The Monitoring and Compliance (M&C) Panel aspires to identify and promote the fair, practical, and effective monitoring and compliance policies and practices critical to realizing the level of collaborative management required to sustain salmon and salmon fisheries. The Panel’s work has been instrumental in building best practices, in promoting a widespread appreciation of the importance of monitoring and compliance practices, and in addressing issues related to access, certification, traceability, and in season adjustments. Success will be realized when all sectors can “tell each other’s stories” about each other’s standards and practices, rather than disputing each other’s numbers, and confidently share those stories with the public.
The M&C Panel is comprised of senior representatives from Governments, First Nations, Commercial & Recreational fisheries, Conservation & Environmental non-profit sectors who are experienced in matters related to the conservation and sustainability of salmon and other species, are committed to working towards understanding all related issues, have credibility within their constituencies and are also able to communicate effectively to their constituencies.
The M&C Panel operates on a provincial level across BC and works co-operatively in support of other institutions, local groups and processes to share workload and avoid duplication of effort regarding realizing change in compliance and monitoring practices.
The Pacific Fisheries Monitoring and Compliance Panel, or (M&C Panel) as it has come to be known, started as an idea and then became a committee of the Integrated Salmon Dialogue Forum (ISDF). The ISDF first met on January 29, 2007, as an initiative to broaden dialogue among regulators and fisheries interests around shared concerns over the sustainability of salmon and salmon fisheries. Early on participants articulated a strong common desire to come to grips with needed improvements in catch monitoring and compliance. They wished “to reach a place where they could believe in each others’ numbers.” Indeed, this issue and this task arguably formed the basis for one of the biggest “deliverables” from the ISDF process, as measured in participation, number of meetings and field trips, reports, and other accomplishments, which eventually formalized in 2009 through the M&C Panel.
The ISDF and the M&C Panel working group were intended to complement, not replace the role of government salmon managers. Much of the work of the M&C Panel has been to define its role relative to improved catch monitoring and compliance, and with respect to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). Though DFO participated in the Panel and though the Panel worked closely with DFO, there was also a fair degree of freedom in how both operated. DFO was informed by the panel but produced its own independent yet related guiding document titled, Strategic Framework for Fishery Monitoring and Catch Reporting in the Pacific Fisheries, available directly through DFO.