The Eastern New Brunswick Area covers the New Brunswick coastline bordering the Gulf of St. Lawrence and that part of New Brunswick traversed by rivers flowing into the Gulf. Not only is the Eastern New Brunswick Area vast in size, it also possesses the largest number of French-speaking fishers in the Gulf Region (they account for nearly 60 per cent of all licence holders). Approximately 50 per cent of the DFO employees are bilingual in this area.
Map of Eastern New Brunswick Area Offices
DFO's main office for Eastern New Brunswick is located in Tracadie-Sheila, and there are 13 detachments which deliver the Department's services throughout the area. Licensing is handled through the Tracadie-Sheila and Richibouctou offices. The area possesses about 50 small craft harbours between the estuary of the Restigouche River and the southeastern tip of New Brunswick's coastline.
Ten of the 14 First Nations of the Gulf Region are located in eastern New Brunswick, accounting for over 80 per cent of the 11,000 Aboriginal people living on reserves within the Gulf Region.
Eastern New Brunswick is characterized by numerous small drainage basins and estuaries, affording favorable conditions for great abundance and diversity of wildlife. The shallow coastal waters, for their part, contain large spawning grounds. The area comprises three closely interrelated life environments: Chaleur Bay, the Shediac Valley and Northumberland Strait.
Eastern New Brunswick is home to a large mid-shore fishing fleet, including the Gulf Region's only herring purse seiners and its only snow crab fishing boats over 50 feet long. The latter fishery is of vital importance in eastern New Brunswick, accounting as it does for nearly 70 per cent of all snow crabs harvested in the Gulf Region. Processing plants in Eastern New Brunswick, like the fishing fleet, concentrate on snow crab, lobster, shrimp and herring. Aquaculture is oriented mainly toward oyster culture and, to a lesser extent, mussel culture. Studies on the feasibility of developing Stimpson's surf clam and scallop culture are currently under way.
DFO's management approach in the area, as regards both fisheries management and the Department's other areas of jurisdiction, reflects the strong community-based culture found throughout Eastern New Brunswick.
One of the main functions of the area's Aquaculture and Environmental Sciences Division is to take part in the work of sustainable watershed development committees, which are made up of representatives of the community, federal and provincial government agencies and municipal authorities. The Division, acting on behalf of the Eastern New Brunswick Area, also works in close cooperation with the marine products processing industry to evaluate projects deemed likely to have a negative impact on fish habitat.
The "Beach sweeps" program affords an excellent illustration of the strength of community action in eastern New Brunswick. This initiative, which is aimed at cleaning shorelines and enhancing awareness of sustainable development, has been highly successful, thanks to an extraordinary degree of community involvement. The project originated in the Tracadie-Sheila office and was organized in cooperation with DFO's Laurentian Region and the Government of New Brunswick. It is now operating throughout New Brunswick.