It’s no joke. By April 1, 2014 there will be no more fisheries officers on the Coast.
The two officers now stationed in Pender Harbour will be moved to different locations in the new year according to Lara Sloan, communications advisor for Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
“One officer is going to the new mid-shore vessel patrol program based in Nanaimo. The other officer is going to the conservation and protection detachment in Langley,” Sloan said.
“Departure dates will vary depending on availability of each employee, but conservation and protection will cease operations [on the Coast] on April 1, 2014.”
Fisheries and Oceans Canada initially announced their plans back in June 2012 saying many two-person offices would be consolidated into “better-resourced centres” within the next two years.
“The department is modernizing its organizational structure in order to provide cost-effective services to Canadians,” Sloan said. “This includes a consolidation of fishery officers who will continue to cover and serve the Pender Harbour area. Canadians who rely on Fisheries and Oceans Canada will continue to receive the high-quality service they have come to expect.”
However, the changes mean fisheries officers won’t be conducting regularly scheduled patrols of local waterways.
“As far as patrols go, officers will patrol on an irregularly scheduled basis as well as respond to complaints,” Sloan said.
The Sunshine Coast will be covered by fisheries officers in Powell River who have the ability to call on the Nanaimo detachment when needed.
Sloan stressed there would be “no gaps in coverage” while Fisheries and Oceans Canada reorganizes their offices.
“The number of fishery officers remains the same. Operations will be consolidated in centralized locations to better provide effective enforcement teams,” Sloan added.