Fisheries and Oceans Canada has announced plans to reinstate the At-Sea Observer Program in two phases. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada)

Fisheries and Oceans Canada has announced plans to reinstate the At-Sea Observer Program in two phases. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada)

DFO reinstating At-Sea Observer Program

Full resumption will be rolled out in two phases

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has announced plans to reinstate the At-Sea Observer Program (ASOP).

The program was suspended April 2 due to COVID-19 health concerns. A conditional resumption was then issued until Aug. 12.

Following public and stakeholder consultations DFO released a fishery notice Sept. 9 stating they will now begin a two-phased transition to fully reinstate the ASOP.

READ MORE: Fisheries and Oceans Canada lifts at-sea observer requirements due to COVID-19

In the first phase, vessels starting trips on or after Sept. 23 that are fishing under the groundfish trawl Option A licence conditions with a receiving tank will be required to carry an at-sea observer and electronic monitoring system.

In Phase 2, all Option A bottom-trawl vessels will be required to carry at-sea observers.

DFO will be providing more information in late September.

At-sea observers are responsible for the on-board monitoring of fishing activities, collecting scientific data, and monitoring industry compliance with fishing regulations and licence conditions.