OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - March 20, 2014) - The Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, today issued the following statement:
As a proud Maritimer, I know full well the importance of the inshore fishery to our communities and the pride that it instills in Atlantic Canadians. The Atlantic fishery is steeped in our culture and our history.
That is why it became so disheartening to see our inshore fishermen gradually losing control over their enterprises over the early part of the last decade. Controlling agreements emerged and in many cases, effectively took control of the fishing licence from the person who was actually doing the fishing.
As a result, the policy on Preserving the Independence of the Inshore Fleet in Canada's Atlantic Fisheries, or PIIFCAF, was adopted in 2007. It was immediately welcomed by the industry as a valuable instrument to better empower our fishermen; strengthen the owner-operator and fleet separation policies; and return the benefits reaped by these licences to the individuals who fish them and the communities they live in. PIIFCAF also provided our fishermen with seven years to terminate or adjust these controlling agreements to comply with the policy.
That seven years is almost upon us and the initiative has been very successful. I am very encouraged that most of the individuals who initially identified themselves as being part of a controlling agreement are no longer in these agreements. However, a small percentage of our inshore fishermen are still in controlling agreements. I want to be clear that on April 12, 2014, anyone who is still in a controlling agreement will not have their licence renewed.
However, as with all licencing-related decisions made by DFO, fishermen who cannot renew their licence will have an opportunity to appeal. I have instructed the Atlantic Fisheries Licencing Appeal Board to examine controlling agreements submitted for review to determine if there is in fact a violation of the owner-operator and fleet separation policies that PIIFCAF was designed to protect.
Our Government appreciates the benefits that a strong and an independent inshore fishery brings to our coastal communities and will continue to support that outcome.
For more information, please visit the Questions and Answers on PIIFCAF.
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