PICFI Aquaculture Development Source application guide
Applications for PICFI Aquaculture Development Source funding are currently being accepted. All documents must be submitted by January 19, 2024.
Pacific Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative (PICFI) Aquaculture Development Source application guide (PDF, 473 kB)
On this page
- Aquaculture Development Source funding support overview
- Roles and responsibilities
- General requirements
- Permits and licenses
- Application requirements
- Steps in making an application for PICFI Aquaculture Development Source funding support
- Projects eligible for PICFI Aquaculture Development Source funding
- Contact us
The Pacific Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative (PICFI) was initially launched in 2007 as a 5-year program designed to assist eligible First Nations to develop commercial fisheries capacity and increase access to commercial fishing in the Pacific Region. In Budget 2017, the Government of Canada announced the permanent renewal of PICFI in order to continue its commitment to supporting a sustainable, integrated commercial fishery in which all commercial participants harvest under common and transparent rules.
PICFI currently provides support to 28 Indigenous Commercial Fishing Enterprises (CFE), which encompass 117 individual First Nations in British Columbia. The objectives of the PICFI program is to facilitate the development of self-sustaining CFEs, create opportunities for capacity building, generate Indigenous employment opportunities, as well as increase long-term Indigenous participation in commercial fisheries and diversification related activities.
Aquaculture Development Source funding support overview
The PICFI Aquaculture Development Source was created to provide direct support to First Nations to develop sustainable aquaculture operations. The application process is open to First Nations in the Pacific Region that currently do not participate in PICFI, as well as individual shareholder Nations of CFEs. Applications received directly from CFEs will not be eligible, as funding for similar activities are available through other PICFI funding streams (i.e. Business Development Source funding).
This PICFI Aquaculture Development Source Application Guide (including Application Form) outlines the 2024-25 application process. This document describes how Applications are to be submitted, how they will be assessed, and required follow-up activities. A copy of the PICFI Aquaculture Development Source Application Form can be found on page 4 of this document.
Roles and responsibilities
The PICFI Aquaculture Development Source funding cycle involves a collaborative process involving a number of partnerships. The roles and responsibilities of these partners are as follows:
|Organization||Role in ADS process|
|Business Development Management Committee (BDMC)||
|PICFI Program Authority (DFO)||
|First Nations Fisheries Council (FNFC)||
|Skeena Fisheries Commission (SFC)||
|Business Development Team (BDT)||
|Independent Third Party Evaluator (ITPE)||
|Application Review Committee (ARC)||
The PICFI Aquaculture Development Source Application Form, when completed, should provide information needed to fully identify the applicant (First Nation or aggregate of First Nations) and the project/work proposed (see Annex A). The completed Application Form provides the starting point for the PICFI Program Authority, and assists in focusing assessment of the work proposed.
Important: All applicants are strongly encouraged to consult with the BDT on their proposal before submission of your application by November 17, 2023.
The application process is merit-based. The PICFI Program Authority will review the submissions, in collaboration with DFO’s Aquaculture Management Division (AMD) and other appropriate regulatory authorities. A shortlist of highly prospective projects will be determined based on the information provided in the application submission. Please note that the necessary regulatory clearance, permits and licenses are required to be in place at the time of application submission. The BDT will provide advice and assistance, at no cost, to applicants in their proposed projects.
The level of PICFI Aquaculture Development Source support available to each applicant is limited. Applications will be subject to a rigorous review process to ensure best use of funds and a fair distribution among applicants. To be eligible for financial support from the PICFI Aquaculture Development Source, applicants will be required to provide a minimum of 10% cash contribution towards the total project expenditures. Priority will be given to projects for applicants which: (1) provide more than 10% cash contribution of total project costs, and (2) are able to secure commercial loans or other funding (e.g., Employment & Skills Development Canada (ESDC), Agriculture & Agri‐Food Canada (AAFC), Transport Canada (TC), Western Economic Diversification (WED), Aboriginal Financial Institutions (AFIs), other federal and provincial departments and agencies; contributions from industry; banks, credit unions, joint ventures, etc.).
All applicants are advised to review the Harmonized Aquaculture Applications and Guidebooks in advance should they like to start the process earlier than the ADS application deadline. This is located on the Province of BC website.
Prior to applying for funding, applicants are advised to verify whether the proposed project is in line with required regulatory approvals.
- To discuss the activities permitted under a current federal aquaculture licenses contact the appropriate sector in Aquaculture Management Division (AMD):
- For aquaculture projects related to aquatic plant, please contact FrontCounter BC at AquaticPlants.Courtenay@gov.bc.ca or call 250-897-7517. FrontCounter BC is a single point of contact service to apply for permitting issued by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO) in the Province of British Columbia (BC).
- You may also need to notify Transport Canada (TC)’s Navigation Protection Program (NPP). TC is responsible for managing any navigational related concerns under the NPP. Contact the TC’s NPP for federal authorization at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 604-775-8867.
- For all other inquiries, please contact the PICFI Program Authority at DFO.PICFI_Submissions-Soumissions_IPCIP.MPO@dfo-mpo.gc.ca.
Permits and licenses
Where applicable, applicants are responsible for obtaining the appropriate permits and licenses prior to the submission of a PICFI Aquaculture Development Source funding application. Further, permits and licenses must remain valid for the duration of the project.
Important notes: Permits may take up to 365 days to arrange, so applicants should plan and address this need before the project start date. Note that timelines of regulatory processes, such as permitting and reviews, can vary between different regulatory authorities (DFO AMD, BC FLNRO, TC NPP etc.) Depending on the nature of the project and type of activities, there may be numerous requirements: land/ marine/foreshore tenure; Navigable Waters Protection license; Introduction and Transfers License; Aquaculture license; discharge permits, etc.
A successful PICFI Aquaculture Project Funding proposal does not guarantee that permits or licenses will be issued by DFO, other government departments or agencies. Please note that the necessary regulatory clearance, permits and licenses are required to be in place at the time of application submission. Prior to applying for ADS Funding, applicants should verify with the applicable regulatory authorities whether the proposed project is in line with their current approvals.
In order to apply for support from the Aquaculture Development Source, applicants must:
- complete the PICFI Aquaculture Development Source Application Form
- consult with the BDT to discuss proposals and seek advice
- obtain the necessary regulatory approvals from DFO AMD, BC FLNRO and TC NPP and provide any documentation verifying that regulatory requirements are met (e.g. copies of licenses, permits, etc.)
- provide complete financial statements for the most recent 3 years
- provide resume(s) for the individual(s) involved in the implementation of the proposed project
- provide a Certificate of Incorporation and an Annual Report if the applicant is a legal entity
- provide a minimum of 10% cash contribution towards the total project expenditures
All information provided by an applicant in the application and supporting documentation will be held in confidence by the PICFI Program Authority, the Business Development Team, Independent Third Party Evaluator and the Application Review Committee (ARC). The ITPE’s Report & Recommendations will only be made available to the PICFI Program Authority and the ARC.
In order to obtain PICFI Aquaculture Development Source funding, a completed and signed Application Form must be submitted. Important: All applicants are encouraged to consult with the BDT to discuss their proposal BEFORE submission of their application. The PICFI Program Authority will share the application with appropriate regulatory authorities (DFO AMD, BC FLNRO, TC NPP, etc.) to verify whether the necessary regulatory clearance, such as permits, licenses and regulatory review approvals, have been obtained. Only those applications that have the necessary regulatory approvals will be shortlisted to advance into the application process. The BDT will provide advice and assistance, at no cost, to applicants in their proposed projects. Business Case templates are included as Appendix A in this application guide. Missing information, attachments or incomplete Business Case templates will delay the application process. Please note that incomplete applications will be placed at the back of the queue for evaluation.
The evaluation of applications will be carried out under strict confidentiality by those involved. Application and project details will remain confidential even after projects are approved. Decisions concerning release of information on approved Aquaculture Development Source projects rest entirely with the applicant.
Steps in making an application for PICFI Aquaculture Development Source funding support
- Applicant prepares an application and obtains the appropriate regulatory clearance, permits and licenses: All sections of the application form must be filled out and it must be signed by an authorized representative of the applicant. Important: Applicants must obtain regulatory permits, licenses and clearance with the appropriate regulatory authorities and attach a copy in the submission of their application.
- Applicant consults with the BDT and submits to PICFI Program Authority: Important: All applicants are encouraged to consult with the BDT to discuss their proposal and seek advice BEFORE submission of their application. Applicants should submit a complete and signed application to the PICFI Program Authority. Do not send a copy of the application to the Independent Third-Party Evaluator (ITPE).
- Receipt of application: DFO will acknowledge the receipt of applications within 7 calendar days. On receipt of each application, the PICFI Program Authority will review the submission to confirm that the form has been completely filled out and the required resumes, certificate of incorporation, annual report (listing the Board of Directors), regulatory documents and financial statements from the most recent 3 years are attached. If any sections or required documents are incomplete or missing, DFO will return the application.
- Regulatory review: Completed application forms will be sent to DFO’s Aquaculture Management Division and other appropriate regulatory authorities (BC FLNRO and TC NPP) to verify all regulatory requirements of the project are met. Important: Only those applications that have the necessary regulatory approvals will be shortlisted to advance into the application process. Those applications without regulatory permits, licenses and clearance in place at the time of submission will not be considered further.
Referral of application and business case to independent third party evaluator: The independent third party evaluator (ITPE) will evaluate the application and business case to assess its alignment with PICFI’s Aquaculture Development Source funding objectives: capacity-building, revenue and profits generation, employment creation, and self-sustainability.
The ITPE will ensure that the application, business case and attachments (i.e. financial statements, certificate of incorporation, etc.) contain all information necessary to thoroughly and properly evaluate the project. If any additional information is required, the ITPE will contact the applicant directly.
Once the ITPE has all the necessary information, the application will be assessed. The ITPE may visit the applicant to: meet with and interview members of the applicant’s board and management team; discuss firsthand about the applicant’s proposed aquaculture project; learn about applicant operations and processes; and engage in any other activities that are necessary to fully evaluate the application. The ITPE will prepare a report for DFO describing the results of the evaluation and provide recommendations.
- Independent third party evaluator presents report to Application Review Committee for major projects: The ITPE will present the report to the Application Review Committee (ARC) for consideration for major project proposals. A recommendation is made by the ARC to the Program Authority.
- PICFI decision is communicated to the applicant: The PICFI Program Authority makes a final funding decision that is informed by the assessments from the ITPE and ARC (for major projects only). The decision is communicated to the applicant in the form of a Letter of Offer outlining: activities approved; amount of contribution; and conditions of approval. Upon receipt of a written response from the recipient(s) accepting the offer and attached conditions, a Contribution Agreement (CA) will be negotiated.
- PICFI applicant begins work on the PICFI Aquaculture Development Source-funded project: The applicant will then begin work on the project as set out in the CA and support from the PICFI Aquaculture Development Source funding will be provided as agreed in the CA. Project management oversight will begin once the work is underway. Interim and Year End Reports will be required, consistent with the CA and as required in the PICFI program. Projects must be completed by March 31, 2025.
- PICFI applicant submits Year End Report: When the project work/activity has been completed, the applicant will submit its Year End Report to the PICFI Program Authority no later than May 15, 2025.
Projects elgible for PICFI Aquaculture Development Source funding
Proposed work being submitted for PICFI Aquaculture funding support must be aligned with employment creation, revenue and profits generation, capacity building, and sustainability objectives of PICFI. The project activities should meet all regulatory requirements at the time of application submission to ensure the project can commence and be completed in the fiscal year.
Note: PICFI CFEs are not eligible for Aquaculture Development Source funding.
Project activities eligible for PICFI aquaculture funding support may include (but not limited to):
- expansion or upgrades to existing marine finfish, shellfish, or freshwater/land-based aquaculture facilities; the federal aquaculture license holder is expected to have approval of any required amendments prior to applying for funding to support the expansion/upgrade
- equipment, gear and infrastructure for new aquaculture operations or associated with the activity of aquaculture; the federal aquaculture license holder is expected to have approval of any required amendments prior to applying for funding to support the new equipment, gear and/or infrastructure
- acquisition of an existing aquaculture operation
- Business Plan development (includes technical and management advisory costs)
- other start-up costs funded on a one-time basis (administration, salaries and wages for project management/technical advisory, seed, brood stock, training etc.)
- business lines related to aquaculture support services
The following projects are not eligible for Aquaculture Development Source funding:
- working capital projects (subsidizing ongoing operational expenditures)
- scientific studies
Note: Funding for contingencies are not eligible. Applicants should provide accurate estimates and quotes as attachments in a complete application.
Funding for feasibility studies and certain operational expenses funded on a one-time basis may only be approved under very limited circumstances, where the prospects of success for the project are considerably high.
Certain proposed activities may require further assessment to determine eligibility, which may result in a delay in the processing of an application.
Important note: Applications that do not have the necessary regulatory approvals in place at the time of application submission will not advance further in the application process until all regulatory requirements are met.
PICFI Aquaculture Development Source projects must be completed in the fiscal year in which funding is approved.
While it is recognized that very large projects may involve several phases or steps, acceptance of a project by PICFI Aquaculture Development Source implies no commitment to provide support for follow-on work submitted for consideration in subsequent years. While it may be helpful to describe the entire undertaking when applying to PICFI Aquaculture Development Source funding support, approval will be limited to the work outlined in the Letter of Offer.
Applicants must provide a status update by February 29, 2025, demonstrating progress on the execution of PICFI Aquaculture Development Source activities. Furthermore, a well-developed plan for completion of all PICFI Aquaculture Development Source activities by March 31, 2025 must be presented. The PICFI Program Authority reserves the right to reallocate an applicant’s funding if their progress report is deemed unsatisfactory.
Pacific Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative (PICFI)
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
200-401 Burrard St
Vancouver BC V6C 3S4
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