2018-2020 Protocol for Gear Tagging in Atlantic Commercial Fisheries
This protocol applies to fishing gear tagging for all commercial fisheries (including communal commercial) where prior to the 2013 fishing season, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) was providing gear tags to the commercial fishing industry.
As is currently the case, DFO will continue to provide tags in the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna fishery, and where they are required in non-commercial fisheries (recreational, scientific, Aboriginal food, social, ceremonial).
As of April 1, 2013, and following a repeal of the gear tagging requirements contained in the Atlantic Fishery Regulations, fishing industry began assuming the responsibility to obtain and pay for any gear tags used in the commercial fisheries where gear tagging is required. This requirement is enforced through licence conditions. Licence holders must tag their gear with a valid tag that has been obtained by a DFO-approved gear tag supplier.
APPROVED TAG SUPPLIER
In accordance with this Gear Tagging Protocol, DFO provides, on a three-year cyclical basis, the opportunity for organizations to express interest in becoming approved tag suppliers by submitting a Tagging Plan application for consideration by DFO.
A tag supplier that has been identified in a Tagging Plan approved by DFO and may provide tags to licence holders is referred to as an “approved tag supplier”.
A list of all DFO ‘‘approved tag suppliers’’ is maintained on DFO’s website (/fm-gp/sdc-cps/nir-nei/tags-supplier-region-eng.htm). Licence holders may obtain gear tags from any “approved tag supplier” that services their fishing area.
DFO Criteria for Tagging Plan Approval
In order for DFO to approve a Tagging Plan, the following conditions must be met:
Submission of Tagging Plan
- A call for interest for potential new tag suppliers is issued by DFO every three years via Public Works and Government Services Canada’s Buyandsell.gc.ca website.
- An interested proponent may submit a new Tagging Plan application before the beginning of each 3-year cycle , starting in 2017, for consideration by DFO. The call for interest will be made by DFO in November prior to the beginning of each new cycle, which runs from April 1 of the first year, to March 31 of the third year of the cycle (eg. next cycle starts April 1, 2018 and finishes March 31, 2021).
- Unless otherwise provided for by DFO, applications for approval of a Tagging Plan shall be submitted at least 120 daysFootnote 1 prior to the opening of the commercial fishery(s) for which the application is being made.
- The proponent of a Tagging Plan shall submit their Tagging Plan application to the DFO regional office responsible for managing fisheries or licensing fishing vessels in the area to which their application applies.
- Where a Tagging Plan proponent is submitting a plan for a fishing area managed by more than one DFO regional office, or fished by fleets from more than one DFO region, the proponent shall submit their proposed Tagging Plan to one of the DFO regional offices responsible for managing that fishing area or responsible for licensing vessels that fish in that area.
- Where a Tagging Plan proponent submits an Atlantic wide Tagging Plan, the proponent shall submit that plan to the DFO regional office in the DFO region where that proponent is located.
- Applications shall be submitted to the office of the Director of Resource Management (Attention: Regional Gear Tag Program Coordinator) at the address set out below:
- Gulf Region
P.O. Box 5030
Moncton, New Brunswick
- Newfoundland and Labrador Region
P.O. Box 5667
St. John’s, Newfoundland
- Maritimes Region
P.O. Box 1006, P600
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
- Quebec Region
104 Dalhousie Street
- Gulf Region
- Where DFO has approved a Tagging Plan, the approved tag supplier will be required to submit an application to renew that plan in each successive calendar year, unless the approved plan is a multi-year tagging plan, in which case an application to renew must be submitted 120 days prior to the expiry date of that multi-year tagging plan.
Areas/Fisheries to be Supplied
- A Tagging Plan shall set out the geographic area and the fisheries that the approved tag supplier is committed to servicing. Approved tag suppliers may provide service to one fleet sector in a single fishing area, to multiple fleets in one or more areas or they may provide their service on an Atlantic wide basis.
Duration of Tagging Plans
- The first Tagging Plan submitted by an interested proponent shall be for a period of not more than one year.
- Approved tag suppliers who have demonstrated at least one year of acceptable performance under an existing Tagging Plan will be eligible to amend that plan or submit a new plan for a multi-year period (i.e. up to 2 years for the first cycle, and up to 3 years for subsequent cycles).
- A Tagging Plan approved for more than one year shall be referred to as a Multi-Year Tagging Plan.
Single Year and Multi-Year Tags
- Approved tag suppliers must set out in their Tagging Plan whether they will be supplying single year or multi-year tags or both. Different requirements for single year and multi-year tags are set out in this document and these must be addressed in proposals from approved tag suppliers.
- The decision on whether an area/fishery will use multi-year tags is usually made as part of the consultative advisory process between DFO and industry. Approved tag suppliers can only provide multi-year tags in fisheries where DFO and industry have formally agreed to use multi-year tags.
ASSESSMENT CRITERIA FOR TAGGING PLANS
DFO will assess Tagging Plans against the following criteria:
- Tagging Plans for the 2018 fishing season may be submitted from any new proponent or previously approved tag supplier. Renewed Tagging Plans may be submitted from approved tag suppliers for the 2019 and 2020 fishing seasons.
- Where a group or other entity is identified as an approved tag supplier in a Tagging Plan, and that group or entity is not a band council, an Aboriginal organization or an existing bona-fide organization, group or association representing licence holders, that group or entity or any member of that group or entity shall not hold a commercial fishing licence in that fishery.
- Licence holders are not eligible to become approved tag suppliers.
- A Tagging Plan will not be approved where approving that plan will result in a conflict of interest between the approved tag supplier and licence holders.
- A Tagging Plan shall set out the contact person for purposes of administering the plan.
- Tagging Plan proponents must demonstrate that they have the ability to serve licence holders in the official language of the Region that they are proposing to serve. Proponents of an Atlantic-wide tagging plan must be able to provide their service to licence holders in both official languages.
- A Tagging Plan shall indicate whether service will be provided in English or French or in both languages. Any limitations on the language of service (example: English service only available Monday, Wednesday , Friday) shall be identified in the Tagging Plan.
Description of the Tag to be Used
- The Tagging Plan shall include a description of the tag to be used, including:
- the manufacturer of the tag,
- the size and construction of the tag,
- a description of the locking mechanism that renders the tag tamperproof,
- how the information that DFO requires on the tag will be printed or inscribed on the tag to ensure that it is waterproof and legible.
- The Tagging Plan must demonstrate that the tag to be used in the plan is tamperproof and will remain legible for the duration of tag use (i.e. single year or multi-year).
- The Tagging Plan must provide that the following information will be included on each tag:
- fishing area;
- tag supplier identification number (TSIN) assigned by DFO to the approved tag supplier when their Tagging Plan is approved;
- a unique sequential number; and
- identification of the tag manufacturer.
- The format for including the above information on each tag shall be:
LFA27 xx zzzzzz ABC – where LFA27 is the fishing area; xx is the two digit Tag Supplier Identification Number assigned by DFO and zzzzzz is the unique tag number. Tags must also include the manufacturer’s stamp (whatever form that takes) somewhere on the tag.
- The Tagging Plan must provide that gear tags issued to each licence holder will be numbered consecutively and the total number of tags issued to a licence holder as part of their initial tag allowance will not:
- exceed the gear limits in place for the fishery for which those tags have been issued, or
- exceed the gear limits in place for the for the fishery for which those tags have been issued and the number of replacement tags allowed under Option I as described under the heading Replacement Tags, where that replacement option has been implemented by DFO in consultation with licence holders.
Colour of Tags
- Multi-year tags - Tags supplied for fisheries where multi-year tags have been agreed upon between DFO and industry may be metal or traditional polyurethane type tags. Polyurethane type tags used for multi-year tags may only be natural or white (Pantone 001) in colour. Tags of any colour other than white or natural cannot be used for multi-year tags.
- Single year Tags - A different colour tag will be required each year, to provide visual confirmation that valid current year tags are attached to fishing gear. The following original tag colours will be used in the Atlantic Regions for the fishing seasons covered by the 2018-2020 Protocol cycle:
- Maritimes and Newfoundland and Labrador Regions:
- Quebec Region:
All species, except snow crab in the Southern Gulf of Saint-Lawrence Snow crab in the Southern Gulf of Saint-Lawrence
- Gulf Region:
Lobster Other Species
- A Tagging Plan must set out whether the approved tag supplier will be supplying multi-year or single year gear tags and must set out the appropriate colour(s) for the supply period set out in the tagging plan.
- A Tagging Plan shall set out the process to provide licence holders with replacement tags to allow for tags that are lost or damaged during the fishing season or the term of a multi-year tagging plan. Currently, DFO is prepared to approve two options for tag replacement:
- Option 1: 10% Rule
Licence holders may be provided with an extra tag allowance above the number of tags that equals the trap limit in their fishery. This extra allowance shall be issued as part of the initial tag allowance. This extra tag allowance shall not exceed 10% of the licensee’s trap limit and shall continue in consecutive numbers from the last number coinciding with the trap limit.
- Option 2: Replacement Tags on an As Request Basis
Licence holders may be provided with replacement tags by the approved tag supplier on an as needed basis. When this option is chosen the Tagging Plan must set out how the approved tag supplier will identify these replacement tags, and set out whether these tags will be issued as single tags, multiple tags or complete replacement sets. The Tagging Plan shall set out the supplier’s delivery standard which shall be no more than 2 business days between written receipt of a request for replacement tags and delivery to the licence holder, unless otherwise agreed upon between the approved tag supplier and industry. Such agreement shall be documented in writing and submitted by the proponent with their Tagging Plan application.
- Option 1: 10% Rule
- The decision on which option(s) will be implemented in an area/fishery is determined by DFO in consultation with licence holders.
- Tagging Plans shall set out the replacement option(s) that will be provided by the approved tag supplier.
- A Tagging Plan shall provide that replacement tags:
- in Gulf Region, must be of a different colour from the original tags that they are replacing [i.e., in 2018, the original yellow or light brown tag will be replaced with a pale blue replacement tag (PantoneFootnote2 310C); in 2019 the original purple or royal blue tag will be replaced with a grey replacement tag (PantoneFootnote2 425C); and in 2020, the original green or pink tag will be replaced with an orange replacement tag (PantoneFootnote2 158C)].
- in Maritimes Region, must be,
- in all areas, except in LFA 36, of a different colour from the original tags that are being replaced [i.e., in 2018, the original yellow tag will be replaced with a pale blue replacement tag (PantoneFootnote2 310C); in 2019 the original purple tag will be replaced with a grey replacement tag (PantoneFootnote2 425C); and in 2020, the original green tag will be replaced with an orange replacement tag (PantoneFootnote2 158C)]; and
- in LFA 36, the same colour as the original tags being replaced [i.e., in 2018, the original yellow will be replaced by a yellow replacement tag (PantoneFootnote2 108); in 2019 the original purple will be replaced with a purple replacement tag (PantoneFootnote2 240C); and in 2020 the original green will be replaced with a green replacement tag (PantoneFootnote2 348C)].;
- in Newfoundland and Labrador Region, must be the same colour as the original tags that they are replacing [i.e., in 2018, the original yellow will be replaced by a yellow replacement tag (PantoneFootnote2 108); in 2019 the original purple will be replaced with a purple replacement tag (PantoneFootnote2 240C); and in 2020 the original green will be replaced with a green replacement tag (PantoneFootnote2 348C)]; and
- in Quebec Region, must be of a different colour from the original tags that they are replacing [i.e., in 2018, the original yellow or light brown tag will be replaced with a pale blue replacement tag (PantoneFootnote2 310C); in 2019 the original purple or royal blue tag will be replaced with a grey replacement tag (PantoneFootnote2 425C); and in 2020, the original green or pink tag will be replaced with an orange replacement tag (PantoneFootnote2 158C),]; and
- in all regions:
- must be the multi-year tags where multi-year tags have been issued, and,
- must include the Tag Supplier Identification Number (TSIN), the identification of the tag manufacturer and a unique number on each tag.
- Tagging Plans shall include a commitment that the approved tag supplier will only provide replacement tags to those licence holders who obtained their initial tag allotment from that approved tag supplier.
Distribution of Tags
- A Tagging Plan must provide that tags will only be issued to licence holders who hold a licence in the fishery for which the tags are required.
- A Tagging Plan must identify how original and replacement tags will be provided or distributed to licence holders and whether tags will be shipped directly from a manufacturer or third party to the licence holder.
- A Tagging Plan shall describe how and where records on the issuance of original and replacement tags will be completed, maintained and retained. The Tagging Plan shall set out the method for maintaining records electronically in a format that is compatible with DFO data processing programs. DFO requires that records be submitted in a standard format set out by (/fm-gp/sdc-cps/nir-nei/tags-etiquettes-sheet-feuille-eng.htm).
- A Tagging Plan shall provide that the following information will be recorded for each licence holder to whom tags are issued:
- For original tags, the information will include:
- Name of licence holder
- Licence number
- Fishing area or zone
- Date tags shipped or picked up
- Number of original tags shipped or picked up and the sequence numbers for those tags (including the number of the first tag and the number of the last tag in the sequence), including up to 10% replacement option if applicable.)
- For replacement tags, the information will include:
- Name of licence holder
- Licence number
- Fishing area or zone
- Date replacement tags shipped or picked up
- Number of replacement tags shipped or picked up and the sequence numbers for those tags (including the number of the first tag and the number of the last tag in the sequence)
- Date that DFO was advised of the issuance of replacement tags
- For original tags, the information will include:
- The Tagging Plan shall provide that the records referred to above are accessible to DFO Fishery Officers at any time, and that DFO may use these records for court, program audit or other purposes. The Tagging Plan shall indicate that at the time licence holders are provided with tags each licence holder will be notified that this information is accessible to or may be provided to DFO. The approved tag supplier shall maintain a record of having provided this notification to each licence holder.
- A Tagging Plan shall also set out that the approved tag supplier will provide the office that approved their Tagging Plan with the name and licence number of each licence holder to whom original tags have been issued and the sequential numbers for the tags issued to that licence holder prior to the opening date of the fishery for which those tags have been issued and on a daily basis whenever tags are issued for that fishery after the opening date. These reports shall be provided by email to the applicable email address set out below in the notification provisions for the issuance of replacement tags.
- A Tagging Plan shall state that, in addition to the record keeping requirements set out above, the approved tag supplier will notify the regional DFO office by email that replacement tags have been issued for fisheries in that Region, within 24 hours of issuing such replacement tags. Email addresses for this notification are:
- As an alternative to sending the above notification by email, at the time of approving a Tagging Plan, DFO may request that the notification be provided within 24 hours of tag issuance, by fax to a number that DFO provides to the approved tag supplier.
- The notification referred to in the preceding paragraphs shall include:
- the name of the licence holder;
- licence number;
- species and fishing area or zone for which replacements tags have been issued;
- the number of replacement tags issued;
- description of replacement tags; and
- date that replacement tags were shipped and delivered to address.
- Information provided to DFO is subject to the provisions of the Access to Information Act and of the Privacy Act.
Reviews and Audits
- A Tagging Plan shall clearly set out the obligation of the approved tag supplier to cooperate with and participate in operational reviews and audits that DFO undertakes regarding the administration and effectiveness of that Tagging Plan.
- The findings from operational reviews and audits conducted by DFO may be taken into consideration by DFO when considering approval of multi-year tagging plans.
Approval of Tagging Plan
- DFO will review Tagging Plan proposals to ensure they meet all program standards, and may request discussion with proponents for clarification.
- The Regional Director of Resource Management or their delegate will advise the proponent of a Tagging Plan, in writing, of the DFO’s approval or non-approval of the proposed plan within 30 days of receiving the proponent’s application.
- Tagging Plans will normally be approved for a period of one (1) year, except for multi-year tagging plans which may be approved for periods of up to three (3) years.
- The approval of a Tagging Plan does not create any binding agreement, or contract, between a proponent and DFO.
Approval or Renewal in Subsequent Years
- Approval of a Tagging Plan is not an assurance of approval or renewal of that Tagging Plan in subsequent years.
- Where an approved tag supplier is found to be in non-compliance with an approved Tagging Plan, subsequent applications for Tagging Plan approval or renewal from that proponent may be rejected by DFO.
- Approved tag suppliers should be aware that the requirement for gear tagging and the requirement for Tagging Plans may change from year to year. The criteria set out in this document for Tagging Plan approval may change as determined by DFO for operational or other reasons. Tagging Plans will be reviewed during post-season fishery reviews and during industry consultations on fishing plans.
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