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e-3862 (Fisheries)

Initiated by Ronald Cleary from St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the House of Commons in Parliament assembled

  • Non-core commercial groundfish licences represent a lifetime investment by the holders of those licenses who are electors in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador (N.L.);
  • Non-core groundfish licence holders cannot divest, transfer or integrate their non-core lifetime investment into a family succession plan;
  • Non-core licence holders are deemed to have a fundamental retirement entitlement based on their occupational lifetime investment;
  • Non-core licences become null and void at the expiration of its holders in the province of N.L.;
  • On Dec. 22, 2021, the Honourable Madam Justice Heneghan of the Federal Court set aside a decision by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada to reject a request by a Nova Scotia fisherman to transfer his Category B lobster licence, and the matter be returned to the Minister for redetermination; and
  • A non-core groundfish license in N.L. is the same as a Category B lobster licence in the Maritimes in that it cannot be sold or transferred.
We, the undersigned, citizens of Canada and electors of the province of N.L., call upon the House of Commons in Parliament assembled to change the status of non-core commercial groundfish licences in N.L. so that they can be divested in a manner determined by the enterprise licence holder, similar to those of core commercial fishing licenses.

Response by the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Mike Kelloway

The 1996 Commercial Fisheries Licensing Policy for Eastern Canada introduced a number of reforms aimed at reducing capacity, improving viability and the resilience of fishing enterprises. One of the initiatives under these reforms was the introduction of Core enterprises, including an evaluation and differentiation between Core and Non-core enterprises. This was intended to be a key strategic element in the renewal and growth of the Atlantic fishery.

The Core policy identified those licence holders who were deemed to be the head of a fishing enterprise, had a strong dependence and attachment to the harvesting sector in this capacity. Those key licence holders who did not meet this specific criteria were classed as Non-core. As announced at the time, future benefits in the fishery would be provided to members of the Core group. The Core policy is considered to be a significant policy in the harvesting sector. It has added value and viability to those who are enterprise heads. The reduction of harvesting capacity continues to be an objective, through this policy and others (i.e. enterprise combining).

License holders who were deemed Non-core, were permitted to maintain their licenses but were not eligible to reissue (transfer) their enterprise, including their groundfish licenses to new entrants.  However, there are some individual licenses associated with Non-core enterprises that may be eligible for reissuance, such as Lobster. Plus, all Non-core enterprises could continue to participate in the commercial fisheries where they held licences. No species licences were taken from the Non-core group. All licence holders denied Core status were offered the opportunity to have their case reviewed through an appeal process.

The estate policy for Non-Core who are deemed to be Professional Level 1 or Level 2 permits a substitute operator to fish eligible licences up to a period of 5 years. The estate may also reissue any licenses that are eligible under the departments reissuance policy. However, non-core groundfish licenses are not eligible for reissuance and are cancelled upon the passing of a the licence holder.

Non-core fishers can continue to fish the licences they hold and will be granted the same fish allocations as Core enterprises. However, Non-core groundfish licences will be cancelled upon the passing of licence holders. This practice has not changed and has been consistently applied to non-core licence holders in Newfoundland and Labrador Region and across the Atlantic regions since the introduction of this policy.  There are no plans to re-visit this policy.

Open for signature
March 2, 2022, at 12:31 p.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
June 30, 2022, at 12:31 p.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Clifford Small (Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame)
October 20, 2022 (Petition No. 441-00768)
Government response tabled
December 5, 2022
Photo - Clifford Small
Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame
Conservative Caucus
Newfoundland and Labrador