In The News – September 2021

Canadian government offers money for whale-safe fishing gear

The Canadian government announced a new $20-million Whalesafe Gear Adoption Fund in August. The new program is available to individual fishermen, non-profit organizations and academics wanting to test and refine whale-safe gear, as well as the companies making it. Up to $10 million is available during this first round of proposals, with another application process taking place in 2022. The federal government plans to make this type of gear mandatory for fishermen across the Maritimes and Gulf of St. Lawrence fishing regions by the beginning of the 2023 fishing season. Canadian fishermen have been encouraged to try whale-safe gear, but up until now the only funding help was the Atlantic Fisheries Fund, which required the applicant to cover 20% of the cost of the equipment.

Nantucket residents file lawsuit to protect right whales from wind project

A group of Nantucket residents is filing a lawsuit to block the construction of dozens of wind turbines off the coast of the Massachusetts island and nearby Martha’s Vineyard. Members of Nantucket Residents Against Turbines say Vineyard Wind’s proposed 62-turbine project 14 miles south of Nantucket poses a risk to the endangered Northern Atlantic right whale. The project site is located in a federal wind energy area, about 15 miles southwest of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. “The MA/RI wind lease areas cover one of the whale’s last strongholds, for migration, foraging and raising their young,” the group stated on its website. “We are concerned with the adverse impacts from the increased construction vessel traffic, pile driving, and operational noise on the critically endangered NARW.”

MCFA unveils new office

The new home of Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association! Times Record photo

The Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association opened its new offices at 93 Pleasant Street in Brunswick to the public on August 12. Prior to the Pleasant Street location, the organization was based in the Fort Andross Mill in Topsham. Executive director Ben Martens was hired in 2011; since then the organization has grown to five employees. The new building, which was recently painted and renovated, gives the organization much-needed conference space. One of the organization’s principal goals during the next five years is to provide opportunities for fishermen to diversify into other fisheries, according to Martens.

China seafood prices soar during first half of 2021

Seafood prices in China are soaring, according to an article in SeafoodSource.com. The country’s overall seafood price index was up 17.2% in the first six months of 2021, suggesting tightened supply. Even with higher prices driven by growing demand, Chinese importers are struggling to get supply due to strong demand in other consumer markets. Larger-than-foreseen demand from the U.S. means less supply for clients in China, especially lobster, crab, and capelin. Demand for live lobsters is strong, with prices for North American lobsters “consistently high” despite the fact that frozen rock lobsters from Australia are now able to enter China by air, after months during which Australian lobsters were locked out of the country.

Lobster Council of Canada awarded marketing funds

The Canadian Fish and Seafood Opportunities Fund (CFSOF) recently award the Lobster Council of Canada $662,400 (CD) for activities to support the implementation of a generic marketing and promotional strategy for Canadian lobster in domestic and export markets, as well as to support industry capacity development in relation to market research to manage ongoing and emerging market access issues. The CFSOF is a federal, provincial and territorial program that focuses on a national approach to key market access issues and branding opportunities in order to maximize the value of Canada’s fish and seafood sector.

Great white sharks moving north

Great white sharks are becoming more common in the waters of Nova Scotia and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Of the 70 sharks that the non-profit shark organization Ocearch has tagged along the U.S. and Canadian Atlantic coast, about half a dozen have ventured up into the northern part of Nova Scotia and around into the Gulf. Even more linger along the southeast coast of Nova Scotia. Great white sharks prefer cooler waters. With climate change pushing warmer waters further north each year, researchers believe it is possible that more and more great white sharks will be moving into Atlantic Canada.

Atlantic White Shark Conservancy photo.
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