Whalesafe Gear Adoption Fund application guidelines
On this page
- Program objectives, expected results and criteria
- Program structure and timing
- Eligible recipients
- Eligible activities
- Project funding and eligible expenses
- Official Languages
- Permits and authorizations
- How projects are reviewed
- Notification of funding decisions
- How To apply
The Government of Canada is responsible for safeguarding our waters and managing Canada's fisheries and oceans resources. Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) helps to ensure healthy and sustainable aquatic ecosystems, and supports economic growth and innovation in the marine and fisheries sectors. DFO works with many partners to reduce interactions between whales and commercial fishing activity, to support healthy whale populations and sustainable fisheries.
DFO undertakes a variety of activities to reduce harm to large whales from fisheries, under the following three approaches:
- Entanglement Prevention – removing and reducing fishing gear and rope in areas of whale presence or aggregation. Long-standing management practices such as fishing seasons and trap limits, and more recent measures such as seasonal and temporary closures based on right whale presence and removal of ghost gear from the ocean help prevent whale interaction with fishing gear.
- Entanglement Alleviation – reducing the severity and duration of the entanglements that occur despite measures to prevent entanglement. Incorporating low breaking-strength, or ‘weak’, components designed to part when a whale becomes entangled in fishing gear, support this.
- Entanglement Response – assisting large whales in distress, in collaboration with trained expert responders and incident response networks under the umbrella of the Marine Mammal Response Program.
In February 2020, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard announced new requirements for non-tended, fixed gear fisheries in Atlantic Canada and Quebec to adopt gear modifications to alleviate entanglements by the end of 2022.
DFO’s Whalesafe Gear Adoption Fund is a new way to support our commitment to protecting marine environments, by supporting harvesters and partners to reduce harm and risk of harm to whales from commercial fishing activities. The Program consists of $20M in contribution funding over two years (2021-2023) to support projects that advance the adoption of methods to prevent and alleviate whale entanglement.
Whalesafe gear includes but is not limited to the following:
- Low breaking-strength or ‘weak’ rope, and/or various links that can be incorporated, to result in 1,700 lb or lower breaking strength;
- Equipment that permits hauling of buoy lines that incorporate low breaking strength rope and/or other weak components (e.g., hydraulic set limiter);
- Ropeless or rope-on-demand systems;
- Gear location marking systems supporting the operationalization of ‘ropeless’ fishing and the interoperability of different systems.
The funds will be distributed in two rounds of funding, based on the priorities and timelines described below.
2. Program objectives, expected results and criteria
The primary objective of the WSGF is to support activities that will help harvesters adopt gear designed to prevent and alleviate whale entanglements into commercial fishery operations in Atlantic Canada and Quebec by the end of 2022, or before fishing seasons open in 2023. Funding is available to commercial fish harvester organizations and other partners in Atlantic Canada and Quebec to purchase, test, refine, and operationalize whalesafe fishing gear, devices, and systems that will prevent and alleviate whale entanglement.
Activities to be supported may include refinement leading to adoption of known ropeless or rope-on-demand gear systems and gear location marking technology necessary for its implementation; purchase, trials and adoption of low breaking-strength or ‘weak’ gear devices or components; and work by manufacturers to perfect whalesafe gear and technology in the final stages toward commercialization.
The fund will provide up to $10 million in each of two years to support projects that advance the adoption of existing whalesafe gear, devices and systems in commercial fisheries, with the objective of bringing them to operational use by 2023 fishing seasons. The fund will support projects that reflect the priorities listed below; these priorities are listed in ranked order, with proposals to be scored accordingly.
- Priority 1: Purchase and adoption of existing low breaking strength or ‘weak’ gear and devices designed to alleviate whale entanglements, and of existing ‘ropeless’ gear, rope-on-demand gear, and related components designed to prevent whale entanglements.
- Priority 2: Purchase and tests, trials, or pilots of whalesafe gear, gear components, and/or gear configurations that have been designed to prevent and alleviate whale entanglements, and of ‘ropeless’ systems and associated gear location marking technology. The fund will support trials and related adaptation of existing gear, devices and systems, to be tested under operational conditions reflecting those present in fixed-gear fisheries in Atlantic Canada and Quebec, so they can be adopted by the end of 2022 or in 2023 fishing seasons.
- Priority 3: Manufacturing to achieve commercial availability – develop and/or refine Canadian sources of whalesafe gear and gear components that can be tested in 2022 fishing seasons, provided they will be commercially available for 2023 fishing seasons, supporting domestic production capacity.
Successful proposals will demonstrate all of the following:
- Alignment with one or more of the three funding program priorities;
- How they will advance the adoption of whalesafe gear in commercial fisheries in Atlantic Canada and Quebec by 2023;
- How the proposed work will contribute to the prevention and/or alleviation of large whale entanglements;
- An ability to design and execute trials and evaluations of whalesafe fishing gear and configurations, and to assess their effectiveness for fishing operations;
- The likelihood of success based on applicant experience and realistic deliverables;
- Realistic budgets that are appropriate for the timeframe and objectives of the project;
- Clear local and/or regional support from fish harvesters and other partners;
- Involvement of individuals and communities with local experience and knowledge.
3. Program structure and timing
Applications to the fund will be accepted at the following times:
- Round 1: Closed. Launch and call for proposals on August 13, 2021; the deadline for submission is September 10, 2021 by 23:59 PT. Applications must be for 2-year projects only, addressing priorities 1, 2, and 3.
- Round 2: Open until January 28th, 2022 for 1-year projects, addressing priorities 1, 2, and 3.
The activities proposed, and related expenditures, must be completed by March 31, 2023.
Applicants considering submitting more than one proposal are encouraged to consolidate multiple, smaller proposals into a single, large application that outlines clearly the different activities.
4. Eligible recipients
Groups in the following categories are eligible for support from the WSGF
- Canadian not-for-profit and charitable organizations
- Canadian companies, businesses, organizations, associations, and groups
- Indigenous organizations and communities*
- Recognized research, academic, and educational institutions
*Note: Indigenous groups, organizations and communities include:
- First Nations/ Inuit/ Métis;
- Bands/Settlements (land, reserves, trusts);
- Indigenous governments referred to in a self-government or modern treaty;
- Indigenous communities or groups;
- District Councils/Chiefs’ Councils/ Tribal Councils;
- Organizations/ Societies/ Associations/ Institutions that are Indigenous led and/or serve an Indigenous population); and
- Corporations (major shareholder is Indigenous).
5. Eligible activities
The WSGF will support activities in the following categories. The application form provides space for you to indicate clearly which of these categories each proposed activity falls under.
- Project planning and project management: E.g. planning and project management work necessary for the successful completion of the proposed activities described elsewhere in the funding application; acquiring baseline information from fishing industry participants; inventories of current gear types, gear configurations, and fishing practices
- Trials and/or adoption of innovative technology and processes for existing fisheries: E.g. Purchasing new gear technology for trials and/or deployment in fisheries, rigging and/or testing new gear components or configurations; distribution of purchased gear or devices to harvesters; conducting on-water trials; manufacturing trials or other development stages
- Project evaluation and reporting: E.g. collation of results of trials; data analysis; report writing
- Community outreach and education: E.g. outreach to potential & current partners – not general public outreach; not marketing / PR
- Collaborative planning, consultation, and capacity building: E.g. targeted consultation and planning with project partners
- Training, skills development and capacity building: E.g. ensuring safe and effective implementation of gear modifications
6. Project funding and eligible expenses
Proposals, or activities within proposals, receiving funding from another source must be distinct and will not be approved for funding under the Whalesafe Gear Adoption Fund (WSGF). Any applications submitted to the other federal funding programs (e.g., AFSAR, Interdepartmental Recovery Fund, Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnerships Program, EcoAction, HSP, etc.) must be for different activities than those listed in the WSGF proposal.
Eligible expenses include:
- Professional and technical services;
- Construction and related costs;
- Purchase or rental of machinery and equipment;
- Materials and supplies;
- Rental of facilities;
- Salaries and wages and employer mandatory benefits;
- Travel, including accommodation, meals, and allowances, based on National Joint Council Directives on travel guidelines;
- Insurance expenses related to activities under the Contribution Agreement.
- Conferences, workshops and meetings;
- Maintenance and repair related to the project;
- To further distribute funding to an agency or a third party;
- Administrative overhead up to 10% of eligible costs of the project;
- Any GST/HST that is not reimbursable by Canada Revenue Agency and any PST not reimbursable by the provinces.
7. Official languages
This Program will take into account the relevant official language obligations as specified in the Official Languages Act, the related regulations, as well as related federal policies in this regard. The Program will not change the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ obligations with respect to providing bilingual services to the public and ensuring the work environment is conducive to the use of both official languages, and the vitality of official language minority communities remains unaffected. The Department will ensure that activities, publicity and announcements regarding the Program will be in both official languages.
Where appropriate, contribution agreements signed by the recipient will contain a clause addressing the requirements of the Official Languages Act whereby the recipient agrees to communicate and make announcements to the public concerning their activity(ies) in both official languages; the clause will also address the provision of program documentation in both official languages.
8. Permits and authorizations
The applicant is responsible for obtaining the appropriate permits associated with proposed projects from relevant federal and/or provincial authorities. Applicants will also be expected to remain in compliance with all relevant laws, including but not limited to the Fisheries Act, Marine Mammal Regulations, Fishery (General) Regulations and Species at Risk Act.
Activities undertaken under the proposals must adhere to any Fisheries General Regulations Section 52 licence issued, and any other authorizations that may be provided by the department.
9. How proposals are reviewed
Requests for funding may exceed the funds available, and there is no guarantee that a project submitted will be funded.
Proposals will be reviewed and scored based on all of the information provided in the application form, including how the proposed work supports the WSGF objectives and priorities as outlined in program documents. Proposal review will take into account how well the funding criteria listed in Section 2 of this document are met. Only the information provided in the application form will be considered in the review of proposals.
10. Notification of funding decisions
Every effort will be made to provide applicants with timely notification once a decision has been made.
Program officials will contact successful applicants to seek additional information about the project, to inform the preparation of the contribution agreement for the transfer of funds.
11. How to apply
Applicants requesting funding under the WSGF are required to submit a proposal using the application form provided.
To submit your proposal or to ask questions, please contact: DFO.WSGF-FEPB.MPO@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
Report a problem or mistake on this page
- Date modified: