Enforcement of the Fisheries Act
Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Conservation and Protection (C and P) Program is tasked with the compliance and enforcement provisions of the modernized Fisheries Act. Over 600 fishery officers across Canada will work with the public, harvesters, Indigenous communities, and industry to ensure changes are understood.
One of the primary roles of a fishery officer is to promote and educate harvesters and the public on changes to the legislation and regulations so they can voluntarily take action to comply with them. Officers will engage the public and industry in conversations about how changes to the modernized Fisheries Act will improve protections for marine and freshwater species, the consequences of violations, and the impact on:
- recreational activities
- licensing conditions
- any work planned near water
Over the last two years, the Government of Canada has invested over $50 million in new resources for fisheries enforcement. C and P has deployed these resources to enhance our enforcement capacities, technology, and to hire more than 120 new fishery officers across Canada.
C and P is also working to:
- enhance our national Fisheries Aerial Surveillance and Enforcement (FASE) program
- complete the implementation of our National Fisheries Intelligence Service
- improve digital forensics capacity
- upgrade our information management infrastructure
- modernize radio communications to increase interoperability with our partners, including the Canadian Coast Guard, RCMP, Canadian Border Services Agency and local police forces
A key element to the increased enforcement capacity is the recent award of a 5 year, $128 million contract to PAL Aerospace, an international aerospace and defense company based in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.
Under the contract, the FASE program will be enhanced with 3 bases of operation: (St. John’s, NL; Halifax, NS; Campbell River, BC) that will host 4 surveillance aircraft, including 2 long-range aircraft.
These planes will be used to support enforcement activities under the Fisheries Act and the North Atlantic Fisheries Organization, as well as conducting air surveillance of:
- Marine Protected Areas
- North Atlantic right whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Bay of Fundy
- Southern Resident killer whales along the coast of BC
The new aircraft will be in service no later than Sept. 1, 2020.
- Protecting biodiversity and addressing threats
- Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples
- Supporting independent fishers
- Protecting fish and fish habitat
- Better management of projects
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