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Prawn Vessel

Pacific Prawn
Fishermen's Association


July, 2019


FALL 2019

- DFO Prawn Advisory Board Post-Season Meeting

- Northern Shelf Bioregion Marine Planning, Commercial Fishing Industry Consultation

- Fall Spawner Index Surveys (applications to be sent out soon)
Net Release

A Fresh Start

A letter from the EDitor

Dear PPFA Members and Supporters,

Congratulations to all involved for a successful season! A total of 214 boats fished during this year's 43 day season. Reports from vessels, JO Thomas and DFO sounded positive for this past season, which was great to hear.

The PPFA would like to thank JO Thomas and Associates for another record breaking sampling season. This year JOT sampled 2395 strings of gear for spawner index data (226 more than last year), which equated to 55.7 samples per fishing day, an all-time high. Sampling operations cycled through most fishing areas an average of 3 times over the season. Well done!

It is the time of year now when the pots are drying out and skippers and crews are busy with repairs, switching gear over, or maybe lying on a beach somewhere. Whatever the case, the PPFA is already working hard preparing for the next season. I will do my best to keep everyone informed of what we are working on in the off-season, and anyone who has any concerns from this season or suggestions for next season please feel free to contact me directly.  Most importantly, ENJOY YOUR SUMMER!

On behalf of the PPFA,

Mike Atkins
Executive Director

PPFA Initiatives

Summer Update

Here is what we have been up to:

MLA Reception - Hosted by the BC Seafood Alliance

RCA Review Consultation

Signed Joint Project Agreement with DFO

CFIA Regulations - engaged consultant

Southern Resident Killer Whale Technical Committee Meetings
 Glass Sponge
Ongoing Initiatives the PPFA is involved with:

US Marine Mammal Protection Act

Southern Resident Killer Whale Sanctuaries

Global Ghost Gear Initiative

Safe Food for Canadians Regulations - CFIA

Northern Shelf Bioregion Marine Planning -
MPA Network

Northern Shelf Marine Planning

Consultations this fall

The Marine Protected Area Technical Team (MPATT) has proposed 371 new Marine Protected Areas employing varying degrees of protections; prawn fishing will be restricted in 214 of these although not all closures overlap the commercial prawning grounds.

Commercial fishing industry consultations lead by the Marine Planning Team (MPT) will begin this fall. The first Prawn specific meeting is tentatively scheduled for September 26th in Nanaimo. The Marine Planning Team recently received an award in Ottawa for the development of their process, and it's success in the creation of the Gwaii Haanas MPAs. 

The PPFA will be working with the MPT in the fall to mitigate impacts of the proposed closures, but our success is dependent on the support of the process by the fishermen. We will need active fishermen to attend the planning meetings to identify areas important to remain open. Please plan to attend a number of meetings from late September to the end of the year in order to protect your livelihoods. Participation is critical.


May, 2019   Hosted by the BCSA, Victoria, BC

On May 15th the BC Seafood Alliance, of which the PPFA is a member of, hosted the BC Wild Reception for a large group of MLAs and gov't representatives to raise awareness for a number of Fisheries issues. This is the third year hosting the reception, which has become very popular with the local politicians. The event took place at the Steamship Grill across from the Legislature.
Dennis and Mike attended the event representing the PPFA. Christina Burridge and Chris Sporer delivered an excellent presentation outlining a number of issues and concerns impacting the Commercial Fisheries in BC.

As a result of a meeting with Minister Popham, the BCSA was invited to Ottawa for a meeting with Minister Wilkinson to discuss specific issues impacting fisheries in BC.

Rockfish Conservation Areas Review

By Dennis Rutherford, PPFA

DFO is undertaking a review of the Rockfish Conservation Areas (RCA’s). There are two components to the review:
1) proposed boundary changes on existing RCA’s, and
2) consideration of further fishing restrictions within RCA’s (possibly prohibiting prawn fishing within RCAs).
From and industry standpoint there are major concerns with both components.
First the proposed boundary changes are based solely on the conservation objective of protecting rocky reef habitat. When RCA’s were originally implemented, they were based on balancing both conservation objectives and socio-economic objectives. Unfortunately, in this new review the Department appears to be giving no consideration to socio-economic impact.
Secondly, the Department is asking through the public consultation process if additional fisheries restrictions should be implemented. A very strange question since they have not even stated what the additional restriction would be. The Department has not even provided science-based information to tell us whether or not RCA’s are meeting their objectives.
Mike and Dennis attended a public consultation meeting in Campbell River with DFO on June 11 and voiced industry concerns. It was an interesting meeting in that the Department got push-back from the majority of user groups in attendance, including First Nations, recreational and other commercial fishing sectors. An on-line public consultation period is also open until end of July and the PPFA has submitted written feedback through that process.
We encourage fishers to go to the on-line consultation page and provide feedback. Unfortunately the web page only allows for comment on each specific RCA, not RCA’s in general. General feedback can be submitted to the following email address:

New PFD Regulations

June, 2019   WorkSafeBC

New WorkSafeBC commercial fishing regulations involving PFDs went into effect Monday, June 3rd.

A summary of these changes along with the reasons for the changes is provided here. 

Importantly, the new regulations now stipulate that a crewmember must wear a PFD (or lifejacket) on board the deck of a fishing vessel which can include when being tied up at the dock.

In circumstances where crew might be on board at the dock, but not working (perhaps in a live aboard situation) then a PFD is not required by WorkSafeBC, although recommended.


Staffing Changes at DFO

There has been a recent shuffle at DFO involving science staff that work with the Prawn Fishery. Long-time DFO Prawn Biologist Ken Fong has been promoted to Head of the Marine Invertebrates Section. We wish to thank Ken for his many years of service as the prawn biologist and wish him much success in his new role. Ken is being replaced by veteran biologist Dominique Bureau who has been working in the shellfish group as geoduck biologist for more than 20 years. I have worked with Dom for more than 15 of those years and I know he will be an excellent asset at the department for the prawn industry. I would personally like to wish Dom all the best in his new position and look forward to working with him in his new role.

In the News

Here are some recent news articles that may be of interest:

In order to save whales Crab fishermen are testing ropeless gear

Sediment from fishing choking out sponges

China Bans all Meat from Canada

FAQ about Killer Whale Protections and Sanctuaries (DFO)

Canada first G-20 Country to Ban Shark Fins

On June 21st, Canada Modernized the Fisheries Act
Please feel free to forward this newsletter to anyone involved or interested in the Commercial Prawn Fishery.

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Pacific Prawn Fishermen's Assoc. · 2174 Sun Valley Dr. · Nanaimo, BC V9T 6K6 · Canada

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