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Groundfish Trawl
Terms of Reference

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Mandate | Principles of Consultation | Organization | Procedures


The Groundfish Trawl Advisory Committee (GTAC) will provide a forum

  • to communicate information between the industry, stakeholders and DFO;
  • to assist the development of annual management plans for the groundfish trawl fishery;
  • to assist the development of long-term management strategies for the groundfish trawl fishery;
  • to provide assistance, information, and recommendations to DFO regarding biological research for all species caught in the groundfish trawl industry;
  • to advise the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans on the use of discretionary penalties against groundfish harvesters caught violating the rules and regulations of the trawl fishery; and
  • To recommend groundfish trawl representatives to other advisory bodies as required.

Principles of Consultation

Consultation between government and the public is intrinsic to effective policy development. It should be a first thought, not an after-thought. Why? Effective consultation improves the chances of successfully developing and implementing management policy. Successful consultation will: improve information exchange, giving both sides the information on which to base a decision and reducing misinformation; give people affected by a policy the chance to provide advice; and increase confidence in DFO actions.

Advisory committees are one part of consultation. The committees provide a forum for discussions between DFO and the commercial industry and other stakeholders. To be worthwhile, a clear, mutual understanding of the purpose and expectations of all parties to the consultation is essential from the outset. Terms of reference should be developed that meet the following principles.

Accountable - Advisors need to be selected so they are accountable to the groups they represent. At the same time, DFO has to be accountable for its actions to the Committee.
Open and Accessible - Consultation should involve all parties who can contribute to or are affected by the outcome of the consultation
Effective - To begin with, the committees require clear mandates, priorities, and procedures. When running, they require skilled management.


  • Advisors will be selected to represent specific stakeholders and will be responsible for keeping their constituents informed.
  • The following groups/participants will be represented:
Voted Participants # of Representatives
T - licence holders Max. of 10
DFO Appointments # of Representatives
Processors Max. of 5
UFAWU 1 representative
Deep Sea Trawlers Association 1 representative
Groundfish Development Authority 1 representative
First Nations 1 representative
Canadian Groundfish Research and Conservation Society 1 representative
Province of BC - Ministry of Fisheries 1 representative
DFO As required
  • Trawl licence holders will vote for their representatives, with approximately 10 votes required to become an advisor. Groundfish processing representatives will be selected through another process. The UFAWU will select their own representative.
  • Additional advisors may be selected by DFO to ensure adequate representation of industry and other stakeholders.
  • Advisors will sit for a two-year term.
  • Each advisor will identify an alternate, who can attend all meetings but only participate if the advisor is absent.
  • Advisors are not reimbursed for expenses incurred to attend and participate in the GTAC process.
  • DFO will chair the Committee meetings. Other DFO staff will attend as appropriate. The Province of BC through the Ministry of Fisheries will also have a representative on the Committee.
  • A co-chair will be selected by the advisors to chair industry caucuses.
  • The Committee can invite people to participate when appropriate for the topic under discussion.


  • The Advisory Committee will provide written recommendations when there is a consensus among advisors. When consensus cannot be achieved, a written summary of consenting and dissenting opinions should be recorded.
  • Minutes of all meetings will be taken and, except for deliberations that are agreed to be confidential, will be sent to all advisors and made available to other interested parties. DFO will provide the secretariat role.
  • When developing advice, the advisors will have the option to caucus.
  • All Advisory Committee meetings (except caucuses) will be open to the public, and observers can attend, if prior notice is provided to ensure adequate seating, but not participate.
  • The Committee can appoint sub-committees to report on specific tasks. The sub-committee will require clear objectives, members identified(including the chairperson), and set deadlines.
  • There must be at least one meeting a year to consider the annual management plan. Other meetings can be called by the chairperson. An agenda will be prepared by the chairperson and circulated prior to the meeting.