The introduction of combining, along with a new approach to vessel replacement, represents a significant change in the management of the fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador. It allows: fishers greater control in their enterprise; more opportunities for individual choices based on economic and operational circumstances; and, greater industry empowerment and accountability.
This Ocean-to-Plate approach will lead to an ecologically sustainable, economically viable and internationally competitive fishery over the long-term.
Where we are
It was widely recognized during the Fishing Industry Renewal consultation process that there is a pressing need to reduce harvesting capacity in almost all fleet sectors using vessels under 65 feet. Under the current licensing policy in Newfoundland and Labrador, fleets have very little flexibility to make short-term adjustments to capacity (i.e. buddy-up only, one fishing season only) and no flexibility to permanently reduce capacity.
Where we�re going
The introduction of enterprise combining will provide fleets with the flexibility to self-rationalize by voluntarily adjusting harvesting capacity as resource and economic conditions change. Fleet rationalization will improve economic viability and income levels for fishers and will attract and retain fish harvesters in future.
Under the new policy, individual Independent Core (IC) enterprise owners can buy another IC enterprise for the purpose of combining the two. Initially, a maximum of two enterprises combining into one will be permitted, with the provision that individuals will be permitted to acquire a maximum of two times the Individual Quota (IQ) level in their fleet. The "two-into-one" combining option will result in the removal of one IC enterprise, a vessel registration and any duplicate species licences.
Other combinations, such as two IC licence holders buying one enterprise, ten IC licence holders buying one enterprise, or a fleet buying out individual IC licence holders will be permitted - provided that the individuals remaining in the fishery do not exceed the permitted maximum quota accumulation level.
All IQs associated with the enterprise will be permanently combined with those of the purchaser(s). In the case of competitive licences, Individual Harvesting Restrictions (IHRs) and fishing histories can be combined, and gear limits can be increased. In the case of duplicate licences that will not be beneficial to combine, the option of transferring those licences to other IC licence holders who do not currently hold that licence will be permitted but only within the same fleet or Fishing Area.
Enterprise combining will only be permitted within specific geographical areas and/or fleets.
For the inshore fleet, combining will be permitted on a Fishing Area basis (bay by bay). For the over 35� fleet, combining will be permitted on a NAFO Division basis, with the exception of the 3L fleets. In 3L, full-time crab and large supplementary crab licence holders will be permitted to combine, but small supplementary crab licence holders can only combine within their own fleet. This restriction is consistent with the geographic areas these fleets are permitted to fish.
DFO will work closely with the various fleets during the implementation phase of the enterprise combining policy. Modifications to the policy, such as adjustments in the permitted level of quota accumulation, transferability across fleets, and others can be expected over time as DFO and industry learn from our implementation experience. However, fleets will not be permitted to "opt-out" (i.e. no combining permitted) of the enterprise combining policy option.
These changes will be in effect immediately and can be applied in the 2007 fishing season. Over the next several months, DFO will work closely with fleet sectors to implement changes however the administrative workload associated with the changes is significant and processing of new licenses may take some time.
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