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General News · 3rd January 2013
Ken Hanuse
FN0923-GENERAL INFORMATION - Service delivery changes at Fisheries and Oceans Canada beginning in 2013 Category(s):
ABORIGINAL - General Information,
COMMERCIAL - General Information,
RECREATIONAL - General Information

Fishery Notice - Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Subject: FN0923-GENERAL INFORMATION - Service delivery changes at Fisheries and Oceans Canada beginning in 2013


October 2, 2012
Fishermen across Canada, as well as fisheries-related businesses and organizations, are advised that a number of fisheries management programs and services delivered by Fisheries and Oceans Canada will change beginning in 2013. These service delivery changes include:
- A new, online national fisheries management licensing system;
- Revised requirements for logbooks, gear tags and tabs, and at-sea observers; and
- Expanded multi-year fisheries management planning using multi-year stock assessments and advice.

Licensing service changes

A web-based information system will replace in-person payments of licensing fees at DFO area offices early in 2013. For the first time, fishermen will be able to go online to purchase and renew their commercial fishing licences and to receive in-season licensing services, including the ability to request their licences, obtain their licence conditions, as well as print and pay for their licences.

Key events in the transition to the new system include:October 2012: Information on the new system may be found on the departmentís website at

Starting in November 2012: Renewal notifications, and information on payment options and the process to access the new licensing system, will be sent directly to fishermen through the departmentís annual mail-out process.

Starting on January 1, 2013: Fisheries and Oceans will begin a phased adoption of the new system by industry to obtain their fishing licences, with full industry adoption by April 1, 2013. This will include a phased roll-out of new client services to fishermen, including online assistance and a toll-free number for information and questions.

January 1 to March 31, 2013: During the three-month phase-in period, service at the counter will continue to be available for fishermen who wish to take advantage of the departmentís traditional method of service to obtain their 2013 fishing licences.

April 1, 2013: Full use of the new online licensing system by the fishing industry will begin and service at the counter will cease to be available. As part of the online services offered, fishermen will have the opportunity, if desired, to establish an alternate person to access his or her account and to make requests and payments on his or her behalf. The new client services will also include the ability for fishermen to make an appointment with Fisheries and Oceans staff, as needed, to complete a licensing transaction. Fishermen will also have the opportunity to make credit card or Interac payments directly online through the new system or, if preferred, to pay for their licence at their bank.

Logbook, Gear tag and validation tab, and At-sea observer program changes
Beginning in 2013, industry will be required to obtain, supply, distribute, and
pay for logbooks and any gear tags/tabs used in their fishery. They will also
be required to pay the full costs of the At-Sea Observer Program.

For the 2013 fishing season, fishermen will continue using and remitting existing logbooks, sales slips, hails, and dockside monitoring forms. Instructions on how to obtain logbooks for the 2013 season will be posted on the Departmentís website before the end of October 2012.

At-sea observers
Beginning April 1, 2013, Fisheries and Oceans will no longer share the costs of the at-sea observer program. Industry will also now enter directly into contracts with at-sea observer service providers that are certified by the Department.

Gear tags and validation tabs
The Department has worked with industry to determine where commercial (including commercial communal) tags/validation tabs (decals) are still required as individual gear and/or vessel tags/tabs are not the only means available to provide for conservation, sustainability, and an orderly fishery. These discussions will continue through established consultative processes.

In the Pacific Region, for example, validation tabs will be issued for herring gillnet fishing operations, but validation tabs will not be issued for all other vessels for the 2013 season.

Where commercial tags/tabs continue to be used in a fishery, Fisheries and Oceans Canada will continue to enforce the provisions of these as is done today, however, effective April 1, 2013, the responsibility to obtain and pay for these tags/tabs will rest with industry. Fisheries commencing before this date, will have tags/tabs issued by Fisheries and Oceans Canada

The requirement to obtain and purchase tags/tabs will not apply to Atlantic tuna or species regulated under the Management of Contaminated Fishery Regulations, nor will it apply to any non-commercial fisheries (e.g., food, social and ceremonial fisheries, scientific fisheries, recreational fisheries) where tags are currently in use.

The Department is developing a protocol to guide industry associations, tag manufacturers and potentially others who wish to obtain gear tags and distribute them to fish harvesters, which should be available on-line in the coming weeks.

This protocol will require tag suppliers to submit a Tagging Plan for Departmental approval before they can distribute tags to harvesters. The Tagging Plan must demonstrate that tags meet departmental standards and confirm the integrity of the distribution system as well as provide for audits by Fishery Officers.

Harvesters will be free to obtain tags from an ďapprovedĒ tag supplier of their choice.

Multi-year planning
Fisheries and Oceans Canada is developing schedules to move more major fisheries to the multi-year approach over a three year period. This work began
in 2012-13 and will continue in 2013-14 and 2014-15. This approach aligns multi-year stock assessments and advice with multi-year fisheries management planning and has proven successful in sustainable fisheries, such as groundfish in the Pacific and shrimp in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Information on which fisheries moved to a multi-year approach in the 2012-13 fishing season will be posted on the Departmentís website this Fall.

More information about all of these service delivery changes, including answers to Frequently Asked Questions, is now available on the Departmentís website at Fisheries and Oceans Canada will also be providing monthly updates on the changes through Notices to Fish Harvesters and other means.

For more information, please e-mail:
Fisheries and Oceans Canada Operations Center - FN0923
Visit us on the Web at
If you have any questions, please contact us via e-mail to: