Vessel and Related Policies that support Owner Operator: Engagement Sessions in Atlantic Canada and Quebec
Current status: Closed
This consultation ran from March 7 to May 31, 2023.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) hosted a series of engagement sessions in Atlantic Canada and Quebec to better understand inshore fish harvesters and association representative concerns regarding the role of its inshore vessel and related policies to support Owner Operator objectives.
Owner Operator is central to the inshore fishery and is designed to promote viable and profitable operations for the average fishing enterprise, by requiring that those who are issued licences fish them personally so that the associated benefits remain in the hands of independent, owner operators.
Following the introduction of regulations for the inshore commercial fishing fleet in Atlantic Canada and Quebec, DFO continues to review the effectiveness of vessel and related policies in supporting Owner Operator objectives.
The engagement sessions explored the extent to which DFO’s inshore vessel and related policies supported or detracted from Owner Operator. Each session provided stakeholders an opportunity to have input into possible revisions to the policy suite.
Broad engagement with external stakeholders: Winter 2023
During Winter 2023, DFO initiated engagement with inshore fish harvesters and fishery association representatives across Atlantic Canada and Quebec.
High level themes for this component focus on:
- policies supporting Owner Operator;
- vessel length limits across the inshore fleet; and
- Transport Canada requirements for licence holders and vessel owners.
‘What we Heard’ analysis and options identification: Fall 2023
Based on the feedback received through the engagement sessions, DFO will draft a “What we Heard” report. The complete first draft will be available for review and comment through DFO’s website.
Key questions for discussion
The following themes were designed in order to understand key stakeholder concerns on specific elements of the existing vessel and related policies regime. In particular, we were seeking to understand the effects our policies have on fish harvesters’ day to day operations and explore opportunities to reflect our changing fisheries. The engagement sessions focused on:
- Policies supporting the objectives of Owner Operator:
- Owner Operator is a central mechanism which is designed to promote viable and profitable operations for the average fishing enterprise by keeping licences and their associated benefits in the hands of independent, owner operators. As vessels are a major investment for most fishing enterprises their use has a direct relationship with Owner Operator.
- Key policies of focus include:
- vessel registration;
- the Substitute Operator Policy; and
- vessel sharing arrangements.
- Vessel length limits across the Inshore fleet:
- Commercial fishing is recognized as one of the most dangerous occupations in the world and continues to have one of the highest fatality rates in Canada. Despite significant advances in safety over the last few decades, the fishing industry continues to face challenges given the number of factors and relationships that determine safety at sea.
- Key areas of focus include:
- fleets remaining <50’ length overall and
- non-core harvesters (NL only)
- Transport Canada requirements for licence holders and vessel owners:
- DFO and TC work together to promote safety at sea for fish harvesters. The shared jurisdiction requires a coordinated approach to ensure compatibility between the regimes, where appropriate. Overtime, DFO plans to align its vessel parameters to TC, particularly around vessel length measurements and stability assessments.
The input gathered through this process is being used to support the development of policy options that provide greater clarity, transparency, and predictability around vessel-related policies for the inshore commercial fishing fleet throughout Atlantic Canada and Quebec.
Manager, Eastern Canada Commercial Licensing Policy, Domestic Fisheries Policy
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
200 Kent Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0E6
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