In Quebec, 58 Fisheries Officers are mandated to enforce fisheries legislation, regulations and measures to manage fisheries plans. Commercial fisheries do not all have the same control measures, but the objective remains the same: to ensure fishery sustainability.
To fulfill this mandate, the Department has equipped itself with fishery control, monitoring and surveillance tools.
Fisheries Officers also play a crucial role in the Monitoring Program. They create a substantial presence in the field for control, monitoring and surveillance purposes to detect and address problems as and when they arise. To do this, Officers conduct patrols on the land, on the sea and in the air, carry out verifications at fish landing stations and conduct seizures.
The Dockside Monitoring Program (DMP) provides accurate, timely, thirty party verification of fish landings. It is the primary and, in some areas the only, source of landing information on which Fisheries and Oceans Canada bases fisheries management. The fishing industry and the Department are therefore dependent on the accurate verification of landings by dockside monitoring companies. The Program is also an extremely valuable management tool used by the Department to monitor the fisheries within its scope.
Dockside monitoring companies and the dockside observers they employ are designated by the Department to perform the duties related to the Dockside Monitoring Program, as indicated in the Fishery (General) Regulations. They are either private companies or not-for-profit corporations.
Three dockside monitoring companies have been designated in Quebec:
The Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) transmits regular individual vessel position information to Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The VMS improves the Department’s ability to monitor vessel positions and compliance with current fisheries regulations (such as closed areas).
In Quebec, more than 200 vessels are equipped with a Vessel Monitoring System. This management measure is mandatory for certain groups that harvest snow crab, shrimp, scallops, sea urchins and sea cucumbers. Some groundfish fleets (harvesting Atlantic halibut, black turbot, redfish and cod) must also have such a system for their fishing operations.