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Canadian Shellfish Sanitation Program manual
Section E – Appendices

13. General

13.1 Memorandum of understanding between the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and Environment Canada (EC) concerning the Canadian Shellfish Sanitation Program ("CSSP")

The CSSP is a shared responsibility of the CFIA, DFO and EC.

13.1.1 Purpose

This Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) recognizes:

  • the purpose of the CSSP, which is to provide reasonable assurance that molluscan shellfish (hereinafter referred to as shellfish) are safe for consumption as food by controlling the harvesting of all molluscs within the tidal waters of Canada;
  • the commitment that Canada has to the Bilateral Agreement between the United States Public Health Service and the Canadian Department of National Health and Welfare (now Health Canada), signed April 30, 1948, to improve the sanitary practices prevailing in the shellfish industries of the two countries;
  • the respective responsibilities of the CFIA, DFO and EC in delivering the CSSP in Canada, and the CFIA's responsibility as lead agency for liaison with foreign governments; and
  • the parties' mutual commitment to strive constantly to: enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of CSSP program delivery, address linkages to related issues, communicate and co-operate with each other and all stakeholders, conduct and/or participate in national and/or international audits, and take remedial action as required to implement improvements.

13.1.2 Responsibilities of the CFIA

The CFIA shall be the lead agency in the administration of the CSSP with regard to: the handling, processing, import and export of shellfish; the marine biotoxin monitoring program; and any other microbiological monitoring program not described in section 4 – "Responsibilities of EC".

The CFIA shall be responsible for:

  • inspecting and issuing certificates of federal registration to plants that meet federal regulatory requirements and are engaged in the processing, holding and export of shellfish;
  • licensing fish importers and inspecting imported shellfish;
  • administering the marine biotoxin monitoring program and any other shellfish micro-biological monitoring program not described under EC's responsibilities in section 4;
  • recommending to DFO the closing of shellfish areas because of unacceptable marine biotoxin, microbiological and chemical levels in shellfish stock, and advising DFO when shellfish areas are acceptable for the harvesting of shellfish;
  • reviewing referrals from DFO for the issuing of licences for harvesting from closed areas, for relaying or depuration purposes;
  • maintaining records, data bases and other documents in support of marine biotoxin, microbiological and chemical closures, recommended closure actions, and administrative evaluations by internal and external auditors;
  • ensuring proper application of prescribed analytical and reporting procedures in CFIA laboratories and private laboratories approved in accordance with the CSSP Manual of Operations, including adequate quality assurance, performance standards and quality control of the laboratory-generated data;
  • ensuring proper application of prescribed sampling procedures by qualified parties, including adequate quality assurance and quality control of the collected samples;
  • supporting DFO in its notification activity related to section 3(e), and providing or making available to interested parties information on program activities;
  • implementing CFIA elements of jointly developed Management Plans for "Conditionally Approved" areas; and
  • participating in the CSSP audit program, as well as in external audits by such bodies as Health Canada and the United States Food and Drug Administration.

13.1.3 Responsibilities of DFO

DFO shall be the lead agency in the administration of the CSSP with regard to the harvesting of shellfish and shall be responsible for:

  • opening and closing shellfish areas on the basis of:
    • classification recommendations from EC, based on the sanitary and bacteriological water quality of the shellfish areas, and agreed to by the regional Shellfish Area Classification Committees; and
    • recommendations from the CFIA on marine biotoxin levels, and microbiological and chemical levels in shellfish areas;
  • posting, patrolling and enforcing shellfish closures in accordance with the Fisheries Act;
  • controlling shellfish relaying operations and harvesting for depuration operations;
  • implementing DFO elements of jointly developed Management Plans for "Conditionally Approved" areas;
  • providing notification to the CFIA, EC, stakeholders and other interested parties, on locations, boundaries and timing of harvesting closures and openings;
  • maintaining records of the opening and closure of shellfish areas, as well as records of enforcement patrols, in support of reviews by external or internal auditors, and providing the CFIA and EC with annual patrol enforcement activity reports;
  • consulting with the CFIA and EC prior to the commencement of any new developmental or exploratory shellfish fisheries, and/or the issuance of any new licences or permits thereto; and
  • participating in the CSSP audit program, as well as in external audits by such bodies as Health Canada and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

13.1.4 Responsibilities of EC

EC shall be the lead agency in the administration of the CSSP with regard to recommending the appropriate classification of shellfish harvest waters based upon the sanitary and bacteriological water quality conditions of the area, and shall be responsible for:

  • conducting comprehensive sanitary and bacteriological water quality surveys of the shellfish areas in Canada, in accordance with the CSSP Manual of Operations criteria;
  • from the surveys, determining the sources of point and non-point pollution, the degree of contamination and the extent of area contamination, and recommending the location of closure lines;
  • recommending to the regional Shellfish Area Classification Committees specific classifications of areas and their boundaries, on the basis of survey results and the classification definitions in the CSSP Manual of Operations;
  • maintaining records, data bases, sectoral maps, survey reports, central files and other documents in support of classification action and administrative reviews by internal and external auditors;
  • ensuring proper application of prescribed analytical and reporting procedures in EC laboratories, private laboratories approved in accordance with the CSSP Manual of Operations, and laboratories under contract to EC, including adequate quality assurance and quality control of the laboratory-generated data;
  • ensuring proper application of prescribed sampling procedures by qualified parties, including adequate quality assurance and quality control of the collected samples;
  • promoting pollution prevention, regulatory compliance, remediation and restoration of shellfish areas, together with federal/ provincial/ municipal agencies and other stakeholders;
  • supporting DFO in its notification activity pursuant to section 3(e), and providing or making available to interested parties information on program activities;
  • upon request, providing to DFO available information on water quality for areas proposed;
  • implementing EC elements of jointly developed Management Plans for "Conditionally Approved" areas; and
  • participating in the CSSP audit program, as well as in external audits by such bodies as Health Canada and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

13.1.5 Administrative Arrangements

The Assistant Deputy Ministers of DFO and EC and the Vice-President of the CFIA hereby establish the Interdepartmental Shellfish Committee to implement this MOU. The Committee shall be composed of representatives of the CFIA, DFO and EC, as designated by Directors General from both national headquarters and regions across Canada.

  1. The Interdepartmental Shellfish Committee shall meet as required, but at least once a year, to:
    • discuss the CSSP and review national shellfish-related legislative, regulatory, policy and procedural issues of mutual concern, including proposed amendments to the CSSP Manual of Operations;
    • enhance communication and co-ordination of CSSP activities;
    • create annexes to this MOU covering specific CSSP program delivery and operational issues of mutual concern;
    • establish sub-committees and working groups as required to deal with specific issues, and develop appropriate policies and procedures for dealing with them;
    • advise senior executive management as required about the progress and effectiveness of the CSSP, and make appropriate recommendations;
    • receive presentations by provinces, shellfish industry and other stakeholders on matters that have impact on all parties, and provide appropriate interdepartmental/ agency response; and
    • produce an annual report.
  2. The Interdepartmental Shellfish Committee Meetings shall be chaired on a rotating basis by each party, which shall be responsible for providing secretariat services. The meeting recommendations and the annual report on program delivery will be forwarded to the Directors General of the CFIA and EC and the Assistant Deputy Minister, Fisheries Management of DFO, for review and approval.
  3. The Interdepartmental Shellfish Committee shall also evaluate new integrated systems-based management/inspection approaches to the CSSP, and is committed to consulting with stakeholders on the new approaches and how such approaches may be funded.
  4. Regional Shellfish Area Classification Committees shall be organized in each region of Canada where shellfish are harvested. They shall be chaired by EC, meet as required but at least once a year, and shall be composed of appropriate regional CFIA, DFO, EC and provincial government representatives. Stakeholders may participate in working groups and be observers and/or make presentations to the Committees on specific issues.

13.1.6 Implementation and Termination

  1. This Agreement will come into effect on March 1, 2000.
  2. The operation of the Memorandum of Understanding shall be reviewed periodically by the Parties, and may be amended at any time by mutual consent of the Parties or terminated by any Party upon (90) days' advance written notice to the other Parties.

13.1.7 Review

The President of the CFIA, the Deputy Minister of DFO and the Deputy Minister of EC may meet as required to review this Agreement.

13.1.8 Signatures

signed by P.S. Chamut

Assistant Deputy Minister
Fisheries Management
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Date: 13/04/2000

signed by Jean-Pierre Gauthier

Assistant Deputy Minister
Environmental Protection Service
Environment Canada

Date: 02/05/2000

signed by André Gravel

Vice-President
Programs
Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Date: 13/04/2000

14. Shellfish harvest areas

14.1 Classification of new shellfish harvest areas

14.1.1 Proposals for classification of new shellfish harvest areas are to be submitted in writing by the proponent to the chairperson of the Regional Interdepartmental Shellfish Committee (RISC). The proposal must include (but is not limited to):

  • a detailed description of the proposed shellfish harvest area, with a map and precise graphics GPS coordinates;
  • intended use such as wild harvest, aquaculture, Food, Social and Ceremonial, recreational
  • benefits of having this area classified;
  • an indication of the resource availability in the area: species and number per square metre;
  • accessibility of area for delivery of CSSP activities; and
  • any other items requested by the RISC for assessment purposes.

14.1.2 The RISC will review the proposal and then will decide on one of the following options:

  • Accept the proposal and direct CSSP authorities to proceed with the classification of the proposed area. ECCC, DFO and the CFIA will identify the work required by each department/agency and the conditions under which the classification work may be conducted such as cost or in-kind support borne by the proponent and timelines.
  • Reject the proposal and notify the proponent, in writing, of the decision and the reason for the decision.
  • Defer a decision until the proponent submits further requested information.

14.1.3 If the proposal is accepted, ECCC, DFO and the CFIA carry out their responsibilities for area classification, and then submit a recommendation to the RISC for a final decision.

14.2 Patrol policy – Technical guidelines

Specific patrol requirements that may be applied to technical and administrative situations vary among Regions. Consequently, each Region should develop a patrol policy and keep it current for enforcement personnel to use. These policy documents describe patrol organization and activities necessary to deter illegal harvesting. They meet the following technical requirements.

  • A patrol policy document must contain the following provisions:
    • method of identifying shellfish harvest areas,
    • description of area-specific patrol problems,
    • listing of areas to be patrolled,
    • frequency and nature of patrol,
    • type and frequency of reporting, and
    • educational measures to deter illegal harvesting activities.
  • The patrol policy document must be reviewed annually, revised when necessary and communicated to other regional shellfish control agencies.
  • The patrol policy document must be placed in a central file and made available on request for authorized audits.

For further information on these documents, please contact: Director of Enforcement Operations, Conservation and Protection Branch, Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

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