DFO Seeking Input into Fishery Regulation Amendments
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has opened consultations into proposed amendments aimed at preserving the independence of commercial inshore licence holders in Atlantic Canada and Quebec.
These amendments to the Atlantic Fishery Regulations aim to preserve the independence of inshore licence holders by adding elements of the key policies supporting the inshore fishery in Atlantic Canada and Quebec into the regulations.
The proposed changes to the Atlantic Fishery Regulations would add:
elements of certain key policies supporting the inshore fishery (Owner Operator and Fleet Separation)
potential new measures to ensure that licence holders remain in control of the rights and privileges associated with inshore fishing licences issued in their name
These changes will also ensure that harvesters retain their ability to make decisions related to their licensed fishing activities and receive the benefits from their privileged access to the resource.
The proposed changes include:
providing that only the licence holder (or operator named in the licence) personally fish that licence
specifying that inshore and coastal licences shall not be issued to corporations, except eligible wholly-owned corporations
ensuring that licence holders only hold one licence per given species
requiring that licence holders remain in control of the rights and privileges associated with the inshore fishing licence(s) issued in their name
There will be exceptions to these provisions. Those licence holders currently exempt, from all or parts of the inshore fisheries policies, will continue to remain exempt from these elements in the regulations.
In addition to these regulatory amendments, DFO is looking to clarify the circumstances for the use of a substitute operator and how its use might help strengthen the independence of inshore license holders.
DFO is accepting input from July 26 to September 14.
Government Announces Fisheries Advisory Council
The federal government recently announced the creation of a new Sustainable Fisheries Resource Advisory Council of Canada (SFRACC), a national arm’s-length advisory body designed to offer the Minister of Fisheries broad-based advice and recommendations on fisheries issues.
The proposed mandate for the SFRACC will include providing advice and recommendations to resolve complex policy and management issues relating to the sustainability of federally-managed fisheries and the conservation of aquatic resources.
The SFRACC will consist of two separate panels: one for Eastern Canada and one for Western Canada. This will ensure Council members have appropriate knowledge and experience relating to the issues facing their respective coasts. In the event that the Council is directed to study an issue relating to the North or the whole of Canada, the co-chairs of the respective panels would convene and request additional members on an ad hoc basis. Co-chairs will meet with the Minister once a year and will likely prepare advice on two or more issues per year.
Council members, together with co-chairs, will consist of a mix of industry and scientific expertise, including non-governmental organizations, and will be appointed by the Minister. A Notice of Appointment will be released in the near future for all parties who wish to apply.
The SFRACC will conduct its work in a manner that takes into account the regional, operational, environmental, economic and social realities of the fishing sectors.
The work of the SFRACC will focus on species or regions that are facing significant or unique challenges, cross-cutting policy issues or issues related to national consistency. All written reports produced by the SFRACC will be open and transparent and made publicly available.
Examples of areas the SFRACC may examine include: environmental changes to marine ecosystems; complex social, economic, and conservation issues; the need to balance conservation and sustainability objectives with economic prosperity; and how fisheries management decisions can help advance reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.