Rescue operations for a missing fishing boat captain are being reduced after no signs of life were found on a vessel that ran aground off northeastern Nova Scotia.

Three of the four crew members were rescued Tuesday evening near Canso, N.S., but the captain remained onboard.

“We have exhausted our ability to ascertain if he is on the vessel,” said Maj. Mark Norris, commanding officer of JRCC Halifax. “The conditions preclude us from boarding the vessel safely, and given it's been 48 hours, there's very little chance there will be a positive outcome from this case."

The Joint Task Force Atlantic says a Hercules aircraft and a Canadian Coast Guard vessel have been searching the area for the captain.

“We’ve had aircraft, a Coast Guard plane and a Hercules aircraft circling,” says local resident Coady Roberts Avery, who has been watching the situation unfold.

“Coast Guard and fisheries officers were on scene and lots of local fishermen, auxiliary Coast Guard, the whole community has been rallying around this because it’s like one of their own."

Fisherman’s Market in Bedford, N.S. confirms that it owns the vessel, the Fisherman’s Provider II, which it says was out on a routine trip when it made contact with the rocky shore.

Officials with Fisherman’s Market say their primary concern is the safety of the crew members, and the captain’s return.

The Transportation Safety Board said investigators are being sent to Canso to look into the incident.

The case will be handed over to the RCMP as a missing persons file.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Suzette Belliveau.