal government agreed to shut down the fishery, and the two parties began working on a joint management plan for the stocks.

Read the full text here.




Pacific NorthWest LNG assessment underestimated risks to salmon, study claims

Scientific study challenges whether risk to juvenile salmon was properly known but Ottawa stands by decision
Lisa Johnson · CBC News · Posted: Nov 09, 2016 5:32 PM PT

Federal approval of a controversial liquefied natural gas export terminal on British Columbia's North Coast underestimated impacts on juvenile wild salmon, according to a new scientific study published today.

The study looked at how migrating salmon use the Skeena River estuary, including a sandy area with eelgrass beds called Flora Bank, near Lelu Island where Petronas-backed Pacific NorthWest LNG plans to build an $11-billion export terminal.

Using chemical markers, the authors found juvenile salmon are eating and growing in the estuary for days to weeks, making it more of a nursery than just a migration route.

"Salmon were not just passing through. They were rearing for an extended period of time," said lead author and Simon Fraser University professor Jonathan Moore.

"Alteration of this habitat has greater risks to salmon populations than assumed in the environmental assessment," the paper states in the peer-reviewed journal, Marine Ecology Progress Series.

Read the full text here.



Top oil lobbyist was hired to help negotiate transfer of Experimental Lakes Area

By Stephen Maher, Postmedia News
January 28, 2014

Summary of this article:

The Experimental Lakes Area is a freshwater research facility that was funded by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) until 2012, when it shut down the facility. In making its decision to shut down the facility, the DFO did not consult with scientists who worked there. Instead, the DFO paid Gerry Protti, a petroleum lobbyist and donor to the Conservative riding association of Calgary Center North in 2008 (when the environment minister hailed from there) $21,000 in consulting fees. DFO official Dave Gillis said the DFO hoped Protti would help the International Institute for Sustainable Development take over the facility. Protti arranged a meeting between scientists, Canada's Oil Sands Innovation Alliance representatives, and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers representatives, but nothing came of this meeting. Finally, in July, the Ontario government said that it would provide up to $2 million per year to keep the facility open.




Harper guts more fish protections: NEB takes over habitat along pipelines

by Damien Gillis
Posted January 11, 2014

It’s the latest in a long line of efforts by the Harper Government to dismantle Canada’s environmental laws in order to facilitate energy development. In a memorandum of understanding between the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the National Energy Board – quietly released just before Christmas - DFO relinquished much of its oversight of fish habitat in pipeline corridors.

The decision means that Enbridge and Kinder Morgan – which formally filed its own pipeline application on December 16, the same day the NEB memo was made public – will no longer need to obtain permits from DFO to alter habitat for their projects. “Fish and fish habitat along those pipelines is now the responsibility of the Alberta-based, energy friendly National Energy Board,” notes Robin Rowland of Northwest Energy News, who broke the story yesterday.
NEB takes point on fisheries, species at risk

Read the full text here.



Canada poised to 'gut' fish protection laws, biologist claims

Move would make it easier for projects like Calgary-based Enbridge Inc.'s Northern Gateway pipeline to B.C. to clear federal hurdles

By PETER O'NEIL, Vancouver Sun January 8, 2013


Prime Minister Harper's administration is planning to change the wording of laws that are designed to protect fish habitat in order to facilitate industry projects like the Enbridge North Gateway pipeline in British Columbia. This was brought to public attention by retired fisheries biologist Otto Langer.

Statement were made by NDP MP Fin Donnelly Tuesday in the House of Commons, criticizing the changes, but Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield made statements in support of weakening provisions intended to protect fish habitat, which are a frequent concern of industry lobbyists.



The axeman cometh for DFO and Coast Guard?
Federal cuts raise serious questions about fish management and offshore enforcement

By Jamie Baker
CBC News
Posted: Jan 05, 2014 5:36 AM NT

Some things are hard to explain even by the most verbose of politically astute minds.

The ongoing gutting/changing of budgets and services at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and the Canadian Coast Guard are beginning to defy logic.

A recent article in Postmedia News by Mike De Souza outlined the depth and breadth of the situation and in doing so sent a shock-wave through the fishing and marine communities.

The story said that there will be $100 million in cuts and upwards of 500 jobs lost at DFO in many high profile areas in the very near future.

Read the full text here.


Muzzling scientists not the answer

by Clare Ogilvie

October 24, 2013


The Harper government's policy of muzzling scientists has led to protests. A survey of federal scientists by Environics Research for the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada showed that 90% of respondants felt that they could not speak freely about their work. The survey found that, according to 62% of the scientists at Environment Canada and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), the government is not incorporating the best climate-change science into its policies, and about the same percentage of DFO scientists said that changes to the Fisheries Act have hampered their ability to protect fish..

The New York Times alleged that the Harper government silenced publicly funded scientists in order to ensure that oil production from oil sands continues without criticism.



DFO no longer enforcing
Harvesters being asked to 'self-assess,' mayor told

Brian Wilford
Oceanside Star
October 3, 2013 12:00 AM


Oceanside, Vancouver residents have been trying to get the local governments to stop commercial fishermen from posing as tourists and stripping all the geoducks, clams, and oysters from the area's beaches. Qualicum Beach Mayor Teunis Westbroek brought up the issue with DFO officials but was told that, rather than enforcing fisheries laws, the DFO is now relying on fishermen's "self-assessment" of conformance with laws.A federal bill that passed last year gutted the Fisheries Act and introduced "self-regulation" to the fishing industry.



Controversial changes to Fisheries Act guided by industry demands


OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail

Published Monday, Aug. 05 2013, 9:51 PM EDT


After consulting with representatives of industries, including energy and utility companies, the Harper government made changes to the Fisheries Act. These changes make it more difficult to protect fish habitat. Now, only actions that cause "serious harm" to fish “that are part of a commercial, recreational or aboriginal fisheries, or to fish that support such a fishery” would be prohibited. Environmental groups were also consulted, but their views were ignored.



DFO gets F in free expression from journalism group
Annual report gives improved grade to Access to Information program

CBC News
Posted: May 2, 2013 5:24 PM ET

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has been given an F in an annual Canadian press freedom report card.

Although the federal government as a whole received a C-, Fisheries and Oceans Canada was singled out "for its zeal in muzzling scientists and keeping critical research findings from Canadians," said a news release from Canadian Journalists for Free Expression Thursday.

Read the full text here.



Salmon Confidential: A Follow Up

Tumbler Ridge News
April 22, 2013
By Lynsey Kitching


The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) is failing the salmon. The film "Salmon Confidential," exposed problems with DFO protocols for protecting BC's wild salmon from diseases caused by farmed salmon in farms along the salmon migration route.

The Cohen Commission criticized the DFO handling of salmon regulation and research. It's report on salmon said that the DFO has not conducted sufficient research to assess the effects of pathogens from fish farms on wild sockeye salmon. The Commission cited a lack of information on infectious salmon anemia virus and on the effects of Caligus infection from fish farms on sockeye. The Commission said that sea lice from fish farms acting alone did not cause the decline of Fraser River sockeye, but in combination with other factors, it may have contributed to the decline



Canada making poor fishery decisions: report

Published on February 13, 2012



Canada is failing to live up to its own laws and to international and national obligations, according to a Royal Society of Canada scientific panel. This is because Canada has not adopted science-based targets for protecting fisheries. One problem is that the fisheries minister has too much power and makes decisions not based on fisheries science, but based on politics.Another major issue is the undue influence of the fishing industry on policy-making.

Read the full report: "Sustaining Canada's Marine Biodiversity: Responding to the Challenges Posed by Climate Change, Fisheries and Aquaculture."



Seals And Sea Lions Pay The Price For B.C. Salmon Farming

By Jeff Matthews, Contributor
Scientist, Environmental Activist
April 11, 2016

British Columbians were shocked to learn of the recent slaughter of 15 California sea lions by salmon farmers on the west coast of Vancouver Island. But the killing of marine mammals at open-pen salmon feedlots is nothing new. And the cumulative death toll is horrifying.

The most recent killings, disclosed on March 30 by salmon farming giant Cermaq, took place in December of last year at their Binns Island salmon farm north of Tofino.

Read the full text here.



Ottawa left endangered sockeye unprotected

VANCOUVER— From Wednesday's Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, May. 31, 2011 6:54PM EDT
Last updated Tuesday, May. 31, 2011 7:00PM EDT


The Cohen Commission of inquiry found that the DFO failed to protect a particular population of sockeye salmon, the Cultus Lake population, due to the cost to the fishing industry of shutting down the fishery. These fish are often caught in nets intended for other salmon. It was identified in 2004 as facing a high probability of extinction, which would normally trigger the Species At Risk Act. As a result of this DFO failure, this population is on the brink of extinction today.

Rather than stopping or reducing fishing, the DFO killed predatory fish in Cultus Lake and created a hatchery program for the salmon to no avail. The Cultus sockeye population fell from the historical average of about 20,000 per year to a four-year average of 1,000 spawning fish.



Shatner beams his way into B.C. salmon debate

The Canadian Press

Date: Thursday Jun. 10, 2010 5:04 PM ET

VANCOUVER — William Shatner wants British Columbia's wild salmon to live long and prosper.

The Canadian icon, made famous for his work as Capt. James T. Kirk in the "Star Trek" series, has waded into efforts to protect wild fish from sea lice.

B.C. aquaculture critics have long accused farmed fish of spreading parasites to wild stocks.

Fin Donnelly, the federal New Democrat Fisheries and Oceans critic, introduced a private member's bill last month that would force fish farm operators to move from open nets along the B.C. coast to closed-containment systems.

Shatner joined Donnelly on a conference call Thursday in which he urged Canadians to prevent their precious resources from being destroyed.

Read the full text here.



Millions of missing fish signal crisis on the Fraser River

More than nine million sockeye have vanished from B.C. river. How it happened remains a mystery

Mark Hume
Vancouver — From Thursday's Globe and Mail
Published on Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2009 7:57PM EDT


A record number of sockeye salmon smolts spawned in 2005 - almost 9 million - and were expected to return this year, after migrating out of the lakes in 2007. However, instead of an expected 10.6 million to 13 million sockeye in the Fraser river, only 1.7 million have returned.

Some people, including Dr. Alexandra Morton, who predicted the collapse of the pink salmon runs of the Broughton Archipelago due to sea lice, say that salmon farms are likely suspects in the disappearance of the wild sockeye. Dr. Morton said that researchers found that Fraser sockeye smolts were infested with sea lice as they passed through the Georgia Strait, but, where there are no fish farms, the salmon are doing well.


Overfishing pushing salmon stocks near collapse, study warns


Globe and Mail Update

December 3, 2008 at 5:13 AM EST

VANCOUVER — Salmon stocks in British Columbia are on the brink of collapse largely because the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans has consistently allowed too many fish to be killed in commercial and recreational fisheries, according to a new research paper.

The high exploitation of stocks - which draws parallels with the destruction of Atlantic cod by overfishing - may be more to blame for the decline of Pacific salmon than global warming or poor ocean conditions, says the study assessing salmon management practices, published today by the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.

Read the full text here.



Caplin roll again in revived fishery

Wednesday, July 18, 2007 | 11:03 AM NT
CBC News

Fishing vessels have returned to waters off Newfoundland for the first time in years for a commercial harvest of caplin, despite warnings that the health of the stock may be fleeting.

"Basically, right now, there's more caplin than we've seen I'd say in 20 years," said Kevin Slaney, owner of one of a handful of boats chasing the small fish in Conception Bay.

Read the full text here.



It's not too late - yet ( EDITORIAL)

Last updated at 11:40 AM on 13/07/07

The Amherst Citizen


The Fisheries Resource Conservation Council issued a report citing high risks to the lobster population from over-fishing. The Northumberland Strait is one of the areas in which the population of lobsters is in decline while fishing is increasing.

It is time for strong conservation measures so that the lobster population does not collapse like the cod population did years ago.



The secret war to sink owner-operator fishermen

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA | Sunday October 15, 2006


The DFO has rules that are intended to limit consolidation in the fishery industry and prevent control of fisheries from concentrating in the hands of large fishing enterprises. Among these rules are the requirement that the fishery license holder be the active fisherman for any vessel under 65 feet in length. Licenses to catch lobsters, for example, cannot be traded, leased, or sold to someone who is not the fisherman.

These rules have not been enforced for years, with fishing companies gaining control over many licenses through both secret trust agreements and overt sales and leases of licenses. This is threatening the future of "owner-operator" fishermen.



Atlantic & East Coast Report
Canada Turns a Blind Eye to Protecting Our Oceans

By Myles Higgins Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans recently released a report entitled, "Impacts of Trawl Gears and Scallop Dredges on Benthic Habitats, Populations and Communities". This report clearly shows the horrific impact of bottom dragging on fish habitats.

In the report it is identified that, "...measures to reduce impacts of mobile bottom-contacting gears requires case specific analysis and planning. There are no universally appropriate fixes...".

Sorry folks, but you are wrong again as usual. There is indeed a universally appropriate fix. Legislate a complete ban on all bottom dragging gear.

Read the full commentary here.


Grey seal hunt "epitome of inappropriate management’

Tuesday August 22, 2006
By BRIAN MEDEL Yarmouth Bureau


The DFO gave a fishing industry group, "the Grey Seal Research and Development Society," the green light to kill 10,000 grey seals. Nova Scotia Fish Packers Association Executive Director, Denny Morrow, said they were testing the appetite for grey seal meat in Asia.

The grey seal population has grown too large, according to fishermen. They cite diminished shark populations as a possible cause for the increase in the grey seal population.

In opposition to the grey seal hunt, a group called the Grey Seal Conservation Society, was formed. This group advocates for an ecosystem approach to fisheries management and an end to long-lining.



Small cod fishery reopens off Newfoundland, but conservation concerns linger

Canadian Press
June 8, 2006 - 17:32


For the first time in three years, fishermen will be able to catch Atlantic cod in eastern and northern Newfoundland. Recreational fishermen will also be able to catch cod this year. Fisheries Minister Loyola Hearn made this decisions because this is "what most people have asked for."

As many as 2,300 commercial fishermen will be allowed to catch 1,350 kg of cod each, for a total catch of 1,552 metric tons of cod. While fishermen rejoice, Ransom Myers, a fisheries biologist at Dalhousie University in Halifax, said the DFO should have maintained the ban on fishing northern cod.


Northern Bottlenose Whale (Scotian Shelf) and Channel Darter protected under the Species at Risk Act

Minister of Fisheries press release

OTTAWA -- The Honourable Loyola Hearn, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, today announced that two aquatic species will be added to the list of species protected under the Species at Risk Act (SARA).

The Northern bottlenose whale (Scotian Shelf) and the channel darter will be listed under SARA, bringing the total number of species protected under the Act to 347.

"The government looked at each species very carefully when deciding whether to list it under SARA," said Minister Hearn. "These decisions have real impacts on Canadians and it's critical that we consider all of the information, including scientific assessments, Aboriginal traditional knowledge, the feedback we received from thousands of Canadians, as well as the social and economic impacts of listing these species."

The Northern bottlenose whale (Scotian Shelf) and the channel darter were part of a larger group of 12 aquatic species which underwent an extended period of consultation while under consideration for addition to SARA.

Four species will not be listed under SARA, including three populations of Atlantic cod (Newfoundland & Labrador, Laurentian North and Maritimes). Comprehensive recovery plans for cod will be completed and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) will continue to pursue strong conservation measures with the provinces, fishers and key stakeholders.

Following the public posting of the recommendations, a decision was also made to not list Interior Fraser River coho salmon under SARA. Extensive protection measures are already in place and will be continued under the Fisheries Act. Although Interior Fraser River coho remains a concern, the department is confident that it has the tools to rebuild the species.

Six species' assessments will be returned to the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) for further information or consideration, including Atlantic cod (Arctic population), cusk, bocaccio, harbour porpoise (NW Atlantic population), Lake Winnipeg physa, and shortjaw cisco.

More information regarding the Species at Risk Act is available on the SARA Public Registry at www.sararegistry.gc.ca. Information on aquatic species at risk is available at www.aquaticspeciesatrisk.gc.ca.

Info: Sophie Galarneau Manager, Media Relations Fisheries and Oceans Canada Ottawa (613) 990-7537 or Steve Outhouse, Office of the Minister, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, (613) 992-3474



Sierra Club Canada Response:

Canada Abandons Endangered Species: Wild salmon, Northern Cod on the way to extinction

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

(Ottawa, Victoria) - Sierra Club of Canada expressed its outrage that the federal government has decided not to list Interior Fraser Coho in the west and Northern Cod on the east coast. Clear scientific advice from the Committee on the Status of Species at Risk in Canada (COSEWIC) has been ignored. Advice from scientists within the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has been rejected.

“Canada has clearly abandoned any pretence that we, as a country, care about the protection of endangered species,” said Sierra Club of Canada’s British Columbia Conservation Chair Vicky Husband. “This is the government’s message to the world. How can we ever urge the protection of endangered species in other countries, when we fail to protect them at home?”

The British Columbia Chapter of the Sierra Club of Canada particularly lamented the damage to the Wild Salmon Policy that is part and parcel of this decision. The federal Species at Risk Act (SARA) should operate to support the efforts to recover wild salmon. SARA must be a critical decision point which strengthens actions taken in the implementation of the Wild Salmon Policy (WSP). SCC argues that the Minister’s decision spells the end to SARA being a useful tool for the conservation of salmon, and it extracts the teeth from the WSP.

“Without an effective SARA, the Wild Salmon Policy is undermined,” said Vicky Husband of the BC Chapter’s fisheries programme. “It took us seven years to finally get a Wild Salmon Policy and now it appears as endangered as the salmon it seeks to protect. I am profoundly saddened by this decision and by the lack of leadership shown by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Minister of the Environment, they are ultimately responsible if these species go extinct.”

“This decision has implications well beyond salmon and cod,” said Executive Director Elizabeth May, “If we can’t use federal law to protect Thompson coho and the Northern Cod, we can’t use the law to protect anything else. And if Canada, the ninth largest economy on earth, the only nation with balanced books in the OECD, cannot protect endangered species, then what country can?”

SARA is the federal government’s primary instrument for endangered species protection. The listing of a species was intended by Parliament to be primarily a scientific exercise. Concerns about socio-economic implications can be considered later, throughout the recovery process.

“There is a widespread misunderstanding about the Act,” continued Elizabeth May. “It is anything but Draconian. There are many opportunities to exempt economic activity that incidentally kills a listed species and even to decide that it is not feasible to try to recover a species. These options are available after listing. Failure to list denies the species, and those who wish to protect it, access to additional funds for recovery as well as to a consultative process to develop the best way to protect species while continuing economic activity. Failure to list is the ultimate abdication of responsibility to species at risk of extinction.”

Vicky Husband, BC Chapter, Conservation Chair, 250 920-9355
Elizabeth May, Executive Director, 613-241-4611
Rachel Plotkin, Director of Forests and Biodiversity, 613-241-4611


It pays to be a corrupt DFO fisheries observer. $10,000 clams, to be exact

Dockside monitor claims she accepted bribes

BY JAMIE BAKER, The Telegram
Wednesday, March 15, 2006


DFO's dockside observer Brenda Dyson pleaded guilty to accepting bribes from a fish company in return for misreporting 115,000 pounds of crabs caught by the company in Black Tickle, Labrador over a three-year period. Dyson said that she received $17,000 in bribes between 2001 and 2003. She worked for Labrador Sea Products during this time and was a dockside observer (part of the DFO's outsourcing of fisheries enforcement to the companies themselves). Dyson's fine for taking the bribes was $7,000, leaving her with a net profit of $10,000 from her crimes.



DFO Officers Encourage Illegal Grey Seal Slaughter

reported by Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

In the last posting on our website on this issue (2/24/06), we reported that the Canadian Federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) Officers turned a blind eye to the activities of nine Cape Breton fishermen who cruelly and illegally slaughtered 220 gray seals in a protected wilderness area of Nova Scotia.

It appears now that the DFO officers actually encouraged the illegal slaughter.

"We were encouraging it," DFO spokesman Jerry Conway said on 2/23/06, a day after the men received summonses from provincial Natural Resources Department conservation officers as they stepped onto the dock Tuesday at Main-a-Dieu, Cape Breton County.

The pending charges are under the Wildlife Act, the Wilderness Protection Act, and the Environment Act. The nine men are to appear in Sydney provincial court on May 8.

The men killed the seals on Hay Island, a small outcropping off Scatarie Island, a provincially-designated wildlife management area. Because it lies within 1.6 kilometers off Scatarie, Hay Island is automatically included in the management area, a fact that at least two levels of government say they were unaware of.

"Not only wasn't this department (DFO) aware that Hay Island was not considered to be part of Scatarie, but the provincial Fisheries Department weren't aware, because both were encouraging the development of this fishery," Mr. Conway said, adding that when the seal hunt was established, sealers were informed they could harvest gray seals from Cape North through to the Bay of Fundy. No specific areas were closed to them."

So both the Federal and Provincial Fisheries Department were admittedly ignorant of the fact that this was a protected area.

"This is the kind of ignorance routinely displayed by the Canadian Department of Fisheries," said Captain Paul Watson. “Here they are in charge of protecting wildlife, and yet, they admit they don't know where the boundaries are."

A letter from the Natural Resources Department in 2003 alerted both government departments to this area being off limits, Mr. Conway admitted.

And as recently as three weeks ago, a group trying to develop a sealing industry in Nova Scotia was lobbying Provincial Environment Minister Kerry Morash to allow seals to be slaughtered specifically on Hay Island.

"The minister advised them that Hay Island is not open to hunting and they subsequently have been advised again and by DFO and DNR officers that there was to be no hunting on Hay Island and they chose to ignore that advice," Mr. Conway admitted.

Ewen MacIntyre, spokesman for the Natural Resources Department in Coxheath, said DFO regulates the seal fishery and that his department is involved simply due to the location of the hunt.

"As far as we are concerned, the onus is on the sealers to know where they can and cannot hunt," he said.

Victoria-The Lakes MLA Gerald Sampson says he was approached last month by a number of northern Victoria County seal hunters who want Hay Island excluded from the wildlife management designation.

"They told me that they had harvested seals there previously and wanted permission to harvest seals there again," he said, adding he directed them to Mr. Morash and Neil Bellefontaine, a senior DFO official.

"I don't know if they received permission or if that was the group that was charged," he said.

Jay Luger, spokesman for the Grey Seal Research and Development Society, which wants to develop a grey seal industry, has refused to comment on the illegal slaughter on Hay Island.

It is expected that the arrested sealers will use the fact that DFO encouraged them to kill seals as their defense on the charges. It is also expected that the courts will be lenient.

"It is not as if they did something serious like photograph a seal hunt," said Captain Paul Watson. "Eleven of my crew were sentenced to jail for 22 days or a fine of $1,000 for the "crime" of witnessing the slaughter of one seal. These bastards viciously slaughtered 220 seals illegally and I bet their sentence, if they in fact are even found guilty, will be significantly more lenient than those convicted of trying to stop the killing of the seals. Justice is not blind in Canada; it is applied with great clarity and prejudice."


Criticizing the DFO in Canada's Senate

Proceedings found on website of the Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia


I read that DFO feels that 136 years of the Fisheries Act or a bunch of fisheries acts are out of date and must be modernized. It is not the fisheries policies that must be modernized; rather, DFO must be modernized. It is an anachronism and has been since the British North America Act was first developed.

When Canada emerged as a nation in 1867, the oceans indicated where our boundaries were and the oceans were the strength of Canada in our linkages to Britain and to the West Indies, for example, through the fish trade. The fish trade was the essence of our wealth.

It is a long time since that has been the case. Fisheries were brought under the federal government because they were so important for wealth creation for the new nation. But since that is no longer the case, we now have a department that is under the federal government and a long way from the communities with which it does most of its work. The problem is that the department has no accountability.

Read the full text here.





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