A Mini-documentary About The EMPA Lobster Protection Program

We recently did a mini-documentary about the lobster conservation and study efforts being undertaken off the east coast of Newfoundland in the area of the Eastport Peninsula. The study takes place in the Eastport Marine Protected area (or EMPA ) and is a joint project between the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Eastport Lobster Protection Committee.

image: patrol boat on water
A Department of Fisheries and Oceans boat patrols the area.

We went up for 5 days in total over two trips, with the first trip being to scout locations and take aerial drone footage of the area, and the second trip we went out on the boat with members of DFO to film lobster harvesters at work and get more aerial footage from out on the ocean.

image: sattelite image of Eastport Peninsula
Google maps view of the Eastport Peninsula.

On that second trip we met the mayor of Salvage and his wife, who were also the lobster harvesting couple we had the pleasure  of filming for the documentary.

image: man and woman on small fishing boat
Two lobster harvesters work together to tag their catch.
image: fisherman sits on dock
Lobster Harvester doing interview from his stage.

This husband and wife team are lobster harvesters based out of Salvage Newfoundland and are members of the Eastport Lobster Protection Committee. Besides their regular commercial fishing duties, they conduct lobster tagging within the boundaries of the Easport Marine Protected Area and report their findings to DFO.

image: lobster and measuring device
Harvester measures size of lobster.
image: lobster with tag on back
Harvester tags lobster for DFO study program.
image: fisherman holding lobster
Fisherman tags a lobster before releasing.

The DFO’s role in the program is to provide technical support, policing , and provide scientific study of data collected in the marine protected area.

image: man operates boat from wheelhouse
Department of Fisheries and Oceans Officer patrols the marine protected area.

This joint effort was initiated by local area harvesters after an increase in lobster harvesting as a result of the cod fishery closing. Those who made their living from lobster quickly noticed a decline in lobster stocks as a result of over fishing, and approached the federal government for help. In this way the Eastport marine Protected Area was created and a program of science and conservation was begun.

image: stacked lobster traps
Lobster traps sit stacked on a wharf in Salvage Newfoundland.
image: aerial photo of two fishermen in a small boat
Two lobster harvesters at work.
image: lobster under a rock in the ocean
A lobster in it’s natural habitat.
image: fisherman holds two baby lobster
Harvester holds two baby lobster.

We had a great time doing this project and hope to do another again soon.

Click here to see an excerpt from the Eastport MPA video documentary.

image: small fishing boat on water
Fishing boat heads out to it’s next trap.

Author: T.W.

Videographer and photographer living in Newfoundland and Labrador Canada.

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