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Frequently Asked Questions

Fisheries Certificate System (FCS) Registration
  1. What is the Fisheries Certificate System (FCS), and where is the FCS website?
  2. Do I need to be registered in the Fisheries Certificate System (FCS) before I apply for a catch certificate?
  3. How do I register with the Fisheries Certificate System (FCS)?
  4. Why can't I log into the Fisheries Certificate System (FCS)?
  5. I do not have a user account, what can I do?
  6. How do I contact the Catch Certification Audit Office?
Application Process
  1. What do I do if my catch certificate has been approved and I find out some information has changed or is incorrect?
  2. How long will it take for my applications to be approved?
  3. What do I do if FCS is not available?
Catch Certificates
  1. What is the difference between a " Catch Certificate – Standard " and a " Catch Certificate - Group-Based "? Which type should I use?
  2. What is the difference between a " Catch Certificate - Request Grouping " and a " Catch Certificate - Group-Based "?
  3. What is a grouping?
  4. European Union Catch Certificates: What is an indirect export and what do I have to do if my consignment is an indirect export?
  5. European Union Catch Certificates: How do I know if the catch certificate from the country of origin is valid?
  6. European Union Catch Certificates: What do I do if I do not know the final European Community destination of my product as I am selling to another Canadian company?
  7. How often must I update my groupings?
  8. How do I renew my groupings?
  9. How do I add / remove a vessel from an approved grouping?
  10. What is the difference between the ‘Reissue’ and the ‘Copy’ functions?
  11. What do I do if I have accepted a forwarded catch certificate and the groupings have expired?
  12. What do I do if I forwarded my catch certificate to the wrong company?
  13. What is the maximum vessel length allowable in a grouping?

FCS Registration

1. What is the Fisheries Certificate System (FCS), and where is the FCS website?

The FCS is an online, user-friendly website, developed by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, to respond to the European Union's illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing regulation. The FCS is used by Canadian exporters to obtain catch certificates, in compliance with international regulatory requirements, in order to export their fisheries products to international markets.

2. Do I need to be registered in the (FCS) before I apply for a catch certificate?

Yes. All registration requests must be approved by the Catch Certification Program's Operations Centre (CCP: OC). The registration process is very simple and intuitive. Assistance is also available via telephone or email, if required. After you register, you will be ready to apply for certificates. Requests for groupings must also be completed in advance and are subject to the CCP: OC's approval. Please refer to the Application Process section for all service standards.

3. How do I register with the (FCS)?

To register, click on “Continue to Fisheries Certificate System” located on the Certify your catch for export page. You will be redirected to the Fisheries Certificate System home page where you will be asked to select your preferred language. After reading the Introduction page, click Continue. You will be redirected to a secure sign-in page where you will either sign-in using a Sign-In Partner or register for a GCKey. Once you have registered for a GCKey, you will be redirected to an FCS registration page. Please note: all blue fields are mandatory. Once you have completed the Registration Request form, click the “Submit” button. You will receive a confirmation email with the FCS Delegation of Authority and Terms and Conditions of Use. Review, sign and return the document and confirm the Registration Request to complete the process. Once your registration has been approved by the Catch Certification Program, you will receive an email containing your FCS account information. Please be sure to send your signed Delegation of Authority, to the address provided on the form. Use of the FCS cannot commence until the CCP:OC receives the form.

For additional help registering with the FCS or signing up for a GCKey, contact the Catch Certification Program’s Operations Centre (CCP: OC) by email (CCO-BCC_Info@dfo-mpo.gc.ca) or by phone at 1-888-641-6464.

4. Why can't I log in to the (FCS)?

Ensure that your username and password have been entered correctly. Check for capital letters, spaces and symbols that are missing or have been mistakenly entered. If you are still unable to log in to FCS, please contact the CCP: OC for assistance.

5. I do not have a user account, what can I do?

Anyone accessing the FCS must have their own user account. If you do not have a user account and your company is registered in the FCS, you will need to ask your Applicant Manager to create you an account through the Applicants/Exporters menu, by selecting “Applicant Users” and then clicking on ‘New’ to create a new user profile.

6. How do I contact the Catch Certification Audit Office?

The Catch Certification Audit Office can be reached at 1-866-733-6676 or by email at ccoauditbvcc@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Application Process

1. What do I do if my catch certificate has been approved and I find out some information has changed or is incorrect?

You will first need to cancel the original catch certificate. This can be done by contacting the CCP: OC by email (CCO-BCC_Info@dfo-mpo.gc.ca) or by phone at 1-888-641-6464, to provide the Document ID of the original catch certificate and stating the reason why you will not be using the approved catch certificate. You will then need to create a new catch certificate application with the correct information. Please note that only the FCS Delegated Manager can cancel catch certificates for their company.

2. How long will it take for my application(s) to be approved?

Below are the service standards for services provided by the CCP: OC:

3. What do I do if the FCS is not available?

From time to time, the FCS will be unavailable for maintenance, upgrades and infrastructure management. The CCP: OC will inform FCS users of any upcoming scheduled maintenance to allow them to prepare their applications around these breaks in service. In the event that FCS is unexpectedly unavailable, a backup application process will be put in place for urgent certificate requests.

Please contact the CCP: OC for more details.

Catch Certificates

1. What is the difference between a Catch Certificate – Standard and a Catch Certificate – Group-Based? Which type should I use?

A Catch Certificate – Standard requires that each of the vessels involved in the catch is identified, as well as the vessel’s home port, applicable fishing license number, and call sign. The Catch Certificate – Standard should be used whenever possible as it provides the most traceability.

A Catch Certificate – Group-Based includes groups of vessels, communities, fishers and/or buyers that need to be approved for use by the CCP: OC.

The use of Catch Certificates – Group-Based is limited to special circumstances, and the use of Catch Certificates – Standard is the recommended option. Groupings are approved by the CCP: OC on a case by case basis and depending on the type of fishery.

If you are unable to complete a Catch Certificate – Standard application, please contact the CCP: OC for more details.

2. What is the difference between a Catch Certificate – Grouping Request and a Catch Certificate – Group-Based?

Before a Catch Certificate – Group-Based can be created; you must first create a grouping by applying for a Catch Certificate – Grouping Request. Users can create various types of groupings (vessels, communities, collector vessel) when a specific fishery may be too complex as a result of different operations or management measures. After groupings have been approved, you may apply the group(s) for future catch certificates (Group-Based). This will prevent users from having to re-enter source information on subsequent applications.

Please contact the CCP: OC for more details.

3. What is a grouping?

Groupings are approved by the CCP: OC prior to applying for a Catch Certificate – Group-Based, and are used to report the source of the product in complex value chains through various structures depending on the business process of the applicant. The grouping prevents the FCS applicant from having to re-enter the information of the source of their product each time they apply for a certificate.

Please refer to the FCS User Manual or contact the CCP: OC for more details.

4. European Union Catch Certificates: What is an indirect export? What do I do if my product is an indirect export with a final destination in the European Community?

An indirect export is a consignment that is not intended for direct export into the European Community (EC). The consignment instead will land in another country outside of the EC, whether or not for processing, before it is landed in a European Union member state.

In the Detail Tab of the application for both a Catch Certificate – Standard and a Catch Certificate – Group-Based, the first line reads "Is the consignment intended for direct export to the European Community?" with the option of selecting ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. If your consignment is an indirect export, click the button indicating ‘No’. Enter the anticipated date of export by clicking on the drop-down arrow next to the Exportation Date field, to view and select a date from the calendar.

On the Import Tab, use the drop-down menu to select the anticipated final market destination. If the final market destination is unknown, select ‘Unknown’ in the drop-down menu. Then complete the Importer Declaration fields using your client’s information.

Please refer to the FCS User Manual or contact the CCP: OC for more details.

5. European Union Catch Certificates: How do I know if the catch certificate from the country of origin is valid?

The website of the European Commission provides a list of flag states with EC approved competent authorities for the issuance of catch certificates.

Please refer to the European Commission Fisheries website to obtain the list of approved flag states.

6. European Union Catch Certificates: What do I do if I do not know the final European Community destination of my product as I am selling to another Canadian company?

If a product is being sold to another Canadian company that intends to ship to the European Union, the application should be completed as a direct export as it has yet to leave Canada.

In the Detail Tab of the application for a Catch Certificate – Standard and a Catch Certificate – Group-Based, the first line reads "Is the consignment intended for direct export to the European Community?" with the option of selecting ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. If your consignment has a Canadian customer, click ‘Yes’. Enter the anticipated date of export using the calendar provided after clicking the drop-down arrow next to the Exportation Date field.

Once the catch certificate is approved, you will be able to forward the document to the Canadian company you are selling the product to. The company will then be able to copy the certificate and update the importer information to reflect the product’s intended destination. If the exporting company does not intend to ship to the EU, they will not require a catch certificate. If the product is initially being sent to a country that is not a part of the EU, and subsequently sent to an EU country, it is considered to be an indirect export.

7. How often must I update my groupings?

Groupings must be renewed on an annual basis or as often as required. Since groupings are meant to reflect the vessels, fishers and/or buyers that have participated in the catch or purchase of the products that you will be exporting, it is important that you revise your groupings and update them as needed if you are sourcing product from new vessels, fishers and/or buyers.

8. How do I renew my groupings?

In the FCS, the renew function is found in the Manage Documents menu, in the Groupings sub-menu. To renew, highlight the grouping you wish to renew and select the ‘Renew’ button.

9. How do I add / remove a vessel or fisher from an approved grouping?

In order to add or remove a vessel or fisher from a grouping, you must use the Grouping Renewal function.

To access Grouping Renewal, go to Manage Documents – Groupings, highlight the grouping you wish to renew, click the “Renew” button, and make the appropriate changes. Once completed, the grouping can be submitted to the CCP:OC for approval.

10. What is the difference between the ‘Reissue’ and the ‘Copy’ functions?

If the catch certificate has been approved, it can be copied or re-issued with corrections.

After copying a catch certificate, please contact the CCP: OC by email (CCO-BCC_Info@dfo-mpo.gc.ca) to cancel the original catch certificate, if applicable.

For a Catch Certificate – Foreign Export, you will need to copy the application to make corrections. Catch Certificate – Foreign Exports cannot be reissued.

11. What do I do if I have accepted a forwarded catch certificate and the groupings have expired?

The company who forwarded the catch certificate must forward another catch certificate with renewed groupings.

12. What do I do if I forwarded my catch certificate to the wrong company?

If the forwarded catch certificate has not been accepted, you can recall it by clicking the “Recall” button in the Manage Documents menu.

If it has been accepted, a copy of the catch certificate must be submitted to the CCP:OC (a new application) for approval. Meanwhile, the company that accepted the catch certificate will be contacted by the forwarding company to have the catch certificate retracted. They can do this by contacting the CCP:OC and providing the document number of the certificate which they accepted and requesting that it be retracted.

13. What is the maximum vessel length allowable in a grouping?

Vessels over 30.48 meters cannot be used in a grouping. If vessels are used for inshore / mid-shore fishing then a written request can be submitted to the CCP: OC to have the vessel added to our list of exceptions.

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