Safety and Security for Observers
Randy Jenkins, Director, Enforcement, Fisheries and Oceans Canada – As in past years, persons are interested in observing the harp seal fishery in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. This year, the department will again be making permits available to persons interested in observing the seal fishery through the local DFO offices, particularly the office on the Magdalene Islands or the area office in PEI where most of the persons request an observation permit tend to gather. Any person can apply for an observation permit. This permit will allow them to get within 10 meters of sealers on the ice engaged in their work. However, it is important to note, that no person can disrupt the sealer engaged in this activity or approach closer than 10 meters. The Department and Minister in making a determination whether someone can get a seal observation license will consider the stated aim of the person. Any person who has an aim of disrupting the seal hunt or interfering with sealers will not be eligible for a seal license. Likewise if a person has been convicted in the past of violating seal observation conditions of license or have moved, tagged or marked seals will not be allowed to obtain a seal permit. Seal observation permits are valid for one day, but they can be renewed if the person is interested in monitoring the seal fishery for a period longer than one day. Fishery officers and other government agents will be on the ice monitoring the activities of sealers and persons with observation licenses. Everyone must abide by the conditions of their license. Failure to do so could result in arrest, fines upon conviction and or forfeiture of personal items, articles, cameras and other information and personal assets that may be seized as evidence. It is recommended that anyone who wants an observation license, contact DFO in advance to find out all the details for the application process and to ensure that there is sufficient time to process the application for the license. Thank you.
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