Consultation on Proposed Regulatory Amendment for Fish Harvester Registration
DFO is proposing amendments to Federal regulations that would modify the registration requirement for fish harvesters (licence holders and crew).
Current regulations state that all harvesters have to register with DFO and hold a personal fisher’s registration card (FRC).
The proposed changes would serve to exempt harvesters registered and certified with a recognized provincial certification board from this requirement.
The changes would also serve to formally recognize registration and certification of fish harvesters by a provincial certification board within Federal regulations.
The proposed changes would align DFO regulations with the current practice in Newfoundland and Labrador and Quebec, where regional policy has recognized certification boards as the responsible organization for registering fishers since the late 1990s.
It would also allow for the recognition of Boards in other provinces where industry supports it in the future.
Authority to issue fishing licences will remain with the Minister, as provided for in the Fisheries Act.
What is professional certification?
Professional certification is a form of trade certification in recognition of professional standards related to experience and training in the commercial fishery.
DFO's support for professional certification dates back to the early 1990s.
DFO’s position is that the development of professional certification regimes should be the responsibility of the fishing industry.
Where provincial legislation has authorized the establishment of certification boards, the boards certify professional fish harvesters based on established criteria.
Newfoundland and Labrador established the first professional certification regime in 1997.
Quebec established their professional certification regime in 1999.
Nova Scotia passed enabling legislation in 2012 and their interim certification board is working to establish a certification system.
Benefits for fishers
Professional certification means that fish harvesters’ skills, knowledge and experience are recognized.
It creates access to new training opportunities in the fishing industry and helps support a training culture.
Training is provided on marine safety, conservation and sustainable resource use, among other areas.
It prepares new entrants to the industry through skill development and creates opportunities for experienced fishers to upgrade their skills.
Benefits for all
It represents a long-term approach to achieving the following objectives:
Promotion of conservation, sustainable resource use and responsible fish harvesting practices
Increased capacity and self-reliance within the industry and among individual fish harvesters
Improved safety for fishers
Contributes to fisheries management
Greater access to training opportunities
Industry leadership in defining professional standards.
Benefits to DFO
DFO supports certification because of the many benefits it can bring, including:
Coordinating training for fish harvesters in marine safety, conservation and sustainable resource use and marine safety
Alignment with DFO policies to assist the inshore fleet to become more self-reliant, economically viable and self-sustaining on a long-term basis
Support of DFO’s vision to “advance sustainable aquatic ecosystems and support safe and secure Canadian waters while fostering economic prosperity across maritime sectors and fisheries”
The proposed changes would apply to licence holders and crew.
In Newfoundland and Labrador and Quebec, where certification boards have been registering fish harvesters and collecting fees for many years, the practice of registering through your provincial board will continue.
Fish harvesters in Nova Scotia
In Nova Scotia, once regulations have been amended and a certification regime is in place, fish harvesters who register with the provincial certification board would be exempted from registering with DFO.
As in Newfoundland and Labrador and Quebec, the Board in Nova Scotia would be authorized to collect the registration fee, which will allow it to offset the costs of coordinating training for fishers and any other services they will provide.
If other provinces choose to establish a certification system in the future, the proposed regulatory changes would create the conditions necessary for a recognized provincial certification board to register and certify fish harvesters.
If you fish in a province where a certification board does not exist, the proposed regulatory change will have no impact on you.
In those provinces, DFO will maintain its current registration process and there will be no change.
Consultations on the proposed regulatory amendments will take place until the end of January 2018.
Your feedback will be used as input into potential regulatory amendments.
14. (1) Subject to subsection (4) and section 15, no person shall fish for any species of fish set out in Schedule I unless (a) he holds a fisher’s registration card; and …
17.1 (1) Where, pursuant to section 17, the Minister receives an application for a fisher’s registration card or a vessel registration card, he may issue that card. (2) Where, pursuant to subsection (1), the Minister issues a fisher’s registration card to a person or a vessel registration card in respect of a vessel, that person or vessel is registered with the Department.
4. (1) Subject to subsections (2) to (5), no person shall fish for or catch and retain any fish unless … (b) the person holds a fisher’s registration card; and …
5. The Minister, upon application for a licence or registration card set out in column I of an item of the table to this section and payment of the fee set out in column II of that item, may issue that licence or registration card.
11. Every holder of a licence or fisher’s registration card shall carry it at all times while engaged in any activity to which it relates and shall produce it on the demand of a fishery officer or fishery guardian.