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Electronic logbooks for commercial fishers
A Magdalen Islands fisherman using an electronic logbook A Magdalen Islands fisherman using an electronic logbook.

DFO J-C Richard

The fishery is constantly modernizing and becoming more professional and markets are increasingly demanding and competitive. To meet these demands, in 2005 Fisheries and Oceans Canada introduced electronic logbooks for Canadian fisheries. These logbooks are seen as vital to the future of all industry stakeholders.

Electronic logbooks are software programs used on board boat to collect information on catches and fishing effort. These logbooks enable information to be transmitted quickly and electronically to the Department. In addition, as this information is recorded on the boat, it can be consulted as needed.

This tool enhances the quality and precision of data on fishing effort and quantities landed per fisher, in addition to improving the availability of data for fishery managers. The electronic logbooks are also advantageous for fishers who wish to move towards a traceability process for fishery products and ecocertification of fisheries. As well, some software available on the market even facilitates the management of fishing operations by offering tools for monitoring income and expenses.

Electronic logbooks are being gradually introduced to fleets throughout all regions of Canada. Initially, electronic logbooks were part of pilot projects involving a limited number of volunteer fishers. Their use has gradually spread to become mandatory in some areas. For example, during the 2012 season, all lobster harvesters in the Gaspé will use this technology, a total of 170 licence holders over areas 19, 20 and 21.

In an effort to encourage fishers to use the electronic logbook in their activities, fishers from the Gaspé and Magdalen Islands received financial assistance to acquire equipment as part of the Atlantic Lobster Sustainability Measures program.

Simon Richard and Chantale Thiboutot
Fisheries Management
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