New DFO policy won’t affect ‘family fishing,’ says spokesperson

·2 min read

For last week’s article ‘Bay Bulls harvester not on board with DFO’s ‘who’s on board’ policy, the Irish Loop Post interviewed Bay Bulls harvester Jason Sullivan regarding confusion felt across the province in regard to new regulations that come into effect April 1.

The Post had reached out to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans for further clarification, but had not received a response by press time.

Once the article was published, the paper did quickly hear from a spokesperson for Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Bernadette Jordan.

“We recognize that for many families in Newfoundland and Labrador, and across Atlantic Canada, fishing is a family event,” read a statement from Jane Deeks, press secretary to the minister. “The new Owner-Operator and Fleet Separation regulations will in no way impact these traditions, as they do not change who can legally be on a fishing vessel. Under DFO regulations, an individual less than 16 years of age may be on a fishing vessel without registering, whether they are engaged in fishing activity or not. Individuals over the age of 16 may also be on the fishing vessel, but if they are engaged in fishing activity, they must register. To be clear, an individual of any age, who is not engaged in fishing activity, does not need to register to be on the vessel. As always, we encourage crews to take strong health and safety precautions at all times, especially when minors or inexperienced individuals are on board.” Deeks’ email went on to say the new inshore regulations require the Captain’s record of who is on board engaged in fishing activity to ensure the people who own the license are the ones actually fishing the license.

This, according to the spokesperson, will ensure the revenue from inshore fishing stays with inshore fishers.

“Inshore harvesters have been advocating for regulations related to the Owner-Operator and Fleet Separation policies for years, and their coming into effect marks the beginning of a better, stronger, more resilient inshore commercial fishery,” said Deeks.

Mark Squibb, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Shoreline News