EVALUATION REPORT

EVALUATION OF THE PACIFIC INTEGRATED COMMERCIAL FISHERIES INITIATIVE (PICFI)

PROJECT NUMBER 6B172
MARCH 2016


EVALUATION DIRECTORATE
CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER SECTOR
FISHERIES AND OCEANS CANADA

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The Evaluation Directorate would like to thank all individuals who provided input in the evaluation of the Pacific Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative (PICFI). In particular, the Directorate acknowledges the time and effort of key informants including: staff from Fisheries and Oceans Canada; representatives from First Nation Commercial Fishing Enterprises (CFEs), the First Nation Fisheries Council (FNFC) of British Columbia, the Business Development Team (BDT), the Third Party Evaluator (TPE), and representatives of external groups/supporting organizations who took time to speak with the evaluation team and share their insights, knowledge and experiences during in-person or telephone interviews and group discussions.

ACRONYMS

AANDC
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada*
AAROM
Aboriginal Aquatic Resource and Oceans Management
ACC
Aquaculture Coordinating Committee
ADM
Assistant Deputy Minister
AFS
Aboriginal Fishing Strategy
AICFI
Atlantic Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative
ATP
Allocation Transfer Program
BC
British Columbia
BDT
Business Development Team
C&P
Conservation and Protection
CFEs
First Nation Commercial Fishing Enterprises
CSAB
Commercial Salmon Advisory Board
DFO
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
DG
Director General
FN
First Nation
FNFC
First Nations Fisheries Council
FTE
Full-time Equivalent
G&C
Grants and Contributions
IACMF
Integrated Aboriginal Contribution Management Framework
IFMP
Integrated Fishery Management Plan
iREC
Internet Recreational Effort and Catch Monitoring
M&C Panel
Pacific Fisheries Monitoring and Compliance Panel
O&M
Operating and Maintenance
PICFI
Pacific Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative
SCC
Salmon Coordinating Committee
SFFMCR
Strategic Framework for Fisheries Monitoring and Catch Reporting in the Pacific Fisheries
TPE
Third Party Evaluator

* Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) was, as of November 2015, renamed to Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. As the interview period throughout the data collection was prior to this change, AANDC was the name used by the interviewer and interviewees. In order to reduce confusion, this document will refer to Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada as AANDC.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Introduction

Launched in 2007, the Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s (DFO) Pacific Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative (PICFI) was developed to achieve environmentally sustainable and economically viable commercial fisheries with First Nations (FN) involvement while maintaining conservation as a priority. Initially, $175 million of funding was provided for a five year program (2007/08 to 2011/12). PICFI was renewed annually for 2012/13 and 2013/14. The latest renewal of the program, referred to as PICFI Refresh, was granted for 2014/15 and 2015/16. PICFI is set to sunset on March 31, 2016. A formative evaluation of PICFI was conducted in 2009/10, and as stated in the Treasury Board Policy on Evaluation, all direct program spending must be evaluated every five years. Therefore, in response to this requirement, this evaluation covered the five year period from 2011/12 to 2015/16.

Data collection commenced in May 2015 and concluded in December 2015.

Program Profile

PICFI was developed with three program elements: Enterprise Development (referred to as capacity building in earlier phases), Enhanced Accountability and Collaborative Management. The Enterprise Development element focused on building successful commercial fishing enterprises (CFEs) established by FN communities, or aggregates of communities. This was achieved through DFO acquiring voluntarily relinquished commercial fishing access (fishing licenses or quota) and then distributing this access to CFEs as Aboriginal Commercial Communal Licenses/Quota. As of the second year of PICFI Refresh (2015/16), DFO no longer purchased access for distribution to CFEs but rather, through Business Development Source funding, supported CFEs’ direct purchase of access, through an application process. To date, approximately $131.6 million worth of commercial fishing access has been purchased and distributed to CFEs as a result of PICFI.

The Enhanced Accountability component of PICFI was designed to address fisheries accountability through new and enhanced fisheries monitoring, catch reporting, information management, data utilization and effective enforcement. Enhanced Accountability was primarily designed to develop innovative tools to improve fisheries accountability. An example of these new measures was the development of the Strategic Framework for Fisheries Monitoring and Catch Reporting in the Pacific Fisheries which provided consistent fishery monitoring standards based on the determination of a fisheries’ risk profile.

The Collaborative Management element was developed to increase the ability of FNs to effectively participate in fisheries management through advisory processes and structures at the Tier 1 (FN to FN), Tier 2 (FN to DFO) and Tier 3 (FN to government and other stakeholders). In particular, the First Nations Fisheries Council (FNFC) was supported and is now the provincial advisory body for FN fisheries management in British Columbia.

Evaluation Methodology

This evaluation was designed to address the core issues defined in the Treasury Board’s Policy on Evaluation (2009), namely program relevance and performance (effectiveness, efficiency and economy). The general approach used in this evaluation included the following: group discussions with the PICFI managers and reviews of program documents to gain a clear understanding of the program; exploration of the development of a simplified PICFI logic model; identification of core evaluation issues, appropriate evaluation questions and indicators; determination of available data sources and suitable data analysis; collection of data from various sources; analysis of the results; and development of conclusions and considerations.

Based on PICFI’s activities, outputs and intended outcomes, and in consultation with DFO, key informant interviews, administrative and financial data, and program document reviews were selected as the most relevant data sources for assessing program relevance, effectiveness, efficiency and economy. Representatives from DFO regional and national headquarters, CFE representatives, and representatives of external groups/supporting organizations were selected to participate in an interview. In total, 27 interviews were conducted throughout October 2015. Program documents were also reviewed with particular emphasis on Evaluation of the PICFI Project – Final Report (2010), Evaluation of the Atlantic Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative (AICFI) (2015), CFE Detailed Profiles (2015), Report on the Findings of the Cohen Commission (2012) and PICFI Allocations and Expenditures per Program Activity (2010/11 to 2014/15). Over 51 program documents were reviewed. Triangulation was undertaken as an analytical method, when possible, where multiple lines of evidence helped corroborate findings.

Evaluation Findings

Relevance

Evidence suggests that there is a continued need for all three program elements. While progress has been made, further Enterprise Development support is needed to help CFEs reach sustainability status. Effective measures have been put in place for both the Enhanced Accountability and Collaborative Management programming elements. For example, PICFI funding is instrumental in supporting the successful implementation of DFO Conservation & Protection (C&P)’s new intelligence-led investigation activities, particularly on the Fraser River. Similarly, successful Collaborative Management governance structures have been established through PICFI.  These structures are instrumental in helping Aboriginal representatives meet and participate in fisheries management processes by filling existing gaps in other programming, particularly Aboriginal Aquatic Resource and Oceans Management (AAROM). There is nevertheless still room for continued improvement of these measures, and ongoing support is needed to ensure their sustainability. Evidence is inconclusive, however, as to whether PICFI remains the most appropriate and efficient program to provide ongoing support for these two elements (Enhanced Accountability and Collaborative Management) or if responsibility should be transferred to another program or jurisdiction within DFO.

PICFI aligns with federal government priorities and the strategic outcomes of DFO. The Enterprise Development element of PICFI has some overlap with the responsibilities of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC); however, DFO was found to be the more appropriate agency to implement the program. PICFI used the tools developed through the Allocation Transfer Program (ATP), an initiative of the Aboriginal Fishing Strategy (AFS) to provide commercial fishery access to FN CFEs. PICFI built on these tools and used them effectively to a greater extent than the ATP program. PICFI Enhanced Accountability and Collaborative Management elements overlapped to some extent with other DFO programs, such as Aboriginal Aquatic Resources and Oceans Management (AAROM) and the Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy (AFS) but the funding obtained through PICFI is perceived to be essential for filling gaps in these other areas of programming.

Performance

Enterprise Development: While PICFI CFEs have not yet reached a sustainable business level, significant progress has been made. Several CFEs are operating at a passing level (between 52% and 82%), meaning they were profitable given normal market conditions and fishery stocks, as well as able to provide small returns to the communities.

In-river demonstration CFEs had unique challenges compared to their coastal counterparts, but they demonstrated considerable successes which suggested that the in-river fishery could be economically sustainable given an appropriate amount of salmon quota and the development of value-added products. A few in-river demonstration CFEs were able to bring international attention to their products and the demand for these products continues to increase.

There remain concerns that some CFEs rely on a model of fishing that provides limited employment benefits to the FN community because it entails leasing their access to non-FN vessels and crew. PICFI Refresh encouraged CFEs that used this model to instead consider actively fishing or leasing their access to a community vessel-owner and crew in order to increase local employment. Evidence suggests that this is an appropriate strategy since communities who actively fish or lease their access to a community vessel-owner and crew see better long term revenues and outcomes.

The profitability and sustainability of CFEs would also benefit from increasing the quantity as well as the diversity of their access packages in order to reach economies of scale. If this new access is acquired directly by CFEs, it could also be leveraged as an asset by CFEs for the negotiation of loans; something they are currently unable to do with the communal licenses they receive from DFO through access agreements. PICFI Refresh’s introduction of the new Business Development Source funding is expected to help provide CFEs with additional access and the Pacific Commercial Fisheries Diversification Initiative funding provided through AANDC’s Strategic Partnership Initiative, is a potential source of support for greater horizontal diversification opportunities (e.g., aquaculture). Together, these funding streams should help CFEs meet their expansion and diversification needs.

Enhanced Accountability: As a result of PICFI, the Strategic Framework for Fishery Monitoring and Catch Reporting in the Pacific Fisheries (2012) has provided consistent standards to guide Pacific fishery monitoring and catch reporting for all fisheries. While harvest sectors remain skeptical regarding the accuracy of DFO fisheries monitoring, the combination of the Strategic Framework and the work of the multi-stakeholder Monitoring and Compliance Panel has made strides in addressing this doubt.

The new enforcement efforts created with PICFI support (community outreach, intelligence-based enforcement and major-case management) were found to have increased fisheries compliance. Community-outreach efforts, including restorative justice, were found to be especially effective. With current resources C&P has had to focus its efforts on meeting conservation targets, at the expense of other activities such as allocation and quality control of catch monitoring data.

Finally, the new data systems developed (PacFish) were, as of this evaluation, in the final stages of approval. The system components which were already online had shown positive results, and DFO representatives expected that PacFish would greatly improve fisheries data management and increase efficiency.

Collaborative Management:A number of notable successes have been achieved by the program that contributed to improving FN participation in collaborative fisheries management. Namely, the creation of the Salmon Coordinating Committee (SCC), particularly its work through the Commercial Salmon Allocation Board, the Monitoring and Compliance Panel’s work to improve confidence in fisheries monitoring, and the support leveraged from the FNFC. These structures are perceived by key stakeholders to have contributed to improved FN engagement and dialogue, particularly at the bilateral level (i.e., between FNs and between FNs and DFO). Engagement of FNs in multilateral talks with federal government and other stakeholders is also starting to show positive results, as evidenced in particular by the recently issued recommendations for updating the Commercial Salmon Allocation Framework.

As a result of the influence of PICFI, there were indirect benefits to treaty negotiations. CFEs were formed with specific instructions to keep politics outside of the CFE business, and as a result, PICFI was not created with the direct goal of assisting with the treaty process. However, by providing increased FN entry into the commercial fishing industry and under the same regulations as the commercial industry, stability was provided. PICFI’s ability to acquire and distribute licenses was also able to mitigate conflicts. This stability may have provided indirect benefits to the treaty process.

Economy and Efficiency: Evaluation findings show that the program is generally administered efficiently. No significant improvements were found to be needed. The complex and dynamic nature of this program, combined with the multiple funding renewal processes it has undergone, are reasonable explanations for the variances found between planned and actual expenditures.

Recommendations

Should Program Authorities be renewed beyond the sunset date of March 31, 2016, the evaluation makes the following recommendations.

Recommendation 1: It is recommended that the ADM of Ecosystems and Fisheries Management and the Regional Director General, Pacific Region explore the feasibility of increasing requirements or incentives for CFEs to utilize their access to the direct benefit of their community members. CFEs may do this by either actively fishing their access using CFE-owned vessels and FN crew, or by leasing the access directly to FN fishermen who have existing commercial fishing capacity.

While all CFEs have progressed and are expected to continue progressing towards achievement of sustainable status according to the program’s Internal Rating System, some of these CFEs adopt an access leasing arrangement model that produces very few jobs for their community members, thereby limiting their contribution to the economic objectives of the program.

Recommendation 2: It is recommended that the ADM of Ecosystems and Fisheries Management and the Regional Director General, Pacific Region assess the desirability and feasibility of transferring responsibility for the Enhanced Accountability and Collaborative Management program elements to other jurisdictions within DFO. This is recommended in view of ensuring the ongoing sustainability of current monitoring and compliance activities, as well as the continued functioning of established collaborative governance structures.

While evidence suggests an ongoing need to fund Enhanced Accountability and Collaborative Management activities, findings are inconclusive as to whether PICFI remains the most appropriate program vehicle for overseeing these two components, particularly given the temporary nature of its funding. In light of the PICFI Refresh’s shift in focus towards development of Aboriginal commercial fisheries enterprises, and given that fisheries enforcement activities are managed by different organizational units (Conservation & Protection and Resource Management) at DFO, it might be more appropriate for Enhanced Accountability activities to be managed by these respective units. Similarly, now that effective Collaborative Management governance structures have been established, it is unclear if there remains a role for PICFI to ensure their continued functioning or whether it would be more efficient for other similar mechanisms, such as AAROM, to integrate this role. Consideration must however be given to protecting and further pursuing the gains made thus far by the two program elements and preserving the engagement of First Nations in both accountability and collaborative management processes.

Recommendation 3: It is recommended that the ADM of Ecosystems and Fisheries Management and the Regional Director General, Pacific Region assess the risks posed by current Conservation & Protection resource limitations for the achievement of program intended outcomes. Particular attention should be paid to the sustainability of new catch monitoring and compliance enforcement practices. Mitigation actions should subsequently be identified and implemented to address the identified risks, if any.

Through PICFI support, Conservation & Protection was able to develop new enforcement techniques to improve fisheries compliance such as community outreach, intelligence-based enforcement and major-case management. The benefits of these initiatives have been demonstrated in terms of increasing compliance, reduced prosecution costs and less severe conflicts. Evidence suggests that, in light of the significant proportion of funds coming from PICFI in support of these activities, particularly in terms of community outreach, their sustainability is threatened by the temporary nature of PICFI funding.Footnote 1

Recommendation 4: It is recommended that the ADM of Ecosystems and Fisheries Management and the Regional Director General, Pacific Region develop a transition strategy for the in-river demonstration component of PICFI and that it be communicated to program stakeholders.

The “continued testing of transferable salmon shares in marine and freshwater environments” was planned to be conducted on a "demonstration" basis with the intent to incorporate into a regularized commercial fishery upon the sunset of PICFI. While evidence suggests that some work is still needed to develop a market for in-river caught salmon, a number of successes so far indicate that this fishery can be profitable. In light of these findings and of the pending sunset of PICFI, a strategy is needed to guide and communicate next steps regarding this program component.


1.0 INTRODUCTION

1.1 Purpose of the Evaluation

This report presents the results of the Evaluation of the Pacific Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative (PICFI), a program under Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO). In accordance with the 2009 Treasury Board Policy on Evaluation, this evaluation provided an evidence-based, neutral assessment of the relevance and performance of PICFI, which included an assessment of its effectiveness, efficiency and economy. A formative evaluation of PICFI was completed in 2010/11, and as stated in the Policy on Evaluation all direct program spending must be evaluated every five years. Therefore, in response to this requirement, this evaluation covered the five year period from 2011/12 to 2015/16.

This evaluation was conducted by the independent evaluation firm R.A. Malatest & Associates Ltd. (Malatest) between May 2015 and December 2015. Within DFO, the evaluation was managed by the Evaluation Division.

1.2 Evaluation Scope and Context

This program underwent a formative evaluation in 2009/10. The present evaluation of PICFI covered the five year period from April 2011 to March 2016.Footnote 2

Evaluation activities commenced in May 2015 and concluded in December 2015.

In accordance with the Treasury Board Policy on Evaluation, this evaluation examined the following core evaluation issues:

  • The continued need for the program: Assessment of the extent to which the program continues to address a demonstrable need and is responsive to the needs of DFO and Canadians;
  • Alignment with Government and DFO priorities: Assessment of the linkages between program objectives and (i) federal government and DFO priorities and (ii) departmental strategic outcomes;
  • Alignment with Federal and DFO roles and responsibilities: Assessment of the roles and responsibilities of the federal government and DFO in delivering the program;
  • Achievement of expected outcomes: Assessment of progress toward expected outcomes (including direct, intermediate and ultimate outcomes) with reference to performance targets and program reach, program design, including the linkage and contribution of outputs to outcomes; and
  • Demonstration of efficiency and economy: Assessment of resource utilization in relation to the production of outputs and progress toward expected outcomes.

2.0 PROGRAM PROFILE

2.1 Program Context

Program Objectives

PICFI was designed with the objective of achieving environmentally sustainable, economically viable commercial fisheries with strong First Nations (FN) involvement across British Columbia. The program focused on increasing FN access to BC commercial fisheries, developing universal transparent commercial fishing rules, and improving the management of commercial fisheries through enhanced collaboration across harvest sectors and from all resources users.

Pacific commercial fisheries are an important economic driver in British Columbia (BC) and a sector where further economic growth is possible. In 2011, commercial fishing was the fourth largest primary industry in BC after forestry, mining and agriculture,Footnote 3 and in 2014, it directly contributed $249 million to the local economy.Footnote 4

Over the past two decades the Pacific fishing industry has encountered increasing challenges including:

  • Low levels of FN participation in commercial fishing;
  • Inconsistent approaches to fisheries monitoring and compliance; and
  • Outdated fisheries management approaches.

Activities

PICFI was designed to integrate, stabilize and develop BC fisheries through three elements: Aboriginal Commercial Fishing Enterprise Development; Enhanced Accountability; and Collaborative Management. During the recent two-year renewal (2014-16), the focus of PICFI shifted from broad-based fisheries reform to greater support and further strengthening of FN commercial fishing enterprises (CFEs). A detailed breakdown of the program’s components and the intended purposes including the 2014-16 PICFI Refresh adjustments are detailed in Table 1.


Table 1. PICFI Program Elements

table 1 PICI program elements
Element Purpose
Element 1: Aboriginal Commercial Fishing Enterprise Development

To increase capacity building and investment in capital for CFEs. This element contained two sub-elements, Access Acquisition and Distribution and First Nation Capacity Building, which were created to support FN commercial fishing in BC.

In 2014-16, the focus of the Enterprise Development element shifted from Access Acquisition and Distribution to a support and strengthening of the CFEs through four components that reflected the stages of CFE development:

  • CFE Integrated Commercial Fisheries Governance Enhancement;
  • CFE Integrated Commercial Fisheries Management Practice Enhancement;
  • CFE Integrated Commercial Fisheries Capacity Building; and
  • CFE Integrated Commercial Fisheries Expansion and Business Diversification.
1.1 Access Acquisition and Distribution

To support the development of sustainable FN CFEs by acquiring access to commercial fisheries for a variety of species, providing funding for FN to obtain vessels and gear to equip them to fish, and providing the opportunity for voluntary relinquishment of commercial licences and quota and redistribution to FN CFEs as communal commercial licenses and quota.

1.2 CFE Capacity Building

To facilitate the creation of self-sufficient CFEs by providing FN with sound business management and solid governance support. In order to position CFEs to become self-sustaining without federal support, this sub-element of Enterprise Development was expanded in 2014-16 in the PICFI Refresh to include:

  • A Business Development Team (BDT), designed to provide confidential assistance on business planning and support in identifying training needs and opportunities for CFEs. The team was managed through the First Nations Fisheries Council (FNFC) and funded through a contribution agreement between PICFI and the FNFC.
  • A Third Party Evaluator (TPE) who was responsible for independently assessing each business case to provide recommendations to DFO regarding requests for funding.

In addition to continued operational funding, capacity building activities (as well as access acquisition and distribution) in the PICFI Refresh were supported by two new funding streams/initiatives:

  • Business Development Source
  • Strategic Partnership Initiative funding for a new Pacific Commercial Fisheries Diversification InitiativeFootnote 5.
Element 2: Enhanced Accountability

To address fisheries accountability through new and enhanced fisheries monitoring, catch reporting, information management, data utilization and effective enforcement.

In 2014-16, the focus for this element, although reduced from previous years, was on completing the key fisheries reforms including the implementation of the Strategic Framework for Fishery Monitoring and Catch Reporting in the Pacific Fisheries Footnote 6for FN Food, Social and Ceremonial, recreational and commercial fisheries to achieve sustainable management practices and to fully implement an intelligence-based enforcement model.

Element 3: Collaborative Management

To support collaboration efforts across harvest sectors to provide greater opportunity for participation from all resource users (Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal) in integrated commercial fisheries planning and advisory processes.

In 2014-16, the focus for this element, although reduced from previous years, was to further develop, implement and stabilize the FNFC. In addition, the focus was to continue to foster effective collaboration in multi-stakeholder processes and to complete a Collaborative Policy Framework.Footnote 7


The primary activities of Enterprise Development were to acquire and distribute a variety of commercial fishing licenses and quota for FN entry and expansion in commercial fisheries, to provide business development and management training, to disburse operational support funding, and to monitor the progress of CFEs. With the 2014-16 PICFI Refresh renewal, the focus of Enterprise Development was shifted to further capacity building and providing external business, business expansion, and diversification services to assist in achieving more sustainable CFEs.

The activities of Enhanced Accountability were to develop fisheries monitoring, catch reporting, information management systems, new licensing and more stringent reporting requirements, to establish new enforcement approaches, and to fund Aboriginal catch monitoring activities. These activities as a whole were intended to contribute to a comprehensive approach.

Collaborative Management included activities related to building relationships between FN, government and other fisheries stakeholders. These activities included the establishment of collaborative panels and committees, a mandated regional FN consultation body, and engagement with stakeholders.

Expected Results

The expected results for the program were outlined in the PICFI Governance Charter (2014), with the overall results described under PICFI Objective (Section 4.0) and more specific results detailed under PICFI Targeted Outcomes (Section 6.0). The objectives of the program shifted with the two-year renewal in 2014. At inception, the overall objectives of the program were to support advancing broader reforms to Pacific fisheries needed to strengthen resource sustainability and industry prosperity, and to achieve greater certainty and stability around Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal participation in integrated commercial fisheries, while maintaining incentives to reach comprehensive treaty settlements. The renewed overall objective of the program was to continue to create positive conditions towards concluding long-term arrangements, inside and outside of treaties with FNs in BC through the following:

  • Maintaining and securing the significant investment made in existing fisheries assets;
  • Further developing the governance, management, administrative and operational capacity of participating FN CFEs to enable FNs to operate successfully and effectively participate in the integrated commercial fishery;
  • Enhancing the ability of FNs to participate in the Collaborative Management of integrated fisheries management processes;
  • Assisting CFEs to assume greater responsibility for their ongoing training/mentoring and other capacity building activities covered in the program; and
  • Helping sustainable CFEs to solidify their commercial fishing businesses, and to assist in business expansion and diversification.

The Target Outcomes for each element of PICFI as stated in the PICFI Governance Charter (2014) are described below. Footnote 8

For the participating CFEs under Enterprise Development:

  • Increased Aboriginal participation in an integrated commercial fishery sector in the Pacific Region;
  • Creation and maintenance of viable, sustainable commercial fishing enterprises;
  • CFE governance structures that separate business and community politics, and are accountable and transparent to FN shareholders;
  • Sound business management processes for CFE management and operation;
  • CFE Manager, skilled in managing a commercial fisheries business, meeting the needs of the CFE and represented communities;
  • Business, administration, and operational harvesting skills acquired through at sea mentoring or in-class training;
  • Fisheries Management System in place for interested, eligible CFEs;
  • Greater involvement by CFEs in business and industry collaboration forums, and in fisheries Collaborative Management; and
  • Increased ability by CFEs to optimize existing access and achieve CFE profitability and sustainability.

For Enhanced Accountability:

  • Complete a new harmonized fisheries information management system for rapid retrieval and integration of fisheries data;
  • Continued testing of transferable salmon sharesFootnote 9 in both marine and freshwater environments on a "demonstration" basis with the intent to incorporate into a regularized commercial fishery upon the sunset of PICFI; and
  • A reformed commercial salmon regime, with the continued development and testing of in-river commercial fisheries and advancement of selective fisheries. This would improve conservation and protect weaker stocks, as large mixed-stock fishing inadvertently caught weaker stocks as by-catch mixed in with the targeted species. Selective fishing increased the likelihood of weaker stocks surviving as these techniques made it more likely for these weaker fish to reach their spawning grounds. In-river commercial fisheries provide inland CFEs with commercial fishing opportunities resulting in reduced illegal sales and important economic opportunities.

For Collaborative Management:

  • The First Nations Fisheries Council (FNFC) will be stabilized as a mandated regional FN consultation body that engages on policy issues. The FNFC proposed sub-regional groups will be focal points for engagement with DFO on operational issues and a model for engagement of First Nations in fisheries management will be in place to guide more efficient and affordable interactions; and     
  • Positive relationships between FN, government, and fisheries stakeholders will be further strengthened and collaboration on common goals to support an integrated fishery will be enhanced. As a result of the effective network of FN and multi-sector processes, such as the Monitoring and Compliance Panel established through PICFI, conflicts are significantly reduced, and consultations are becoming more efficient.

Stakeholders

PICFI and its three elements served a variety of stakeholders.

DFO Managers
Key stakeholders in DFO included the Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM) of Ecosystems and Fisheries Management, the Director General (DG) of Aboriginal Affairs and the Senior Director, Aboriginal Programs, Aboriginal Affairs, at National Headquarters. At the Regional Headquarters key stakeholders in DFO included the Regional Director General, Pacific Region, the Regional Director, Ecosystems and Fisheries Management, and all Directors and Elements Leads responsible for implementation, coordination, and monitoring of PICFI.

British Columbia First Nations
Supporting increased FN participation in Pacific commercial fisheries was a key objective of PICFI. All BC FNs that were in close proximity to a commercial fisheries opportunity were eligible to apply to participate in PICFI. PICFI encouraged aggregate bodies as applicants; individual FNs were eligible to apply only in unique cases. In 2015, 97 of 128 FNs with potential commercial fishing opportunities from across BC were participating in Enterprise DevelopmentFootnote 10. The primary PICFI client representatives within the CFEs were the General Managers, Boards of Directors, and occasionally the fisheries managers. Other representatives within the participating FNs included Band Managers, Chiefs, Councils and fishers involved in planning and dialogue with the CFE representatives.

Commercial Fishers
All commercial fishers with a license issued under the Pacific Fishery Regulations Schedule II were eligible to voluntarily retire their licenses and quota under PICFI. Vessels and gear necessary for CFE operations were acquired independently by the CFEs, with financial support from PICFI contribution funding agreements. All commercial fishers were also encouraged to participate in the co-management of fisheries decision-making through different mechanisms (i.e., integrated fisheries management processes, and the Commercial Salmon Allocation Board).

Recreational Fishers
DFO is responsible for the management of sport fishing in tidal (salt) waters and in non-tidal (fresh) waters in BC. The goal of improving overall management of the Pacific fisheries through PICFI had implications for recreational fishers. Through PICFI, all fishery groups (FN, commercial, recreational), environmental groups and government were encouraged to use their knowledge and expertise to participate through processes such as the Sport Fishing Advisory Board in fisheries management and decision-making to develop mutually beneficial outcomes.

Canadian Public
Canada's commercial fisheries are vital and valuable to all Canadians. Many Canadians have an interest in the BC commercial fisheries, including tourists, community-based organizations, non-government organizations, universities and other institutions.

Program Resources

PICFI was initially a five year, $175 million program (2007-2012). Renewal of PICFI in 2012 and 2013 provided $22.5 million and $22.0 million, respectively. A further extension (PICFI Refresh) of the program for two years (2014-16) resulted in an additional $44.1 million in funding.


2.2 Logic Model and Performance Measurement

The evaluation was guided by a logic model that provides an overview of the logical linkages between activities, outputs and various levels of outcome (direct, intermediate and ultimate).

Program Logic

The implementation of PICFI was carried out using the existing Terms and Conditions of the Integrated Aboriginal Contribution Management Framework (IACMF). The DFO program logic model for PICFI was the IACMF logic model, with some minor variations, as this was the logic model used for all DFO Aboriginal Affairs programming under IACMF.

After examining this logic model, the evaluation team found that greater specificity in terms of the activities, outputs and outcomes for each element was needed to provide a solid foundation for the current evaluation. Based on the IACMF logic model and in consultation with DFO, a targeted PICFI logic model was developed by the evaluation team.

Program Performance Measurement

Included in the PICFI Performance Measurement Roadmap (2014) is the PICFI Performance Measurement Matrix, which identifies the performance indicators required to monitor and assess the performance of the program. Some of the performance indicators are quantitative and include, for example, number and value of contribution agreements signed, percent of CFEs with documented business plans, and number of Conservation and Protection (C&P) Fishery Officers trained, equipped, and able to carry out intelligence-based enforcement. These quantitative indicators have tended to be used to assess the program’s progress at the Output and Direct Outcome levels.

PICFI also developed a number of qualitative indicators to complement the quantitative data. These indicators were largely directed towards the assessment of CFEs and were designed to capture the degree to which CFEs had utilized the capacity to participate in the commercial fishing industry and to assess the program’s progress at meeting the Intermediate and Ultimate-Long Term Outcomes. These indicators included, for example, the nature, scope and quality of CFE participation in Collaborative Management activities, structures and processes, and CFE ability to sustainably participate in the Pacific commercial fishery.

3.0 EVALUATION METHODOLOGY

3.1 Evaluation Approach and Design

The evaluation measured program performance against intended results articulated in the program logic model. The evaluation questions were able to demonstrate the extent to which the program achieved issues of relevance, effectiveness, efficiency and economy. Use of triangulation was undertaken as an analytical method, when possible, where multiple lines of evidence helped corroborate findings. The evaluation questions were generated on the basis of the Treasury Board’s Policy on Evaluation (2009), a review of key program documents, and preliminary discussions with PICFI management.

The general approach used in this evaluation included the following: group discussions with the PICFI managers and reviews of program documents to gain a clear understanding of the program; exploration of the development of a simplified PICFI logic model; identification of core evaluation issues, appropriate evaluation questions and indicators; determination of available data sources and suitable data analysis; collection of data from various sources; analysis of the results; and development of conclusions and considerations.

Based on PICFI’s activities, outputs and intended outcomes, and in consultation with DFO, key informant interviews, administrative and financial data, and program document reviews were selected as the most relevant data sources for assessing program relevance, effectiveness, efficiency and economy.

3.2 Data Sources

Both quantitative and qualitative data were used for the evaluation of PICFI. The details of each data source are described below.

Key Informant Interviews

All interviewees were identified by DFO management on the basis of knowledge of and experience with the program. Table 2 details the number of key informant interviews by category that were completed for the evaluation.

A total of 27 interviews were conducted either in-person or by phone. There was a relatively even distribution of interviews between DFO representatives (n=11), CFE representatives (n=8), and representatives of external groups/supporting organizations (n=8), which ensured a breadth of information and gave the evaluation team insight into the program’s management, delivery, and use. External groups/supporting organizations included various aggregate Aboriginal stakeholder groups, non-DFO technical and policy advisory groups, TPE, BDT, FNFC, and the BC Seafood Alliance (FishSafe). All members of this grouping category had involvement with PICFI, either through receiving PICFI funding or through providing services to PICFI created CFEs.

Table 2. Key Informants Interviewed
table 2 key informants interviewed
Key Informant Category Number
National Headquarters PICFI Staff 2
Regional PICFI Staff 9
CFE Representatives 8
External Groups/Supporting Organizations 8
Total 27

Group Discussions

There were three group discussions, two via conference call and one in-person meeting in Ottawa, with a total of six DFO representatives involved in the management and delivery of PICFI and one DFO representative involved in overseeing the evaluation. These group discussions lasted for approximately two hours, and focused on the design and objectives of the program, as well as the participants’ roles within PICFI.

Document Review

A total of 51 relevant program documents, including program background, administrative, and financial information, were provided to the evaluation team by DFO representatives. A catalog of all documents was created and served as an inventory of documents received from PICFI personnel. All documents were reviewed by the evaluation team and relevant information included in the evaluation. The main sources included the following:

  • Evaluation of the Pacific Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative. Final Report (2010);
  • Evaluation of the Atlantic Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative. Draft Report (2015);
  • CFE Profiles (2015);
  • Report on the Findings of the Cohen Commission (2012); and
  • PICFI Budget Allocations and Expenditures per Program Activity (2010/11-to 2015/16).

3.3 Analysis

Qualitative analysis of program documents involved extracting relevant evidence for each evaluation question. For focus group and key informant interview data, inductive content analysis was completed, whereby responses were reviewed addressing each evaluation question in order to identify themes and areas of concurrence or divergence within each key informant category and for each element of the program. Quantitative analysis, which occurred mostly for financial data, involved crosschecking data and calculating summary statistics.

3.4 Methodological Limitations and Mitigation Strategies

Although the evaluation encountered some challenges and limitations, these limitations were mitigated, as much as possible, through the use of multiple lines of evidence (key informant interviews, group discussions and document reviews) and triangulation of data. This approach was taken in order to demonstrate reliability and validity of the findings and to ensure that conclusions and considerations are based on objective and documented evidence. Details on limitations and mitigation strategies used can be found in Annex A.

4.0 FINDINGS

This section details the overall findings from the evaluation of PICFI. The evaluation findings are organized by core evaluation issues and, within them, by dominant themes for each element that emerged during the data analysis.

4.1 Relevance

The relevance of PICFI was determined through examination of the following two issues: continued need for the program, and alignment with government priorities and federal roles and responsibilities.

Continued Need for the Program


Key Findings: Evidence suggests that there is a continued need for all three program elements. While progress has been made, further Enterprise Development support is needed to help CFEs reach sustainability status. Effective measures have been put in place for both the Enhanced Accountability and Collaborative Management programming elements, but there is still room for continued improvement of these measures, and ongoing support is needed to ensure their sustainability. Questions remain, however, as to whether these two elements should be funded through PICFI or other programming.


The initial overall objective of PICFI, as stated in the PICFI Governance Charter (2014), was to support advancing broader reforms to Pacific fisheries which were needed to strengthen resource sustainability and industry prosperity. Specifically, these goals were to increase Aboriginal participation in BC’s integrated commercial fisheries, establish common and transparent rules for all commercial fishers, provide greater certainty, stability and economic performance for fisheries participants, improve conservation for stocks, achieve a higher standard of accountability through strengthened enforcement and compliance and strengthened collaboration among fishery users.

With the renewal of PICFI in 2014 (PICFI Refresh), the objectives of the program shifted to provide greater support to strengthen Aboriginal CFEs to become self-sufficient.

Enterprise Development
The program is still needed to support CFE progress towards sustainability. By 2014, through PICFI Enterprise Development, 25 Aboriginal CFEs involving 97 FNs were established. To continue or increase FN participation in BC’s commercial fisheries, CFEs need to be viable, self-sustaining businesses. In order to be considered sustainable, CFEs had to have obtained a rank of 82% on the DFO-developed internal PICFI Rating System, modeled on the best-practice rating system originally developed for the AICFI program.Footnote 11 This rating system assesses the CFEs’ governance, organization, management, administration and operational policies, and the execution of their business models. A score of 82% indicates that a CFE is sufficiently established and advanced enough to operate despite temporary adversity, such as reduced prices or fluctuations in fish stocks.Footnote 12 As of 2015, none of the PICFI CFEs had reached the threshold to be considered a sustainable business. Without support from PICFI or other similar programs, CFEs would be at considerable risk for business failure and likely at a rate higher than industry average. This finding was substantiated by most respondents (all groups), who reported that currently CFEs were fragile and could not endure without PICFI support.

Where CFEs are now, it would be detrimental to commercial fishing in BC to stop [PICFI]. (Representative from an External group/Supporting organization)

For Enterprise Development, the need for the program shifted over the evaluation period. As CFEs became established and skilled at utilizing their commercial access, there was a greater need for sound business management and solid governance support, which led to the implementation of the BDT and the TPE during the PICFI Refresh. Many interviewees from DFO and CFEs reported that the need for this element of the program has expanded since 2010, as CFEs are moving beyond survival and now need assistance with business management, expansion and diversification in order to be sustainable.

When respondents were asked “How long do you feel PICFI should continue?”, responses varied with a few saying five years, several saying between 5-10 years, some saying more than 10 years and a few stating until treaty negotiations are finalized. When examining the east coast, it was only after the combination of the Marshall Response Initiative and then AICFI (13 years total) that the first CFEs became sustainable. It is therefore unsurprising that after only seven years PICFI CFEs have yet to reach sustainability.

Enhanced Accountability
Enhanced Accountability activities have sought to address identified needs for standardizing monitoring standards across the various Pacific commercial fisheries, in part to support attainment of international fisheries eco-certification requirements, and the need for improved collection and management of fisheries regulatory compliance monitoring data. PICFI was used as the program vehicle for funding and managing reforms in this area, in collaboration with key delivery partners such as the BC Seafood Alliance (to run a new data management system) and DFO’s Conservation & Protection (C&P) team, which is responsible for ensuring compliance and enforcement of fishery laws and regulations.

A number of measures have been put in place to improve accountability since the program’s inception, namely a monitoring and catch reporting strategic framework was established, a fisheries management and information storage system was put in place, and a new intelligence-based enforcement approach was launched (more detailed findings are presented in the report’s section on Effectiveness).

Despite these accomplishments, evidence suggests that there is a need to continue supporting these activities and concerns that interruption of PICFI funding for this component (the program being scheduled to sunset on March 31, 2016) would jeopardize their sustainability. Most DFO representatives reported that the need for this element was still crucial. Without PICFI funding, they believe that the development and implementation of an intelligence-based enforcement program would be compromised and a reduction in C&P intelligence-based enforcement employees would most likely occur.Footnote 13 This need was echoed by the findings of Commissioner Cohen, who determined that the current funding from PICFI was singly providing enforcement on the Fraser River at an appropriate level, and led to his recommendation that DFO should at minimum fund enforcement activities to the same level as provided by PICFI in 2012.Footnote 14

While evidence suggests an ongoing need to fund enhanced accountability activities, findings are inconclusive as to whether PICFI remains the most appropriate program vehicle for overseeing this component. In light of the PICFI Refresh’s shift in focus towards development of Aboriginal commercial fisheries enterprises, and given that fisheries enforcement activities are managed by a different organizational unit (C&P) at DFO, it might be more appropriate for this program element to be centrally managed by C&P. A disadvantage of this delivery model, however, would be the loss of PICFI staff expertise and experience in engaging with Aboriginal commercial fishery stakeholders to foster buy-in for the new enhanced accountability approaches. According to several key informants, part of PICFI’s effectiveness rests on its integrated approach combining enterprise development, enhanced accountability and collaborative management engagement activities. The integration of these three Program elements was perceived to produce greater beneficial outcomes than would be possible had elements operated independently. In the words of one key informant:

[The Program elements are] synergistic. Yes, you could just focus on CFEs but the overall effect will not be as great as if you focus on aggregate development and modernizing fisheries management so it works effectively. (DFO representative)

Collaborative Management
The Collaborative Management element of PICFI has been focused on supporting collaboration capacity among FNs with the goal of increasing their ability to participate in sustainable fisheries management. There were several new governance structures developed through PICFI, for example, the Salmon Coordinating Committee (SCC) and the Aquaculture Coordinating Committee (ACC) housed under the First Nations Fisheries Council (FNFC). As a result of PICFI, FN capacity to participate in BC fisheries management has increased; however, for these groups to be effective, they need funding to support their participation and meetings.

Similar to the Enhanced Accountability element, evidence is inconclusive as to whether PCIFI remains the most appropriate program vehicle for managing Collaborative Management activities. A few respondents questioned whether PICFI needed to continue funding the Collaborative Management element, or if other programs such as Aboriginal Aquatic Resource and Oceans Management (AAROM) would be more appropriate. AAROM was developed to respond to increasing Aboriginal participation in fisheries management. Its main objectives were to assist Aboriginal groups with building administrative capacity and scientific expertise, encourage and enhance Collaborative Management governance structures and to strengthen relationships between Aboriginal communities, DFO and other stakeholders.Footnote 15 Other respondents noted that they felt AAROM was presently over-subscribed and that moving to exclusively funding collaborative management activities through AAROM might put the gains made by PICFI Collaborative Management at risk.


Alignment with Government Priorities and Federal Roles and Responsibilities


Key Findings: PICFI aligns with federal government priorities and the strategic outcomes of DFO. The Enterprise Development element of PICFI has some overlap with the responsibilities of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC); however, DFO was found to be the more appropriate agency to implement the program. PICFI used the tools developed through the Allocation Transfer Program (ATP), an initiative of the Aboriginal Fishing Strategy (AFS) to provide commercial fishery access to FN CFEs. PICFI built on these tools and used them effectively to a greater extent than the ATP program. PICFI Enhanced Accountability and Collaborative Management elements overlapped to some extent with other DFO programs, such as Aboriginal Aquatic Resources and Oceans Management (AAROM) and the Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy (AFS) but the funding obtained through PICFI is perceived to be essential for filling gaps in these other areas of programming.


Alignment with federal government priorities and strategic outcomes
The goals of PICFI are in alignment with federal government priorities. In 2011, the Speech from the Throne emphasized that “action is needed to address the barriers… [to] economic participation that many Aboriginal Canadians face” and the government stated it would work with Aboriginal communities, provinces and territories to meet these challenges.Footnote 16 This priority was echoed again in the Speech from the Throne in 2013 where the government stated that “Canada’s Aboriginal peoples must have every opportunity to benefit [from the natural resource sector]”.Footnote 17 Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Open Letter to Canadians in November 2015 highlighted developing a Nation-to-Nation process with Canada’s Aboriginal peoples as a priority and pathway to economic growth.Footnote 18 PICFI’s goal of building economic opportunities for FNs through commercial fishing is therefore in accordance with the priority of building economic capacity for FNs, and the Initiative continues to align with federal government priorities.

DFO has three strategic outcomes under its role as the lead federal organization in managing Canada`s fisheries and safeguarding its waters.Footnote 19 These outcomes are:

  • Economically Prosperous Maritime Sectors and Fisheries
  • Sustainable Aquatic Ecosystems
  • Safe and Secure Waters

The Enterprise Development element of PICFI is directly linked to the first strategic outcome, as PICFI has been providing support for the economic development of FN CFEs. PICFI’s support to FNs directly increases their ability to receive economic benefits from the commercial fishing industry, which contributes to their own communities’ economic well-being, and to the industry as a whole.Footnote 20 Furthermore, PICFI’s license relinquishment program allowed members of the fishing industry who were interested in exiting the industry to sell their access at a fair market price. While FNs were not directly referenced in the first  strategic outcome, PICFI’s access relinquishment has provided benefits to both FNs and industry members alike, as well as provided certainty and stability around Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal businesses participating in commercial fishing, thus leading to economically prosperous maritime sectors and fisheries.Footnote 21

Enhanced Accountability and Collaborative Management elements were best linked to the outcome of sustainable aquatic ecosystems. The development of the Strategic Framework for Fisheries Monitoring and Catch Reporting in the Pacific Fisheries and the PacFish system provided DFO with greater ability to manage the fishery resource in a sustainable and transparent manner.Footnote 22 Enforcement also aligns with this outcome, as reducing the number of fish illegally caught ensures fisheries management targets are met.Footnote 23

Collaborative Management provides capacity to FNs to participate in fisheries management, leading to sustainable aquatic ecosystems. Furthermore, the increase of FN participation in fisheries management increases the likelihood of compliance with fisheries management regulations and frameworks.Footnote 24 This is expected to ultimately lead to sustainable aquatic ecosystems.

Extent of Duplication of Existing Activities: Enterprise Development
The Enterprise Development element of PICFI focuses on building FN CFEs into sustainable business enterprises through the acquisition of commercial fishing access and vessels and gear, in addition to providing support for training. Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) has the mandate to “improve social well-being and economic prosperity” of Aboriginal peoples in Canada.Footnote 25 As a result, there is a degree of overlap between the two departments.

Several key informants were asked the question “Should PICFI have been under the umbrella of another department, for example AANDC”? All respondents (all groups) agreed that PICFI was best implemented under DFO. While AANDC was felt to have considerable business expertise, the inherent complexity of fisheries and required knowledge of fisheries management was felt by respondents to be crucial to the program’s success. Some respondents said that, had PICFI been implemented by AANDC, DFO would still have needed to be heavily involved, resulting in an increase of resources needed to coordinate the two departments. Consequently, they felt that PICFI provided through DFO was a more efficient use of government resources.

With the 2014-2016 PICFI Refresh, CFEs had access to three funding streams, two of which were new to PICFI in 2015/16. These funding streams were as follows: PICFI Operational Support Funding (provided previously on an annual basis), the Business Development Source and the Strategic Partnership Initiative (through AANDC). PICFI operational funding was consistently available to fund CFEs throughout the duration of PICFI, although with PICFI Refresh this funding stream decreased from $150,000 to $130,000/year.

The Business Development Source was a new stream of funding available to CFEs in 2015/16. This stream was designed to provide funding for harvest-related expansion activities (e.g., acquiring fishing access, fishing vessels or fishing operation upgrades). In order to qualify, CFEs had to contribute a minimum of 10% cash equity and document a strong business case for the proposed expansion in their Business Development Source application. Through the Business Development Source, CFEs would be responsible for acquiring their own access (licenses or quota) which would be held as regular commercial fishing access with the associated fees. As of December 2015, all CFEs had submitted applications for Business Development Source funding.

The third stream, Strategic Partnership Initiative, is of particular relevance to the question of program overlap. Through this AANDC-led program, PICFI obtained $6M over a three year period (2015/16 to 2017/18) for the Pacific Commercial Fisheries Diversification Initiative. This initiative aimed at providing additional funding support to CFEs who need to horizontally diversify through non-harvest related projects (e.g., processing, retail, fishing related services, ice supply) and aquaculture. To apply for Pacific Commercial Fisheries Diversification Initiative funding, CFEs needed to provide substantial equity (10% minimum to be considered, although more was recommended) and produce a thorough business case. Projects which showed greater equity and evidence of increasing FN community employment were to be prioritized.Footnote 26 The collaboration between PICFI and AANDC for this initiative was felt by respondents (all groups) to be an appropriate complement to PICFI as it would help meet the horizontal diversification needs of some of the CFEs. As of December 2015, five CFEs had submitted applications to receive Pacific Commercial Fisheries Diversification Initiative funding in 2015/16.

PICFI Enterprise Development was built on the existing Aboriginal Fishing Strategy (AFS) Program, in particular the Allocation Transfer Program (ATP) component. ATP was a sub-component of AFS (launched in 1994) designed to increase FN involvement in commercial fishing through voluntary relinquishment of commercial fishing access (licenses and quota) which would then be utilized by FNs through annually negotiated commercial fisheries access agreements.Footnote 27 ATP was funded to a much smaller degree than PICFI. Between 2008-2014 ATP purchased $14.79 million in commercial access for FNsFootnote 28, while PICFI purchased approximately $131.6 million during that period.

PICFI expanded on ATP processes until the final year of PICFI Refresh (2015/16) when the Business Development Source funding stream (described above) was introduced. In the place of a voluntary relinquishment process, Business Development Source funding could be utilized by CFEs for the direct purchase of access (licenses or quota). These licenses would retain their typical commercial status and could be held as capital assets by the CFEs. While some CFEs representatives said they preferred the Aboriginal communal commercial license type, likely because this type requires little to no commercial licensing fees, the advantage of CFEs holding their own commercial licenses was that they would become a financial asset of the CFE and reflect on the CFEs’ corporate balance sheet. This would allow interested CFEs to pursue conventional capital lending opportunities going forward. Another advantage of the Business Development Source supported access acquisition process was that CFEs could determine which licenses they wanted to purchase rather than DFO selecting for them. PICFI has therefore expanded the idea of commercial access transfer with a greater emphasis on building business capacity and creating a new environment for FNs and DFO to work together.

Extent of Duplication of Existing Activities: Enhanced Accountability and Collaborative Management
Enhanced Accountability goals focused on innovating in programs funded from other areas of DFO (e.g., Conservation and Protection, Science, etc.). Certain innovations, such as the creation of the PacFish database system were completely new.

PICFI Collaborative Management provided funding to strengthen FN capacity in fisheries management. Many of the groups funded by PICFI also received AAROM (97 FNs with PICFI and AAROM agreements) or AFS (93 FNs with PICFI and AFS agreements) funding.Footnote 29 Several groups however were funded entirely through PICFI. While there was a definite degree of overlap, many respondents (all groups) said that PICFI helped to cover the gaps in other programs (i.e., AAROM). That being said, interviewees (DFO representatives and representatives of external groups/supporting organizations) also identified meeting fatigue as an issue which at times limited meeting engagement and effectiveness of management processes. Commissioner Cohen heard that fishery managers were required to attend 160 different management consultation processes, a contributor to meeting fatigue.


4.2 Effectiveness

This section presents evaluation findings on the achievement of program outcomes, divided by program sub-component.

Achievement of Enterprise Development Outcomes


Key Findings: CFEs are not yet operating at a sustainable business level; however, substantial progress has been made. In-river demonstration CFEs had unique challenges but also demonstrated impressive successes which suggest that the in-river fishery can be economically sustainable. Several CFEs have been profitable using leasing arrangements but evidence suggests that it is less profitable in the long term than the active fishing model. CFEs will need to acquire additional fishing access and to diversify in order to grow and become more sustainable; the Business Development Source and Strategic Partnerships Initiative with AANDC were viewed as positive means to help CFEs become sustainable businesses. Going forward, CFEs will need to continue to increase their business and management capacity; the BDT will provide advice for CFEs to develop strategic training plans going forward. Unexpected positive outcomes of the Program have been the local retention of fishing licenses and quotas that might have otherwise been acquired by fishing operations with minimal Canadian ownership, and increased fishing capacity in a number of fisheries of importance for Food, Social and Ceremonial purposes.


Sustainability of Commercial Fishing Enterprises
An anticipated outcome of PICFI Enterprise Development was the establishment of CFEs that are sufficiently established, governed and capitalized to be self-sustaining. Both the document review and key informant interviews showed that progress has been made and CFEs were moving towards sustainability, although none had yet reached the target. Using the internal CFE rating system (adopted from AICFIFootnote 30) none of the CFEs were graded as operating at the threshold considered to be sustainable (which is 82%) when examining both the baseline grading and the revised TPE rating. Of the 25 CFEs, eight were graded as “passing” (above 52%), meaning the CFE was able to perform under typical market conditions and provide small financial returns to the community. An additional six were classified as approximately 10% below passing (between 46.8% and 52%) and the remaining 11 were classified as more than 10% below passing (below 46.8%).

Some CFEs reported that they considered themselves to be able to operate without PICFI but acknowledged that their future survival would be dependent on continued access provided by PICFI and their operations would be smaller and more susceptible to system shocks (i.e., cyclical species fluctuations and poor harvest years). Staff and parties external to the CFEs felt none or very few CFEs would continue to operate without PICFI.

Nevertheless, it is important to recognize that significant progress has been made since 2007. Prior to 2007, 3% of commercial fishing access was managed by FNs. PICFI’s provision of access raised this amount to 13% and contributed to diversified access packages with many species, such as salmon, herring, halibut, and prawn among others. Individual CFE access packages currently range in value from approximately $3 million to $12.8 million, with the exception of one CFE whose PICFI access is currently valued at approximately $700,000. The majority of key informants felt the diversity and size of access packages distributed to CFEs was enough to form a business; however, many respondents said CFEs would need additional access such as additional quota and, in some cases, access to new species outside the CFEs’ current portfolio, going forward.

According to PICFI’s internal CFE rating data, by 2014/15 over 640 jobs employing CFE community members were created as a result of the Program. Some CFEs employed local community members, with three CFEs creating over 50 jobs for their community members. Many CFEs had landed values over $1 million. All CFEs participated in formal training activities, particularly focused on harvester safety, over the last five years. Six million dollars of funding was made available for the purchase of vessels and gear over the past five years.

Success of in-river demonstration CFEs
The in-river demonstration fisheries were designed to test the feasibility of transferring a portion of commercial salmon shares from the marine environment and into the terminal, in-river locations. These fisheries are referred to as “demonstration” because they are testing the feasibility of fishing commercial stock in-river as well as using fishing methods new to the commercial industry (e.g., dip net fishing).Footnote 31 Profitability of the in-river demonstration fishery and quality of the fish as products were concerns of Commissioner Cohen, who recommended that DFO research the economic benefits of the in-river fishery.Footnote 32 There had been concerns from the marine industry that the quality of salmon would be reduced significantly after leaving the marine environment and entering the river, therefore considerable efforts would be needed to develop a market for in-river caught salmon.Footnote 33 While some work will still be required, several of the CFE participants in the in-river demonstration fisheries succeeded in promoting in-river-caught salmon and found a market for their products. For example, one representative from these CFEs said they were marketing their salmon similar to the wine industry, emphasizing the uniqueness of the salmon’s quality as a result of the individual river system much as wine emphasizes a vineyard’s terroir. This has received attention from environmental organizations and the local food movement, such as the David Suzuki FoundationFootnote 34 and Slow Food in CanadaFootnote 35 and their products have been regularly sold in hotels and upscale restaurants in the Okanagan region.

Challenges still exist for the in-river demonstration fisheries, due to the cyclical nature of stocks meaning that salmon allocation can be not guaranteed on an annual basis. Some CFEs were able to mitigate this by creating a storefront to sell products, which was found to provide more annual stability. Those that were not as successful did determine appropriate fishing methods for their unique and remote locations which could improve harvest during more abundant years.Footnote 36

In-river CFEs cited a need for more flexibility in their funding delivery as their equipment needs were different than coastal CFEs, who mainly purchase vessels and gear. Funding was instead required to support infrastructure development, such as the creation of landing sites. CFE representatives commented that PICFI funding was not always permitted to go to those uses, although approval had been more frequently granted in the last two years. The advent of the Business Development Source was considered to be beneficial by most in-river CFEs, with one CFE citing their plans to expand freezing capacity as a result of the Business Development Source funding support. Interestingly, considering the concerns mentioned by Commissioner Cohen,Footnote 37 three of the four in-river CFEs were rated above 50% on the internal CFE rating system.Footnote 38 In-river CFEs represent approximately 16% of all CFEs; however, they encompass 38% of CFEs who rank higher than 50%. While these CFEs are not yet considered sustainable by the ranking system, they were ahead of many of their peers in the coastal environment. This was a surprising finding given the unique challenges described above and suggested that in-river demonstration fisheries could be profitable and sustainable in the future.

A few CFE representatives and DFO representatives mentioned that because of the learning curve associated with the in-river demonstration fisheries, there had been tension between Upper and Lower Fraser groups which had not existed prior to PICFI. For example, in the earlier years of the in-river fishery, not all CFEs had yet developed the capacity to fish their entire allocation. Lower Fraser groups wanted access to this quota and felt it was unfair that they could not freely fish it. In-river demonstration fisheries were able to improve their commercial fishing ability and some groups in recent years successfully harvested the entirety of their allocation.Footnote 39 Part of this resentment may be mitigated if PICFI was expanded to include new CFEs, as several of the Lower Fraser FNs were not involved in the program to date; though the option to join existing CFEs has always been available. If the program was expanded to new participants, additional Fraser salmon access would likely be required.

Limitations of the leasing arrangement model
According to program estimates, approximately one-half of CFEs were partially reliant on a leasing arrangement model of fishing whereby the access had been leased to a non-FN, or partially FN enterprise (often a non-FN captain with a FN crew) and royalties were paid back to the CFE. This type of arrangement is similar to what is called royalty-leasing on the east coast. Of these CFEs, the majority prioritized their community members, then other FN fishermen, and finally non-FN commercial fishermen. Some of the CFEs producing large landed values were reliant on this leasing arrangement model. While it was appropriate for CFEs who initially lacked the fishing capacity within their communities to lease their fishing access to non-FN enterprises, evidence from similar programming on the east coast has shown that, ultimately, communities who actively fish or lease their access to a community vessel-owner and crew see better long term revenues and outcomes.Footnote 40 With the active fishing model, a greater number of community members are likely to have meaningful employment during the fishing season. After the season, these members would then also have access to fishing industry Employment Insurance (EI) benefits which would provide more consistent income between fishing seasons.

Several CFE representatives commented on their goal of encouraging their youth to learn to fish commercially and developing skills in young people to help the community grow and thrive in the future. A few respondents mentioned that prior to PICFI their members had begun to lose the skills required to harvest Food, Social and Ceremonial fish. By employing their community members and training them to fish commercially, this skill set could be saved and also used to meet a community’s Food, Social and Ceremonial needs. A few DFO representatives mentioned the importance of working with the Business Development Team (BDT) to help CFEs transition to an active fishing business model and that this should be a goal of PICFI going forward.

Importance of expanded and more diversified fishing access for ensuring CFE sustainability
The majority of CFEs have been distributed access (fishing licenses/quota) for a variety of species (e.g., salmon, herring groundfish, prawn, etc.) and individual CFE access packages currently range in value from approximately $3 million to $12.8 million, with the exception of one CFE whose PICFI access is currently valued at approximately $700,000. These packages typically had a diversity of species; however, more access was felt to be required.

Both CFEs and groups external to CFEs acknowledge the need for CFEs to have additional access, estimating between three to five times more fishing access would be needed. The majority of CFE representatives felt their access packages to date had been enough to start building their businesses but in order for their fishing business to achieve economy of scale, additional licenses/quota of current species would be needed. Furthermore, the provision of access (licenses or quota) from species not currently available through the Enterprise Development CFE portfolio could help to create a more diverse business with a greater possibility of fishing year-round rather than seasonally. In the words of one CFE representative:

Not exactly what we were looking for [in terms of species wanted], but we are building on it. (CFE representative)

New Business Development Source funding is seen as a critical program addition to help CFEs achieve quantum and diversity of access. This funding is intended to assist CFEs in directly purchasing and exclusively owning access as an asset, whereas the program’s initial access allocation process did not give CFEs the ability to hold their own access as an asset (rather it was allocated a communal commercial access). Ownership of fishing licenses/quota will facilitate CFEs’ access to conventional lending opportunities. It will also help CFEs select the specific licenses and quota they feel are best to grow their business. As of December 2015, 24 submitted applications had been approved for Business Development Source funding.

Several CFEs also expressed interest in diversifying into aquaculture; another strategy that could help move to yearlong employment. The Pacific Commercial Fisheries Diversification Initiative, funded by AANDC, is a key source of support for such aquaculture based projects.

Some key informants (CFE representatives and Collaborative Management group representatives) felt that in order to truly respect FN rights and title, 50% of commercial access to FN across British Columbia would be required.Footnote 41 During the Cohen Commission (2012), the First Nations Fisheries Council (FNFC) expressed that they wanted to see PICFI increase FN’s share of commercial fisheries to 33%, with additional programs beyond PICFI increasing this to 50%.Footnote 42 Considering that 85% of eligible FNs in British Columbia have participated in PICFI as CFEs to date, DFO might consider working with CFEs through the Business Development Source to increase the percentage of commercial fishery access in control of CFEs.

Importance of continued CFE capacity building efforts
Alongside increased access, CFEs still need to increase their business capacity. One of the members of the BDT team was selected to assist CFEs in developing strategic training plans going forward. While all CFEs have had basic training (e.g., safety, at sea harvesting, business management and administration), the training coordinator will help guide CFEs to select training for other areas (e.g., further business management, marketing, etc.). These training opportunities would continue to be funded through the PICFI Operational Support funding stream. CFEs will be able to build their managerial capacity which is expected to help grow the company as well as provide increased capacity within the community, skills that have the potential to support other business ventures outside of fishing and PICFI.

Unexpected positive program outcome: Preserved access for Canadians
Although not an explicit intended outcome of the program, PICFI has indirectly saved access for Canadians with local interests in fishing and the aquatic environment. The relinquishment of access from the commercial industry to PICFI and subsequent distribution to FN CFEs guaranteed that this access would be held by Canadian people and used to the benefit of local communities. While the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act regulates foreign fishing vessel access to Canadian fisheries and waters, vessels can be registered as Canadian if the vessel is owned by one or more Canadian citizens, or by a person or resident domiciled in Canada, or a corporation incorporated under the laws of Canada or a province.Footnote 43 The Canada Shipping Act also states that a vessel may be registered in Canada if owned by a foreign corporation if a subsidiary of the corporation is incorporated under the laws of Canada or a province.Footnote 44 As a result, vessels which are subject to Canadian commercial fishing licensing requirements may have minimal Canadian ownership and benefits. While specific numbers are not available as to how many of the relinquished licenses were held by foreign corporations with Canadian subsidiary offices, PICFI has distributed an additional 10% of Canadian Pacific commercial access to local FN CFEs and thus ensured a proportion of commercial fishing access will be managed by local communities in the future.

Unexpected positive program outcome: increased fishing capacity
While changes in Food, Social and Ceremonial fish harvest were not an identified outcome of PICFI, the provision of vessels, gear and fishery training to CFE members has increased fishing capacity in a number of fisheries of importance for Food, Social and Ceremonial purposes. A few CFE representatives were pleased with this development as they now had access to culturally significant (e.g., traditional medicine) species which had been difficult for the community to acquire previously. One CFE representative mentioned how pleased their community was to have access to urchins again:

We haven’t had urchin in our community in years; people stood in line until after dark, just so excited to get it. (CFE representative)

Some DFO representatives however mentioned this outcome with some concern, as there might be impacts of such increased fishing on some fish species. This potential impact is currently difficult to determine because of gaps and uncertainty surrounding catch monitoring data for some Food, Social and Ceremonial fisheries.


Achievement of Enhanced Accountability Outcomes


Key Findings: The Strategic Framework for Fishery Monitoring and Catch Reporting in the Pacific Fisheries (2012) has provided standards to guide Pacific fishery monitoring and catch reporting for all fisheries. There are still gaps in confidence surrounding catch monitoring information although confidence in data accuracy has improved. New enforcement methods have improved fisheries compliance, although there are concerns regarding the sustainability of enforcement activities in light of their heavy reliance on temporary PICFI funds. New data systems to support fisheries management are in the final stages of development and early results have been positive.


Effectiveness of catch monitoring activities
In 2012, through the Enhanced Accountability stream, a new Strategic Framework for Fisheries Monitoring and Catch Reporting in the Pacific Fisheries (SFFMCR) was developed by DFO to provide strategic guidance to DFO representatives and harvesters (commercial, recreational, and Aboriginal Food, Social and Ceremonial fisheries) for Pacific fishery monitoring and catch reporting. This framework includes a rationale for appropriate monitoring standards across fisheries. The SFFMCR includes a risk-based assessment tool to assist in the development and application of catch monitoring standards in all fisheries based on the determination of ecosystem risk levels and management requirements.Footnote 45

The SFFMCR was confirmed as a regional policy in 2012 and the implementation of monitoring and catch reporting standards has been a key priority of the Pacific region over the evaluation period. As of 2015, the risk-based assessment tool developed for the SFFMCR has been applied in some Pacific fisheries (e.g. commercial salmon, herring, recreational, and Aboriginal Food, Social and Ceremonial fish).Footnote 46 Monitoring requirements consistent with the SFFMCR were implemented in commercial salmon catch monitoring pilots. These were sites classified, according to the risk-based assessment tool, as high ecosystem risks with mixed stock and sensitive habitat where there was a significant gap between existing catch monitoring programs and the minimum standards.Footnote 47

Until 2013, the Pacific recreational fishery had only voluntary data submission requirements, with no additional third party monitoring.Footnote 48 The SFFMCR was used to assist in the development of more stringent recreational license requirements and new monitoring tools. As of April 2013, a condition of the Tidal Water Sports Fishing license is mandatory reporting on recreational fishing activity and catch through either the creel or by the Internet Recreational Effort and Catch Monitoring (iREC) surveys.Footnote 49

In addition to commercial salmon and recreational fisheries, the SFFMCR has been implemented in Aboriginal Food, Social and Ceremonial fisheries. The framework was used by the Regional Food, Social and Ceremonial Catch Monitoring Working Group to develop minimum standards for catch monitoring and to guide the creation of a Food, Social and Ceremonial database. This database captures Food, Social and Ceremonial catch and other fishing information and sends this accumulated data to PacFish/KREST, where it can be integrated with other fishery data and used for fisheries management.Footnote 50

It is the intention of DFO that the risk assessment tool under the SFFMCR will be used across all Pacific fisheries by March 31, 2016.Footnote 51 Once these risk assessments are completed for all fisheries, DFO will collaborate with harvesters to prioritize fisheries where monitoring and catch reporting changes are needed.Footnote 52

The majority of respondents (all groups) reported that, since 2010 and with the implementation of the SFFMCR, the accuracy of catch monitoring information had improved. All informants noted, however, that gaps in fishery monitoring and catch reporting remained. In particular, some informants (CFE representatives and representatives of external groups/supporting organizations) stated that they had concerns with regards to the lack of reporting done by the recreation sector, in particular the commercial sport fishing industry (i.e., sport fishing lodges, guided fishing tours, etc.). In the words of one key informant:

FNs think DFO [does not] monitor [the] sport [fishery enough] – it goes both ways [as the sport sector also does not think FNs are monitored enough]. (CFE representative)

The concerns over the inconsistency in monitoring and reporting among fisheries were echoed at regional FNFC Food, Social and Ceremonial monitoring and catch reporting workshops (2013). FN participants at these workshops reported that there needs to be equality in monitoring and reporting among all fishery sectors and that the recreational sector should have to abide by the same standards as FNs and commercial fisheries.Footnote 53

Effectiveness of enforcement activities
A considerable component of Enhanced Accountability has been the development and launch of C&P methods, primarily intelligence-based enforcement, to monitor and cease illegal fish sales. At the time of the evaluation, 10 full-time equivalent (FTE) C&P employees have been trained in intelligence-led investigation and 160 Fishery Officers were working with FN communities to promote compliance.Footnote 54

Intelligence-led investigation is a technique where information is collected to prioritize enforcement patrols and efforts. For example, examining past enforcement documents and determining late evening was when violations were highest and then deciding to schedule patrols in the evening based on this information.

The majority of respondents (DFO representatives) said that the new enforcement approaches (i.e., community outreach, intelligence-based patrols and major case management), and in particular community outreach initiatives such as restorative justice had been beneficial. Restorative justice in 2013 had diverted over 350 cases away from the traditional court process and into the communities.Footnote 55 Conviction costs have dropped by approximately $1 million since 2004. In the words of one key informant:

[It is] no longer DFO against individual and community, instead, in many cases it is now DFO and the community against the individual. (DFO representative)

A few respondents (representatives of external groups/supporting organizations) emphasized that bringing FNs into the delivery of enforcement through recruiting FN Fishery Officers to operate in FN communities will increase effectiveness and further improve compliance.

Another benefit of community outreach initiatives has been an overall reduction in the intensity of conflicts.

Even if we do not agree, we are still civil and respectful. (DFO representative)

DFO representatives noted that prior to community outreach, protests often escalated into violence. The level of violence was perceived to have reduced significantly and was attributed to the improved relationships built through PICFI and community outreach activities, such as canoe journeys.

Furthermore, Community outreach and restorative justice efforts have provided incentive for FNs youth to “stay on the right path”. Activities such as the annual canoe journeys have brought FNs youth into contact with Fishery Officers in a role beyond their enforcement responsibilities. Canoe journeys typically ended with a mix of Fishery Officers and FNs youth paddling together in a canoe and interacting informally. Many FNs youth, as a result, have expressed interest in becoming Fishery Officers. One of the requirements for a Fishery Officer is to hold Secret level security clearance which requires the candidate not to have a criminal record. Considering FNs youth are at greater risk for delinquency, having a focused goal such as becoming a Fishery Officer may reduce the individual’s risk of engaging in criminal behaviour.  In the words of one informant:

It gives them a reason to ‘keep their nose clean’. (DFO representative)

According to Conservation and Protection (C&P) representatives, many of these new initiatives would not have been developed without PICFI; these include community outreach, intelligence-led investigation, and processing/fish plant training among others.

While substantial gains have occurred, such as the successes associated with restorative justice, representatives of C&P stated they often only had resources to maintain the highest priorities (i.e., conservation), and activities beyond this (e.g., allocation, validation of catch monitoring data) were done opportunistically when resources were available. Community outreach in particular was a resource-heavy initiative and required on-going relationship building to be effective. In light of these resource limitations and the temporary nature of PICFI funding provided in support of these activities, the sustainability of current activities appears to be of concern.

Effectiveness of data systems
The development of the PacFish database was intended to improve the management of fisheries data across the Pacific region of DFO. PacFish will contain catch monitoring and management data, enable retrieval and integration of fisheries data from various sources, and will provide accurate and up-to-date fisheries information to all stakeholders. This will provide a standardized approach to information management across fisheries, and a database for monitoring compliance and for clear accountabilities.Footnote 56

At the time of this evaluation, PacFish was in the final stages of government review and was expected to be released within the next few months. As an initial phase of PacFish development, data standards were developed for different fisheries aspects (e.g., area, gear, species) which has further allowed for integration of harvest data across different systems.

One of the main components of the PacFish system was the development of KREST, which feeds into PacFish. KREST has provided a standardized repository for recreational and Food, Social and Ceremonial harvest data. In addition to the KREST repository, Food, Social and Ceremonial licenses were transitioned from paper-based and discrete distribution into the National Sport Licensing Information System also integrated with the KREST system. This made access to Food, Social and Ceremonial license distribution and catch monitoring data substantially easier and will help improve the management of the Food, Social and Ceremonial fishery.

The PacFish framework also developed additional components such as PacSearch and PacAdmin. The creation of the PacSearch system has given data access to over 500 DFO representatives allowing them to find information on licensing, vessels and fishing activity data within a single and efficient system. Coupled with the creation of the PacAdmin system, user access can be managed through a centralized user authorization logon system. While all the benefits of PacFish have not yet been realized, many DFO representatives reported they had expectations that PacFish would be an efficient and comprehensive data management system and would better support them in fisheries management.

One unexpected benefit of the KREST data system has been the standardization of recreational catch calculation methodology across the region. As part of the system’s development, a statistically rigorous and scientifically valid approach was decided upon. Prior to PICFI, Food, Social and Ceremonial fisheries catch estimates were calculated using differing methodologies across the region. In order to streamline the data management process, data needs to be reported using a standardized method. As a result, catch estimate methodology was examined by DFO Science, including professional biologists, and standardized across the region. This likely would not have occurred without PICFI and was not a specific intended outcome of the program.


Achievement of Collaborative Management Outcomes


Key Finding: PICFI increased effective FN participation at the Tier 1 (FN to FN) and Tier 2 levels (FN to DFO) in sustainable fisheries management to a moderate extent. PICFI increased multilateral (Tier 3 – FN to government, other stakeholders) FN participation in sustainable fisheries management to a smaller extent and further work is still needed. PICFI has nevertheless provided indirect benefits to treaty negotiations.


Improved FN participation in fisheries decision-making: bilateral engagement
DFO has an obligation to consult with FNsFootnote 57 on fisheries management identified as Section 35(1) right to food, social and ceremony fish.Footnote 58 Furthermore, FNs desire increased participation in fisheries decision making,Footnote 59 and have called for improved FN engagement in fisheries management.Footnote 60

DFO’s approach to collaborative management rests on the principle that a strong Tier 1 (FN to FN) level of engagement provides the foundation for effective engagement and dialogue at the bilateral Tier 2 level (FN to DFO) and multilateral Tier 3 level (FN to government and other stakeholders).Footnote 61

This evaluation found evidence to suggest that as a result of PICFI-funded initiatives, the level of effective engagement at the Tier 1 and Tier 2 levels improved on average to a moderate extent. In particular, at the Tier 1 level, the continued support of the First Nations Fisheries Council (FNFC) provided an ability to coordinate regional FN interests as the FNFC executive council was made up of representatives selected by FNs in the 14 regions across BC.Footnote 62 The FNFC was cited by many informants (DFO representatives, representatives of external groups/supporting organizations and CFE representatives with involvement in Collaborative Management) as a valuable resource for FN policy development. In the words of one informant:

At the FNFC table we can have annual discussions and policies can be distributed down and then fed back up...one venue for discussion. (DFO representative)

Initiatives supported by the FNFC include the Salmon Coordinating Committee (SCC) and the Aquaculture Coordinating Committee (ACC). The work of the SCC was perceived by many respondents (DFO representatives and representatives of external groups/supporting organizations) to have been especially effective at coordinating FN interests and has become a regular participant in consultations for salmon Integrated Fisheries Management Plans (IFMPs).Footnote 63

While developed for the Tier 1 and Tier 2 engagement process, the SCC also began work at the Tier 3 level through the Commercial Salmon Advisory Board (CSAB). The work of the CSAB was perceived by several informants (DFO representatives) as extremely effective; one respondent stated that the level of success of the CSAB was beyond their expectations. In total, 15 recommendations were made from the CSAB on the updating of the Commercial Salmon Allocation Framework.Footnote 64

On the aquaculture side, the ACC was established as an initiative of the FNFC to coordinate FN aquaculture management activities. The ACC is a newer structure, established in 2014 as a result of the transition of the aquaculture mandate from the Province of BC to DFO.Footnote 65 The ACC development was in response to difficulties in engaging FNs at the Tier 3 level for aquaculture management. Because it is a newer initiative, results have not yet become available but, as of 2014, the ACC was working on continuing the development of a governance process and identified key issues, such as developing a risk management framework and examining economic opportunities, among others.Footnote 66 The ACC is expected, by DFO representatives and representatives of external groups/supporting organizations, to improve engagement at the Tier 1 and Tier 2 levels in the future.

Other regional groups which have grown under PICFI include the Fraser River Aboriginal Fisheries Secretariat, which supports the Fraser Salmon Management Council. The Fraser Salmon Management Council has mandated representation from members of 62 Fraser watershed First Nations. Currently a Tier 1 group, their ultimate goal is to enter the Tier 2 sphere and create a management agreement over Fraser salmon with DFO.Footnote 67 A letter of understanding was signed between the Fraser Salmon Management Council and DFO in 2012 signifying a commitment to work together on a government-to-government basis and develop processes and agreements for the management and conservation of Fraser salmon.Footnote 68

While the Tier 1 and 2 engagement has improved substantially, gaps still remain in terms of capacity and attendance. Some FNs would not attend integrated harvest planning committees because they did not feel it was an appropriate venue to discuss Section 35 rights.Footnote 69 Continued efforts to build capacity at these levels would be beneficial.

Improved FN participation in fisheries decision-making: multilateral engagement
Key informants (DFO representatives and representatives of external groups/supporting organizations) agreed that some progress has been made at the Tier 3 level; however, capacity and resources are still needed to improve this area and further work would be required to effectively build Tier 3 engagement. Notwithstanding this, there were successes at this level of engagement. For example, the creation of the Pacific Fisheries Monitoring and Compliance Panel (M&C Panel) out of the Integrated Salmon Dialogue ForumFootnote 70 was viewed by informants as largely successful. The M&C Panel was instrumental in the creation of the Strategic Framework for Fisheries Monitoring and Catch Reporting and, in particular, the creation of the risk assessment tool for assessing fishery risk. The goal of the M&C Panel was to have “accessible, accurate and timely fisheries information, such that there is sufficient information and public confidence for fisheries to be managed sustainably and to meet the reporting obligations and objectives”.Footnote 71 Witnesses at the Cohen Commission in 2012 testified they felt the work of the M&C Panel had been successful and the panel should continue as further work remained.Footnote 72 The M&C Panel’s ongoing plan is to continue to build relationships and monitor understanding of acceptance of improved fisheries monitoring.Footnote 73

The effective participation of the SCC at the Commercial Salmon Advisory Board (CSAB) was viewed as positive by several respondents. Going forward, some informants (DFO representatives and representatives of external groups/supporting organizations) mentioned that they thought some of the success at the CSAB would be realized through the Southern BC Chinook Strategic Planning Initiative, a process led by FNs through the Fraser River Aboriginal Fisheries Secretariat and DFO.Footnote 74

Program contribution to longer-term treaty negotiations
One of the requirements of PICFI implementation was that CFEs needed to keep politics at arm’s length and needed to focus on building their business without political interference. Many CFEs did separate politics and business, but not all have been successful in doing so.Footnote 75 Although not directly involved in the treaty process, PICFI has, in indirect ways, helped mitigate conflicts which could have upset ongoing discussions regarding Treaty. For example, by providing increased FN entry into the commercial fishing industry and under the same regulations as the commercial industry, stability was provided. PICFI’s ability to acquire and distribute licenses was also able to mitigate conflicts. This stability may have provided indirect benefits to the treaty process.

The creation of aggregates has also helped provide alternative avenues to manage conflicts. For example, one FN wanted to fish in an area typically not considered their territory, but which had been fished by this FN based on historic rights. The support of PICFI allowed DFO staff to open a dialogue between this FN and the regional aggregate for the area this FN wanted to fish. As a result, conflict was mitigated between the FN who wanted to fish, DFO and the FN in the area where fishing was desired. Court cases and higher intensity conflicts were avoided.


4.3 Assessment of Resource Utilization

This section examines variations in planned to actual expenditures across the five years examined, as well as provides a qualitative analysis of administrative practices as they pertain to efficient use of resources.


Key Findings: Evaluation findings show that the program is generally administered efficiently. No significant improvements were found to be needed. The complex and dynamic nature of this program, combined with the multiple funding renewal processes it has undergone, are reasonable explanations for the variances found between planned and actual expenditures.


Allocation of program funding from 2010-11 to 2013-14 across the three elements was relatively consistent in terms of proportions allocated: 60% for Enterprise Development; 20% for Enhanced Accountability; 10% for Collaborative Management; and 10% for program management and enabler funding. However, in the final two years (2014-15 and 2015-16), there was an incremental shift in funding allocation, moving funds from Collaborative Management and Enhanced Accountability elements to Enterprise Development. This shift equaled approximately $1 million in 2014-15 and $1.65 million in 2015-16. For these final two years, it should also be noted that DFO was not required to fund the revenue shortfall of the Program (which had accrued as a result of the voluntary relinquishment of licenses under the Enterprise Development stream of services, resulting in reduced revenue for DFO).

Tables 3 and 4 below provide an overview of variances between planned and actual program expenditures. A more detailed breakdown of planned and actual expenditures by fiscal year, program element and category of expenditure is included in Annex B. The large variances observed between planned and actual expenditures were explained by program representatives as being a result of profiling of funds from year to year depending of the speed of disbursements and the varying speed of implementation of different types of activities. These appear consistent with the dynamic nature of the program documented as part of this evaluation, whereby different new initiatives are gradually being implemented, involving the participation of a variety of partners. Overall, with the exception of fiscal year 2011-12, expenditures have been slightly below planned amounts.

Table 3. PICFI Planned versus Actual Expenditures, by Year and Program Element (% variance)

table 3
Program element 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16
Enterprise Development -3.0% 37.1% 8.8% -0.3% -0.2% 0.0%
Enhanced Accountability 8.3% -17.7% 22.9% 19.1% -6.1% 0.0%
Collaborative Management -9.8% 0.0% -0.3% -27.5% -6.0% 0.0%
Management / Overhead 20.3% 20.3% -53.1% -17.6% 1.3% 0.0%
Revenue Reduction 0.0% 0.0%        
Total -0.3% 26.9% -1.2% -0.5% -1.9% 0.0%

Table 4. PICFI Planned versus Actual Expenditures, by Year and Category of Expenditure (% variance)

table 4
Category of expenditure 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16
Operations & Maintenance -46.5% -39.3% -14.1% 20.8% -10.7% 0.0%
Salaries & Wages 111.6% 61.5% 2.0% -19.1% 1.1% 0.0%
Grants & Contributions -1.2% 36.2% 2.1% -0.1% 0.0% 0.0%
Total -0.3% 26.9% -1.2% -0.5% -1.9% 0.0%

Over the past five years, the program has dedicated between one quarter and one half of its budget to Grants & Contributions disbursements to participating CFE organisations and the FNFC. However, calculation of a ratio of administrative costs to Grants & Contributions disbursements cannot meaningfully be done for this program because of the integration of multiple complementary program activities that combine Grants & Contributions funding with engagement and capacity building activities. Those activities go well beyond strictly administrating Grants & Contribution’s disbursements, including the coordination of multiple programming components, development and implementation of new processes and systems, and the maintaining of critical partnerships with First Nations organizations. For this reason, the administrative cost ratio of the program is understandably higher than would be a simple Grant & Contribution program. The administrative cost ratio calculated for the sister AICFI program is not comparable because the two initiatives entail different activities, with AICFI focusing primarily on Enterprise Development.    

The following table presents total human resources allocated to the program. The gradual decrease in FTEs is attributed by program representatives to PICFI shifting its primary focus to the Enterprise Development element.

Table 5. Total PICFI Full-Time Equivalents by Year (2011-16)

table 5
  2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16
Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) 30 30 28 24 22.5

The majority of respondents (all groups) felt that PICFI had been run efficiently and did a good job of meeting outcomes, despite what some respondents (all groups) perceived to be a “skeleton staff”. Many respondents (all groups) felt that the measures taken in PICFI Refresh will increase the efficiency of PICFI. Several DFO representatives thought that the TPE will help reduce the administrative burden on PICFI staff and the BDT will help provide more targeted on-the-ground support to CFEs. The TPE will also add an additional level of monitoring and project reviews.

When asked for recommendations on how PICFI could be more efficient, many respondents (DFO representatives) felt that longer term funding would help improve efficiency. In the words of one respondent with regards to one-year renewals:

[It is] more efficient to have longer term durations; shorter ones create administrative inefficiencies and it is a diversion to getting down to the actual work. (DFO representative)

The majority of respondents (all groups) commented on the difficulties they had encountered (and some continued to have) with funding arriving on time. Several DFO representatives mentioned that this delay had been a result of the 2012/13 and 2013/14 annual renewals and that this delay had been mitigated with the 2014/15 and 2015/16 renewal because the renewal was for a two year period. Longer term funding would help reduce these inefficiencies and improve the Program’s ability to successfully complete objectives.

Another inefficiency identified by a few respondents (CFEs representatives and DFO representatives) was the difficulty managing the policy surrounding vessel length and corresponding license requirements. Some CFE representatives had mentioned they had purchased vessels which they could not use to fish their licenses as the length of the vessels purchased did not match the license requirements. Several respondents (CFE representatives) suggested that a re-examination of this policy could improve efficiency for PICFI and the industry at large.

One issue, which was expected by a few DFO representatives to become problematic in the future, was the current system of managing transfers of stock allocation. At the time of this evaluation, this was identified as being managed on an ad-hoc basis using individual Excel spreadsheets. These DFO representatives were concerned that this was not an efficient or coordinated system and a more formalized approach should be developed going forward to ensure consistent management and control of these transfers.

Finally, several informants (DFO representatives, representatives of external groups/supporting organizations) mentioned that they felt that PICFI’s focus, particularly for the Enhanced Accountability element could be more targeted and specific. In the words of one informant:

[Enhanced Accountability] needs to be focused on what you are really trying to do….look at it strategically rather than trying to do everything. (DFO representative)

Another respondent suggested that this focus could be achieved through using a project-management approach. They had found that when this approach was applied to projects with which they had been involved it had been effective and improved efficiency.

Catch monitoring costs were discussed by several informants (all groups) and some CFEs commented on the high cost of catch monitoring. Generally speaking, the costs for catch monitoring activities were to be funded by the harvesters themselves with DFO paying for piloting of new catch monitoring approaches. Commissioner Cohen agreed that if commercial sectors are responsible for funding their catch monitoring, then the same should be applied to Aboriginal commercial ventures.Footnote 76 Catch monitoring was at times a highly expensive venture, particularly on enhanced monitoring programs. A few respondents (CFE representatives) noted that there may be a way to improve commercial catch monitoring efficiency through a coordinated effort between DFO and other government regulatory bodies who also have input and responsibilities surrounding fish harvest (e.g., Canadian Food Inspection Agency, British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture). Efficiencies could be developed in one of two ways:

  • Coordinate reporting requirements across agencies and reduce the number of catch reporting activities. Regulatory agencies then share information (e.g., instead of three separate catch reports for three regulatory agencies, create one report usable by all agencies).
  • Continue with the same reporting requirements, but compare the data collected to ensure compliance (e.g., compare the report required for Agency A with the report for Agency B and determine if the numbers match. If a fisher’s reports consistently vary between two agencies, then this could trigger a targeted audit process).

DFO could consider investigating the potential of either of the above mentioned methods as they may increase fishery compliance while decreasing costs for the harvester.


4.4 Lessons Learned and Best Practices

The following lessons learned and best practices were identified from the various sources consulted as part of the evaluation.

Programs with long-term objectives need long-term funding. Annual reviews are difficult to manage and prevent full realization of outcomes. Many respondents (all groups) reported struggles with the timeliness of funding. Several attributed this problem to the difficulty of managing annual renewals of government funding. DFO representatives also explained that the time to train and implement a new Fishery Officer was a long term process (e.g., time from training and working as a junior Fishery Officer to graduating to a full Fishery Officer is approximately three years). As a result, building staff capacity should be a long term project and cannot be achieved in a one or two-year timeline. Program objectives that cannot be achieved within the year would need long-term funding commitments.

Co-management is misleading jargon with a history of multiple meanings and usage. A few representatives of external groups/supporting organizations emphasized that FNs wanted to move to true joint decision making in fisheries management; yet, the ‘co-management’ term used initially by the program was changed to ‘collaborative management’ throughout the course of the program. This was perceived as somewhat misleading by these key informants, who felt that DFO had been inauthentic with changing the terminology. Commissioner Cohen found that the term co-management lacked a consistent definition across the department and at times varied with regards to supporting the ultimate decision making authority of the Minister.Footnote 77 According to the Commissioner’s report, Supreme Court decisions to date have confirmed the Fisheries and Oceans Minister’s authority as the ultimate decision maker for fisheries management and that this authority cannot be devolved to other stakeholders, FNs included.Footnote 78 Because of the conflicting expectations surrounding co-management and the expectations that could result from this term, it was found preferable for DFO to continue using Collaborative Management or an alternative terminology.

Clear communication of program objectives at rollout is essential and the PICFI Refresh has done an excellent job incorporating this best practice. Several informants commented on the confusion of program objectives at rollout and several CFE representatives commented that the initial “wish list” procedure for acquiring access overly raised expectations. This was acknowledged in the PICFI Refresh which successfully communicated the revised focus of the program. Going forward programs could use the PICFI Refresh as an example of appropriate communication of program goals and objectives.

For economic programs, providing an asset to build on, such as access, is a best practice for fostering business sustainability. Several respondents (DFO representatives and groups external to the CFEs) commented on the effectiveness of providing an asset, such as access, for FN use as the basis for establishing a successful business. While PICFI CFEs were not yet at the sustainable business level, many informants (all groups) were certain that given more time, the majority of CFEs would transition to sustainable businesses. For DFO, and other government agencies with objectives for building economic development, providing an asset and relevant support to create a business could follow the PICFI model.

The Salmon Coordinating Committee is a very effective type of structure that could be successfully replicated in other sectors. The Salmon Coordinating Committee (SCC) under the support of the First Nations Fisheries Council was viewed as an extremely positive governing body for Collaborative Management. Primarily developed for the Tier1 and Tier 2 engagement levels, it has extended its work into the Tier 3 realm through linkages with the Commercial Salmon Allocation Board. Several informants (DFO representatives and representatives of external groups/supporting organizations) mentioned that they felt it would be worthwhile to create similar structures into other harvest sectors which could duplicate the success of the SCC across fisheries planning.

Using the Enterprise Architecture Process for data systems development was beneficial and helped build appropriate systems; better to plan what you need and build towards that. While the PacFish database system was not fully implemented at the time of this evaluation, there were several intermediate steps that had been viewed as beneficial by many respondents (DFO representatives). One DFO representative member commented that the use of the Enterprise Architecture Process for data systems development had helped with the design of the PacFish framework; the process emphasized long-term planning rather than developing information technology and then finding redundancies in the future. While the Enterprise Architecture Process was a bit onerous, the benefits were felt to be substantial and this planning technique could be employed for future programs requiring database system development.


5.0 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

5.1 Conclusions

Relevance

This evaluation shows that PICFI is aligned with both government priorities and DFO strategic objectives. While some overlap was found between DFO and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) economic development responsibilities, evidence suggests that the implementation of PICFI by DFO has ensured the most efficient use of government resources.

There is also evidence of continued need for all three components of the program. Continued support for the Enterprise Development element of PICFI is needed given that, as of the evaluation, none of the CFEs were yet rated as sustainable businesses on the DFO-developed PICFI Rating System. Most participating CFEs have now entered a business development stage where they need sound business management and solid governance support to ensure their ability to survive potential business performance fluctuations.

A need was also found to continue supporting Enhanced Accountability objectives. Evidence suggests that PICFI funding is instrumental in supporting the successful implementation of DFO C&P’s new intelligence-led investigation activities, particularly on the Fraser River. Similarly, Collaborative Management governance structures established through PICFI are dependent on continuing PICFI support to survive. These structures are instrumental in helping Aboriginal representatives meet and participate in fisheries management processes by filling existing gaps in other programming, particularly AAROM.  Evidence is inconclusive, however, as to whether PICFI remains the most appropriate and efficient program to provide ongoing support for these two elements (Enhanced Accountability and Collaborative Management) or if responsibility should be transferred to another program or jurisdiction within DFO.

Performance

Enterprise Development: While PICFI CFEs have not yet reached a sustainable business level, significant progress has been made. Several CFEs are operating at a passing level (between 52% and 82%), meaning they were profitable given normal market conditions and fishery stocks, as well as able to provide small returns to the communities.

In-river demonstration CFEs had unique challenges compared to their coastal counterparts, but they demonstrated impressive successes which suggested that the in-river fishery could be economically sustainable given an appropriate amount of salmon quota and the development of value-added products. A few in-river demonstration CFEs were able to bring international attention to their products and the demand for these products continues to increase.

There remain concerns that some CFEs rely on a model of fishing that provides limited employment benefits to the FN community because it entails leasing their access to non-FN vessels and crew. PICFI Refresh emphasized that CFEs would need to increase local employment and move away from this model; evidence suggests this is an appropriate strategy going forward.

The profitability and sustainability of CFEs would also benefit from increasing the quantity as well as the diversity of their access packages in order to reach economies of scale. If this new access is acquired directly by CFEs, it could also be leveraged as an asset by CFEs for the negotiation of loans; something they are currently unable to do with the communal licenses they receive from DFO through access agreements held through a sister society. PICFI Refresh’s introduction of the new Business Development Source funding is expected to help provide CFEs with additional access and the Pacific Commercial Fisheries Diversification Initiative funding provided through AANDC’s Strategic Partnership Initiative is a potential source of support for greater horizontal diversification opportunities (e.g., aquaculture). Together, these funding streams should help CFEs meet their expansion and diversification needs.

Enhanced Accountability: As a result of PICFI, the Strategic Framework for Fishery Monitoring and Catch Reporting in the Pacific Fisheries (2012) has provided consistent standards to guide Pacific fishery monitoring and catch reporting for all fisheries. While harvest sectors remain skeptical regarding the accuracy of DFO fisheries monitoring, the combination of the Strategic Framework and the work of the multi-stakeholder Monitoring and Compliance Panel has made strides in addressing this doubt.

The new enforcement efforts created with PICFI support (community outreach, intelligence-based enforcement and major-case management) were found to have increased fisheries compliance. Community-outreach efforts, including restorative justice, were found to be especially effective. With current resources C&P has had to focus its efforts on meeting conservation targets, at the expense of other activities such as allocation and quality control of catch monitoring data.

Finally, the new data systems developed (PacFish) were as of this evaluation in the final stages of approval. The system components which were already online had shown positive results, and DFO representatives expected that PacFish would greatly improve fisheries data management and increase efficiency.

Collaborative Management:A number of notable successes have been achieved by the program that contributed to improving FN participation in collaborative fisheries management. Namely, the creation of the Salmon Coordinating Committee (SCC), particularly its work through the Commercial Salmon Allocation Board, the Monitoring and Compliance Panel’s work to improve confidence in fisheries monitoring, and the support leveraged from the FNFC. These structures are perceived by key stakeholders to have contributed to improved FN engagement and dialogue, particularly at the bilateral level (i.e., between FNs and between FNs and DFO). Engagement of FNs in multilateral talks with federal government and other stakeholders is also starting to show positive results, as evidenced in particular by the recently issued recommendations for updating the Commercial Salmon Allocation Framework.

As a result of the influence of PICFI, there were indirect benefits to treaty negotiations. CFEs were formed with specific instructions to keep politics outside of the CFE business, and as a result, PICFI was not created with the direct goal of assisting with the treaty process. However, by providing increased FN entry into the commercial fishing industry and under the same regulations as the commercial industry, stability was provided. PICFI’s ability to acquire and distribute licenses was also able to mitigate conflicts. This stability may have provided indirect benefits to the treaty process.

Efficiency & Economy: Evaluation findings showed that the program is generally administered efficiently. No significant improvements were found to be needed and the complex and dynamic nature of this program, combined with the multiple funding renewal processes it has undergone, are reasonable explanations for the variances found between planned and actual expenditures.

5.2 Recommendations

Should Program Authorities be renewed beyond the sunset date of March 31, 2016, the evaluation makes the following recommendations.

Recommendation 1: It is recommended that the ADM of Ecosystems and Fisheries Management and the Regional Director General, Pacific Region explore the feasibility of increasing requirements or incentives for CFEs to utilize their access to the direct benefit of their community members. CFEs may do this by either actively fishing their access using CFE-owned vessels and FN crew, or by leasing the access directly to FN fishermen who have existing commercial fishing capacity.

While all CFEs have progressed and are expected to continue progressing towards achievement of sustainable status according to the program’s Internal Rating System, some of these CFEs adopt an access leasing arrangement model that produces very few jobs for their community members, thereby limiting their contribution to the economic objectives of the program.

Recommendation 2: It is recommended that the ADM of Ecosystems and Fisheries Management and the Regional Director General, Pacific Region assess the desirability and feasibility of transferring responsibility for the Enhanced Accountability and Collaborative Management program elements to other jurisdictions within DFO. This is recommended in view of ensuring the ongoing sustainability of current monitoring and compliance activities, as well as the continued functioning of established collaborative governance structures.

While evidence suggests an ongoing need to fund Enhanced Accountability and Collaborative Management activities, findings are inconclusive as to whether PICFI remains the most appropriate program vehicle for overseeing these two components, particularly given the temporary nature of its funding. In light of the PICFI Refresh’s shift in focus towards development of Aboriginal commercial fisheries enterprises, and given that fisheries enforcement activities are managed by different organizational units (Conservation & Protection and Resource Management) at DFO, it might be more appropriate for Enhanced Accountability activities to be managed by these respective units. Similarly, now that effective Collaborative Management governance structures have been established, it is unclear if there remains a role for PICFI to ensure their continued functioning or whether it would be more efficient for other similar mechanisms, such as AAROM, to integrate this role. Consideration must however be given to protecting and further pursuing the gains made thus far by the two program elements and preserving the engagement of First Nations in both accountability and collaborative management processes.

Recommendation 3: It is recommended that the ADM of Ecosystems and Fisheries Management and the Regional Director General, Pacific Region assess the risks posed by current Conservation & Protection resource limitations for the achievement of program intended outcomes. Particular attention should be paid to the sustainability of new catch monitoring and compliance enforcement practices. Mitigation actions should subsequently be identified and implemented to address the identified risks, if any.

Through PICFI support, Conservation & Protection was able to develop new enforcement techniques to improve fisheries compliance such as community outreach, intelligence-based enforcement and major-case management. The benefits of these initiatives have been demonstrated in terms of increasing compliance, reduced prosecution costs and less severe conflicts. Evidence suggests that, in light of the significant proportion of funds coming from PICFI in support of these activities, particularly in terms of community outreach, their sustainability is threatened by the temporary nature of PICFI funding.Footnote 79

Recommendation 4: It is recommended that the ADM of Ecosystems and Fisheries Management and the Regional Director General, Pacific Region develop a transition strategy for the in-river demonstration component of PICFI and that it be communicated to program stakeholders.

The “continued testing of transferable salmon shares in marine and freshwater environments” was planned to be conducted on a "demonstration" basis with the intent to incorporate into a regularized commercial fishery upon the sunset of PICFI. While evidence suggests that some work is still needed to develop a market for in-river caught salmon, a number of successes so far indicate that this fishery can be profitable. In light of these findings and of the pending sunset of PICFI, a strategy is needed to guide and communicate next steps regarding this program component.


ANNEX A:METHODOLOGICAL LIMITATIONS AND MITIGATION STRATEGIES

Limitation1: Non-generalizability of interview data.

Mitigation strategy 1: Due to the voluntary and self-selecting nature of key informant interviews, it should be recognized that the information gathered and perspectives represented should not be generalized to all DFO representatives, CFEs, or other external organizations involved in PICFI. Therefore, caution should be taken when interpreting the interview results. Key informant interviews are qualitative and designed to capture the richness of individual opinions that do not necessarily reflect the group. That said, we interviewed a large number of individual CFE representatives, approximately one-third of the total group. To mitigate these issues, potential interviewees were identified by PICFI staff on the basis of their knowledge of and experience with the program. In addition, interviews were conducted with an array of CFEs in order to capture the diversity of perspectives. CFEs were from different geographical regions (coastal versus in-river), with different business models (e.g., actively fishing access versus leasing access to non-FN fishermen), of different size and with differing levels of financial stability. Furthermore, a variety of stakeholders external to the CFEs were also interviewed in an attempt to obtain diverse perspectives on all elements of PICFI.

Limitation 2: Moderate input from FN CFEs.

Mitigation strategy 2: The evaluation had moderate input from BC FNs. The evaluation team did not complete FN site visits as originally intended, due to scheduling conflicts with the fishing season and constraints of the travel budget. The evaluation team did, however, conduct in-person interviews with some (n=8) FN CFE representatives, although some of these representatives were not from the FN communities they represented but were hired consultants involved in the management of the CFEs. In consultation with DFO, the evaluation team considered but rejected conducting a survey of funded and non-funded participants, as previous experience with data collection from FN stakeholders has shown that in-person data collection using interview methods yields more fruitful results. The main strategies used to enhance FN participation in the evaluation were to ensure that FN CFE representatives were well informed of the research objectives and interview methods, and to schedule interviews to coincide with CFE business meetings. In addition, other informants (i.e., FNFC, BDT, TPE, and regional DFO representatives) that had frequent direct contact with participating FNs were asked about their perspective on FN participation in commercial fishing in BC.

Limitation 3: Limited quantitative data.

Mitigation strategy 3: The evaluation results for direct and intermediate outcomes included limited quantitative data, as some data was confidential and held by stakeholders external to DFO. In particular, further details surrounding the inputs to the CFE internal rating system, and specific CFE financial information were not available. While the ratings themselves did provide an overall view of where CFEs were at the time of the evaluation, greater nuance into why some CFEs were not as successful as others was lacking. Neither DFO nor the evaluation team were privy to this information since it is by design only available to the BDT and the TPE. As this evaluation included key informant interviews, group discussions, and document reviews, however, there was sufficient data from multiple lines of evidence for triangulation of results.

ANNEX B: FINANCIAL DATA

PICFI Planned Expenditures, by Year and Program Element ($)

PICFI planned expenditures by year
Program element 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16
Enterprise Development 30,700,000 24,500,000 12,594,500 13,145,025 14,341,514 14,873,513
Enhanced Accountability 3,800,000 3,200,000 3,567,300 4,076,279 4,613,325 4,051,957
Collaborative Management 2,675,000 2,575,000 2,013,000 2,271,160 1,982,616 1,720,228
Management / Overhead 3,655,500 3,655,500 4,348,688 2,355,071 1,112,544 1,404,301
Revenue Reduction 500,000 500,000        
Total 41,330,500 34,430,500 22,523,488 21,847,535 22,049,999 22,049,999

PICFI Actual Expenditures, by Year and Program Element ($)

PICFI actual expenditures by year
Program element 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16
Enterprise Development 29,775,541 33,595,770 13,700,874 13,109,643 14,317,437 14,873,513
Enhanced Accountability 4,117,234 2,634,572 4,384,359 4,855,646 4,331,205 4,051,957
Collaborative Management 2,412,000 2,575,000 2,007,094 1,647,177 1,863,877 1,720,228
Management / Overhead 4,395,840 4,395,840 2,040,687 1,939,439 1,126,683 1,404,301
Revenue Reduction 500,000 500,000 120,000 188,300    
Total 41,200,615 43,701,182 22,253,014 21,740,205 21,639,202 22,049,999

PICFI Planned Expenditures, by Year and Category of Expenditure ($)

PICFI planned expenditures by year and category
Category 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16
Operations & Maintenance 6,045,500 5,145,500 4,539,669 3,399,601 4,131,061 3,944,379
Salaries & Wages 2,760,000 2,760,000 3,330,819 4,185,934 2,827,710 2,712,393
Grants & Contributions 32,525,000 26,525,000 14,650,000 14,262,000 15,091,228 15,393,227
Total 41,330,500 34,430,500 22,520,488 21,847,535 22,049,999 22,049,999

PICFI Actual Expenditures, by Year and Category of Expenditure ($)

PICFI actual expenditures by year and category
Category 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16
Operations & Maintenance 3,237,102 3,124,880 3,901,320 4,106,360 3,690,117 3,944,379
Salaries & Wages 5,841,472 4,456,032 3,397,992 3,384,595 2,857,857 2,712,393
Grants & Contributions 32,122,041 36,120,270 14,953,702 14,249,250 15,091,228 15,393,227
Total 41,200,615 43,701,182 22,253,014 21,740,205 21,639,202 22,049,999

ANNEX C: MANAGEMENT ACTION PLAN

management action plan
RECOMMENDATION 1

Rationale: While all Commercial Fisheries Enterprises (CFEs) have progressed and are expected to continue progressing towards achievement of sustainable status according to the program’s Internal Rating System, some of these CFEs adopt an access leasing arrangement model that produces very few jobs for their community members, thereby limiting their contribution to the economic objectives of the program.

Recommendation 1: It is recommended that the Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM) of Ecosystems and Fisheries Management and the Regional Director General (RDG), Pacific Region explore the feasibility of increasing requirements or incentives for CFEs to utilize their access to the direct benefit of their community members. CFEs may do this by either actively fishing their access using CFE-owned vessels and First Nations crew, or by leasing the access directly to FN fishermen who have existing commercial fishing capacity.
STRATEGY
In the event that PICFI programming is prolonged beyond the end of Fiscal year 2015-16, the Department will explore the feasibility and desirability of encouraging CFEs to utilize their access by using CFE-owned vessels and First Nations crew or leasing directly to First Nation fishermen who have capacity. 
MANAGEMENT ACTIONS DUE DATE (BY END OF MONTH)
A paper will be produced to describe and document the nature of the Commercial Fishery on the West Coast to clearly articulate how leasing of access is utilized in practice in both the First Nation and non-First Nation commercial fisheries.  March 31, 2017
Meetings with National Headquarters, the Region and PICFI CFEs will be scheduled to discuss the leasing of access in Pacific as well as in Eastern Canada.  Differences will be discussed and documented with a view to identifying options and determining feasibility for CFEs in the Pacific Region. March 31, 2017
RECOMMENDATION 2

Rationale: While evidence suggests an ongoing need to fund Enhanced Accountability and Collaborative Management activities, findings are inconclusive as to whether PICFI remains the most appropriate program vehicle for overseeing these two components, particularly given the temporary nature of its funding. In light of the PICFI Refresh’s shift in focus towards development of Aboriginal commercial fisheries enterprises, and given that fisheries enforcement activities are managed by different organizational units (Conservation & Protection and Resource Management) at DFO, it might be more appropriate for Enhanced Accountability activities to be managed by these respective units. Similarly, now that effective Collaborative Management governance structures have been established, it is unclear if there remains a role for PICFI to ensure their continued functioning or whether it would be more efficient for other similar mechanisms, such as the Aboriginal Aquatic Resource and Oceans Management (AAROM) program, to integrate this role. Consideration must however be given to protecting and further pursuing the gains made thus far by the two program elements and preserving the engagement of First Nations in both accountability and collaborative management processes.

Recommendation 2: It is recommended that the ADM of Ecosystems and Fisheries Management and the RDG, Pacific Region assess the desirability and feasibility of transferring responsibility for the Enhanced Accountability and Collaborative Management program elements to other jurisdictions within DFO. This is recommended in view of ensuring the ongoing sustainability of current monitoring and compliance activities, as well as the continued functioning of established collaborative governance structures.
STRATEGY
In the event that PICFI programming is prolonged for one year beyond the end of Fiscal year 2015-16, the Department will review governance options to determine the desirability and feasibility of transferring responsibility for the Enhanced Accountability and Collaborative Management elements to other areas of DFO.
MANAGEMENT ACTIONS DUE DATE (BY END OF MONTH)
Complete a review to determine if the existing governance and accountability model that requires completion and approval of accountability service agreements prior to allocating funding to the program area is the most effective approach.  The review will be completed in consultation with participating sectors (i.e. Resource Management, Conservation and Protection, Treaty and Aboriginal Policy Directorate (TAPD)/AAROM).  A review of alternative options will also be included in the process.  March 31, 2017
RECOMMENDATION 3

Rationale: Through PICFI support, Conservation & Protection was able to develop new enforcement techniques to improve fisheries compliance such as community outreach, intelligence-based enforcement and major-case management. The benefits of these initiatives have been demonstrated in terms of increasing compliance, reduced prosecution costs and less severe conflicts. Evidence suggests that, in light of the significant proportion of funds coming from PICFI in support of these activities, particularly in terms of community outreach, their sustainability is threatened by the temporary nature of PICFI funding. 

Recommendation 3: It is recommended that the ADM of Ecosystems and Fisheries Management and the RDG, Pacific Region assess the risks posed by current Conservation & Protection resource limitations for the achievement of program intended outcomes. Particular attention should be paid to the sustainability of new catch monitoring and compliance enforcement practices. Mitigation actions should subsequently be identified and implemented to address the identified risks, if any.
STRATEGY
The Department will review and assess the risk to the initiatives and activities Conservation and Protection has engaged in with the support of PICFI funding.  The Department will also develop a mitigation action plan to address the risks posed by the temporary nature of the PICFI Program.
MANAGEMENT ACTIONS DUE DATE (BY END OF MONTH)
Pacific Region Conservation and Protection will develop risk assessment report including a mitigation plan to document and review the risk of not achieving program outcomes. December 31, 2016
The RDG, Pacific Region, with the support of Pacific Region Conservation and Protection, will discuss and achieve consensus of the plan with the ADM of Ecosystems and Fisheries Management. March 31, 2017
RECOMMENDATION 4

Rationale: The “continued testing of transferable salmon shares in marine and freshwater environments” was planned to be conducted on a "demonstration" basis with the intent to incorporate into a regularized commercial fishery upon the sunset of PICFI. While evidence suggests that some work is still needed to develop a market for in-river caught salmon, a number of successes so far indicate that this fishery can be profitable. In light of these findings and of the pending sunset of PICFI, a strategy is needed to guide and communicate next steps regarding this program component.

Recommendation 4: It is recommended that the ADM of Ecosystems and Fisheries Management and the RDG, Pacific Region develop a transition strategy for the in-river demonstration component of PICFI and that it be communicated to program stakeholders.
STRATEGY
The Department will develop a transition strategy for the next steps to incorporate the in-river demonstration fisheries into the regular commercial fishery.
MANAGEMENT ACTIONS DUE DATE (BY END OF MONTH)
Form a working group with representatives from Resource Management, PICFI and the appropriate Area staff to develop a work plan to guide the development of a transition strategy.  The Strategy would need to include a consultation and communication plan as both First Nations and Stakeholders will need to be consulted. March 31, 2017
Obtain approval from the ADM of Ecosystems and Fisheries Management and the RDG, Pacific Region of the transition plan and next steps. September 30, 2017
Communicate the strategy and include in the Integrated Fisheries Management Plan development and advisory processes for 2018. March 31, 2018