PAL Aerospace gets $128M surveillance contract
By Wings Staff
The Government of Canada is awarding a five-year, $128 million contract to PAL Aerospace based in St. John's, Newfoundland. The contract, announced by Seamus O'Regan, Minister of Indigenous Services and Member of Parliament for St. John's South, focuses on aerial surveillance in St John's to improve conservation and protection of Canadian oceans.
By Wings Staff
The contract which is to take effect no later than September 1, 2020, includes two King Air 200 and two Dash-8-100 maritime patrol aircraft. Fishery officers flew more than 750 hours in 2018 patrolling the Gulf of St. Lawrence to enforce fishery management measures designed to protect North Atlantic right whales. Aerial surveillance over Southern Resident Killer Whale critical habitat increased by 30 per cent in 2018, according to the government, following the implementation of fishery management measures for Chinook salmon, the whales’ preferred prey.
The agreement also includes opportunities for PAL Aerospace to earn extensions that increase the life of the contract to 10 years. Over the next 18 months, PAL Aerospace will prepare bases of operation in Halifax and Campbell River, in addition to its headquarters in St. John’s, supporting more than 100 jobs in the process.
This new contract, explains the government, will provide fishery officers with longer range aircraft, expanding their range of operations and giving them enhanced tools to combat illegal fishing and increase Canada’s maritime security. The contract will also allow high-fishing areas to be patrolled more often and for longer periods.
This contract will also help fulfill the Government of Canada’s commitment to protecting Canada’s oceans, waterways and marine life. With its goal to protect 10 per cent of Canada’s marine and coastal waters by 2020, the government explains these aircraft and new bases of operation will help fishery officers better patrol marine protected areas (MPAs) across Canada, including remote MPAs Anguniaqvia niqiqyuam and Tarium Niryutait in the Beaufort Sea.
The aircraft will also help enforce the measures put in place by the Government of Canada to protect endangered whales. This includes monitoring the Gulf of St. Laurence for compliance of the recently announced fisheries management measures for North Atlantic right whales, as well as monitoring critical habitat areas for Southern Resident killer whales and enforcing fisheries management measures for their primary prey, Chinook salmon.
“Canada’s fishery officers perform a crucial role in conserving and protecting Canada’s marine and coastal areas, as well as fisheries resources and habitat,” said Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard. “The contract awarded to Newfoundland and Labrador’s PAL Aerospace will allow fishery officers to go out further and do better enforcement. With longer range aircrafts and bases in Halifax and Campbell River, the Government of Canada will be able to increase compliance and enforcement from coast to coast to coast.”
In addition to the PAL Aerospace contract, the government is also committed to hire more than 100 new fishery officers by the end of 2019.