Hundreds more fishermen in Atlantic Canada are being drawn into the effort to protect endangered right whales this year.
Specially coloured fishing gear rope will become mandatory with the start of the season in every lobster and crab fishery in Eastern Canada. The rope must identify the region, species being fished and individual fishing area.
The requirement is also intended to maintain access to the U.S. seafood market by demonstrating Canada has rules comparable to those in place for fishermen south of the border.
The details were spelled out in a notice to fish harvesters that was issued by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) on Dec. 20, and make good on a promise made by the federal government earlier in 2019.
“The new requirements are part of the government of Canada’s continuing efforts to improve tracking of gear, address ghost gear and further identify management measures threats to marine mammals, in particular North Atlantic right whales,” the notice says.
DFO says further management measures to protect the right whale will be announced in the coming weeks.
Why this is happening
The United States Marine Mammal Protection Act requires seafood imports to be caught under fishing rules equivalent to whale protection measures in place in the United States.
Gear marking is mandatory in U.S. trap fisheries.
After almost two dozen right whales have died in the Gulf of St. Lawrence over the past three years, some American politicians, fishermen and environmentalists said Canadian fishing regulations are too lax.
Without further protections, they are calling for a ban on some Canadian seafood.
Brian Guptill, a lobster fisherman on Grand Manan Island, N.B., said it’s all about keeping the border open for Canadian seafood.
“In order to prove that we’re not the problem, gear marking is the solution,” Guptill said.
The notice spells out the colour schemes to be braided into rope used in all non-tended, fixed-gear fisheries in Eastern Canada. One colour will signify the DFO region, another the species and, for lobster and crab fisheries, a third colour will identify individual fishing areas within each region.
The scheme has been designed to distinguish between Canadian and U.S. fishing gear involved in whale entanglements.
Gear marking will be mandatory for ropes attaching gear to the primary buoy. They are known as vertical lines and are seen as the threat to whales from fishing.
A tracer line — a silver transparent tape inside the full length of rope — will be permitted as an alternative.
The tracer line must identify the country, region, species and fishing area.
Mandatory gear marking is already in place for some fisheries in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
About 150 lobster fishermen on Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore will be among the first impacted by expanded gear marking when their season opens in April.
“They’re well behind the 8-ball getting to us. There’s some colours involved that we don’t even know the availability of,” said Peter Connors of the Eastern Shore Fisherman’s Protective Association.
He said he’s not aware of a single entanglement in his area.
“If they cause some protection, they do some good then. The fishermen will do whatever they can do to comply,” Connors said.
Other fisheries to be impacted
Fourteen fisheries will operate with new colour schemes at some point in 2020.
By landed value, the most significant species affected are lobster and snow crab.
But cod, shrimp and squid trap fisheries, longline and gillnet fisheries are also being assigned mandatory colour schemes.
The interlaced coloured strands must be a minimum of 15 centimetres in length and, at minimum, will be required at the top, middle and bottom of the vertical line, or every 27 metres.
Guptill, also president of the Grand Manan Fishermen’s Association, is resigned to what is coming.
“Any rope that isn’t marked is going to be blamed on Canada or any fishery that it isn’t marking its rope. So you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t,” he said.
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Eyes now on Canadian police after Trudeau demands transport blockades torn down – Global News
All eyes are on Canadian police forces now that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said barricades on rail lines and other major transportation routes must come down.
A Wet’suwet’en hereditary chief says that won’t happen unless and until the Mounties get off their traditional territory in northern British Columbia and Coast GasLink halts construction on a natural-gas pipeline that crosses their land.
Chief Woos of the Grizzly House says Indigenous leadership will only begin negotiating with the Canadian government under those same conditions. But Trudeau says injunctions ordering the rail lines be cleared must be obeyed and the law must be enforced.
The blockades are responses by Indigenous people and supporters to a move by the RCMP to clear protesters who had been blocking access to the pipeline worksite.
Protesters who’d been blockading a CN Rail line in St-Lambert, Que., south of Montreal since Wednesday cleared out Friday night shortly after riot police arrived on scene ready to enforce an injunction to clear the tracks. But the blockade of a critical east-west rail line on Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory in eastern Ontario remains in place — and more protests are planned for March 20 along the borders of Manitoba.
Wet’suwet’en chiefs meet with Mohawks
Ontario Provincial Police say they don’t intend to break up the Tyendinaga protest in the immediate future, however, Trudeau says the inconvenience to Canadians has gone on long enough, given that the blockades have halted rail lines for weeks.
“Let us be clear: all Canadians are paying the price. Some people can’t get to work, others have lost their jobs,” he told a news conference yesterday. “Essential goods ? cannot get where they need to go.”
But Woos said the inconvenience to Canadians pales in comparison to what the Wet’suwet’en people have experienced.
“There is a difference between inconvenience and injustice — total difference. Don’t confuse one with the other,” he said after meeting with Mohawk allies on Tyendinaga territory.
He noted that Wet’suwet’en land was never surrendered to the Canadian government in any treaties, so RCMP presence there amounts to an occupation.
On Thursday, the RCMP in B.C. sent a letter to the traditional leaders of the Wet’suwet’en Nation, telling them the force intends to move its officers off the access road and station them instead in the nearby town of Houston.
Trudeau: Blockades must now come down
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said he believes this move meets the original conditions set by the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, but Woos said it doesn’t go far enough.
“Out means out,” Woos said.
In addition to tension with the First Nations, Trudeau is also experiencing pushback from the provinces.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford issued a statement Friday saying “enough is enough.”
“The illegal blockades must come down. This is a national emergency and innocent people from coast to coast are being hurt. The federal government must co-ordinate action to take down these illegal blockades across the country.”
Alberta’s Jason Kenney, a former federal Conservative cabinet minister, said the barricades are scaring away investment and giving the impression that Canada can’t operate as a modern democratic country.
And Quebec Premier Francois Legault warned on Thursday that provincial police would dismantle the blockade near Montreal as soon as an injunction was granted.
© 2020 The Canadian Press
What Canada's latest coronavirus case tells us about the evolution of the outbreak – CBC.ca
This is an excerpt from Second Opinion, a weekly roundup of eclectic and under-the-radar health and medical science news emailed to subscribers every Saturday morning. If you haven’t subscribed yet, you can do that by clicking here.
As new outbreaks of coronavirus continue to appear in countries outside of China, experts are now recalculating the risk of the virus and our ability to contain it worldwide.
Until now, the focus of containing the coronavirus illness, known as COVID-19, has centred on China.
Millions remain under quarantine in China’s central Hubei province, where the outbreak began, and travel restrictions are still in place throughout the affected region.
But outbreaks have since emerged in South Korea, Italy and Iran. Infectious disease physicians say the rapid spread of coronavirus cases outside of China could signal a game changer in the response to the global outbreak.
“Globally, we will not be able to contain the spread of this virus. We can slow it down, but we can’t stop it,” said Dr. Allison McGeer, an infectious diseases specialist at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital who worked on the front lines of the SARS epidemic in 2003.
“The number of countries with cases is going to continue to increase.”
Officials are also concerned about the number of cases with “no clear epidemiological link,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Friday, such as travel history to China or contact with a known confirmed case.
He said while the number of cases outside of China remains small, they are “worrisome.”
“It’s in our hands now,” Tedros said. “If we do well within the narrowing window of opportunity, we can avert any serious crisis. If we squander the opportunity, then there will be a serious problem on our hands.”
1st case in Canada with no connection to China
Canada’s ninth presumptive case of coronavirus is a woman in her 30s who recently travelled to Iran and is now recovering at home in British Columbia.
Health officials were surprised to learn she had not travelled to China or any of its neighbouring countries, and have classified the case as a “sentinel event” — one that originated from a region that is completely unexpected.
Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, said they are investigating where the woman may have contracted the virus, working alongside the Public Health Agency of Canada. The woman had a travelling companion, was visiting family and is now in isolation at home.
“Until very recently, we didn’t consider Iran as a place of transmission of COVID-19,” Henry said in an interview. “So that set off quite a number of warning bells for us.”
Henry said the investigation continues into where the woman travelled, but she hadn’t been to the city of Qom, where a handful of cases have been recorded. “She did report at the airport [in Tehran] that there were quite a lot of people who were sick and who were wearing masks,” she said.
The answers are important to public health measures aimed at containing the virus, such as whether Canada should expand its border-screening questionnaires for travellers from places beyond the epicentre in China’s Hubei province.
Henry said the exportation of a case from a country like Iran, which hasn’t previously reported a lot of infections, also has parallels with the start of the epidemic in China.
“The first exported cases from China were similar,” she said, “and essentially an indication that there may be more cases than were recognized.”
If it is confirmed the traveller was infected in Iran, then it likely means there’s more than a handful of cases there, said Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease physician at Toronto General Hospital who is researching the outbreak.
“The real question is how much disease burden is in Iran and do they have the capacity to really get this under control,” he said. “We might be inching toward this situation where this infection is not contained and we have to really be prepared for a possible scenario where there’s more widespread transmission throughout the world.”
‘Alarming numbers’ in South Korea
South Korea is also seeing a surge in new cases — reportedly linked to what authorities call a “super-spreading event” at a church congregation where the majority of infections originated.
“What we’re hearing out of South Korea is starting to sound like alarming numbers,” said Bogoch. “But South Korea has a pretty robust medical system and a fantastic public health infrastructure.”
Bogoch said South Korea’s health-care system was tested significantly with an epidemic of MERS in 2015, much like Toronto was with SARS in 2003.
“We learned incredible lessons from SARS that are really implemented to this day that are helping us cope with this COVID-19 epidemic,” he said.
“Hopefully Korea has really learned some lessons from their MERS epidemic a few years ago to really help them cope with this.”
While managing ill patients and preventing hospital outbreaks are key to a country’s health-care infrastructure, McGeer said that infrastructure may have little to do with preventing the spread of the coronavirus.
“This is not about how strong your health-care system is,” she said. “They may well be able to identify chains of transmission and quarantine and isolate people. But the larger the number of cases, the more difficult it becomes.”
In northern Italy, officials shut down schools and public events after a cluster of 16 cases and one death were announced Friday. Five of those cases were identified as health workers.
WHO officials have pushed for countries to be transparent about its cases, so resources can be shifted to where the need is greatest.
For WHO, sub-Saharan Africa was a concern, given the degree of travel between China and Africa and limited ability to test for the virus in many African countries.
Stephen Hoption Cann, an epidemiologist at the school of population and public health at the University of British Columbia, said if COVID-19 continues to spread worldwide, there is the possibility of the virus becoming endemic — or something that re-emerges on a seasonal basis.
“Are we going to be able to contain this virus and prevent it from spreading into the next season?” he said. “It’s really hard to say now; it’s looking like there’s a possibility that we will be seeing it back again next winter.”
To read the entire Second Opinion newsletter every Saturday morning, subscribe by clicking here.
Canadian excited for ‘normal meals’ after being released from coronavirus quarantine – Global News
After 14 long days locked in isolation over coronavirus fears, there was only one thing on Christopher Lan’s mind when he got out — good food.
“On my way here I saw a fast-food restaurant, a McDonald’s,” he said. “When I saw that, I thought, ‘Okay, we’re going to have a normal meal very soon.’”
Lan is among 213 Canadians and accompanying family members who were flown out of Wuhan, China — the epicentre of the outbreak — by the Canadian and American governments on Feb. 7.
For the past two weeks, they’ve called CFB Trenton in southern Ontario home. The evacuees, who range from couples to newlyweds and families with young children, each had to complete two weeks in quarantine to be cleared of the virus, COVID-19, before they could be released on Friday.
At no point during their stay did any of the evacuees at the base show any symptoms, government officials said.
The government offered the evacuees help with their travel from Trenton, but all were ultimately expected to make their own ways home.
Lan and his wife decided to rent a car at a dealership in Trenton in order to get back to their home in Orleans, Ont.
Coronavirus outbreak: Plane carrying Canadians from Diamond Princess cruise lands at CFB Trenton
He said they travelled to China for Chinese New Year. His son is newly married, he said, and together they went to visit family in a town about 300 kilometres away from Wuhan.
Initially, the outbreak didn’t seem like a very big deal to Lan, but he said the situation developed quickly.
Lan, his wife and son were able to secure a spot on the Canadian flight out of Wuhan, but Lan’s son’s wife — a Chinese citizen — had to stay behind.
He said the journey from Wuhan was “kind of scary” but he felt relaxed seeing how organized things were.
Ultimately, he’s very happy to be back in Canada.
“It’s a great relief,” he said. “The feeling is amazing.”
Coronavirus outbreak: Ottawa professor offers glimpse of life for Canadians inside CFB Trenton
The repatriated Canadians were housed at the Yukon Lodge, a facility on the military base typically used for personnel and their family members. It resembles a hotel, with 290 rooms and basic amenities.
Prior to their arrival, members of the Canadian Red Cross filled the rooms with hygiene kits and extra blankets — items to make their stay a little homier.
Lan said the workers, volunteers and military personnel running the quarantine were kind and organized.
The food, he said, they “got used to.”
“We really appreciate all the work the government and the Red Cross and the volunteers did to help us, because they really took a personal risk to help us,” he said.
“They didn’t want us to feel alienated or anything like that. They wore minimal protection.”
200+ Canadians begin two-week quarantine at CFB Trenton
Meanwhile, as one quarantine comes to an end, another is just beginning.
A flight carrying 129 Canadians, this time from Japan, arrived in Trenton, Ont. on the same day. The evacuees spent nearly two weeks on a cruise ship in Yokohama, which became a hotbed for the flu-like virus in early February.
At least 634 of the Diamond Princess’s passengers have since tested positive for the virus, making it the largest outbreak location outside of China.
Of the 2,500 passengers, roughly 255 were Canadian. Forty-seven of those Canadians were determined to be infected with the virus and forced to stay in Japan for treatment.
Those repatriated from the ship were screened for the virus again in Trenton on Friday morning before being bussed to Cornwall, Ont. where they will spend two weeks in quarantine at the Nav Centre.
— With files from Global News’ Morganne Campbell, Sean Boynton and The Canadian Press
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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