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Infoceans
The Quebec Region Bulletin
Volume 9 – Number 4 – August - September 2006



GOVERNOR GENERAL NAMED HONORARY CHIEF COMMISSIONER OF THE CANADIAN COAST GUARD

The Governor General of Canada, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, with the Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard, Mr. George Da Pont.

On July 8, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, was invested as Honorary Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard at a ceremony in St. John’s, Newfoundland. The investiture was the seventh since the title was established in 1976.

“It is a privilege for the Coast Guard to have Governor General Michaëlle Jean, Commander in Chief of the Canadian Forces, as its patron” said the Honourable Loyola Hearn, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

The role of Honorary Chief Commissioner was first established at Government House in 1976 with the investment of the Right Honourable Jules Léger. Every subsequent Governor General has carried the title.

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TWO FISHERY OFFICERS RESCUE FOUR FISHERMEN

By Michel Leblanc

On June 14, fishery officers Dean Flynn and Marc Lavallée, of Blanc Sablon district, rescued four fishermen who had spent a very cold night clinging to the hull of their capsized vessel off the Lower North Shore. The officers’ extensive knowledge of navigation, the fishing areas and the fishermen’s habits played a key role in the successful rescue operation.

The saga began on Tuesday June 13, 2006 at about 10:30 pm . The Canadian Coast Guard’s Marine Rescue Centre in Québec received a call informing them that the Treechan, a 45-foot-long scallop fishing vessel from Blanc Sablon, with four persons on board, had not returned to port at the end of the day as planned.

The Rescue Centre immediately put out an alert to the captain of a Coast Guard vessel, the NGCC E.P. Le Québecois. Other units joined the search for the Treechan: fishery vessels from the region, the Coast Guard icebreaker NGCC Martha L. Black, which was already in the sector, and a Hercules search and rescue aircraft operated by National Defence.

A whole night of searching failed to locate the missing fishermen. In the early hours of the morning, fishery officers Flynn and Lavallée decided to go out in their Zodiac-type vessel to help with the search. Around 5: 30 am, about 12 kilometres off Blanc Sablon, they noticed the overturned hull of the capsized fishing vessel, to which the four drenched and exhausted crew members were still clinging. All four fishermen were brought to shore safe and sound, where they received appropriate medical care. Two of them were found to have hypothermia after spending the whole night in the freezing waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Officers Flynn and Lavallée, thanks to their experience and knowledge of the marine sector and the fishing areas exploited by the Treechan, along with their assessment of the winds, tides, currents and wave height, were able to promptly size up the situation and head to the right spot, thus locating the missing vessel and rescuing its crew members, whose time was running short.

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STOCK STATUS REPORTS

By Karina Laberge

Scientists at Fisheries and Oceans Canada regularly review the status of Canadian fish stocks. The most intensely fished species of fish, crustaceans and molluscs are monitored annually to ensure that populations are maintained over the long term. Stock status reports provide a scientific basis for establishing fishing plans.

Stock status reports are available on the Canadian Stock Assessment Secretariat Web site at the following address: www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/csas/

Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence (Divisions 4RST) Capelin

•     Capelin landings in NAFO Divisions 4RST increased from 6,975 t in 2004 to 8,585 t in 2005. Most of these landings were made by a fleet of small and large purse senners in unit areas 4Ra, 4Rb and 4Rc on the west coast of Newfoundland.

•     Capelin is regularly caught by shrimpers. In the spring, and in certain areas, capelin catches are relatively significant. In 2005, data collected by observers allowed to determine that around 178 t of capelin were caught by shrimpers.

•     During the 1990s, spawning, and therefore the fishery, was delayed compared with the 1980s. A certain stability has been observed since. In 2005, the situation was similar to the late 1980s.

•     On the west coast of Newfoundland, the size of capelin caught by small and large purse senners has clearly diminished from the mid 1980s to the late 1990s. The opposite occurred since 1999, and in 2005, lengths were similar to those recorded in the late 1980s.

•     For the Gulf as a whole, the dispersion index has shown a clear upward trend since 1990. For the west coast of Newfoundland however, such a trend has not been observed.

•     Total Allowable Catches (TAC) currently in effect are of a preventive nature only (i.e. 11,200 t for 4R and 1,800 t for 4ST). However, although it is well known that the commercial fishery only harvests a very small proportion of the total biomass, any TAC increase should be made progressively and cautiously due to capelin’s prominent role in the marine ecosystem, and to the lack of knowledge regarding the species’ ecology and biology. Any TAC increase should also be followed by heightened scientific vigilance.

Atlantic Mackerel for the Northwest Atlantic (Subareas 3 and 4)

•     From 2004 to 2005, mackerel landings in NAFO Subareas 3 and 4 decreased slightly from 53,365 t to 51,918 t. Despite this drop, landings in 2005 are more than double the 25,323 t average calculated for the 1990-2004 period.

•     Landings in 2005 account for 70% of the TAC of 75,000 t. However, the allotted quota for small senners (<65’) and fixed gear (60% of the TAC or 45,000 t) was exceeded by around 2,000 t. This excess represents a first since the introduction of a TAC in 1987 for Subareas 3 and 4.

•     The marked increase of landings on the east coast of Newfoundland (Divisions 3K and 3L) represents the main highlight in recent mackerel fishing seasons. In 2004 and 2005, landings in these two Divisions were 16,419 t and 26,589 t respectively. Mackerel occurrence in this area and in such significant numbers is unusual.

•     From 2004 to 2005, landings by American fishermen dropped from 53,652 t to 41,594 t. For the entire Northwest Atlantic (NAFO Subareas 2-6), preliminary landings for 2005 were 93,512 t. Only in 2004 was a higher tonnage recorded (107,532 t) and during the 1970s offshore fishery.

•     Since the early 2000s, mackerel catches have been greatly dominated by fish from the 1999 year-class. Between 2000 and 2004, fish from this year-class accounted for 45% to 77% of all catches in numbers, which had never previously been seen for a single year-class since the beginning of the data series (1968). In 2005, landings were dominated by the 2003 and 1999 year-classes, accounting for 32% and 30% of the catches respectively.

•     According to the egg survey, the calculated spawning biomass in 2005 was 86,487 t, which represents a significant drop since 2002 and an all-time low. This drop in abundance would be the result of particular environmental conditions (cold waters) that have been occurring for a few years in the mackerel’s traditional spawning area.

•     The actual proportion of TAC that is caught could be higher than we think because of unrecorded landings. Furthermore, catches in American waters of mackerel that come from the Gulf of St. Lawrence are not included in the Canadian landings. Because of this imprecision, of a recent increase in fishing effort and of the uncertainty regarding results from recent egg surveys, the current TAC level could be lowered over the next year.

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LAKESIDE LIVING
Picture - Poster Lakeside Living!

A poster on healthy shoreline practices is now available. The poster, entitled Lakeside Living!, is intended for municipalities and owners of property located along rivers or lakes. It has been produced jointly by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and a group of associations dedicated to protecting lakes and rivers—the Regroupement des associations pour la protection de l’environnement des lacs et des cours d’eau de l’Estrie et du Haut-Bassin de la rivière Saint-François.

Waterfront property owners will find this poster helpful since it explains and illustrates the do’s and don’ts of shoreline management. Two contrasting images of a waterfront property are shown: one depicts a more natural landscape affording protection for the aquatic environment and fish habitat; the other depicts an urban style of landscaping, which can wreak havoc on the natural environment. Ten major effects that this urban style of landscaping can have on the aquatic environment are identified. On the back of the poster, a wide range of useful information is provided to aid in maintaining a healthy shoreline environment.

Anyone who wants to obtain a free copy of the Lakeside Living! poster can contact Fisheries and Oceans Canada by phoning 418-775-0726 or by sending an e-mail to the following address: habitat-qc@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

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CONVICTIONS FOR FISHERIES ACT VIOLATIONS

By Michel Plamondon

Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Quebec Region, has released the names of fishermen who have received fines for violations of the Fisheries Act.  

Fisheries and Oceans Canada continues to strictly enforce its zero tolerance policy on violations of the Fisheries Act. The Department has a mandate to protect and conserve fishery resources and is ever vigilant in its efforts to prevent poaching of marine resources. Fisheries and Oceans Canada also encourages the public to report poaching incidents by calling 1-800-463-9057 . All calls are confidential.

Offender Home Offence Sentencing
Date
Fine Judge
Langlois, Alain Grande-Entrée Taking lobster without a licence, fishing in a lagoon and possession of lobsters smaller than the minimum legal size. One year's probation, with a ban on being in a lagoon of the Magdalen Islands except in the course of his work. March 7 $1,500 Dominique Wilhelmy
Pealey, Joel Grande-Entrée Taking lobster without a licence, fishing in a lagoon and possession of lobsters smaller than the minimum legal size. One year's probation, with a ban on being in a lagoon of the Magdalen Islands except in the course of his work. March 7 $1,500 Dominique Wilhelmy
Renaud, Raynald Bassin Possession of lobsters smaller than the minimum legal size. March 14 $500 Jean-Paul Décoste
Langford, Émile Havre-aux-Maisons Taking lobster without a licence and fishing in a lagoon. One year's probation, with a ban on being in a lagoon of the Magdalen Islands except between 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. to cross between the wharf at the Havre-aux-Maisons marina and the outside of the lagoon. March 14 $1,000 Jean-Paul Décoste
Chiasson, Paul L'Étang-du-Nord Denial of boarding to a dockside observer. March 14 $575 Jean-Paul
Décoste
Cyr, Denis Grande-Entrée Fishing with too small a cod-end. Unlicensed operator. March 14 $750 Jean-Paul Décoste
Cyr, Alphonse Grande-Entrée Fishing with too small a cod-end. Unlicensed operator. March 14 $750 Jean-Paul Décoste
Bénard, Germain Grande-Entrée Landing snow crab with no dockside observer present. March 14 $500 Jean-Paul Décoste
Bénard, Adrien Grande-Entrée Landing snow crab with no dockside observer present. March 14 $500 Jean-Paul Décoste
Ouellet, Jean-Marc Grosses-Roches Non-compliance with conditions of his licence in that he fished for groundfish. March 3 $250 Lucie Morissette
Bouchard, Clément Les Méchins Fishing Greenland halibut (turbot) without a licence. March 3 $200 Lucie Morissette

 

Anctil, Robin Kamouraska Non-compliance with licence conditions: 
  • Use of gillnets of less than 152 mm mesh size.
  • Use of gillnets without a proper label.
March 10 $2,000 Julie Dionne
Pelletier, Georges-Guy Sainte-Anne-des-Monts Conspiracy and offences under various sections of the Fisheries Act. January 30 $40,748.72 Jean-Paul Décoste
Poissonnerie Rimouski-Est Rimouski Conspiracy and offences under various sections of the Fisheries Act. Februray 8 $40,748.72 Richard Côté
Vallée, Jean-Guy Sainte-Anne-des-Monts Conspiracy and non-compliance with licence conditions. January 30 $12,198 Jean-Paul Décoste
Bouchard, Clément Matane Unlicensed operator. March 3 $200 Lucie Morissette
Dion, Alain Matane Non-compliance with licence conditions February 27 $1,200 Lucie Morissette
Mansbridge, Russel La Tabatière Fishing with unlabelled crab pots.

Fishing without a licence.

Obstruction: Misrepresentation.

February 22

Confiscation of fishing gear.

$750
$500
$200
Gabriel Lassonde
Driscoll, Eldon Saint-Augustin Fishing for turbot without a valid label on the nets. February 22 $500 Gabriel Lassonde
Letemplier, Victor Blanc-Sablon Exceeding cod quota. February 20 $1,000 Gabriel Lassonde
Mclean, Bruce Rocky Harbour, NF Use of a fishing boat without a licence. February 20 $300 Gabriel Lassonde
Dumas, Germain Lourdes-de-Blanc-Sablon Exceeding cod quota. February 20 $1,000 Gabriel Lassonde
Morneau, Jacques Les Escoumins Non-compliance with conditions of turbot licence:
  • Mesh size under the legal limit.
  • Turbot net lacking proper label.
February 13

Seizure of fish valued at $548.25

$500
$300
Gabriel De Pokomandy
Simoneau, Roberto Portneuf-sur-Mer Clam harvesting in a closed area. February 13 $400 Gabriel De Pokomandy
Berger, Rosaire Portneuf-sur-Mer Sale of clams without a licence. February 13 $1,000
Additonal fne of $1,284.16 for the value of the clams.
Gabriel De Pokomandy
Lafrance, Daniel Forestville Harvesting of clams under the 51-mm legal limit. February 13 $100 Gabriel De Pokomandy
Robitaille, Yan Longue-Rive Clam harvesting in a closed area. February 13 $400 Gabriel De Pokomandy
Savard, Gaétan Portneuf-sur-Mer Clam harvesting in a closed area. February 13 $550 Gabriel De Pokomandy
Perron, Dave Longue-Rive Clam harvesting in a closed area. February 13 $300 Gabriel De Pokomandy
Company 29730819 Inc. Cap-D'Espoir Breaching its licence conditions related to making hails at sea. April 11 $1,000 Embert Whitton
Landry, Joël Havre-Saint-Pierre  Obstructing fishery officers in the performance of their duty. April 10 $350
Probation of one year: ordered to keep the peace and be of good behaviour.
Louise Gallant
Vaillancourt, Claude Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan Permitting the unauthorized use of his vessel by a fisher's helper.  Exceeding his scallop quota. April 11 $400
$1 500
Louise Gallant

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NEW INVASIVE SPECIES REPORTED IN THE MAGDALEN ISLANDS

By Karina Laberge

A new invasive species has been reported in the Magdalen Islands this summer. The invader—the golden star tunicate—was found in the Havre-aux-Maisons lagoon and at the Havre-Aubert marina. These colony-dwelling animals attach themselves to solid structures such as rocks, seaweed, wharfs, boats and aquaculture equipment, forming star-shaped clusters and eventually stalactite-like masses. The invasive tunicates have also been reported in the Maritimes.

Very little information is available at present about the species or the effect it has on ecoystems and human activities, or about control measures.

Scientists are seeking to learn more about the golden star tunicate and its reproductive characteristics in order to determine what measures should be taken to keep it from spreading. A local committee made up of representatives of Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation of Québec has been set up to establish a plan of action. Divers have already been sent to strategic points in the Magdalen Islands to identify affected bays and lagoons. Meanwhile a special team is working to make pleasure boaters, fishermen and aquaculturists aware of what they should do to help protect water bodies and facilities that are still free of the invader.

Before going from one body of water to another, boaters are urged to carefully wash their boat hull and equipment (ropes, anchor, etc.) with fresh water or vinegar and to drain the water from the bilge and wells. Additional steps can be taken in the fall, when vessels and fishing and aquaculture equipment are readied for winter storage.

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WANTED : CHINESE MITTEN CRAB
Image - Chinese mitten crab

Environment Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada are looking for specimens of Chinese mitten crabs, an invasive species recently found in the St. Lawrence River. These crabs live in freshwater but reproduction takes place in salt water. In the last two years, a few of these crabs have been found in Canada and in the USA in fresh and salt water (in estuaries). Anyone capturing a Chinese mitten crab is asked to keep it alive in a container with water from the site of capture, or to freeze it if dead, and to note the date and location of capture before contacting Yves de Lafontaine (Environment Canada) at 514-496-5025 or by email at yves.delafontaine@ec.gc.ca. These samples will help carry out a genetic study on the origin of this invasive species.

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NEWS IN BRIEF

A new Departure for the Amundsen

Last August, the NGCC Amundsen left the city of Québec for its third 3-month annual fall mission in the Canadian High Arctic. On board, Fisheries and Oceans Canada scientists and scientists from various countries will work with the most sophisticated oceanographic equipment available to study the warming of the Arctic Ocean. They will examine every aspect of the ecosystem, from the seabed to the stratosphere and from viruses to whales, often in extreme meteorological conditions.

In order to keep this research vessel at the cutting edge of technology, many pieces of equipment are added each year, such as the Amundsen’s brand new dynamic positioning system. The only one of its kind in Canada, this system enables the ship to reach and maintain extremely precise positions, even in high winds, thanks to two screw engines added to the icebreaker propulsion system. 

Harbour Projects in Quebec

On June 29, the Government of Canada announced an investment of $5.65 million for planning and repair projects at several fishing harbours in Quebec.

The $5.65 million investment will be distributed as follows: $920,000 in the Gaspé Peninsula, $4,100,000 in the Magdalen Islands and $630,000 on the North Shore of the St. Lawrence. In the Gaspé Peninsula, the harbours aimed by this announcement are Rivière-au-Renard, Shigawake and Mont-Louis. For the Magdalen Islands, they are Étang-du-Nord, Grosse-Île and Havre-Aubert, and on the North Shore of St. Lawrence, Havre-Saint-Pierre, Kegaska, Baie-Trinité, Les Escoumins (Basques), Chevery, Rivière-au-Tonnerre and Middle Bay.

The work will be undertaken by Fisheries and Oceans Canada under the Small Craft Harbours Program in collaboration with the harbour authorities that manage and operate facilities for the benefit of local users. This collaboration with clients enables the government to continue to provide commercial fishermen with an operable system of harbours and harbour facilities throughout Canada.

New DFO Site on Aquaculture

Fisheries and Oceans Canada recently launched a new, national aquaculture website. This site should fulfill the needs of Canadians, who, through public opinion research conducted in 2005, told us that they want to have access to balanced, scientifically based information so they can make informed opinions about aquaculture. This website provides straightforward answers to straightforward questions. It provides information on the aquaculture of marine and freshwater fish, of molluscs and crustaceans and marine plants, as well as information on scientific research, the government’s role, and the impact of aquaculture on the environment. The site also provides numerous statistical data on aquaculture production in Canada.

www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/aquaculture

Commercial Marine Species Sampling Protocols

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is giving the public access to the protocols for collecting the biological data that apply to the commercial catches of marine species in the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence.

For each species, either fish or invertebrate, the sampling protocols are illustrated by shortened data sheets. These data sheets provide the species code, the type of form to be used, guidelines for procedures, the criteria for stratifying sampling as well as the techniques for collecting biological material to be examined later in a laboratory.

These sampling protocols are available in PDF format on the Fisheries and Oceans Canada St. Lawrence Observatory site, at :

 www.osl.gc.ca/sampling/en/index.html

New Brochure : Understanding SARA

A new DFO brochure, titled Understanding SARA: How aquatic species are listed under Canada’s Species at Risk Act, is now available. 

This brochure uses the North Atlantic right whale as an example to explain, in a concrete way, the process of adding a species to the list of the Species at Risk Act. A section titled “The truth untangled” tackles some misconceptions about SARA, and the “Getting involved” section describes what ordinary Canadians can do to contribute to the recovery of species at risk. For a copy of the brochure, please contact your local DFO office or the Species at Risk Coordination Office, by calling 1-877-775-0848 , or by emailing: especesperilqc@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

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Infoceans

August - September 2006
Volume 9
Number 4

Published by:
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Quebec Region
Communications Branch
104, Dalhousie St.
Quebec (Québec)  G1K 7Y7
Telephone: (418) 648-7747

Acting Director:
Marcel-M. Boudreau

Editor:
Viviane Haeberlé

Visual Coordinator:
Denis Chamard