Language selection


Integrated fisheries management plan summary: Groundfish - Pacific Region, 2024

Full text of Integrated fisheries management plan: Groundfish - Pacific Region, 2024 (PDF, 11.7 MB)

On this page


The purpose of this Integrated Fisheries Management Plan (IFMP) is to identify the main objectives and requirements for the Groundfish fisheries in the Pacific Region, as well as the management measures that will be used to achieve these objectives. This document also serves to communicate the basic information on the fishery and its management to Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) staff, legislated co-management boards and other stakeholders. This IFMP provides a common understanding of the basic “rules” for the sustainable management of the fisheries resource.

This IFMP is not a legally binding instrument which can form the basis of a legal challenge. The IFMP can be modified at any time and does not fetter the Minister's discretionary powers set out in the Fisheries Act, Species At Risk Act, and Oceans Act. The Minister can, for reasons of conservation or for any other valid reasons, modify any provision of the IFMP in accordance with the powers granted pursuant to the Fisheries Act, Species At Risk Act, and Oceans Act.

Where DFO is responsible for implementing obligations under treaty and reconciliation agreements, the IFMP will be implemented in a manner consistent with these obligations. In the event that an IFMP is inconsistent with obligations under land claims agreements, the provisions of the land claims agreements will prevail to the extent of the inconsistency.

This IFMP is a living document that will be subjected to a review annually for updates, with input from interested parties. Any changes required within a given fishing season will continue to be made as needed.

IFMP documents are available from the DFO Pacific Region Internet site.

Overview of the fishery – IFMP Section 1


Each year Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) provides opportunities to First Nations for Food, Social and Ceremonial (FSC) purposes (or domestic purposes for First Nations with modern treaties), and the commercial and recreational fisheries to harvest groundfish. First Nations have been harvesting groundfish since time immemorial, while commercial and recreational fisheries on the Pacific Coast of Canada have long harvested groundfish. Groundfish serve as a source of food, they provide jobs, income, and enjoyment for individuals, businesses, and coastal communities and they play key roles in natural ecosystems.

Type of fishery and participants

First Nations

In the 1990 Sparrow decision, the Supreme Court of Canada found that where an Indigenous group has an Indigenous right to fish for Food, Social, and Ceremonial (FSC) purposes, it takes priority, after conservation, over other uses of the resource. Fisheries are authorized via a Communal Licence issued by the Department under the Aboriginal Communal Fishing Licences Regulations.

Five Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations located on the west coast of Vancouver Island - Ahousaht, Ehattesaht, Hesquiaht, Mowachaht/Muchalaht, and Tla-o-qui-aht (the Five Nations) – have aboriginal rights to fish for any species, with the exception of Geoduck, within their Fishing Territories and to sell that fish.

Fisheries chapters in modern First Nation treaties may articulate a treaty fishing right for FSC purposes that are protected under Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. Some modern treaty First Nations are provided commercial access either through the general commercial fishery or a Harvest Agreement. While this commercial access may be referenced in the treaty, it is not protected under the Constitution Act.

For additional information regarding indigenous fisheries, refer to Section 6 of the IFMP.


A recreational fishery may occur where authorized by a valid Tidal Waters Sport Fishing licence, which is required for the recreational harvest of all species of fish. Approximately 300,000 Tidal Waters Sport Fishing licences are sold each year. Tidal Waters Sport Fishing Licences can be purchased online by using the DFO website.


There are seven distinct commercial groundfish sectors: Groundfish trawl, Halibut, Sablefish, Inside Rockfish, Outside Rockfish, Lingcod, and Dogfish fisheries that are managed according to the measures set out in this management plan. The management of these sector groups is integrated, with all groups subject to 100% at-sea monitoring and 100% dockside monitoring, individual vessel accountability for all catch (both retained and released), individual transferable quotas (ITQ), and reallocation of these quotas between vessels and fisheries to cover catch of non-directed species. There are approximately 250 active commercial groundfish vessels. Information on licensed vessels is available online at the DFO website.

First Nations have communal access to commercial opportunities through communal commercial licences acquired through the Allocation Transfer Program (ATP) and Pacific Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative (PICFI). Some fisheries access associated with communal commercial licences/quota issued to the Five Nations (or entities they are part of) can be fished within the right-based sale fishery. Ongoing negotiations with the Five Nations could result in in-season changes regarding the issuance of these licences and/or quota.

The Maa-nulth have an allocation for commercial groundfish fishing outside of the Treaty as identified in the “Maa-nulth First Nation Harvest Agreement”. The allocations in the Harvest Agreement do not affirm Indigenous or Treaty rights. These licences are fished in a manner that is comparable to the general commercial fishery.


The aquaculture industry may apply to access, by scientific licence, the wild groundfish resource to assist industry broodstock development (growth and diversification). There are currently three aquaculture operations that have been issued scientific licences to access wild Sablefish for broodstock. More information on the Sablefish broodstock access can be found in Appendix 7 to this IFMP.

Commercial Groundfish Management Area Map
Figure 1: Commercial Groundfish Management Area Map


In addition to these legislation and regulatory tools, DFO’s Sustainable Fisheries Framework provides the policy basis for ensuring that Canadian fisheries support conservation and sustainable use of resources. The framework:

Along with existing economic and shared stewardship policies, the Framework will help DFO meet objectives for long-term sustainability, economic prosperity, and improved governance. Further information can be found at the DFO website.

Several advisory committees and subcommittees have been established to provide advice to the Department on management of groundfish fisheries. Terms of reference, membership and meeting minutes for the Halibut Advisory Board (HAB), Groundfish Trawl Advisory Committee (GTAC), Sablefish Advisory Committee (SAC), Groundfish Hook and Line Subcommittee (GHLSC), the Commercial Industry Caucus (CIC), and the Groundfish Integrated Advisory Board (GIAB) can be found on the Internet. For a list of members please see Appendix 12.

DFO engages in a variety of consultation, engagement and collaborative harvest planning processes with First Nations which advise DFO on groundfish management. These exchanges and involvement may include bilateral consultations, advisory processes, management boards, technical groups and other roundtable forums. Consulting is an important part of good governance, sound policy development and decision-making. It is also a component of modern treaties established between First Nations and the provincial and federal governments. In addition to good governance objectives, Canada has statutory, contractual and common law obligations to consult with Indigenous groups.

The Sport Fishing Advisory Board (SFAB) provides advice to the Department on matters relating to the recreational fishery. More information on this advisory board can be found on the Internet.

Resource management goals – IFMP Section 2

To sustainably manage groundfish fisheries and to work with harvesters, and coastal and Indigenous communities to enable their continued prosperity from fish and seafood.

This goal and the Departmental Plan are intended to support DFO’s mandate commitments. The management priorities described below are keys areas of focus that will align our activities with these goals over the long term.

Priority Management measures
Implement a fisheries program that uses scientific evidence, the precautionary principle, and considers ecosystem variables when making decisions affecting fish stocks and ecosystem management.

Continue to implement the peer-reviewed Management Procedure Framework for British Columbia groundfish species to generate status assessments in a more timely manner. See Section 3.3.1 for additional information.

Continue to support Collaborative Agreements between DFO and partners to support groundfish science activities through the allocation of fish to finance the activities, consistent with the authority granted to the Minister in the Fisheries Act. See Section 1.5 and the harvest plan appendices for additional information.

Continue to implement, refine and evaluate an improved EM program in the Option A Groundfish trawl fishery that meets 100% at-sea monitoring requirements. Continue to develop biological sampling pilot programs to support stock assessment and scientific research. See Appendix 8 for additional information.

Continue to utilize established integrated fisheries planning and advisory processes described in Appendix 12, as well as the Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat process.

Consistent with regulation and policy under a renewed Fisheries Act, develop, implement, and monitor management measures to maintain major fish stocks at levels necessary to promote sustainable, stable, and prosperous fisheries.

Continue to develop and implement Precautionary Approach (PA) reference points and harvest control rules for priority fish stocks, as well as rebuilding plans for those stocks that are at or below their limit reference point. The current Rebuilding Plan for inside Yelloweye Rockfish remains in place and will continue to be evaluated, as described in Appendix 9.

Implement the transition of groundfish stocks no longer subject to rebuilding plans (outside Yelloweye Rockfish and Bocaccio Rockfish) to management through the IFMP in accordance with legislative, regulatory or policy requirements. See Appendix 9 and relevant appendices.

Continue measures first implemented in 2019 for the protection of the Southern Resident Killer Whales, which include measures that reduce the threats of fisheries related interactions and disturbance. See section 5.1.7 for additional information.

Continue development and implementation of a revised salmon bycatch monitoring program to better understand the potential impacts of bycatch in the groundfish trawl fishery on Pacific Salmon. Continue to evaluate and implement measures, as required, to manage bycatch of Pacific Salmon in the groundfish trawl fishery.

Develop and implement a comprehensive biosampling program in the Option A trawl fishery to fill a role previously completed by at-sea observers.

Support advancement of reconciliation and implementation of marine spatial planning initiatives.

Continue to support the advancement of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, and the implementation of Reconciliation Framework Agreements, Treaties, and rights-based fisheries as they pertain to groundfish.

The trilateral partnership of the Government of Canada, the Province of BC and 17 First Nations are working together to develop a Network of marine protected areas (MPAs) for the Northern Shelf Bioregion. In February 2023, the Marine Protected Area (MPA) Network Action Plan (NAP) for the Northern Shelf Bioregion (NSB) was endorsed by the trilateral partnership. Trilateral partners are focused on network coordination and implementation, including establishing governance and development of a network workplan that will focus on monitoring, cumulative impacts, reporting and engagement on Network implementation.

The Government of Canada, the Province of BC, Indigenous Groups and stakeholders are also in the early planning phase, gathering information and data relevant to a marine spatial planning process in southern BC, which includes the Strait of Georgia and Southern Shelf Bioregions.

These planning processes are being developed under the policy direction outlined in the National Framework for Canada’s Network of MPAs, the Canada-British Columbia MPA Network Strategy, and are informed by previously developed First Nation marine plans. See Section 5.3.1 for additional information.

DFO is also currently undertaking a multi-year review of the conservation effectiveness of Rockfish Conservation Areas (RCAs), as well as a Glass Sponge Reef and RCA alignment exercise in Howe Sound and adjacent inlets. Specific measures are described in Section

Stock assessment, science and Indigenous knowledge – IFMP Section 3

Biological synopsis

In addition to work directed at providing stock assessments, DFO staff and contracted service providers conduct routine data collection and compilation as well as specialized research on the general biology of groundfish in support of stock assessment. The routine work includes:

Groundfish stock assessment

Stock assessment and research programs involving groundfish are conducted by DFO and through cooperative research programs carried out in conjunction with industry associations. Stock assessment advice has been provided for over 70 commercially caught groundfish stocks. Science personnel, in association with DFO fishery managers and groundfish user group representatives, establish assessment priorities and timing schedules for assessments. These programs are intended to support ongoing evaluation of management measures. Opportunities for stakeholder involvement and co-operative ventures in research and assessment activities are pursued.

During the 2023/24 fishery season, harvest advice for Arrowtooth Flounder, inside and outside Quillback Rockfish, Sablefish, and updated advice for outside Yelloweye Rockfish was provided by Science. Updated advice for Pacific Halibut and offshore Pacific Hake continue to be provided annually by the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) and Pacific Hake Joint Technical Committee (JTC), respectively. In 2024/25 new harvest advice is anticipated for Pacific Ocean Perch, outside Lingcod, Petrale Sole, and Pacific Gulf Hake, with anticipated updates provided for Bocaccio Rockfish, Arrowtooth Flounder and Sablefish.

Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat

Science is the basis for sound, evidence-based decision making. DFO Science Sector provides advice on the likelihood of achieving policy objectives under alternative management strategies and tactics. The Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat (CSAS) oversees the provision of all scientific advice required by operational client sectors within the Department (Fisheries Management, Ecosystems Management, and Policy). In the Pacific Region, science advisory processes are managed by the Centre for Science Advice Pacific (CSAP).

Apart from transboundary species assessed under international treaties (offshore Pacific Hake and Pacific Halibut) scientific assessments and advice on the assessment and management of the Groundfish fisheries are peer reviewed in Regional Peer Review (RPR) meetings. Government and non-government individuals with knowledge and technical expertise pertaining to each RPR meeting are invited to contribute to the peer review and development of advice, based on the science presented. The schedule of CSAS meetings is available online. General information about the CSAS Policies, Procedures, Schedule and Publications can be found online.

Science advice, proceedings and stock assessments/scientific evaluations resulting from CSAS meetings are available online.

Indigenous knowledge

The term Indigenous knowledge may not be universally used, and other terms such as Indigenous Knowledge Systems, Traditional Knowledge, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, or Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge, which all convey similar concepts, may be used instead.

In 2019, the Fisheries Act was amended to include provisions for where the Minister may or shall consider provided Indigenous knowledge in making decisions pertaining to fisheries, fish and fish habitat. Section 61 of the act ensures this knowledge is protected and can only be provided with consent. There are also provisions under the Species At Risk Act (s.10.2, s.15.2, s.16, s.18.1) that support inclusion of Indigenous knowledge to inform the assessment and protection of species at risk. Likewise, the Oceans Act (s.42) allows the Minister to consider Indigenous knowledge in oceans related decisions.

The Government of Canada and the scientific community acknowledge the need incorporate Indigenous knowledge in meaningful and respectful ways. Work is underway at a National level to develop processes for how DFO receives Indigenous knowledge and applies it to inform decision making. Many outstanding questions remain on how to move forward in a way that respects, meaningfully incorporates, and protects the knowledge that may be shared with DFO, to mutual benefit. For example, how to engage knowledge holders, and how to ensure that the knowledge can be shared and considered in a mutually acceptable manner by both knowledge holders and the broader community of First Nations, stakeholders, managers, and policy makers involved in the fisheries. Given the diversity of knowledge and relationships, regional work will involve an iterative process in collaboration with First Nations, Indigenous groups and knowledge holders, to ensure appropriate inclusion and protection of the knowledge provided. The Department is committed to finding a way forward that respects the knowledge and the knowledge holders, and upholds the Principles respecting the Government of Canada's relationship with Indigenous peoples, which are available online.

More information on the updates to the Fisheries Act.

See Sections 2.5, 34.1, and 61.2 in the Fisheries Act (2019).

Section 61.2 protections for Indigenous knowledge have also been included in the Access to Information Act, Schedule 2.

Economic, social and cultural importance – IFMP Section 4

The purpose of this section is to provide a socio-economic overview of groundfish fisheries in British Columbia using available information. This summary addresses groundfish in the context of the Indigenous fisheries, the recreational fishery, and the commercial fishery including harvesting, processing, and export activity. The focus of this section is on the economic activity of the fisheries rather than measures of economic value (i.e. consumer and producer surpluses). Where available, information on the social and cultural context of the fisheries has been included; these sections may be expanded in future years, as additional information is made available. The information from 2012 to 2022 is included, although the entire period is not covered in all instances due to data limitations. DFO recognizes the unique values of each of the fisheries described here. The overview provided by this profile is intended to help build a common understanding of the socio-economic dimensions of the fisheries rather than compare the fisheries.

Access and allocation – IFMP Section 6

FSC fisheries

DFO remains committed to respecting First Nations’ Aboriginal right to fish for food, social and ceremonial (FSC) purposes, or domestic purposes under Treaty which has priority – after conservation – over other uses of the resource.

Section 35(1) of the Constitution Act recognizes and affirms the existing Aboriginal and Treaty rights of the Aboriginal peoples in Canada. However, it does not specify the nature or content of the rights. In 1990, the Supreme Court of Canada issued a landmark ruling in the Sparrow decision which found that the Musqueam First Nation has an Aboriginal right to fish for food, social and ceremonial (FSC) purposes. The Supreme Court found that where an Aboriginal group has a right to fish for FSC purposes, it takes priority, after conservation, over other uses of the resource. The Supreme Court has also indicated the duty to consult with Aboriginal peoples when their fishing rights might be affected.

The Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy (AFS) was implemented in 1992 to address several objectives related to First Nations and their access to the resource. These included:

AFS continues to be one of the principal mechanisms – in addition to Treaties and reconciliation agreements - to support the development of relationships with First Nations. including the consultation, planning and implementation of fisheries, and the development of capacity to undertake fisheries management, stock assessment, enhancement and habitat protection programs.

Treaties and Reconciliation agreements


There are four modern treaties in British Columbia, which all have fisheries chapters: Nisga’a Final Agreement, Tsawwassen First Nation Final Agreement (TFA), Maa-nulth First Nations Final Agreement (MNA), and Tla’amin (Sliammon) Nation Final Agreement. Through these treaties, Nations work with DFO to manage treaty fisheries on an annual basis. There are also historic treaties in British Columbia (Douglas Treaties and Treaty 8). For a detailed list of treaties in BC and Yukon, please see the internet.

Fisheries chapters in modern treaties articulate a treaty fishing right for domestic purposes that is protected under Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. . In addition, some modern treaties contain provisions that enable those Treaty First Nations to make laws relating to certain internal aspects of their fisheries. Negotiated through a side agreement, some modern treaty First Nations have commercial access through a Harvest Agreement outside of the constitutionally protected treaty.

Reconciliation agreements

In addition to negotiating treaties, the Government of Canada and Indigenous peoples can also negotiate Recognition of Indigenous Rights and Self-Determination (RIRSD) agreements, to explore new ways of working together to advance the recognition of Indigenous rights and self-determination. These agreements are led by Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC). DFO can also negotiate Fisheries Resources Reconciliation Agreements directly with First Nations to enhance First Nations and DFO collaborative governance and management on fisheries, marine and aquatic matters.

Reconciliation agreements work within the legislative framework of the Fisheries Act. The Act provides the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard with the legislative authority for the proper management and control of the fisheries, the conservation and protection of fish, and regulation of the fishery.

Since 2019, the Government of Canada entered into several framework agreements with First Nations that lay the foundation for incremental development and implementation of new arrangements for collaborative governance on fisheries andmarine matters. A ‘framework agreement’ sets out the subject matter for negotiation and describes how negotiations will proceed towards a final agreement. A final reconciliation agreement includes substantive commitments the Parties have agreed to implementing and governs the relationship between the Parties for its term of the agreement.

See the BC Treaty Commission and CIRNAC for more information on current treaty tables and for current RIRSD tables.

Framework Agreements:

Reconciliation Agreements:

As DFO and First Nations develop and implement new fisheries and collaborative governance arrangements, DFO works with these Nations to engage neighbouring First Nations and stakeholders (e.g. commercial and recreational sectors).

Indigenous Community Based Fisheries

As outlined in the DFO-Coast Guard Reconciliation Strategy, the Department is committed to reconciliation with First Nations through strengthened Indigenous-Crown relationships, recognizing self-determination and reducing socio-economic gaps. In support of these objectives, DFO and several First Nations have finalized, or are negotiating, reconciliation agreements that include provisions for Community-Based Fisheries.

Community-Based Fisheries (CBFs), including Community Based Economic Fisheries (CBEFs) are collaboratively-managed (by DFO and First Nations) sale fisheries that are designed to enable enhanced community participation by supporting First Nations to fish existing commercial fishing access according to a set of negotiated flexibilities. CBFs will have a defined area and will be characterized by fishery management flexibilities that are consistent with community objectives of enhanced participation and self-determination in fisheries, and will be designed and implemented to ensure conservation, sustainable use and orderly fishery management.


Daily and possession limits are in place for recreational catch of groundfish species. Annual limits and size limits are also in place for several groundfish species such as Lingcod and Halibut. The Department consults annually with the Sport Fishing Advisory Board in order to establish daily and possession limits, as well as maximum lengths for Halibut, dependent on the Halibut Recreational Allocation, as described below.

There are several instances where total recreational catch is managed to specified amounts. Recreational fishing for Halibut is managed to an annual coastwide allocation. As a result of the Rockfish Conservation Strategy drafted in 2001, recreational catch of rockfish and Lingcod in the Strait of Georgia is also managed to stay within specified amounts, referred to as “management caps”.


Fisheries and Oceans Canada supports the research and development of aquaculture sectors. The Department is able to provide the aquaculture industry with reasonable access, by scientific or access licenses, to the wild groundfish resource to assist in industry sustainability.

Requests for access to the wild aquatic resource will be reviewed based on the provision of detailed project proposals including specified criteria by the proponent (see details below). Decisions will be provided in writing to the applicant. DFO may require observers on vessels conducting collection trips and dockside monitoring of all fish harvested for aquaculture purposes at the vessel’s own expense.

Applications for broodstock capture should include:

  1. proposed time and location(s) where the brood will be captured
  2. name, vessel registration number (VRN) and licence number of the vessel to be used
  3. description and location of the facility where the fish are to be held (including aquaculture permit number if a culture facility)
  4. Section 56 Introductions and Transfers permit application number
  5. project description

More information can be found at the DFO website:

Currently 0.1% of the Sablefish TAC is allocated to the aquaculture industry to support broodstock collection for sablefish aquaculture.

Annual research allocations

Allocations are made each year for research to account for the mortalities associated with survey catches within TACs. This includes the outside waters hard bottom hook and line survey, the International Pacific Halibut Commission longline standardized stock assessment survey, the trawl multi-species surveys, and the Sablefish trap survey. In some cases, allocations may also be made in excess of forecasted survey catches to support the costs of completing select science projects. These allocations are made based on the Minister’s authority to allocate fish or fishing gear for the purpose of financing scientific and fisheries management activities that are described in a joint project agreement entered into with any person or body, or any federal or provincial minister, department, or agency. In general, research allocations are deducted from the fish available to the commercial fishery, by sector, prior to the definition of commercial TACs used for the purposes of defining allocations on licences. Further details on the allocations of fish for financing scientific and management activities are identified in the relevant harvest plans appended to this plan.


The commercial TAC for various groundfish species are allocated between the different groundfish sectors. Formal discussions between the Hook and Line rockfish (category ZN licence), Halibut (category L licence) and Trawl (category T licence) sectors were initiated in 2000 to establish individual rockfish species allocations between the sectors to modify the 1997 adopted “92/8” Trawl/Hook and Line allocation. The agreed to allocation of groundfish species between the commercial sectors can be found in section 6 of the IFMP.

Outgoing and incoming sector caps

There are caps on the amount of quota species, in pounds, permitted to leave and enter commercial sectors from/to other commercial sectors. The figures can change regularly. Please consult the DFO website for the most current figures.

Shared stewardship arrangements – IFMP Section 9

Commercial industry

Several Collaborative Agreements (CA) currently exist between Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Wild Canadian Sablefish Ltd., the Canadian Groundfish Research and Conservation Society, and the Pacific Halibut Management Association. CAs are also being considered for 2024/25 between Fisheries and Oceans Canada and several partners to support groundfish science activities through the allocation of fish to finance the activities, consistent with the authority granted to the Minister in Fisheries Act.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

The groundfish fisheries in British Columbia are managed through the Groundfish Management Unit. This includes seven Fisheries Management personnel directly involved in the management of this fishery. In addition, a groundfish stock assessment unit, located at the Pacific Biological Station contributes to annual stock assessments for groundfish species. Contributions to the IFMP are provided by Fisheries Management, the Science Branch, Conservation and Protection, Ecosystem Management Branch, the Pacific Fishery Licence Unit, the Treaty and Aboriginal Policy Directorate, and numerous others. A list of DFO contacts is provided in Appendix 1 of the IFMP.

Compliance plan – IFMP Section 10

The Conservation and Protection (C&P) Directorate, part of the Fisheries and Harbour Management Sector, promotes and maintains compliance with legislation, regulations, policies and management measures to achieve the conservation and sustainable use of Canada’s aquatic resources and the protection of oceans, fish habitat and species at risk. C&P is comprised of three key programs areas:

C&P continues to evolve into an intelligence-led organization which will assist in priority setting by identifying the greatest threats and risks to fisheries and developing appropriate strategies to address those threats and risks. C&P utilizes education, & stewardship; monitoring & surveillance; and major case management to assist in the conservation and protection of the fishery resources.

Fishery Officers are stationed in the Pacific Region, which encompasses the province of British Columbia and Yukon Territory. They are designated under Section 5 of the Fisheries Act and have full enforcement powers and responsibilities outlined in the Fisheries Act, Coastal Fisheries Protection Act, Oceans Act, and Species at Risk Act. Fishery Officers are also designated, as peace officers under Section 2 the Criminal Code of Canada.

Third party dockside observers perform duties best described as “Observe, Record and Report.” Duties include the monitoring of fishing activities, collection of biological samples, recording of scientific data, monitoring of the landing of fish and verification by weight and species of the fish caught and retained. Observers, while performing a vital role, are not enforcement officers. Observers are designated by DFO’s Regional Director General and must carry proof of their designation in the form of a laminated card. Due to Covid no at-sea observers have been deployed to groundfish trawl vessels from April 2, 2020, to present. All Groundfish trawl vessels must have a fully functioning Electronic Monitoring (EM) system on board to meet the requirement of 100% at-sea monitoring.

DFO designated observers and the EM system reviewers fill out occurrence reports which are reviewed by C&P’s Groundfish Enforcement Coordinator and followed up on as necessary. All dockside observers have been designated as authorities by the Director of C&P under Section 63(1) of the Fisheries Act. It is an offense to make a false or misleading statement whether orally or in writing to an at sea or dockside observer.

Fishery officers conduct inspections both at-sea and dockside to verify compliance with licence conditions. Due to the complexity of the integrated groundfish management system, which includes a quota management system and a related licence amendment system, tracking of catch quantities is primarily performed administratively utilizing the fishing logbook, electronic monitoring video system, dockside monitoring program and the groundfish audit system.

Performance review and plan enhancement

The groundfish IFMP is a living document that will be subjected to review, with input from interested parties through consultations and established advisory processes. Annual updates (e.g., to total allowable catch changes based on updated science information) and in-season amendments to the harvest appendices will continue to be made as required and revised versions will be posted on the website, consistent with practices to date.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada contact

For additional information on this IFMP Summary or to request an electronic version of the full IFMP, please contact:

Groundfish shared inbox at: Or for a list of Groundfish management contacts please visit the DFO website.

Date modified: