Marine finfish aquaculture licence under the Fisheries Act - Appendix VIII escape prevention and response

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Escape prevention through maintenance of cage and net integrity

A – General equipment design, use and maintenance

  1. The licence holder must ensure all containment structures (including net pens), nets, cage support systems and other system components such as weights, anchoring equipment and predator nets shall be designed, constructed, installed, maintained and repaired in such a manner that preserves structural integrity and prevents escape of cultured fish resulting from damage caused by interactions with other equipment, the physical environment and marine mammals.
  2. The licence holder must ensure that containment structures, cage support systems and other system components that are beyond repair are retired from service.
  3. The licence holder must ensure all equipment is designed and constructed to be compatible with other containment structure components so there is no chafing that contributes to weak points in any part of the containment structure
  4. The licence holder must ensure each net pen or similar structure used to contain fish has an inventory control number that is permanently affixed to the net in an accessible location.
  5. The licence holder must ensure that all active net pens are attached to the cage support system as the primary point of attachment.
  6. The licence holder must ensure that jump nets that extend at least one metre above the surface of the water are installed at the top of any net pen that does not have a permanently attached mesh top or similar barrier.
  7. The licence holder must install containment nets and anti-predator nets in a manner that ensures nets are taut at all times.
  8. At the request of the Department, the licence holder must demonstrate that net materials are strong enough to resist tearing and subsequent risk of fish escape. B – Inspections and Record Keeping

B – Inspections and record keeping

  1. The licence holder must ensure that nets are tested and inspected by a qualified individual for integrity and strength prior to being installed at facilities, and again when they are removed from the water and prior to re-installation. The requirements for this complete out-of-water servicing and inspection of net pens are as follows:
    1. Complete visual inspections of the entire net pens must be completed for signs of abrasions, tears or holes;
    2. Any damage to the net pen must be repaired;
    3. The net strength must be tested for new nets and assessed and tested as appropriate for operational nets; and
    4. Records kept as per section 12 of this licence.
  2. The licence holder must ensure that daily above-water visual inspections are conducted of active net pens, support systems, anchoring system and anchoring-line buoy orientation, and that any damage or irregularities which increase the risk of escape are corrected or repaired immediately and records kept as per section 12 of this licence.
  3. The licence holder must ensure that complete underwater inspections and repair of active net pens and any similar structures that contain fish take place as follows:
    1. Inspections are conducted by divers; or
    2. If an alternative method is used, at the request of the Department, the licence holder must demonstrate that the inspection quality is comparable to diver method; and
    3. Inspections must occur prior to fish entry;
    4. Active nets must be inspected at least every 60 days;
    5. In addition to paragraph 11(d), active nets must be inspected immediately after any operational activity or event that increases the risk of net failure, including but not limited to: harvesting, grading, extreme environmental conditions, net pen changes, fish delivery, recurring predator interactions, vandalism or towing of active containment structure;
    6. Any damage or irregularities identified which increase the risk of escape are corrected or repaired immediately, and
    7. A record of these inspections and repairs shall be kept as per section 12 of this licence.
  4. The licence holder must ensure that complete written records are maintained for the entire life of each net pen and available for inspection by the Department, including:
    1. Owner of net and inventory control number;
    2. Net fabricator and date of net fabrication;
    3. If different from paragraph 12 (b), containment pen manufacturer’s name and date produced;
    4. Size and gauge of mesh and dimensions of net pen;
    5. If applicable, the date of net retirement;
    6. Type and date(s) of any anti-foulant treatment on nets;
    7. Accumulated in-water service time;
    8. Initial and operational out-of-water servicing and inspection information as per section 9 of this Appendix, including:
      1. Date and location of testing;
      2. Company and name of person conducting the test;
      3. Whether net was tested wet or dry;
      4. Approximate ambient temperature at test;
      5. Breaking strength test results for each location tested along with manufacturer’s published mesh-breaking strength; or
      6. If an alternate net technology is used where net breaking cannot occur or there is no manufacturer mesh-breaking information, a description of the alternate testing methodology must be provided; and
      7. General comments and notes on overall condition of net;
    9. The accumulated time-in-water since the most recent complete out-of-water servicing and inspection;
    10. Details and the dates of each inspection under section 10 of this Appendix, including:
      1. Date and person conducting inspection;
      2. Irregularities noted;
    11. Underwater inspection information as per section 11 of this Appendix, including:
      1. Method of inspection;
      2. Diver or other professional’s name and company;
      3. Date of inspection;
      4. Purpose of inspection (eg. routine, following an event, etc.);
    12. A description and the dates of all repairs, including reasons for repairs, made to the net cage following any kind of inspection must be recorded.
  5. The complete net record as per section 12 must be kept at the facility where it is in use during the life of the net, and following net retirement, must be retained for at least one year and kept at the licence holder’s head office.

C – Escape prevention and response plans (EPRP)

  1. The licence holder must have in place an Escape Prevention and Response Plan (EPRP) describing the response to a fish escape or suspected escape including, but not limited to:
    1. The means to prevent further escapes;
    2. The means to recapture any fish that have escaped containment nets but still within the perimeter netting;
    3. The means to contain any fish that have escaped and are in the vicinity of the facility (excluding the use of fishing gear such as seines or gillnets but could include equipment like dip nets which would reduce the risk of incidental catch);
    4. The means to rectify the deficiency that caused the escape;
    5. Required recording and reporting of escape information; and
    6. Equipment and location of equipment required for escape response.