Chapter three - General policy guidelines

10. Reform Strategy

The concept adopted for the inshore sector (vessels less than 19.8m (65') LOA) is that of a "core" group of a maximum number of multi-licensed enterprises. To qualify as member of the core group, a licence holder was required to meet the following four (4) criteria as of December 20, 1995:

  1. (a) Be the head of an enterprise
  2. (b) Hold key licences (or, for some Scotia-Fundy fishers, a vessel-based licence)
  3. (c) Have an attachment to the fishery
  4. (d) Be dependent on the fishery

Under this concept, entry into the "core group" is possible only by replacing an existing enterprise and the new entrant has to be a certified professional fisher. However, because Professionalization has yet to be legislated, in 1996, new entrants will have to meet previous full-time/Bonafide (new entrant) criteria, except in the Newfoundland Region where the proposed Professional Level II grandfathering criteria have to be met.

Under the Policy, most benefits are provided to "core" members.

The Policy promotes the concept of multi-licensed enterprises while recognizing specialized fleets. Fishing enterprises are viewed as businesses with normal responsibilities such as selection of crew and reporting of landings.

11. General Policy Guidelines

(1) The requirements to be licensed to fish for different species of fish are found in the Fisheries Act and the regulations made under the Act.

(2) Except where a fishery is closed for conservation purposes, licence renewal and payment of fees is mandatory on a yearly basis in order to retain the privilege to be issued the licence.

(3) Subject to any sanction applied against a licence or a licence holder, a licence may only be issued to a person who:

  1. (a) held such a licence for a given species in the preceding calendar year and a replacement licence was not issued for that licence to another person; or
  2. (b) who is issued such a licence as a replacement; or
  3. (c) who obtains a new licence through the procedures outlined in section 21or 22, or
  4. (d) who meets the eligibility criteria set out in Annexes III and/or IV.

(4) When a species is deemed to have been over-fished, one or more of the following restrictions may be imposed:

  1. (a) restriction on the issuance of replacement licences to other persons,
  2. (b) restriction on the issuance of additional licences,
  3. (c) stricter vessel replacement rules,
  4. (d) a licence moratorium,
  5. (e) non-renewal of licences, or
  6. (f) other appropriate measures.

(5) A bait-fishing licence may only be issued to the head of an enterprise who holds a licence to fish commercially by a method which traditionally includes the use of bait in such a fishery, (i.e., lobster, crab, groundfish hook and line, tuna, swordfish longline, shark).

(6) For fisheries restricted to using vessels less than 19.8m (65') LOA, a licence will be issued in the name of an individual fisher. Where such a licence has previously been issued in the name of a corporation, the licence may continue to be issued in the name of that corporation under a Grandfather clause.

(7) Licence holders restricted to using vessels less than 19.8m (65') LOA will be required to fish their licences personally. Licence holders who have previously designated an operator for one or more of their vessels may continue to do so under a Grandfather clause.

(8) Licence holders restricted to using vessels less than 19.8m (65') LOA will be permitted to hold only one licence for a given species. Those licences may be validated for more than one gear type (e.g., otter trawl and gillnet) (Grandfather clause provided for those fishers who already hold more than one licence for the same species.). This restriction does not apply to Aboriginal organizations.

(9) In the Maritimes Region, partnerships in the lobster fishery may be created where both enterprises hold category A lobster fishing licences for the same Lobster Fishing Area. Under such a partnership arrangement, the following conditions apply:

  1. (a) Both licence holders must be present on the boat during lobster fishing operations; and
  2. (b) The number of lobster traps permitted to be fished by the partnership cannot be greater than the legal number of traps authorized for one licence in that Lobster Fishing Area plus 50 percent of that number.

(10) As provided under the Fishery (General) Regulations, where, because of circumstances beyond his control, the holder of a licence or the operator named in a licence is unable to engage in the activity authorized by the licence or is unable to use the vessel specified in the licence, a fishery officer or other authorized employee of the Department may, on the request of the licence holder or his agent, authorize in writing another person to carry out the activity under the licence or authorize the use of another vessel under the licence.

(11) Where the holder of a licence is affected by an illness which prevents him from operating a fishing vessel, upon request and upon provision of acceptable medical documentation to support his request, he may be permitted to designate a substitute operator for the term of the licence. Such designation may not exceed a total period of five years.

(12) For the purpose of renewing a licence or for the issuance of a replacement licence to a new licence holder, the eligible licence holder must personally sign any related documents. In the case of an estate, the executor or the legally appointed administrator must sign the documents. As provided under the Fishery (General) Regulations, in the case of corporation-held licences, only an officer of the corporation may sign on behalf of that corporation.

(13) Unless provided otherwise in a species management plan, licences will not be issued as replacements for non-renewed licences.

(14) In the Maritimes Region, the downgrading of lobster category "A" licences or the upgrading of lobster category "B" licences is not permitted.

(15) The splitting of either the gear types (e.g. groundfish longline and otter trawl) or the amount of fishing gear listed on a single vessel-based licence is not permitted.

12. Vessel Registration

(1) Unless provided otherwise under the Atlantic Fishery Regulations, 1985 and the Maritime Provinces Fishery Regulations and subject to section 33, every vessel used in a commercial fishery must be registered in the name of the licence holder using the vessel or for whom the vessel is being used.

(2) A vessel can only be registered in the name of one licence holder at a given time.

(3) In the Newfoundland Region, a replacement for a vessel registration held by a non-core fisher may only be issued to a core fisher.

(4) A vessel may be registered by the Department on application, the payment of the proper fee and the provision of the required data on the vessel characteristics by the applicant, except in the Newfoundland Region where no additional vessel registrations are issued.

(5) Notwithstanding subsection (4), additional vessel registrations are available in the Newfoundland Region, but only to heads of core enterprises who hold licences in addition to groundfish or a groundfish licence which is validated for cod traps. These heads of core enterprises may register "one" additional vessel no longer than 7.6m (25') LOA on a one time basis only, if these fishers are now the registered operators of only one vessel and that the vessel is longer than 7.6 m (25') LOA.

(6) Only Canadian vessels may be registered with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

(7) The licence holder is responsible to ensure that the vessel he intends to operate meets approved vessel replacement rules.

(8) A survey or measurement of the vessel may be required from the licence holder at his expense prior to registration.

(9) Vessel Registrations may only be issued to persons who hold at least one commercial fishing licence.

(10) Registered vessels may be specified as a condition of a licence and registered in a licence holder's name for a minimum period of one (1) month except in the Newfoundland Region where the minimum is twelve (12) months.

13. Leasing of a Foreign Registered Vessel

The following provisions apply to the temporary replacement of Canadian fishing vessels with foreign vessels.

(1) This policy applies when Canadian vessels are permanently removed, or rendered unserviceable (e.g., sinking, fire, collision, stranding) for a minimum period of four months within the preceding 12-month period. The chartering of a foreign vessel is not permitted for the purpose of replacing a Canadian vessel which has been removed from the fishery for financial or commercial reasons (e.g., bankruptcy or sheriff's seizure).

(2) A maximum period of two years duration (from the date of vessel removal) may be allowed for the lease of a foreign vessel.

(3) The leased foreign vessel must be crewed by either Canadian citizens or permanent residents, except where the Minister approves a specified number of non-Canadian crew members.

(4) The leased vessel is to be of similar catching capacity and must operate in accordance with the same fishing plan, and the catch must be delivered to the same plant or plants.

(5) Freezer trawlers may be leased to replace wetfish trawlers, but the processing (filleting) of traditional groundfish species at sea will not be permitted.

(6) All foreign vessels will be required to carry an observer approved by the Department at the expense of the licence holder.

(7) The leasing of foreign vessels requires Ministerial approval.

14. Foreign Ownership

(1) Subject to subsection (2), if foreign interests acquire over 49 percent of the common (voting) shares of a Canadian owned corporation which holds fishing licences, the licences will not be reissued to that corporation upon expiry of the licences.

(2) If such a foreign corporation having a subsidiary in Canada which holds fishing licences is taken over by another foreign-owned corporation from the same country, the licences may be reissued to that corporation as part of its continuing Canadian operation (i.e. no net increase in foreign ownership).

(3) If a foreign interest purchases a minority ownership interest in a Canadian corporation or establishes a jointly-owned subsidiary with a Canadian corporation in which the Canadian corporation owns more than half the voting shares, licence eligibility will not be affected.

15. Fleet Separation Policy

(1) One of the objectives of the licensing policy is to separate the harvesting and processing sectors of the industry, particularly in the fisheries where licence holders are restricted to using vessels less than 19.8m (65') LOA. This is known as the Fleet Separation Policy.

(2) Under this policy, new fishing licences for fisheries where only vessels less than 19.8m (65') LOA are permitted to be used may not be issued to corporations, including those involved in the processing sector of the industry.

(3) Subject to subsection (4), corporations, including those involved in the processing sector, presently holding licences in this fleet sector may continue to do so, but they may not be issued additional licences.

(4) Notwithstanding section 16(5), fishing licences for vessels less than 19.8m (65') LOA currently held by corporations that existed and held fishing licences for vessels less than 19.8 m (65') LOA prior to 1979 (referred to as pre-79 corporations) may be issued as replacement licences to another pre-79 corporation who still hold fishing licences for vessels less than 19.8m (65') LOA or to an eligible recipient under section (16). Corporations eligible to be issued replacement licences under this provision are listed in Annex VII.

(5) When all licences held by a pre-79 corporation on the same vessel are issued as replacement licences to a qualified new entrant as per section (16), the new licence holder will be given core status.

16. Change of Licence Holder

(1) Current legislation provides that licences are not transferable. However, the Minister in "his absolute discretion" may for administrative efficiency prescribe in policy those conditions or requirements under which he will issue a licence to a new licence holder as a "replacement" for an existing licence being relinquished. These prescribed conditions or requirements are specified in this document.

(2) Subject to subsection (5), a replacement licence may be issued upon request by the current licence holder to an eligible fisher recommended by the current licence holder.

(3) Nothing in this Policy, except residency requirements, precludes the issuance of a licence to an Aboriginal Organization as a replacement for a reissuable licence.

(4) A licence may only be issued as a replacement licence once in every twelve (12) month period.

(5) Subject to subsection (6), reissuable vessel-based licences for fisheries where only vessels less than 19.8m (65') are permitted to be used may only be issued as a replacement to the head of a core enterprise or to an Aboriginal organization.

(6) All vessel-based licences held by the head of a core enterprise may be issued as replacement licences only as a package to a qualified new entrant. The core status is transferred to the new licence holder upon issuance of the replacement licences.

(7) To qualify as a new entrant into the core group, an individual must be certified as a professional fisher. However, for 1996, new entrants must meet the criteria to be categorized as a full-time fisher or as a new entrant under the Bonafide policy as specified in the previous Licensing Policy except in the Newfoundland Region where the proposed Professional Level II grandfathering criteria have to be met. Aboriginal individuals qualify as new entrants without having to meet the criteria specified above in this subsection.

(8) The head of a core enterprise will lose his core status immediately upon relinquishing his last key licence except in Scotia-Fundy Sector where the criteria is the last vessel-based licence. For the purpose of this policy, licences listed in Annex I are designated as key licences.

(9) Subject to section (14), where there is a change in the controlling interest of a corporation that holds a licence, Ministerial approval will be required for renewal of the licences upon their expiry. Except for pre-1979 corporations, where a fisher previously owned the controlling interest in that corporation, inshore licences held by that corporation will not be renewed upon expiry.

(10) Licences for non-vessel based fisheries may be issued as replacement licences to any individual unless provided otherwise in a species management plan. Until 1997, or earlier where management plans have been approved, eligibility rules that existed in 1995 will apply. Fisheries deemed either vessel-based or non-vessel based for the purpose of this licensing policy are listed in Annex II.

(11) The following licences may not be issued as replacement licences to another fisher:

  1. (a) category B lobster licences;
  2. (b) exploratory licences;
  3. (c) herring fixed gear licences where vessels 15.2m (50') LOA and over are used (Gulf Sector of the Maritimes Region);
  4. (d) salmon;
  5. (e) groundfish licences (including handlines) held by heads of non-core enterprises that are not pre-79 corporations;
  6. (f) special groundfish gillnet licences for Canso Area;
  7. (g) temporary tuna licences in the Newfoundland Region;
  8. (h) bait-fishing licences;
  9. (i) mackerel handline licences;
  10. (j) scallop licences for Areas 12, 13 and 14 which are held by the head of a non-core enterprise.

(12) All conditions specified in a licence (i.e. area, gear type etc.) will be maintained upon the issuance of a replacement licence with the exception of the following:

The following provisions regarding the issuance of replacement licences are specific to individual DFO Region/Sectors:

Newfoundland Region

(13) Replacement licences may only be issued in fisheries where no new licences are being issued.

(14) When a fisher who is restricted to using a vessel less than 19.8m (65') LOA relinquishes his privilege to be reissued a vessel-based licence for a particular species, he will not be eligible to be issued a licence for that same species within the next 12 months. However this restriction does not apply to exchange through issuance of replacement licences between two heads of core enterprises already licensed for the same species and where the conditions attached to those licences are different.

(15) A mobile gear shrimp replacement licence may only be issued to the head of a core enterprise holding a mobile gear groundfish licence operating in the enterprise allocation program for vessels less than 19.8m (65') LOA.

Maritimes Region - Gulf Sector

(16) Notwithstanding section 16(5), vessel-based licences held by core enterprises restricted to using vessels less than 15.2 m (50') LOA may not be issued as replacement licences to core enterprises using vessels between 15.2m (50') LOA and 19.8m (65') LOA. The reverse is not permitted either.

(17) When not utilizing vessels 15.2m (50') LOA and over:

17. Licence Splits

(1) The splitting of mobile gear groundfish and mobile gear shrimp licences used on the same vessel is permitted provided the recipient of the shrimp licence combines it with a mobile gear groundfish licence for the same vessel size class.

(2) The splitting of swordfish longline and non-bluefin tuna licences is not permitted.

18. Residency, Home Port or Area of Historical Fishing

(1) Residency, area of historical fishing or home port may be used as eligibility requirements when new or replacement licences are issued.

(2) Where residency, area of historical fishing or home port are not used as eligibility requirements of licence issuance, then the proposed recipient of a replacement licence must meet the eligibility requirements for the area of residence of the present licence holder.

(3) In the Scotia-Fundy Sector of the Maritimes Region

  • (a) groundfish gillnet replacement licences for vessels less than 19.8m (65') LOA may only be issued to a fisher who has a homeport in the same zone as the previous licence holder. The definition of zone for this purpose is found under section 9(29).
  • (b) mid-bay scallop replacement licences may only be issued to the head of a core enterprise who has historically fished from a port within the boundaries of the Scallop Fishing Area 28B and 28C.

(4) Subject to subsection 8(a) and unless provided otherwise in a management plan, a replacement vessel-based licence may only be issued to the head of a core enterprise or qualified new entrant

  • (a) who is resident of the same DFO Administrative Area where the head who is relinquishing that licence was a resident when the licence was originally issued to him or,
  • (b) in the Newfoundland Region, who has histrically fished in the area for which the licence is valid or,
  • (c) in the Gulf Sector of the Maritimes Region, who has a traditional home port in the same DFO Administrative Area.

(5) Subject to subsection 8(a), in the two DFO Administrative Areas of Gulf New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, where vessels less than 15.2m (50') LOA are used, a vessel-based replacement licence for any species, other than mackerel, tuna and snow crab, may only be issued to the head of a core enterprise or a qualified new entrant residing adjacent to the same Lobster Fishing Area where the head who is relinquishing that licence was a resident when the licence was originally issued to him.

(6) In the Newfoundland Region, subject to subsection 8(a), a new vessel-based licence or a vessel-based replacement licence may only be issued to a fisher who is resident immediately adjacent to the fishing area for which the licence is valid or has historically fished in that area.

(7) Subject to subsection 8(a), requests for the issuance of any replacement licences for vessels 19.8m (65') LOA and over, will be reviewed and decided upon on a case by case basis.

(8)

  • (a) A swordfish longline replacement licence may be issued to any qualified person on the Atlantic coast.
  • (b) Notwithstanding subsection 18(4), a lobster licence for Lobster Fishing Area 27 (LFA 27) may be issued as a replacement either to the head of a core enterprise from the Scotia-Fundy Sector or to a Gulf Sector head of a core enterprise restricted to using vessels less than 15.2m (50') LOA.

19. Disposition of Licence(s) in Case of Death of Licence Holder

(1) Where the holder of a licence dies, a replacement licence may be issued in accordance with the policy on change of licence holder as stipulated under section 16, taking into consideration the request of the executor or of the legally appointed administrator. The estate may be given up to five years after the death to recommend an eligible person to whom a reissuable replacement licence may be issued.

(2) A non-reissuable licence expires upon the death of a licence holder.

(3) During the five-year period referred to under subsection (1), the licence must be renewed annually and the Department may approve the designation of a substitute operator.

(4) For the purpose of renewing all licences or issuing of a replacement licence to a new licence holder, the executor or the legally appointed administrator must sign any related documents.

20. Disposition of Licence(s) in Case of Bankruptcy of a Corporation

(1) Where a corporation that holds a licence is put into receivership, the licence held by the corporation remains valid, but will not be amended.

(2) Once this licence expires and in the absence of notification from the officers of the corporation that the corporation is continued, the Licensing Authority will either:

(1) not renew the licence in question; or

(2) issue a replacement licence to an eligible applicant.

21. Issuance of New Regular Licences

(1) New vessel-based licences for fisheries where only vessels less than 19.8m (65') LOA are permitted to be used will be offered only to heads of core enterprises or to Aboriginal organizations.

(2) The issuance of new licences requires approval by the Minister unless provided otherwise under Annexes III and IV of this policy document.

(3) For the issuance of new vessel-based licences for fisheries where only vessels less than 19.8m (65') LOA are permitted to be used, where the number of new licences is limited and where there are more applicants than licences available, licence holders will be selected through a random draw among heads of core enterprises who meet criteria established in consultation with appropriate industry representatives.

(4) For the issuance of licences for vessels 19.8m (65') LOA and over, eligibility criteria and applicant selection mechanisms will be developed on a case by case basis.

22. Issuance of Exploratory Licences

(1) If a fishery is new, developing or underutilized, exploratory licences may be issued upon approval of the Minister.

(2) New exploratory vessel-based licences for fisheries using vessels less than 19.8m (65') LOA will be offered only to heads of core enterprises or to Aboriginal organizations.

(3) The issuance of an exploratory licence to a person does not imply any further commitment by the Minister to issue a similar licence to the same person upon expiry of the exploratory licence.

(4) A fisher who is issued an exploratory licence will be required to meet established participation requirements and other program requirements to be eligible to be issued a similar licence once that exploratory licence expires.

(5) Holders of exploratory licences may be given priority to receive regular licences for the same fishery.

(6) For the issuance of new vessel-based exploratory licences for fisheries where vessels less than 19.8m (65') LOA are permitted, where the number of exploratory licences is limited and where there are more applicants than licences available, licence holders will be selected through a random draw among heads of core enterprises which meet criteria established in consultation with appropriate industry representatives.

(7) For vessels 19.8m (65') LOA and over, eligibility criteria and applicant selection mechanisms will be developed on a case by case basis.

23. Vessel Repossession

(1) Subject to subsection (2),licence(s) remain(s) with a licence holder when his vessel has been repossessed.

(2)

  • (a) On receipt of writen notification from a Government Lending Authority (e.g., Provincial Loan board) of vessel repossession, all fishing licences issued in respect of the vessel involved will remain valid, but will not be amended.
  • (b) The Licensing Authority will maintain the eligibility to the fishing licence(s) in the name of the present licence holder for a maximum period of 60 days. This period is intended to enable the licence holder to settle or renegotiate his loan.
  • (c) Following the expiry of the 60-day period, and in the absence of notification of a settlement from the Government Lending Authority involved, the licence holder will lose his eligibility to renew the licence(s) held in respect of the vessel repossessed and the Licensing Authority will either:
    • not reissue the licence(s) in question; or
    • issue a replacement licence(s) to eligible applicant(s).
  • (d) In the case of vessel repossessions involving enterprise allocation,
    • licence holders with one vessel: any licence and enterprise allocations held will revert to the Licensing Authority for possible reallocation.
    • licence holders with more than one vessel: a portion of the licence holder's enterprise allocations equivalent to the average historical catch of the vessel repossessed will revert to the Licensing Authority for possible reallocation.

(3) For the purpose of section 23, the expression "Government Lending Authority" includes a governmental authority which provides guarantees for loans granted by private institutions.