Fisheries Management Order regarding At-Sea Observers on board fishing vessels

(Section 9.1 of the Fisheries Act)

Whereas the COVID-19 virus and the global health threat that it represents creates circumstances that place at-sea fishery observers and the fishers they work with at risk of spreading and or contracting the virus;

Whereas, based on the COVID-19 situation as it exists today and based on the information available to this day, that risk may be significantly mitigated by the implementation of safe working procedures on health and safety by all parties involved;

Whereas, in the exceptional circumstances associated with the COVID-19 situation as it exists today, at-sea observer requirements imposed under existing licences to fish, which do not provide for the implementation of safe working procedures on health and safety, constitute a human health risk for at-sea observers and fishers and constitute a public human health risk, the whole posing a new threat to the proper management and control of fisheries;

Whereas the measures specified in Fisheries Management Order # 2020-01, which I signed on April 2, 2020 are no longer necessary to address this new threat;

I hereby revoke Fisheries Management Order # 2020-01, signed on April 2, 2020.

I hereby make this new Fisheries Management Order and I impose the following requirements:

  1. All fishing activities authorized under the Fisheries Act must be carried out without any at sea observer being onboard fishing vessels, except where the following conditions are met:
    1. At-sea observer companies have developed safe working procedures related to the COVID-19 virus that align with established federal, provincial and/or territorial guidelines in place related to COVID-19 in the jurisdictions where at-sea observers they employ are to be deployed, and keep a record of these procedures for presentation to a fishery officer upon request; and
    2. At-sea observer companies are satisfied that safe working procedures consistent with their own procedures are in place on vessels on which the observers they employ are to be deployed, and keep a record of these procedures for presentation to a fishery officer upon request.
  2. Any person authorized to carry out fishing activities under the Fisheries Act is required to not authorize any at-sea observer to come on board any fishing vessel, except where the following conditions are met:
    1. At-sea observer companies have developed safe working procedures related to the COVID-19 virus that align with established federal, provincial and/or territorial guidelines in place related to COVID-19 in the jurisdictions where at-sea observers they employ are to be deployed and keep a record of these procedures for presentation to a fishery officer upon request; and
    2. At-sea observer companies are satisfied that safe working procedures consistent with their own procedures are in place on vessels on which the observers they employ are to be deployed, and keep a record of these procedures for presentation to a fishery officer upon request.

For greater certainty, where the two conditions described in i) and ii) above are met, fishing activities must be carried out in accordance with the at-sea observer conditions contained in licences to fish.

This Fisheries Management Order takes effect on the day on which it is signed and will remain in effect for a period of 45 days.

Ottawa, May 2020

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