The Federation's Objectives

The Canadian Independent Fish Harvesters Federation is the national advocacy organization for Canada’s independent, owner-operator fish harvester organizations. Its main objective is to protect and strengthen policies that place independent fish harvesters as the cornerstone of Canada’s fisheries.

The Federation’s members share a common vision of fisheries sustainability based on long term conservation of Canada’s fishery resources and the economic viability and prosperity of independent, owner-operator fish harvesters and their communities. 

The Federation promotes genuine shared stewardship between fish harvester organizations and government in the management of Canada’s fisheries and organizes meetings, commissions research, prepares publications and establishes relationships with organizations with compatible aims, to advance its vision of a vibrant independent fishing sector and fishing communities.

Key policies the Federation defends

The Federation believes that there should be consistent national commercial fishing licencing policies that ensure the benefits of Canada’s abundant and valuable fishery resources return to the people who actually fish. We believe that the independent, owner-operator approach to fishing provides the best socio-economic and conservation returns to Canada and more importantly to its coastal fishing communities.

In Atlantic Canada the Federation defends a suite of policy initiatives designed to ensure that the wealth and value flowing from fishing licences and quotas are held and controlled by individual fishermen remaining in their communities across Atlantic Canada.

The fleet separation policy, established in 1979, applies to fishing vessels less than 65 feet in length. The policy “separates” the fishing and processing sectors for this fleet sector by prohibiting fish processors and other corporate interests from owning or controlling fishing licences in what is known as the “Independent Core Fleet Sector”.

The owner-operator policy, in place across Atlantic Canada and Quebec since 1989, requires licence holders in the Independent Core Sector to be present on their vessels and personally fish their licences.

The Policy for Preserving the Independence of the Inshore Fleet in Canada’s Atlantic Fisheries, known as PIIFCAF, (pronounced piff-kaff) aims to eliminate violations of the Owner-Operator and Fleet Separation Policies and ensure that inshore fish harvesters remain independent, and that the benefits of fishing licences flow to the fish harvesters and to Atlantic coastal communities.

In British Columbia - where no policies exist to protect owner-operators or the interests of fishing communities - fishing licences and quotas have been concentrating in the hands of fish processors and other investors undermining the economic viability of fishing as a profession and the economies of fishing communities . In BC the Federation and its members advocate for equal treatment for BC harvesters and giving them the opportunity to develop policies to ensure that the benefits of fishing licences and quotas flow to active, independent fish harvesters living in fishing communities.