What you need to know about the Fish Harvester Registration and Certification Board of Nova Scotia
Is this new?
Yes – this board is new as a result of merging together the Scotia Fundy Professional Fish Harvesters Registration and Training Association and the 6 multi-species accredited organizations in the Gulf of Nova Scotia in order to form one board under the Fish Harvesters Registration and Certification Act of Nova Scotia. This group would work on “professionalization” in the Province of Nova Scotia. The concept of what this group is doing is not new. The move towards having a professionalization program in place has been going on since the early 90’s.
Where does the authority come from for this board?
This board is formed under the authority of the Fish Harvesters Registration and Certification Act that was passed in May 2012. The NS Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture was the sponsoring department for the legislation.
Where will the money come from to run this board?
The board prepared a proposal to DFO, requesting them to withdraw from the collection of Personal Fishing Registration (PFR). In the Fall 2016 they received word from the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada offering his support-in-principle of the proposal. There was agreement to work collaboratively over the next 24 months towards a more detailed negotiation of the proposal’s content and implementation plan. The Minister also instructed DFO to begin the process necessary to amend registration requirements in relevant federal regulations (will include industry consultation).
The regulatory amendments were passed in December 2020. Now that this has been completed, this board will then administer a registration system in the Province of Nova Scotia and the funds collected from that will be used to run the organization.
How much will this cost me?
The cost to register with the board is $50 per year. This amount will be paid to the Fish Harvesters Registration and Certification Board of Nova Scotia. This amount would replace the current fee charged for registration by DFO.
Will the $50 ever increase?
The intention of the board is to maintain this fee at the current rate. Any changes made to the annual fee charged for registration and certification would have to be supported by the board and the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture in the Province of Nova Scotia.
What will the money be used for?
The main objective is to use the money to offset training costs for fishermen. A percentage will also be used for administration of the system.
What will this board do?
This organization will administer a registration, certification and training system for fish harvesters in Nova Scotia.
What is the mandate of the board?
The mandate of the board is to fund and coordinate training for fishermen that are registered and certified with them.
Is the board representative of fish harvesters in Nova Scotia?
Yes, the board will be made up of directors from across Nova Scotia – representative of fleet sectors and geographical areas.
How are directors selected?
Directors are selected by a nomination process from each of the six zones that make up the Province of Nova Scotia. A full outline of the process is included in the governance policy for the board.
How will I know what the board is doing?
Communication tools such as a website, social media and newsletters will be made available so that registrants can be kept up to date on the activities of the board. Staff of the board will also attend meeting of associations/organizations across Nova Scotia in order to provide updates on activities. An annual report will be produced and presented at the Annual General Meeting.
How do fish harvesters register?
Registrants will be provided with three options. They will include paper based by mail, online and in person at the community level with COVID-19 protocols in place. During the initial registration, a letter will be sent to all holders of Personal Fishing Registrations (PFR) providing the option to be exempt from DFO registration. A registration form will also be enclosed within the envelope. Individuals will be required to renew their registration each year via mail/online/in person. A renewal form must be completed and submitted with any annual payment.
What is the value in registering with the board?
When fish harvesters register with the board it gives them the opportunity to be part of an organization that will focus their efforts on training for the industry. This will allow for subsidized training for fishermen and a voice in future training development.
What are the certification levels?
Fish harvesters will be certified at one of three levels: Certified Professional Fish Harvester – Licence Holder (L) and Non – Licence Holder (NL), Professional Fish Harvester – Licence Holder (L) and Non-Licence Holder (NL) and Apprentice. A full outline of the criteria in each of the certification levels is included in the governance policy of the board.
After I register – how do I get certified?
After registration is received, the fish harvester will be entered into the system and assessed at one of the three levels of certification. It will be determined what level a fish harvester is by his/her past experience and training. Existing industry will be grandfathered and new entrants come in as Apprentices.
The Certification Process includes:
Stage 1 – Those Registered with FHRCBNS will be divided into four equal groupings. On a batch basis 25% of registrants will be sent an information collection form that will permit the initial certification assessment. (one batch per quarter year).
Stage 2 – Complete the assessment – Each returned form will be reviewed to ensure: certificate #s, date of issue and date of expiry are all provided. At this point certification can be offered on an honour basis.
Stage 3 – Offer a service of centralized storage for all certificates. This will represent a Verified Certification status. It would also be possible to provide proof of certification to 3rd parties (DFO and other government agencies).
How do I change to a higher level of certification?
If a fish harvester wanted to move to a higher level of certification, he or she must complete the below steps:
Step 1 – registrant makes application to move higher.
Step 2 – applicant documents previous training and sea time.
Step 3 – registrar assesses application to determine if higher classification warranted.
An appeal process will be available.
What types of training would be recognized under certification
FHRCBNS will support fishermen to obtain the necessary training required for their fleet sector and size of vessel they are on. These training requirements are outlined in the Marine Personnel Regulations as issued by Transport Canada. The board’s role is to help fishermen comply with the requirements and promote the necessary training. These training certificates issued by Transport Canada are incorporated into the certification levels.
I am a core licence holder right now – am I still a core?
Yes – the classifications that DFO gives to licence holders will still remain the same.
What types of training will the board support?
The board will support regulatory (ie Transport Canada) and non –regulatory training as requested by fish harvesters.
How will the board determine who gets training and when?
All registered fish harvesters are eligible for a training subsidy. As part of the application process it will be determined what training is needed by individual fish harvesters. This information will be used to develop a training plan for the industry in Nova Scotia and training will be delivered on a first come first serve basis, and would be scheduled based on fishing seasons.
What if I have all the training I need?
We can’t anticipate what training requirements may arise in the future so it’s in your best interest to be prepared and register with the board. Fish harvesters may want to take advantage of non-regulatory training programs as well which can have a positive effect on improving knowledge and awareness in the industry.
Will this board decide how I fish?
No, this board will not be involved in the management of the fishery and will focus its’ efforts on registration, certification and training.