Bulletin - cetacean entanglement

May 15, 2017

RE: Marine Finfish Aquaculture Licence Conditions 10.3 and 10.4 Clarification

The prevention and response of marine mammal interactions with fish farms are managed through marine finfish aquaculture licence conditions.

The current licence condition 10.3 states: “Upon discovery of a live entangled marine mammal, the licence holder must make all reasonable attempts to free the marine mammal without harm.”

10.4 states: “The licence holder must notify the Department of any marine mammal drowning mortality or entanglement (live or dead) not later than 24 hours after discovery. The notification must include the date and time of discovery and as much of the detail set out in Appendix XI-A as possible.”

These conditions do not differentiate between types of marine mammals; however, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (“the Department”) has determined that pinniped and cetacean interactions require different responses.

As of the date of this bulletin, the Department advises that:

  1. If a live cetacean smaller than 2m in length is found entangled or trapped within a farm’s infrastructure, the licence holder must continue to follow 10.3 and 10.4 as they are currently written;

  2. If a live cetacean greater than 2m in length is found entangled or trapped within a farm’s infrastructure, the licence holder must immediately contact the Department’s Observe, Record, Report number of 1-800-465-4336 to report the incident, rather than the 24 hours stated in the licence. Please note that it is important that you state that the occurance is at a fish farm so the correct people are notified. No action to free the animal is to occur without explicit advice by the Department. Your call will be returned as soon as possible. You may additionally call Kerra Shaw at the numbers below and a local fishery officer in order to ensure a rapid response. Farm personnel are to collect photographs and details of the incident, including video data if possible, to provide to the Department;

  3. If a dead cetacean smaller than 2m in length is found dead at/in your facility, please report the incident as per COL 10.4 and seek advice from the Department to determine what to do with the animal;

  4. If a dead cetacean greater than 2m in length is found at/in your facility, the licence holder must immediately contact the Department’s Observe, Record, Report number of 1-800-465-4336 to report the incident, rather than the 24 hours stated in the licence. Do not move the animal before seeking advice from the Department unless there is an immediate risk to human safety or of harm to the infrastructure that could result in a significant fish escape event. Farm personnel are to collect photographs and details of the incident, including video data if possible, to provide to the Department.

This bulletin is the Department’s interpretation of the licence conditions based on current information. Please be advised that this bulletin is subject to revision at the Department’s discretion and will be sent to licence holders if and when updated. All pinniped encounters should continue to be handled according to the existing licence conditions.

If you require further clarification please contact:Kerra Shaw by telephone at 250 286-5831 or 250-203-0097, or by email.