At-Sea Observers and Electronic Monitoring

Beginning April 1, 2013, industry will assume the full costs of the At-Sea Observer Program nationally, as well as the Groundfish Electronic Monitoring Program in the Pacific Region.

Canada's At-Sea Observer Program places certified private-sector observers aboard fishing vessels to: monitor fishing activities; collect scientific data; and monitor industry compliance with fishing regulations and licence conditions. The Department now has standards in place to designate individual at-sea observers and corporations seeking to provide at-sea observer services. A list of corporations certified by the Canadian General Standards Board and designated by Fisheries and Oceans Canada is now available for industry to engage.

The Pacific Region's Groundfish Electronic Monitoring Program uses multiple cameras and sensory devices onboard fishing vessels to monitor fishing activities; collect scientific data; and monitor industry compliance with fishing regulations and licence conditions. The Department presently has requirements for electronic monitoring set out in licence conditions and the Groundfish Integrated Fisheries Management Plan.

As part of this service delivery change, the Department is taking steps to review and update groundfish licence conditions and the Integrated Fisheries Management Plan to ensure that all electronic monitoring requirements are clearly established. The development of electronic monitoring standards through the Canadian General Standards Board, and Departmental designations against those standards, is not being pursued at this time.

What is changing?

How will these changes benefit industry?

Will Fisheries and Oceans Canada play any role in this program?

We have been informing observer companies, fisheries organizations, and fishermen about these changes to help them prepare for these changes.

More information: