Fisheries Division Issues A COVID-19 Office Operating Protocol


In light of the challenges being faced across the entire fishing industry as a result of the impact of the Corona virus (COVID-19), and the dependency of the nation on the fisheries and agriculture sectors to assist in the efforts to ensure food security, it is also critical that the harvesting of the marine resources be done in a controlled manner and that the best practices for sustainable use are observed.

These include managing the number of fishing units and implementing measures to detect, deter and illuminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing.

Fisheries Division will implement the following measures to allow bona fide fishing operations to be regularised in accordance with the Fisheries Act 2006 and the Fisheries Regulations 2013.

1. The office will be open to facilitate the renewals of fishers’ and vessel licences. The operating hours will be 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. This will take effect from Monday 20th April 2020.

2. Fisher licenses – Priority will be given to fishers operating on commercial fishing vessels who have been licensed under the Fisheries Regulations 2013 and whose licence would have expired within the last two years.

3. Fishing vessels – Priority will be given to commercial fishing vessels which were licensed within the last two years (from January 2018 to the end of 2019).

4. Inspection of fishing vessels – the Fisheries Division will be operating with minimum staff in order to comply with social distancing protocols. To reduce contact, some inspections will be done remotely where possible. To facilitate remote/virtual inspections, fishing vessel owners will be required to provide current photos of both sides of their vessels so that the registration markings can be verified.
For vessels present at Point Wharf- equipment must be laid out on the deck to allow for
contactless visual inspection.

5. Virtual inspections – forms must be completed and submitted before going to the office.
Photographs must be readily available for transfer upon instructions by the Inspector/Licensing Officer.
Fishing vessel owners are required to complete the forms accessible through the following link where a virtual inspection is to be conducted.

6. Customers – Only two fishers at a time will be allowed in the office and they must be wearing a face mask as a requirement. Fishers renewing their licences will be asked to remove their masks for no more than 20 seconds in order to capture their photo to be printed on the license. No fisher will be allowed to wear gloves in the building and social distancing protocols must always be maintained. Persons waiting to enter the building must also be spaced at least 6 feet away from each other.

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