Fishing vessels near Bella Coola await the start of the 2019 season. Fisheries and Oceans Canada has postponed the full resumption of the At-Sea-Observer Program until further notice. (Angie Mindus file photo)

Fishing vessels near Bella Coola await the start of the 2019 season. Fisheries and Oceans Canada has postponed the full resumption of the At-Sea-Observer Program until further notice. (Angie Mindus file photo)

DFO postpones full resumption of At-Sea Observer Program

Move comes amid provincial spike in coronavirus infections

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has postponed the full reinstatement of the At-Sea Observer Program (ASOP) following continued health and safety concerns of the pandemic.

The decision was influenced by harvesters and coastal community members addressing DFO amid increased coronovirus infections in B.C.

“DFO acknowledges that while Public Health authorities and WorkSafeBC have outlined the manner in which vessels can safely fish in the context of COVID-19, and that at-sea observer deployment procedures should be able to satisfy these requirements, the situation is changing rapidly and requires further consideration,” reads a DFO notice Nov. 10.

READ MORE: Fisheries and Oceans Canada lifts at-sea observer requirements due to COVID-19

The department added it will continue to work with stakeholders to allow the full resumption of the program once transmission of the virus between vessel crew and observers can be minimized, and ASOP service providers can complete training to meet the staffing requirements of the fishery.

At-sea observers are responsible for the on-board monitoring of fishing activities, collecting scientific data and monitoring industry compliance with fishing regulations and licence conditions.

The Emergency Electronic Monitoring Pilot Program will remain in place of ASOP, but DFO noted Option A trawl vessels may elect to carry at-sea observers, subject to their availability, if they follow provincial COVID-19 guidelines.

“The emergency EM program implemented in the absence of at-sea observer services has served as an important stopgap management measure, but is not yet an effective, long-term replacement to the ASOP.



quinn.bender@blackpress.ca

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Some parents are concerned with the plans of the Cowichan Valley school district to drop one of its distance-learning options. (File photo)
Parents upset with loss of distance education program

School district says program being redesigned

Bob Higgins pulls the gate across on the elevator built inside his home. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Crofton man’s expertise earns international award with home-built elevator

Experience put to use in winning contest entry for furniture and home projects

Bhagwan Mayer. (Photo submitted)
Organizer of transporting the World’s Largest Hockey Stick to Cowichan remembered

Bhagwan Mayer a “hard-working fellow who cared about his community.”

Cowichan Valley Regional District.
Cowichan Talks Tech event will explore opportunities for thriving in a disrupted world

Full day workshops follow talk that provides a glimpse into the future

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest day of pandemic with 13 deaths, 738 new COVID-19 cases

Number of people in hospital is nearing 300, while total cases near 30,000

(File photo)
Alberta woman charged after allegedly hitting boy with watermelon at Okanagan campsite

Police say a disagreement among friends at an Adams Lake campsite turned ugly

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Court of Appeal for British Columbia in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. woman loses appeal to have second child by using late husband’s sperm

Assisted Human Reproduction Act prohibits the removal of human reproductive material from a donor without consent

Krista Macinnis displays the homework assignment that her Grade 6 daughter received on Tuesday. (Submitted photo)
B.C. mom angry that students asked to list positive stories about residential schools

Daughter’s Grade 6 class asked to write down 5 positive stories or facts

B.C. projects targeting the restoration of sockeye salmon stocks in the Fraser and Columbia Watersheds will share in $10.9 million of federal funding to protect species at risk. (Kenny Regan photo)
13 projects protecting B.C. aquatic species at risk receive $11 million in federal funding

Salmon and marine mammals expected to benefit from ecosystem-based approach

Picture of two swans leaving the Cowichan estuary moments before one was shot out of the sky. (Submitted photo)
Petition to stop hunting in Cowichan estuary after swan shot

Hunters blame shooting on illegal poachers

Most Read