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Whale Sighting Closes St. Mary’s Bay To Commercial Fishers, FSC Fishing Still Allowed

By Kevin Northup Aug 19, 2022 | 7:27 AM

Fishing boats at Saulnierville Wharf in August, 2021 (Acadia News photo)

St. Mary’s Bay is closed to commercial fishers due to a recent North Atlantic Right Whale sighting off Digby Neck.

Those fishing crab and herring had to remove their gear to avoid potential entanglement of the endangered species.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans says the closure does not apply to Indigenous lobster fishers with a Food, Social and Ceremonial license.

Brazil Rock 33/34 Lobster Association President Dan Fleck says that sets a poor precedent.

“Captains are expressing concerns. They do not wish to see any marine mammal injured, or worse. Secondly, should it occur, and the international markets become aware of it, it could have irreparable damage to the commercial markets,” says Fleck.

He says they’re trying to comprehend DFO’s reasoning, and hope everyone can be treated equitably and fairly when it comes to conservation measures.

In a statement to our newsroom, a DFO spokesperson says they notified FSC fishers of the whales’ presence, so they may adjust their fishing activities according to their community protocols.

They say DFO Maritimes region has been consulting with First Nations on FSC fisheries to better understand their needs and further integrate FSC harvesting into the Department’s overall management of fisheries.

“This includes whale protection measures, on which the department is seeking to hold meaningful consultations before including new requirements in FSC licenses,” the department says.

A North Atlantic Right Whale was spotted off Tiverton, Digby Neck on August 13th. (Department of Fisheries and Oceans)


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