Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association’s RCIP Project Summary
; Three goals of the project are:
; 10 year Statistical profile comparisons of Annapolis and Digby county
; Will there be poor socioeconomic effects of omitting the Owner Operator and
Fleet Separation policies from the Commercial Fishing Licensing Policy for
; What is policy, where did it come from, and what kind of power does it hold?
; AFPR ； the Atlantic Fisheries Policy Review consisted of recommendations to
better the fisheries policy by meeting with many fishing communities all over
Atlantic Canada to ensure that their best interests were considered. Despite the fact
that almost every community mentioned that the owner Operator and Fleet Separation
policies should be strengthened and enforced, the Minister however was about to go
to cabinet in the spring to try to have them omitted.
; Owner Operator Policy； is found through several policies within the Commercial
Fishing Licensing Policy document, and basically states that the owner of the boat
must be aboard the boat and fishing from the boat at all times.
; Fleet Separation Policy； is a part of the Owner Operator Policy and basically means
that the harvesting and processing sectors have to be kept separate except for those
companies who were granted licenses prior to the policy being passed in 1978
; Trust Agreements； they were able to come into play by having lawyers separate the
title from the use of the license; therefore, companies could buy the use of the license
all the while the former owner appears to still be a independent owner and their
license is reissued every year.
; Goals accomplished thus far:
; statistical profiles almost complete
; history of the scallop fishery complete
; policy background
; Draft data Analysis Framework complete
; Report writing started
; Contacts established for interviews
; Needed to be done:
; Test Framework
; Data analysis
; Finish report
Good morning everyone, I would like to begin by explaining the gist of what the Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association is hoping to attain from my research. They want three things, a statistical profile of both Digby and Annapolis Counties over the last 10 to 12 years noting any changes that could lead to conclusions about their main question: Will there be any poor socioeconomic effects upon the removal of the Owner Operator and Fleet Separation Policies. They would also like to know about policy- where does it come from and what kind of power does it hold? With this information they hope to be able to take a more proactive approach to like policy issues in the future.
Firstly, I would like to give a basic overview of the Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association’s Project, background, reasoning, what has been done, and what has yet to be
done. A few years ago, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans decided that it was necessary to review over commercial fishing policies because many were outdated. To do this, they established an Atlantic Fisheries Policy Review, where they had many community meeting all over the Atlantic Provinces expressing their views and concerns about the current policies. Not all, but most communities expressed a deep concern with the eroding Owner Operator and Fleet Separation Policies. They were never enforced, resulting in it eventually being undermined.
I’ll explain what the Owner Operator and Fleet Separation policies are now. I had a hard time understanding the Owner Operator especially because there was no exact policy stating that this is the Owner Operator Policy like there is with Fleet Separation. Instead,
it is spread out throughout a number of policies in the Commercial Licensing Policies for Atlantic Canada. So, the Owner Operator Policy means just that. The owner of the boat must be aboard the boat and fishing it. There are certain exceptions whereby if the owner is very ill for a long period of time he can get permission to have another fish it, but only up to a maximum of five years. Now, the Owner Operator holds within it the Fleet Separation Policy as well. This is a very well laid out policy that clearly states that the processing and the harvesting sectors should be kept separate from one another. This would be to avoid the vertical integration of the entire fishery and to allow more people to benefit from the resource. There are also a few exceptions to this which is called the Grandfather Clause where a few companies were granted licenses before the policies came into play in 1978.
How was it undermined you might ask, well non-fishermen and offshore enterprises began to take an interest in the once poor inshore fishery now turned very lucrative. Without the resources in the offshore, companies are now trying their best to maintain the enterprises they have developed, not unlike many other small business owners. However, they have gone around the law in order to do so. They have been buying the use of
licenses all over the Atlantic Provinces and because they have only bought the use of the license and not the title of the license. DFO has turned a blind eye on the situation, claiming that there is no documentation of trust agreements outside of lawyer’s offices. With the lack of enforcement by DFO, the Owner Operator and Fleet Separation Policies were undermined and many fisheries taken over. Almost all of the scallop fleet in Digby is not owner operator anymore, there may be 3 or 4 boats that have not succumbed to the
flashing of money, but no more. This concerns the BFIFA because now their lobster licenses are being bought the same way, and they are not happy about it. They take pride in the fact that they are independently owned and run all the while being the most lucrative fishery in Canada not being run by the Quota system. They want to keep it that way, but without the policies being strengthened and enforced they have very little faith that it will.
So, over the past three months I have been working on accomplishing all of the goals they have set. In May, I began the statistical analysis of the counties. I found many different stats that could be attributed to the privatization of the fishery; although, the closure of the Cornwallis Naval Base could have also been a reason for some of the changes, especially the population declines. I have a copy of the statistics interpreted up to now, but I do intend to add more on employment and such, but that will give you an idea.
I have also done research on the history of the scallop fishery in the Bay of Fundy as well, going to the Digby Admiral Museum and talking to current and retired scallop fishermen. Its important to note as well, that Arthur and I decided to focus on the scallop industry even though it is not a part of the BFIFA for several reasons. It is a lone species, living in a relatively solitary location in the Bay of Fundy and it was also the last fishery to be introduced to the ITQ system. Talking to people proved to be the most beneficial so I began asking them if they would be interested in doing a more formal interview when the project was approved by the Dalhousie Ethics Committee. At this point there came a road block, I came to realize that this was a very touchy subject and even though they
were assured of confidentiality, many didn’t want to go on the record. They did however suggest a few key informants over and over that they knew would talk to me; so, we found ourselves needing to change our methodology.
Initially, I thought that we would easily be able to get at least seven people to interview for each of the three groups –current and retired fishermen, government officials, and
those indirectly involved in the fishery. Now, we have it cut down to two groups, getting at least 5-6 people to be interviewed for each. Those people have been chosen, now all we are waiting for is the second approval of our Ethics Proposal so that I can start compiling my fieldwork data.
thOn July 18, the Bay of Fundy Marine Resource Centre and the Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Agriculture held a Discussion forum in Cornwallis based on the Owner Operator and Fleet Separation Policy controversy. The Minister of Fisheries, Monsieur Robert Thibault was expected in attendance to give his opinion; however two days prior to the forum, he said that he would be unable to make it and sent nobody from DFO in his place. So, the panel consisted of 4 people, Wayne Spinney, Marc Allain, Arthur, and Bryan Giroux with Greg Roach as the mediator. The Discussion was very useful in making the issues more clear to me. I was also able to make a few more contacts.
At the present, I a working on my data analysis framework (I have a draft but have yet to test it), report writing, and transcribing the discussion panel. Are there any questions?