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Commercial Fishing



Canada strengthens protections for inshore commercial licence holders. The inshore fisheries of Canada’s East Coast are often family-run businesses that drive rural, local, regional, and national economies.

In December 2020, Fisheries and Oceans Canada published amended regulations that aim to strengthen and protect the independence of licence holders in commercial inshore fisheries in Atlantic Canada and Quebec.

These amended regulations address a longstanding request from independent inshore commercial licence holders to formalise a variety of policies that govern their licences, including:

  • ensuring inshore commercial licence holders retain the benefits generated by fishing, and are the ones personally fishing that licence;
  • supporting the Owner/Operator and Fleet Separation Policies by prohibiting certain types of corporations from holding licences in the inshore sector; and
  • introducing eligibility criteria that will prevent the Minister from issuing inshore licences to Independent Core licence holders that have transferred the use or control of the rights and privileges conferred by the licence to a third party.

As of April 1, 2021, all of these amended regulatory provisions will come into force. Inshore Independent Core licence holders will be required to:

  • confirm that they are compliant with the amended regulations by completing the new electronic Declaration of Inshore Regulations Compliance. This declaration is available via the National Online Licensing System (NOLS); and
  • maintain a crew registry of all the crew members working aboard the vessel on every fishing trip. This information must be maintained for a period of five years. Details of the information required will be outlined in commercial licence conditions.

These new measures are in place to strengthen the independence of hard-working inshore licence holders and to ensure that economic benefits stay with them and within their communities.

Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, said:

“The Inshore Regulatory Amendments coming into force marks the beginning of a stronger, more independent inshore fishery. By enshrining the policies of owner-operator and fleet separation into law, we’ll help ensure that the revenue from the fishery stays in our coastal and rural communities. Thank you to the harvesters whose advocacy and partnership have led to these changes that will bring greater prosperity and opportunity to Atlantic Canada.”