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Calvin the Calico Lobster

  • Research Indicates Drastic Changes To Fish Species Populations With Rising Ocean Temperatures 
  • Surge of Canadian Halibut Pushing Prices Down to Five Year Low
  • Nova Scotia lobster fishermen help scientists track health of species
  • Seafood Mislabelling Fraud in Canada
  • Maine Lobstermen Will Lose if South Korean Trade Deal is Killed 
  • Canada Announced a $325 Million Budget for the Atlantic Fisheries Fund
  • Nova Scotia Lobstermen Want Province to Adopt Limited Entry Licensing System
  • Canadian seafood industry braces for new U.S. traceability rules  
  • Haddock Biomass in Bay of Fundy and Geoges Bank Potentially Massive
  • Canadian Exporters Chartering Planes to Expedite Live Lobster Shipments to China    
  • Foreign Buyers are Seeking to Illegally Buy Canadian Lobster Licenses in Southwest Nova             
  • Growing Interest In High Pressure Lobster Processing 
  • Qatar Airways Cargo Launches New Seafood-Focused Routes          
  • Clare Lobster Company Gets $1-million Repayable Contribution From Federal Government
  • Pigfeed Market From Ireland Seaweed
  • Seafood Shipments to China from Portland (PDX) Maine
  • Halifax Airport Doubles Lobster Shipments in Two Years
  • Canada Accused Of Poor Tracking Of Fish Stock Data  
  • Canada - Fish Resources Poorly Tracked
  • Gentler Handling of Live Lobsters  

Research Indicates Drastic Changes To Fish Species Populations With Rising Ocean Temperatures.

Two new scientific studies are highlighting the current and future impacts that rising ocean temperatures will have on lobster, clams and other important commercial fisheries in the Gulf of Maine.

Research on nearly 700 North American fish species predicts Atlantic cod habitat could shrink by as much as 90 percent by century's end and that lobster populations could shift 200 miles farther north as a result of climate change. Meanwhile, a separate research project suggests Maine's soft-shell clam industry could collapse unless steps are taken to protect the fishery from green crabs that are thriving in the state's warming waters. Portland Press Herald 23 May 2018

Surge of Canadian Halibut Pushing Prices Down to Five Year Low

Fresh Atlantic halibut is trading at a five year low, and it is affecting prices for Pacific halibut as well, which are also at five year lows.  The last time Pacific Halibut was quoted by Urner Barry below $6.50 for 10-20 lbs. dressed halibut was in 2013.

The primary driver is the loss of much of the East Coast market to Pacific Halibut. SeafoodNews.com 23 April 2018

 Nova Scotia Lobster Fishermen Help Scientists Track Health of Species

It's been almost 20 years since Nova Scotia fishermen first started helping scientists by attaching temperature gauges to traps. And although ocean temperatures in lobster fishing areas fluctuate each year, they haven't skyrocketed - yet.

If that happens, it could have a serious impact on lobster stocks, said Elizabeth Baker, the project manager for the Fishermen and Scientists Research Society (FSRS).

That's why Baker and her team have outfitted a number of lobster traps with computerized temperature recorders, and recruited fishermen all along the Atlantic coast from Cape Breton to the Bay of Fundy to voluntarily count, measure and note the sex of the lobsters they catch in those special traps.

That's why it's important to monitor the changes, Baker said.

Lobster are "greatly impacted" by water temperature, she said. Warmer ocean temperatures could affect the prevalence of disease and how quickly the lobster grow. It could also impact the ecosystem as a whole, Baker said, and that could lead to a "downward spiral" for the species.

Approximately 150 fishermen are participating in the project, and each participant is in charge of between two and five project traps per season. About 60 of the temperature gauges are currently in the water in lobster fishing areas 33 and 34 on the South Shore and in the southwestern part of the province.

Officially called the Lobster Recruitment Index Project, the goal is to study the health of the juvenile lobsters that will eventually become part of the commercial lobster fishery.

The hope is that with enough data, scientists will eventually be able to predict when the stocks will increase or decline. CBC News Nina Corfu Dec 2017


 Seafood Fraud Through Mislabelling

A report released today from Oceana Canada, Mystery Fish: Seafood Fraud in Canada and How to Stop It, revealed alarming results of seafood fraud in the nation's capital. An analysis of seafood sold in Ottawa revealed that almost half of the samples tested-45 out of 98-were mislabelled. One third (33) were considered species substitution, since the name on the menu or label did not match the type of fish being sold.

Seafood fraud, which is any activity that misrepresents the product being purchased, is a long-standing global problem. It cheats Canadian consumers and hurts local, honest fishers as well as chefs and seafood companies looking to purchase sustainable seafood. It also causes health concerns and masks global human rights abuses by creating a market for illegally caught fish.

To better understand the extent of seafood fraud in the nation's capital, Oceana Canada tested top Ottawa restaurants and grocery stores, based on their popularity with politicians and decision-makers and their proximity to Parliament Hill, government offices and media headquarters.

Here's what we found:

  • 14 of the 19 types of fish tested were found to be mislabelled 
  • Restaurants had the highest rates of seafood fraud and mislabelling with 68 per cent of sushi vendor samples and 51 per cent of non-sushi restaurant samples mislabelled. Eighteen per cent of grocery store samples were mislabelled.
  • Escolar, known as "the laxative of the sea", can cause acute gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting and nausea, and was found as a common substitute for both white tuna and butterfish. Other shocking swaps were also revealed. Oceana Canada Report 29 Nov 2017  

Canada Announced a $325 Million Budget for the Atlantic Fisheries Fund.
The fund was announced last summer but federal Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc only made the budget public Friday. Representatives from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and P.E.I., were on hand at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport to offer their support to the initiative, despite the fact no province has yet formally signed onto the agreement to make the money available to their province. "I am confident that this new $325-million federal investment will solidify the importance of seafood and fish to the economy of Atlantic Canada," LeBlanc said. 12 Mar 17 

Nova Scotia Lobstermen Want Province to Adopt Limited Entry Licensing System 
Nova Scotia's seafood industry is seeking a moratorium on new plants and lobster pounds and wants the province to stop issuing new buyer and processor licences.

Under the industry proposal, licences would also be transferable and could be sold. That would offer a windfall for current licence holders who at the moment must give them up when they exit the business.

"We would like to see in the buying/processing sector a limited-entry system with transferability attached to it," said Leo Muise of the Nova Scotia Seafood Alliance, an industry association that recently changed its name from Nova Scotia Fish Packers Association. Paul Withers CBC News 6 Mar 17

Canadian seafood industry braces for new U.S. traceability rules

Canadian seafood producers will need to "raise their game" to satisfy new American seafood traceability rules, according to federal Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc.

The Seafood Import Monitoring Program was one of the final acts of the Obama administration.

It will require much more detailed information about catches before they are allowed into the United States.

"We need to raise our game to ensure that the Americans receive the evidence they require that our fisheries are compliant, as they are," LeBlanc said.

The goal is stop illegal, unregulated and unreported catches from entering the U.S.

The measures go into effect next January. CBC News Halifax 02 Feb 17



Haddock Biomass in the Bay of Fundy and Georges Bank are Potentially Massive

Biologists say Nova Scotia's haddock biomass in the Bay of Fundy and Georges Bank are potentially massive. A population assessment for the southern Scotian Shelf and Bay of Fundy estimates that 264 million haddock were hatched there in 2013 and survived their first year. This means the population of adult haddock in those waters could be around 100,00 metric tons this year and in 2018. On Georges Bank, the population is predicted to be even bigger, with Canadian and American scientists estimating the 2013 hatch at 1.3 billion fish. "We're seeing signs of it now, but we would expect to see the fish at the larger, more commercially harvestable sizes in a couple of years," said Alain d'Entremont, chief operating officer at O'Neil Fisheries in Digby. SeafoodNews.com 24 Jan 17

Canadian Exporters Chartering Planes to Expedite Live Lobster Shipments to China
Some Canadian seafood exporters are opting to charter direct flights from Halifax to China in order to expedite their live lobster shipments to the market ahead of the Chinese New Year. Meanwhile, the Halifax Stanfield International Airport has reported a boom in lobster shipments. The airport says lobster shipments are up because of a multi million dollar investment to add another pad for aircraft near the Gateway Facility; growing lobster demand from China's middle class and the low Canadian dollar fueling exports. Airport officials say cargo flights were more than triple in December, up to 15 flights from the usual five. “This has been the busiest season by far (and) the real benefit is to the Nova Scotia economy,” said Peter Spurway, the airport authority’s vice-president of corporate communications. SeafoodNews.com 03 Jan 2017

Foreign buyers are seeking to illegally buy Canadian lobster licenses in Southwest Nova

According to the Canadian Independent Fish Harvesters’ Federation foreign buyers are seeking to illegally buy Canadian lobster licenses in Southwest Nova Scotia. Canadian law restricts harvest licenses to fishermen who own or operate their vessels and live in a fishing community. But over time, back door financing has left some of these licenses as little more than fronts for the true owners. “This is against Atlantic Canadian policy in the Fisheries; the only person who can own an inshore lobster fishing license is a Canadian inshore fisherman; someone who lives in a fishing community and goes to work on a fishing boat which he or she owns and operates," said the Harvesters' President Christian Brun. SeafoodNews 14 Nov 16

Growing Interest In High Pressure Lobster Processing.

North American demand for premium quality lobster meat has stoked interest for high pressurized processing (HPP) equipment among operators. The technology uses extremely high pressured water to separate lobster meat from the shell and boasts a higher meat yield percentage compared to traditional processing systems. Lobster meat demand is at historic levels with wholesale market prices for dry Canadian claw and knuckle meat approaching $30 per pound. SeafoodNews.com 16 Aug 16

Qatar Airways Cargo Launches New Seafood-Focused Routes

Qatar Airways Cargo has launched new freighter services to New York JFK and Halifax, N.S., Canada, to facilitate the transport of lobster and seafood and other exports from the two cities to Europe, the Middle East, South and Northeast Asia via Doha. The world's third largest international cargo carrier has scheduled services to New York and Halifax with a frequency of one flight per week every Wednesday from Luxembourg, its new European hub, operated with a Boeing 777-200 freighter that offers 103 metric tons (MT) of cargo capacity. The new cargo service complements existing belly-hold cargo on the airline's commercial flights. "We are very happy to add New York and Halifax to our growing list of new freighter routes. From their strategic geographical positions, not only will the new service provide our customers with great access to the Americas' marketplace, it will allow us to share one of region's most sumptuous exports with the world," said Ulrich Ogiermann, chief officer of cargo at Qatar Airways.  Qatar Airways Cargo recently took delivery of its 10th Boeing 777F, taking the total count of freighters in operation to 20.  Its portfolio of products includes QR Pharma, QR Fresh, QR Live and QR Express for temperature-sensitive pharmaceutical and perishable cargo, the transportation of live animals as well as time-critical shipments. SeafoodSource.com 22 July 2016

Clare Lobster Company Gets $1-million Repayable Contribution From Federal Government

West Nova MP Colin Fraser has announced a federal investment of $1 million in Riverside Lobster International Inc. The repayable contribution supports the acquisition of specialized equipment that will enable the lobster processor to expand its presence across Canada and the United States, as well as in European and Asian markets.   The contribution comes through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency's (ACOA) Business Development Program (BDP), and supports the purchase of a high-pressure processing machine, commonly called a Hiperbaric or HPP, to improve lobster meat extraction. Additionally, the company will purchase a continuous steam cooker, commonly called a Laitram. The new cooker will require less fuel to operate, therefore lowering usage costs and increasing yields. The Vanguard 21 Jul 2016   

Pigfeed Market From Ireland Seaweed

Ireland's Ocean Harvest Technology wants to break into the US pig market by selling antibiotic-free feed produced from seaweed. The company, which has already successfully trialed the seaweed feed on Canadian pigs, wants to capitalize on the US swine industry's move away from antibiotics in its production process. SeafoodNews.com 20 Jul 2016 

Halifax Airport Doubles Lobster Shipments In Two Years
International demand for Nova Scotia lobster and other local seafood boosting air cargo figures at Halifax Stanfield International Airport.The airport had a record 32,020 metric tonnes of cargo in 2015. More important, the dollar value of that cargo was $447 million, up from $317 million two years earlier, says Ian Arthur, the airport authority's chief commercial officer.

"Live lobsters have gone from $63 million in 2013 to $130 million in 2015," he said.

Arthur said the authority is shifting from using metric tonnes as a measure of cargo to dollar value. "Metric tonnes is a measure but not really the measure that impacts the economy and the airport is here to facilitate high value, time sensitive cargo like seafood and also some high value airplane parts because there is a lot of aviation industry here at the airport," he said. The airport has 17 carriers that handle cargo daily with three main freighter flights a week.

Seafood exporter comments indicate the value of live lobster is up over last year, partly due to price. Exporters have been paying very high shore prices - some record seasonal highs - to fishermen since last fall.

Exporters have welcomed Korean Air Cargo's additional second weekly flight out of Halifax to South Korea and the news Qatar Airways Cargo, the third largest air cargo carrier in the world, will launch a weekly Wednesday service from Halifax to Doha with a stop in Zaragoza, Spain starting on July 20. However, they say there is still not enough airlift capacity during peak times.

Arthur said the airport authority is promoting the airport and its infrastructure to global trade shows and "we work with freight forwarders and our partners to continue to develop markets."

One of the fastest growing markets for Nova Scotia lobster is China. One exporter said China and Asia are some of the seafood industry's biggest and most important markets.

Arthur said the provincial government has a China strategy and has been doing a lot of work generating business and interest in China for Nova Scotia products.

"We help with that and it is certainly significant for us," he said. The Halifax Herald Limited 19 July 2016

Canada Accused Of Poor Tracking Of Fish Stock Data

Canada is being accused of poorly tracking its fishery management decisions and stock data. The accusations come after a report from Oceana claimed Canada's fish stocks are poorly managed. However, the authors of the report said fishery information--from Canadian management decisions to fish stock data-- was either hard to find or non-exisitent. For instance, researchers said they were only able to get information on 125 of Canada's 165 fish stocks. “It should not be that hard to find management decisions, whether or not something has a management plan and the state of a stock, and it is hard right now,” said Susanna Fuller, a Halifax-based marine biologist and co-author of the Oceana report. SeafoodNews.com 05 Jul 2016

Gentler Handling of Live Lobsters Could Save the Industry a Lot of Money

Jean Lavallée said he once watched a Canadian lobsterman overstuff a crate with lobsters, put the wooden lid on top and then smash it down with his foot.

The resulting crunch of limbs and shells "sounded like a bowl of Rice Krispies," he told a group of Maine lobstermen in Bath on Monday. 

Lavallée, a veterinarian from Prince Edward Island who has specialized in lobsters for more than 20 years, is traveling along the Maine coast this week to lead a series of workshops on proper care and handling of the lucrative crustaceans.

Lavallée said as many as 10 percent of the lobsters harvested in the U.S. die on their way to market. Given Maine's $616.5 million harvest in 2015, that's up to $61.7 million in lost revenue for the state's top fishery. SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Portland Press Herald] By J. Craig Anderson - April 19, 2016