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

Const. Joshua Waltman brings knowledge gained from working with people experiencing homelessness in Surrey to his new role as the RCMP’s mental health liaison officer in Nanaimo where he will work with people from across society who find themselves struggling with mental health crisis. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo RCMP’s mental health liaison says his role will take persistence and resilience

Const. Joshua Waltman talks about limiting anxiety and gaining trust of people in mental crises

Janice Perrino, Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation CEO, holds information brochures for the Light the Trees campaign, part of an effort to raise $5 million for the new intensive care unit at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Million-dollar donation has Light the Trees campaign off to a bright start in Nanaimo

Windsor Plywood Foundation supports Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation

Regional District of Nanaimo will be receiving $1.17 million from the B.C. government in COVID-19 safe restart grant money. (News Bulletin file)
Regional District of Nanaimo directors getting started on budgeting decisions

Proposed tax requisitions for 2021 range from 7.3-per cent increase to 2.2-per cent decrease

A sport utility vehicle and a Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools work van crashed on Bowen Road near the intersection with Caspers Way this afternoon. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Drivers taken to hospital after head-on crash on Nanaimo’s Bowen Road

Crash happened near Caspers Way intersection Friday afternoon

Mary Cox and Jack Plant dance in their pyjamas and slippers at the morning pyjama dance during the Rhythm Reelers’ 25 Annual Rally in the Valley Square Dance Festival in Chilliwack on June 4, 2011. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 is Square Dancing Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5

Square Dancing Day, Disability Day and International Ninja Day are all coming up this week

A photo from 2017, of Nuchatlaht First Nation members outside court after filing a land title case in B.C. ( Submitted photo/Nuchatlaht First Nation).
Vancouver Island First Nation calls on B.C. to honour UNDRIP in historic title case

Nuchatlaht First Nation says Crown counsel continues to stall the case using the ‘distasteful’ argument that the Nation ‘abandoned’ their land

West Vancouver Island’s Ehattesaht First Nation continues lock down after 9 active cases were reported today after a visitor tested positive last week. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Ehattesaht First Nation’s COVID-19 nightmare: nine active cases, a storm and a power outage

The Vancouver Island First Nation in a lockdown since the first case was reported last week

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Nanaimo MLA Sheila Malcolmson takes her oaths of office virtually on Thursday. (B.C. Government YouTube screen shot)
Nanaimo MLA Sheila Malcolmson named B.C.’s mental health and addictions minister

Malcolmson succeeds Judy Darcy, who did not seek re-election

Police in Nanaimo never know what they’ll encounter when called upon to check on the well-being of people. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo RCMP find ‘heart-breaking’ circumstances during wellness checks

Police offer sampling of outcomes from well-being checks over recent weeks

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

The Ahousaht First Nation confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on Nov. 26, 2020. (Westerly file photo)
Ahousaht First Nation on lockdown over COVID-19

“Emotions are high. The anxiety is high. We want our community to pull through.”

Most Read