Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) announced on May 15 that at-sea observers may be onboard fishing vessels again if there are appropriate safe work procedures in place.
In a fishery notice, DFO revoked the Fisheries Management Order it had issued in April that lifted all at-sea observer requirements “due to the current exceptional circumstances associated with the emergence of the COVD-19 virus,” and replaced it with a new order under section 9.1 of the Fisheries Act.
Effective immediately, the order said all fishing activities authorized under the Fisheries Act must still be carried out without any at-sea observers being onboard fishing vessels, except if two conditions that align with federal and provincial guidelines are met.
The first condition is that at-sea observer companies must have developed satisfactory safe working procedures related to the COVID-19 virus that align with established federal, provincial and/or territorial guidelines in place, related to COVID-19 in the jurisdictions where at-sea observers they employ are to be deployed, and keep a record of these procedures for presentation to a fishery officer upon request.
The second condition is that at-sea observer companies are satisfied that safe working procedures consistent with their own procedures are in place on vessels on which the observers they employ are to be deployed, and keep a record of these procedures for presentation to a fishery officer upon request.
“For greater certainty, where the two conditions … are met, fishing activities must be carried out in accordance with the at-sea observer conditions contained in licences to fish,” the order said.
The new order will remain in effect for a period of 45 days.
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