Prawn Advisory Board terms of reference

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The Prawn Advisory Board (PAB) is a result of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO)’s commitment to its Departmental Plan and other regional policies to improve decision-making in all prawn fisheries. The intent is to allow an open, transparent, accountable, and collaborative cross sectoral advisory process for non-allocative policy and management issues. This process shall not replace bilateral consultation and relationships between First Nations and DFO.

The PAB includes representation of First Nations, commercial and recreational harvesters. The Terms of Reference detail the principles, mandate and operational aspects under which the PAB will function. The Terms of Reference will be reviewed by PAB annually and may be jointly amended as required.

The purpose of the PAB is to promote a streamlined, representative and collaborative process for providing formal advice and recommendations to DFO on policy and management issues related to the prawn and shrimp by trap fisheries in the Pacific Region.


There will be one coastwide PAB with a mandate to provide formal advice and recommendations to DFO on policy and management issues related to the prawn and shrimp by trap fisheries in the Pacific Region.

Policy and management issues are those issues that support sustainable fisheries and maintain ecosystem diversity.

The PAB members will also advise and provide recommendations to DFO on research programs associated with improved management of fisheries.

As part of the consultative process, specific madvice will be sought with regards to:

Fisheries review

The key focus in this phase is providing advice on a post-season evaluation of the fishery, as well as obtaining information on the current stock trends. Information on the following is expected to be presented by DFO, with provision for discussion:

  1. review of fishery and assessment information;
  2. problems and successes encountered regarding the management or enforcement of the fisheries;
  3. review of fishery related programs, research and information;
  4. proposed changes to the management or enforcement of the fishery; and
  5. review of initiatives related to maintaining ecosystem diversity.

Pre-IFMP finalization

  1. decision rules for in-season management actions;
  2. fishery time frame and starting dates;
  3. measures and mechanisms for timely and accurate data on catch and effort;
  4. measures for improved monitoring and enforcement;
  5. initiatives to maintain ecosystem diversity; and
  6. provision of input and comment to the Prawn and Shrimp by Trap Integrated Fisheries Management Plan (IFMP) prior to finalization.


The makeup of the PAB may be reviewed as necessary to ensure that there is balanced representation, while not exceeding an effective size.

Participation is reflective of the interest to be on the PAB and of the geographic scope of the prawn fisheries. To be eligible for representation on the PAB, organizations must be a recognized First Nation entity, or a Society, Association or business registered in the Province of British Columbia, or an advisory body with a publicly available Terms of Reference recognized by DFO (e.g. SFAB). The following organizations are participant members of the PAB and will each bring forward their respective consolidated perspective:

Ex-officio members are comprised of the Government of Canada (DFO) and Province of BC (BC Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, WorkSafe BC).


PAB meetings are open to the public. Observers who wish to participate shall do so through a representative of their constituent group. Should a participant member request input from observers or should an observer wish to participate in discussion, the Chairperson shall rule on the request bearing in mind the principle of balanced representation of participant members, while not exceeding an effective size, and that approval should not be unreasonably withheld.

Participant members should advise DFO about the anticipated number of observer(s) from their constituent groups in order to arrange meeting logistics.

The role of DFO

The PAB has been instituted by DFO as a means of receiving consultative advice and input on management of the prawn fisheries. As an ex-officio member, DFO is an active participant in the process, including acting as host-convener. Its duties shall include, but are not limited to the following:


The use of alternates is permitted. Participant members may choose to send an alternate representative, but should formally notify the Chairperson in advance of the meeting at which a representative will be absent. Alternates must be a member of and represent the same organization as the absent representative and report back to the absent representative on key discussions and outcomes of the meeting.

Term of representatives

Boards are more effective when there is a balance between seasoned and new representatives. These principles of board continuity and board member ‘burn-out’ should be considered by participant member organizations. Representatives serve at the pleasure of their organizations, bearing in mind these principles.



The PAB shall meet in person a minimum of two times per year, in order to meet the needs of the IFMP cycle and to deal with other policy and management issues.

The timing of the biannual meetings may be reviewed and adjusted to meet the needs of the participant members for timely availability of catch data on which to base advice and recommendations and support the discussions.

In addition to a recommendation at a PAB meeting, upon request of a participant member and with the written consensus of participant members, the PAB may hold additional meetings to address specific issues as deemed necessary. The PAB may meet by conference call should the need arise and with the consent of participant members.

Annual cycle of meetings for the Prawn Advisory Board

Annual cycle of meetings for the Prawn Advisory Board

Long text version

Fall: Fisheries review, recreational fishery, FSC fishery
Winter: IFMP revision, recreational fishery, FSC fishery
Spring, summer: Recreational fishery, commerical fishery, FSC fishery

Meeting procedures

The PAB may adopt procedures as it deems appropriate but, in any case, should not be inconsistent with the procedural rules of conventional parliamentary procedure in both letter and spirit. Normal procedures include the following:

1. Agenda

Components of the agenda shall include reports by DFO and reports submitted by participant members. Once an agenda has been set, it and supporting materials shall be distributed by DFO to each member of the Advisory Board prior to the meeting. The agenda shall follow a prescribed order of business but at a minimum, provide the following items:

2. Reports

DFO shall provide its reports in a standardized format addressing key administrative, policy and management issues. Written reports from each participant member may be submitted to the Chairperson for distribution. All reports shall be submitted to DFO 21 days prior to the next scheduled meeting, and made available to participant member representatives at least 14 days prior to the next scheduled meeting. These reports shall form the basis of the meeting in terms of addressing key issues and providing specific recommendations and advice to DFO on the management of the fishery. Discussion on each report shall be facilitated by the Chairperson and limited to a reasonable period of time. In the event that unforeseen issues arise after the draft agenda has been circulated, these items may be added to the agenda by consensus.

3. Presiding Officer (Chairperson)

DFO shall provide a Chairperson to preside at PAB meetings. The Chairperson shall:

One of the roles of DFO is to provide updates on how DFO responds to the advice received during Advisory Board meetings, as well as be an active participant in the process. There may be situations where the Chairperson also needs to participate or respond on behalf of DFO.

4. Decision-making

The effectiveness of an advisory board will be enhanced if resulting recommendations are supported by the larger group. Consensus is a process for making decisions, in this case on what recommendations to put forward, without the process of voting. The main feature of consensus-style decision making is that no action is taken unless all members of the board can support a recommendation from a participant member, or agree not to obstruct it.

Consensus does not require that everyone be in complete agreement, but only that all will be willing to either accept a decision on making a recommendation or withhold taking a position against a decision on making a recommendation. In reaching a decision in making a recommendation, no one should feel that his/her position on the matter was misunderstood or not heard.

Although consensus-type decision making may be the most persuasive form of recommendation, it is not essential for providing advice. In the event that the PAB cannot achieve consensus on issues, the Chairperson will summarize the discussion and record the views of the participant members.

When making changes to the management of the fishery, DFO will consider the views or positions put forward by participant members and the ensuing discussion. In circumstances where DFO does not or is unable to follow the advice of the PAB, the PAB will be provided with the DFO rationale for not doing so.

5. Record of Meeting

Under the direction of the Chairperson, DFO shall prepare and distribute for review and correction a Record of Meeting. The record shall include the following:

The Record of Meeting may be understood to be the ‘minutes’ of the meetings; it is a summary of the recommendations put forward and those not put forward. In other words, it should reflect where the group achieved consensus and where the group failed to achieve consensus.

The Record of Meeting shall be circulated for correction of errors and omissions no later than two weeks after the meeting. Each participant member may comment on:

  1. where its agreement or disagreement on specific recommendations has been recorded incorrectly; and
  2. where the wording of the specific advice or recommendation is substantively different.

The final Record of Meeting shall be distributed no later than a month after a meeting.

6. Committees

The PAB may form such committees as it deems appropriate. Draft officer of Reference must be written and approved (by consensus) by the PAB prior to the committee meeting. Terms of Reference must include clear statements regarding:p Purposet TermFootnote8m Membership, anm Meetinp Procedures. They must follow the same basic rules as prescribed in these Terms of Reference especially with respect to agenda setting and reporting. Committees are responsible for adoption of their own meeting agendas and reports and shall forward only approved written reports to the PAB for discussion.