Fisheries and Oceans Minister Celebrates new Fisheries Act Measures for Preserving the Independence of the Inshore Fleet
July 22, 2019 - Pointe-Sapin, New Brunswick
The fishing industry is integral to the economic and social fabric of hundreds of coastal communities in Atlantic Canada, generating over $2.3 billion a year for the Canadian economy. For generations, many Atlantic Canadians have depended on fishing as a livelihood - it is woven into the hearts of their communities. Since the 1970s, inshore policies have been in place in an effort to make sure that the benefits of the Atlantic and Quebec inshore fishery stay with fish harvesters and their communities.
Ensuring that the benefits of the fishery remain in local communities is a priority for the Government of Canada, which is why today, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, announced that measures that will ensure that key policies relating to owner-operator and fleet-separation policies are being enshrined in regulation under the new Fisheries Act.
The owner-operator policy requires fish harvesters to fish their licences personally so that those who actively fish, receive the benefits from their licences. The fleet-separation policy maintains a separation between the fishing and fish processing sectors.
Maintaining the independence of small-boat owner-operators and implementing a fair licensing regime will help protect middle-class jobs and ensure the long-term sustainability of the fishery.
In addition to providing enhanced protection for the inshore fleet, the new Fisheries Act will provide enhanced protection of fish and fish habitat and will assist in fostering a more sustainable fishery.
The inshore regulations were published in Canada Gazette on July 6 for a 30-day public comment period
Fishing remains one of the main industries in rural coastal Eastern Canada generating about $1.7 billion in landed value (inshore fleets only) in 2017.
In Atlantic Canada and Quebec, the industry employs more than 59 000 fish harvesters and processing workers.
Inshore refers to the fishing sector where fish harvesters are restricted to using vessels less than 19.8m (65') Length Over All (LOA) or less than 27.4m (90’) LOA in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Prior to the 1960s, fisheries on Canada’s East Coast were open to anyone who wished to fish, with no restrictions on who could hold a license.
In the late 1970s, concerns from inshore harvesters began to arise in response to the proliferation of fish processing plants that were acquiring vessels and registering them for the inshore fishery, which had the effect of increasing the overall concentration of inshore licenses into corporate hands and forcing the individual independent license holder out of the fishery.
Amendments to the Atlantic Fishery Regulations, 1985 and the Maritime Provinces Fishery Regulations are being sought to protect the independence of commercial inshore and coastal license holders.
On June 21, 2019 the new Fisheries Act received royal assent and became law. This modernized Act:
- restores the protections for fish and fish habitat;
- strengthens the role of Indigenous peoples in project reviews, monitoring, and policy;
- adds important safeguards for our fisheries, including measures to rebuild damaged fish stocks, and restore degraded habitat;
- brings greater certainty to proponents and industry through a clear path on requirements for large projects, as well as for farmers across the country through codes of practice; and,
- ensures that our fisheries and environment are protected for future generations to come.
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans
and the Canadian Coast Guard
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
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