Today in St. John’s, DFO began consultation sessions on Fishery Monitoring Policy and Marine Mammal Protection.
In these consultation sessions, DFO is introducing its plan for a national Fishery Monitoring Policy framework under the Sustainable Fisheries Framework. This policy would address data deficient fisheries and help fill data gaps by increased harvester-dependent and independent monitoring methods where DFO deems necessary. While these consultations have been online-only, we are pleased that DFO is getting out to hear the concerns of harvesters face-to-face. Throughout this process, FFAW continues to make it clear that while we support sustainable, data-rich fisheries, we also want to ensure that further costs are not downloaded on to harvesters, and that DFO is aware of how their own lack of resources contributes to challenges in data and monitoring. Investment by DFO is a necessary component as we move forward, as well as restoring resources and investment that were previously removed.
Consultation sessions will also deal with the US Marine Mammal Protection Act, specifically on the import provisions of Canadian seafood into the US and how Canada is demonstrating to the US that it meets requirements in protecting marine mammals in its fisheries. While most attention has been focused on eliminating deaths of North Atlantic Right Whales in the Gulf, harvesters have concerns about how these provisions might affect fisheries on all coasts, as well as any potential market implications for our seafood being exported to the US. The purpose of these sessions is to open the dialogue. DFO will be carrying out consultations and workshops throughout the winter on this important topic.
While DFO is stressing these measures are currently in place for endangered species such as the North Atlantic Right Whale, we want to ensure there are no further implications for other species and that the livelihood of fish harvesters is not put at risk arbitrarily. DFO must work with harvesters to identify unique challenges and areas of focus for specific regions.
DFO consultations on these issues will continue in Gander on November 28th and Clarenville on November 29th. FFAW will continue to follow these processes closely and will bring forward concerns our members may have.
If you wish to submit comments on the Fishery Monitoring Policy and review the proposed documents, please visit http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/peches-fisheries/comm/consultation-nat-fsh-eng.htm. Comments are open until January 25, 2019.