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DFO outreach meetings don't include vessel leasing (but more 'dedicated engagement' coming on that)

Fisheries and Oceans announced Monday a serious of 11 in-person outreach meetings around Labrador and Newfoundland's northeast coast in the coming weeks, but there was no mention of vessel leasing/registration as a specific issue — like fishing vessel length was in 2022. That's because DFO says there will be separate meetings on the issue.

Fishing vessels tied up on the harbour apron in St. John's.

At the time, he also announced that DFO will hold more consultations in the fall of 2022 on inshore vessel policies, including all registration rules in place across Atlantic Canada and Quebec.

Only those consultations haven't taken place yet — and won't be part of the 11 outreach meetings announced this week.

According to DFO, "Dedicated engagement, including in-person meetings, on vessel-related policy is being planned" for later this winter.

Fishing boats tied up at Fort Amherst (Prosser’s Rock) Small Boat Basin on the south side of St. John's harbour.


DFO's fishing vessel registration rules in Eastern Canada are all over the map.

In the Maritimes and Quebec, once a vessel is registered with a licence, that registration must be in place for at least 30 days before a different vessel can be registered to that licence.

In the Newfoundland and Labrador Region, once a vessel is registered with a licence, that registration must be in place for 12 months.

For Indigenous/communal licenses, the registration time line is one day.

DFO's registration policy is meant to reinforce the "guiding principle" of owner-operators in that the individual issued the license fishes the license.

However, the longer registration time puts Newfoundland and Labrador's inshore fleet at a competitive disadvantage.

In 2017, a House of Commons committee study of DFO vessel length and leasing policies recommended the department streamline and standardize vessel policies across the East coast, including leasing and transfer policies.

Ryan Cleary,

Executive Director,

SEA-NLSeaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is a professional, non-profit organization serving as the distinct voice for licensed, independent owner-operator inshore fish harvesters. You can read more about SEA-NL, and join us here.

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