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Fishing Industry


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Registration requirements and the methods of assessment differ for some employers in the fishing industry.  The three main industry components for consideration include fish buying, fish harvesting and fish processing.

Fish buying
Fish buyers must register with the Commission and pay assessments on the value of fish purchased from commercial fishers.  Fish purchase accounts must be opened by:
  • Fish plants that purchase fish either directly or indirectly from commercial fishers unless the fish is acquired from another processing establishment;
  • Commercial buyers who purchase fish directly from commercial fishers and who do not resell the fish to a fish processing plant; and
  • Managing owners or persons employing crew members on a boat, vessel or ship engaged in the fishing industry in NL, who land part of the boat’s catch outside the province.

Fish buyers must report their purchases quarterly.  The quarterly statements are mailed out to employers in these industrial classifications 30 days before the reporting deadlines.  Failure to meet the quarterly reporting deadlines will result in quarterly late reporting penalties.

Fish harvesting
A commercial fisher is automatically covered by the Commission if he/she is:

  • A master or member of a crew of a licensed commercial fishing vessel; or
  • A master or member of a crew of a vessel which is engaged in fish packing, fish collecting, or fish buying for commercial sale or use; or
  • Any person who, in the opinion of the Commission, contributes to the catching or landing of fish for commercial sale or use in the province of NL.

As commercial fishers are generally covered by the assessments paid by fish buyers, vessel owners or fishing enterprises do not normally have to register with the Commission.  A commercial fisher who is engaged in the maintenance or minor repair of the fishing vessel or equipment during the fishing season or gearing up for/winding down from the fishing season is covered under the Act, as these activities are considered incidental to the fishing operations. However, there are several instances where a commercial fisher or fishing enterprise would be required to register with the Commission:

  • If a commercial fisher or fishing enterprise hires a person who is not a commercial fisher to engage in onshore activities such as maintenance or minor repairs;
  • A commercial fisher or fishing enterprise involved in the construction of its fishing vessel or doing major repairs on that vessel; and
  • If the vessel catch isn't sold to a fish buyer required to register with the Commission (e.g., the fish is sold outside of the province).  In this situation, the person who engaged the master or crew of the fishing boat, or the person or organization that transmitted the crew share of the sales must register with the Commission.  This may be the vessel owner, fishing enterprise or the person or organization that controls or decides where the fish is sold.
Fish processing
Employers who operate a fish processing plant or a factory freezer vessel must also register with the Commission and pay assessments based on the payroll of their plant workers. An employer operating a fish processing plant will have two accounts with the Commission - one for their plant operations and one for their fish purchases.