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Fishing industry

You may need WorkSafeBC coverage if you work in the commercial fishing industry; special rules apply.

Who needs coverage?

If you work in commercial fishing, you need coverage if one of the following applies:

  • You're a commercial buyer who purchases fish directly from a commercial fisherman.
  • You're a commercial fisherman who sells your catch directly to the general public or commercial buyers from outside British Columbia.
  • You're a commercial fisherman who hires anyone who is not a commercial fisherman.
  • You're a commercial fisherman who hires anyone to assist in the construction or major repair of a vessel.

When the commercial fish buyer is not responsible for paying assessments for commercial fishermen, the assessments must be paid by either:

  • The person who engaged the master or crew of the fishing boat
  • The person who is responsible for paying the commercial fishermen

Reporting payroll and paying premiums

Commercial fishermen

If you sell your fish to commercial buyers, tell buyers what gear you used to catch your fish. Buyers need to provide that information to us when they register for coverage.  If you use several types of gear, state which gear is associated with which part of your catch.

You may need to pay premiums if you sell your catch directly to out-of-province buyers or the general public.

Commercial buyers

If you're the first commercial buyer of fish from a B.C. commercial fisherman, you're responsible for registering for coverage and paying premiums on the value of the fish you buy.

You must also complete your payroll reports according to the gear type that was used to catch the fish.

Out-of-province sales

When fish is sold to a commercial fish buyer from outside BC, then one of the following needs to register and pay premiums:

  • The person who engaged the master or crew of the fishing boat
  • The person or organization that paid the crew share of the sales

Either of the above may be the vessel owner, master, charterer, or the person or organization that controls or decides where the fish is sold.

Reporting assessable payroll

Report assessable payroll using one of these rules:

A.    If fishermen are on salary, report their wages and salaries.

B.    If fishermen are paid by settlement and the labour component is clearly identified, report the gross labour component of fish settlements. A settlement is the division of proceeds from fish sales among the people who catch and land the fish. Include bonuses and any other payment that's part of the fishermen's share.

C.    If fishermen aren't paid by either method A or B above, report 60 percent of the gross purchase price of the fish.

The premiums assessed for each fisherman are limited to the annual maximum wage rate. When assessments are based on either method A or B, you can deduct excess earnings from one source where they exceed the maximum.

When you report your payroll using method C, you can deduct a maximum of 40 percent of the cost of leased fishing licenses, permits, and quotas.