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Calvin the Calico Lobster

  • 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
  • Lobster Fisherman Killed Freeing Entangled Whale
  • McDonald's Not Selling McLobster Sandwiches The Summer in Atlantic Canada
  • Surge in Atlantic Scallop Landings
  • New Restrictions On Southern New England's Lobster Fishery
  • Slow Lobster Landings in PEI and New Brunswick This Spring
  • 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
  • UK Resteurant In Financial Trouble Due to High Cost of Lobster Meat
  • Canadian Exporters Chartering Planes to Expedite Live Lobster Shipments to China
  • Nova Scotia broker denies taking out advertisement for foreign investors to buy lobster licenses  
  • Foreign Buyers are Seeking to Illegally Buy Canadian Lobster Licenses in Southwest Nova     
  • North American Lobster Prices Reach 11-Year-High       
  • 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
  • Changes To Canada's Employment Insurance Rules  
  • Dave's Lobster Expands And Becomes Major Buyer of P.E.I. Lobsters
  • Canada Accused Of Poor Tracking Of Fish Stock Data
  • Thai Union acquires Canadian lobster processor Chez Nous
  • Reduce Mackerel For Lobster Bait - PEI
  • Canada - Fish Resources Poorly Tracked
  • Southwest Nova Scotia Lobstermen Celebrates Best Season In A Decade
  • P.E.I. Seeing Red Over Carapace Size Decision
  • Canada Raised the Minimum Carapace Size LFA 25
  • New Brunswick Westmorland Fisheries Invests $10 Million for Lobster Processing
  • Halibut Quotas Drop for Maritime Provinces
  • Live North American Lobster Prices Plummiting in China
  • Gentler Handling of Live Lobsters  
  • Terrorism in Belgium and France May Cast Pall over Upcoming Lobster Season
  • Maine Researchers Study Lobster Shell Disease
  • Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Certifies Lobster Fishing Areas 33 and 34

 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  

Maine Lobstermen Will Lose if South Korean Trade Deal is Killed  

Maine's traditional industries would take a hit from higher taxes if the Trump administration makes good on a threat to withdraw from a trade deal with South Korea, a major market for the state's lobster and blueberry industries.

"Lobster companies could be in jeopardy if this [pact] is stopped," said Tom Adams, CEO of lobster wholesaler Maine Coast of York, one of a half-dozen lobster wholesalers in Maine selling to South Korea. "It could impact the lobster industry at home from staff to the boat." SeafoodNews BDM Maine 12 Sep 16

 Lobster Fisherman Killed While Freeing An Entangled Whale

A lobster fisherman with a passion for freeing whales from deadly fishing line was killed soon after he cut the last piece of rope from a massive whale in the waters off eastern New Brunswick, friends and colleagues confirmed Tuesday. They say Joe Howlett had helped rescue about two dozen whales over the last 15 years. Mackie Green of the Campobello Whale Rescue Team said Howlett had boarded a federal Fisheries Department vessel off Shippagan on Monday to help a North Atlantic right whale that had become entangled in a heavy snarl of rope. Green was not on the boat, but said he was told the 59-year-old veteran fisherman was hit by the whale just after it was cut free and started swimming away. 13 July 2017 

 McDonald's Not Selling McLobster Sandwich This Summer

McDonald's stores in Atlantic Canada will not carry the McLobster sandwich this summer because of high priced lobster meat. Some stores that tried to menu the item this year were selling it for $11.99, which was two dollars more than last year. "The increased price of lobster per pound means that we are currently unable to offer this menu item at a reasonable price for our guests," said Adam Grachnik of McDonald's. 8 June 2017 

Surge in Atlantic Scallop Landings

A surge in Atlantic scallop landings in March has prices at auction falling faster and harder than expected. These factors have combined to drag down prices in the wholesale market in the first week of May. Landings were more than double the monthly figure from last March and were 51 percent higher from the five year monthly average for the fishery. SeaFoodNews.com 10 May 2017   

New Restrictions on Southern New England's Lobster Fishery

Portland, Maine - New restrictions are coming to southern New England's lobster fishery in an attempt to save the area's population of the crustaceans, which has dwindled as waters have warmed.An arm of the interstate Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission voted on Tuesday to pursue new management measures to try to slow the decline of lobsters in the area. Management tools will include changes to legal harvesting size, reductions to the number of traps and seasonal closures to fishing areas. Associated Press - Patrick Whittle 11 May 2017   

 Slow Lobster Landings in PEI and New Brunswick This Spring

Slow lobster landings in both PEI and New Brunswick have hit a wave of demand, pushing up competition at the wharf, and prices to harvesters. Dealers say that on the docks there is now a fierce competition between processing plant buyers and live dealers. Lack of supplies and the very strong live demand is going to impact meat and tail markets later this summer say traders. Last year high prices in the Gulf in May and June set up a disastrous year for processors, many of whom lost money when the price of tails failed to cover the costs of these purchases. Currently the price of 4 oz American lobster tails has recovered somewhat compared to May of last year. But the depressed tail price last year was largely a result of inventories of tails that existed going into the spring season. That is not the case this year. So the market is likely to be much more responsive to raw material costs.

Mother's day is a very traditional peak lobster sales day in Atlantic Canada, but this year, prices are so high that a lobster meal can cost over $100.  Denis Breau, a fish shop owner in Moncton, said "for us it is terrible.  The world finds it too expensive. There are a lot of people who are not on board and not buying."Currently, prices on the wharf in New Brunswick are around $7.50 CA/lb for market size lobsters. SeafoodNews.com 11 May 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

UK Restaurant chain in Financial Trouble Due to High Cost of Lobster Meat

UK restaurant chain Burger and Lobster may be in serious financial trouble because of the high cost of lobster meat. The restaurant chain, which opened a 170 seat location in Manchester said it is struggling to pay back debts after racking up a pre-tax loss of more than £7m (US$8.7 million), according to accounts filed with Companies House. The chain has already sold off its loss-making 300-seat Cardiff site. Burger and Lobster has also ditched its £20 ($24.95) fixed price policy for its burgers, lobsters and lobster rolls last year, dropping burgers to £16 ($19.96) and pricing lobster dishes between £19 ($23.70) and £54 ($67.36). 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

Nova Scotia broker denies taking out an advertisement for foreign investors to buy lobster licenses

The Nova Scotia broker that took out an advertisement for foreign investors to buy lobster licenses in LFAs 33, 34 and 35 is denying involvement. The advertiser behind the classified was identified as Novi Marine Brokers in Yarmouth. But Tammy Ward, the director of operations at that company denied any knowledge of the advertisement. The Canadian fishers’ federation fears that foreign buyers will scoop up inshore lobster fishery licenses to ensure a steady supply of lobsters for their processing plants. SeafoodNews.com 16 Nov 16

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

North American Lobster Prices Reach 11-Year-High

North American lobsters are achieving their highest prices seen in 11 years due to peaking domestic demand and increasing interest from overseas markets, according to an article in the Portland (Maine) Press Herald.

A standard-weight, hard-shell 1.25 pound lobster is now selling for USD 8.50 (EUR 7.58), with new-shell lobster selling for USD 6 (EUR 5.35), the most valuable they've been since 2005, according to the newspaper.

The newspaper interviewed John Randall, a manager at Portland Lobster Co., Annie Tselikis, marketing director at Maine Coast Co. and executive director of the Maine Lobster Dealers' Association and Scott Wuerthner, sales manager of the lobster division at Inland Seafood, and determined prices have risen both to peaking demand in anticipation of the upcoming Labor Day holiday weekend and creative marketing nationally and internationally.

Tselikis said a push to grow demand for North American lobster in Asia following the cratering of the market in 2012, when lobsters were selling for as little as USD 2.25 (EUR 2.01) per pound at the dock, is paying off. Exports of lobster to destinations including China, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore and Vietnam, are soaring, she said.

Technological innovations in freezing, processing and packaging have made it cheaper and easier to ship lobster all over the world, enabling the current market uptick, Wuerthner told the Press Herald.

"Lobsters are going all over the world now," he said. "The last five or six years when the catch came on really strong, we were forced to do that."

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

 Changes To Canada's Employment Insurance Rules

Changes to federal rules surrounding employment insurance will soon make it easier for self-employed fishermen to enrol in the program.  The 1978 provisions were meant to "discourage a cycle of EI reliance by ensuring that workers - and especially young people - develop a significant attachment to the labour force before collecting EI. "It was later determined that the new entrant and re-entrant rules did not achieve their intended purpose," said a government release.

These changes to the EI program were announced in the Liberal government's March 2016 budget.

An evaluation of the EI system conducted in 2011 determined these requirements made the program for difficult to access for the first time, but did not discourage frequent use of EI.  In addition, the 1978 provisions also kept workers from accessing any of the EI-funded training supports with the provinces and territories. The federal government intends to introduce the new EI rules later in July.  The new changes Ottawa is looking to make would require self-employed fishermen to reach a lower insurable-earnings entrance requirement of between $2,500 and $4,200.  That's compared to the previous amount of $5,500 in the qualifying period.  For hourly workers looking to access the EI program, changes are also coming.  Claimants will be required to meet working-hour entrance requirements of between 420 and 700 hours to be eligible for regular benefits.  That's down from the previous requirements of 910 hours of insurable employment in the year preceding their EI claim.

The amendments will scrap EI fishing regulations for new entrants and re-entrants that were originally introduced in 1978. CBC News 12 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

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Certifies NS and NB Lobster Trap Fishery Including Areas 33 and 34.
The Marine Stewardship Council has certified Nova Scotia’s and New Brunswick’s lobster trap fishery in the Bay of Fundy, Scotian Shelf and Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence. Major lobster fishing areas 33 and 34 are among the regions included in the MSC certification. Altogether, about 75 percent of Canada’s lobster catch is now MSC certified. “The MSC congratulates the harvesters, live shippers, processors and buyers/dealers in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick for coming together to achieve this milestone,” said Jay Lugar, MSC Program Director for Canada.