Oil and Gas Exploration

The public is invited to comment on the draft Scoping Document for the Environmental Assessment of an exploration well being proposed by Corridor Resources Inc within Exploration License (EL) 1105 (the Old Harry Prospect) located in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, offshore Newfoundland and Labrador.

The proposed activity includes drilling one exploration well within EL 1105 using a mobile offshore drilling unit (MODU) (i.e. semi-submersible drilling rig or drill ship), supply vessels, and offshore helicopters. Vertical seismic profiling (VSP) activities may also be conducted in conjunction with the drilling activities. Corridor Resources Inc. proposes to drill one exploration well between 2012 and 2014.

For more information see: http://www.cnlopb.nl.ca/news/nr20110225en.shtml

License Fees

LFA27 lobster fishermen have been lobbying for a review of license fees for lobster. As part of the discussion, the LFA27 Advisory Board asked for a list of license fees in other areas. They are listed in the 1985 Atlantic Fishery Regulations:

PERCH or Cunner

UPDATE: DFO has not approved the amendment for 2011. Our license conditions will remain as in the past. However,  we are waiting for a formal explanation for this decision and why. In particular, we would like to know what information or data are needed to satisfy their criteria for allowing the use of perch. As other LFAs in the Maritimes Region have made the same request, we could potentially collaborate on science work.

The LFA27 Management Board recently lobbied the DFO to amend a condition in the license on the issue of by-catch of Cunner (perch). We have written a request to allow the use of perch by-catch as bait in the lobster fisheries. Our letter to DFO:

Our Letter

Date: January 11, 2011

To: Paul Gentile, Area Director

From: David Ferguson, co-Chair, LFA27 Lobster Advisory Committee

Re: Cunner (Tautogolabrus adspersus)

Dear Mr. Gentile,

The LFA27 Management Board requests that licensing policy for lobster be amended to allow the retention of cunner (sea perch) as bait for lobster fishing.

Cunner is a groundfish which preys on post-larvae lobster (Barshaw and Lavalli, 1988. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 48: 119-123). Cunner also eats the bait from lobster traps, leaving them void of bait to attract the targeted species. As the water temperatures have increased over the last few years, so has the occurrence of cunner. Whereas they used to be a nuisance to lobster fishermen by cleaning off the bait starting in mid-June they are now appearing earlier at the start of the season.

As you are aware, bait is no longer available in most of the LFA and fishermen have to resort to purchasing bait at high costs, decreasing already small profit margins. There is no commercial fishery for Cunner nor is there a market for this species. Allowing fishermen to bait their traps using by-catch of this species is unlikely to create any problems.

Den Heyer, Bundy and MacDonald (2010. Can. Tech. Rep. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 2890: viii + 39 p) sampled 900 lobster traps in LFAs 27 for by-catch and found that 2.6% of traps caught cunner.  Considering this low rate of capture, the removal of the cunner by-catch will not likely affect the stock.

We have spoken to Leroy MacEachern, Area Chief of Resource Management, and Peter Taylor, Area Chief of Conservation and Protection for the Gulf Nova Scotia Area, and they confirmed that lobster licences in the Gulf Region permit the retention of cunner caught in lobster traps as a incidentally caught fish. This retention is authorized through a condition of licence. This condition of licence was added to the Gulf licences approximately three years ago. This occurred after a review of the applicable regulations in regards to cunner. They also confirmed that there were concerns raised by industry to look at options such as retention of cunner for bait to help address the bait situation in the Gulf Region. Mr. MacEachern and Mr. Taylor have offered to discuss this matter further with you.

We would ask that you consider adding a similar condition of licence to the LFA 27 licences. This would allow lobster harvesters in this area to legally retain cunners and utilize this species for lobster bait.

Should you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact our project manager, Veronika Brzeski, whose contact information is on the letterhead.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.


David Ferguson

President, LFA27 Management Board

Cc:    Carl MacDonald

         Leroy MacEachern

         Peter Taylor