Saturday, July 30, 2011

Observers, Industry, and the DFO

Did anyone else notice these Observer notes from the recent North Coast Salmon Update? They relate to 'observed' seiner compliance with regulations during a recent opening in Area 3. The observers even  give 'grades' to the seine boat performance. The average boat is only a 'c' grade and 3 seiners had a 'd' grade....or failing grade. Interesting to note (and very telling) that no boat received an 'F'....eventhough numerous boats were seen breaking the law. Wonder what you have to do to get an 'F' grade...maybe throw the Observer overboard...??

The interesting aspect of this observed non-compliance is: will anything come of it? Is there any accountability or is this poor and illegal behaviour just for 'observing' and not for charging?

It also raises the question: where are the Fishery Officers during this opening? Did the Observers report these transgressions to the Fishery officers or just note them in their report?

When you read things like this it really drives home how in bed the Department, the supposed 'independant' Observers, and industry really are. The cozy industry-regulator relationship seems to transcend the need for things like pesky official charges, tickets, or warnings.

For years we have lobbied for observers to be on commercial boats to make sure the historically non-compliant, and historically poor reporting industry follows not only the rules but provides 'real' information on what they are catching, discarding, and releasing.
What good is a regulatory system with no real accountability or penalties associated with it? What good does it do to just 'observe' illegal behaviour. Where is the deterrant factor for industry if there are no penalties for not following the rules?? These are basic questions that even honest fishermen have been asking for years.

We have an inquiry into the Area Director for DFO on this and will report back on his reply.

From the North Coast Salmon Update, July 19th
Area 3


During the area 3 seine fishery on July 11th, compliance forms were completed for 28 sets that were monitored by 4 observers on 9 separate seine vessels.  Overall vessels ratings are as follows and attached are some of the set summary details.  Blue boxes without the pump operating and released fish being handled by the tail were common themes.  Only one vessel was using a dip net to release non-retainable salmon.

Overall Rating            Number of Seiners
         A                                   1
         B                                   3
         C                                   2
         D                                   3
         F                                   0
Average Grade =  C

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