Nova Scotia

Web-based only fishing licence system goes online Apr. 1

Yarmouth fishermen are lining up to try and get licence issues sorted out ahead of some major changes set to go online on Monday.

Some not happy with DFO office closures

Yarmouth fishermen are lining up to try and get licence issues sorted out ahead of some major changes set to go online on Monday.

Beginning next week, there will be no one in the office to handle licences and tags. Instead, fishermen will be asked to file online.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is moving its licensing services to the internet starting on April 1. (CBC)

The new $3-million web-based system was set to launch Jan. 1 but was pushed back due to technical glitches with the online system.

The change is not going over well.

Richard d'Entrement, a spokesperson for Acadian Seafood Processors, said the office is used by nearly 10,000 fishermen in the Yarmouth area.

"It’s hard to believe, I can’t believe in an area like this with the fishing. [The fishing industry is] all we have left in this area. We need this office bad," he said.

The new web based system is set to go online April 1.

Moving services to the web is not the only change for fishermen this year. They will have to start sourcing and buying their own lobster tags and logbooks.  

Fishermen will also have to pay the full cost of at-sea observers.

The changes to management programs follow cuts to the Fisheries and Oceans Canada's budget last year.

In 2012, the department's budget was cut by $79 million as part of the national deficit reduction plan.

With files from Paul Withers

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