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Vessel Charter

Solicitation number 30002470

Publication date

Closing date and time 2022/06/01 13:00 EDT


    1.0 Scope

    1.1. Objective:

    A Contractor is needed to provide Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) with a fishing vessel and accompanying crew to conduct an ichthyoplankton (fish eggs and larvae) research survey in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) zones 4R, and 3Pn, in July of 2022. The survey will support fisheries research into the abundance and distribution of Atlantic mackerel (henceforth mackerel) eggs and larvae outside of their main spawning site in the southern Gulf of Saint Lawrence (GSL; NAFO 4T).

    1.2. Background:

    The Science Sector of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is mandated to provide scientific information essential to the conservation and sustainable use of fisheries resources. Scientists assess stock status and advise fishery managers and industry on conservation and management measures to protect exploited species. They conduct research on the biology, ecology and physiology of marine invertebrates and fishes, as well as on the factors influencing their abundance, recruitment, growth and reproduction.

    The goal of this work is to develop conservation strategies that ensure a sustainable exploitation of marine resources. Stock assessments are conducted for many commercially exploited species in the Northwest Atlantic, including the northern spawning contingent (population) of Atlantic mackerel. Mackerel is a pelagic fish with an important ecological role as it is prey to many predators, including some species of commercial importance. It also supports an important commercial fishery in all Atlantic Canadian Provinces and Quebec. The end use of mackerel is mostly bait for other commercially exploited species including lobster, snow crab, and tunas.

    A standardized mackerel egg and larvae survey covering their main spawning area (southern GSL) began in 1979 and continues to this day. The information gathered during these surveys is used to help determine the status of the spawning stock. A similar survey takes place in the territorial waters of the United States. Over the years, a number of exploratory surveys specifically targeting mackerel have also taken place in addition to the regular survey.

    1.3. Terminology:

    DFO – Fisheries and Oceans Canada

    GSL – Gulf of Saint Lawrence

    NAFO – Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization

    mackerel – Atlantic mackerel (Scomber scombrus)

    Survey Vessel – the vessel provided by the Contractor

    2.0 Reference Documents:

    1. NAFO map
    2. Study area map
    3. Technical document on the sampling gear

    3.0 Requirements:

    The Contractor will be required to provide a crew and survey vessel that is properly rigged to be able to deploy the sampling gear (details below). The survey vessel must be able to provide adequate room and board for two DFO scientists as well as well-ventilated protected space on the vessel and sufficient space on the deck to effectuate operations. The survey will take place off the western and southern coasts of Newfoundland in early July for approximately 10-15 days.

    3.1 Scope of Work:

    A Contractor is needed to provide Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) with a vessel and accompanying crew to conduct an ichthyoplankton research survey in Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) zones 4R, and 3Pn, in July of 2022. The survey will support fisheries research into the abundance and distribution of Atlantic mackerel (henceforth mackerel) eggs and larvae outside of their main spawning site in the southern Gulf of Saint Lawrence (GSL; NAFO 4T). Information on the abundances and distributions of other species sampled during the survey, as well as associated environmental data, may be used to inform research on other species monitored by DFO. The survey will contribute to a long term time series that requires following established sampling protocols during specific time periods. The survey is platform dependent and the vessel is required to have certain characteristics in order to complete the work (Outlined below in section 3.1.1-3.1.6).

    The survey schedule will encompass a total period of 10 (minimum) to 15 (maximum) consecutive days in early July, starting no later than July 10th, 2022. Within this time-span, half a day for both loading and running equipment tests prior to the survey and for unloading of equipment after the survey will be required. Loading of equipment and reception of the science staff will take place and end in Gaspé, Q.C. Choice of another port in Gaspésie will be considered if convenient for both the Contractor and the DFO science staff. Survey operations will be directed by DFO staff on board the survey vessel and will occur in Canadian territorial waters within the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) zones 4R, 4T, 4Vn, 3Pn, and 3Ps. The actual start and end dates of the survey will be determined during a pre-survey meeting between the contractor and DFO science staff. DFO will also provide a cruise plan to the vessel prior to the start of the survey.

    3.1.1 General Requirements

    The Survey Vessel must be a mid-shore or offshore fishing vessel (over 60 ft.) capable of station holding and of towing the survey sampling gear (i.e. Bongo nets) at a defined speed of 2.5-3.5 knots. The vessel and crew must be able to conduct operations around the clock (24 hour days). DFO science staff will be operating on two 12 hour shifts (06:00 – 18:00 and 18:00-06:00). Returns to port will only be considered during the mission if considered necessary (for example during very bad weather, medical reasons etc.).

    The primary objective of the survey is to sample the water column according to protocols as specified by DFO. The objectives of the surveys can only be met if the surveys are conducted according to the specified protocols. Therefore, the survey may be suspended at any time if the Chief Scientist onboard the vessel thinks the objectives are being compromised.

    All equipment and gear specified in this document and that which is not specified but is necessary for the safe and continued operation of the vessel must be operational at the beginning of the survey and maintained in working order by the Contractor throughout the duration of the survey. If the Survey Vessel is unable to conduct survey operations due to either malfunctioning or damaged equipment, those hours will be considered off-survey and payment will be pro-rated based on 24 hour days. Any hours required for repair of DFO-supplied equipment will count as fully paid.

    The Survey vessel must be able to arrive at Gaspé Quebec ready to begin loading of equipment and receiving science staff no later than July 10th, 2022.

    3.1.2 Licenses and Certifications

    The contractor must ensure that they have all appropriate licenses and certifications related to the operation of a fishing vessel according to the requirements of the Federal government, DFO, and Transport Canada. Required licenses and certifications include but are not limited to: a valid Transport Canada Vessel Inspection Certificate, Transport Canada and maritime licenses and certificates applicable to the area of operations, a current and valid fishing license in at least one area in NAFO areas 3-4, and current and valid insurance. A Scientific Fishing Permit will be provided by DFO.

    3.1.3 Specific Vessel Requirements

    In addition to the general requirements, the Contractor’s survey vessel must be rigged to deploy the survey gear (Bongo nets) following DFO protocols described below to meet the objectives of this contract. The Bongo nets (333 μm) themselves are attached to two 61 cm aluminum frames and the totality of the survey gear weighs approximately 400 lbs. The survey gear will need to be attached to a cable (minimum 300 m) in order to effectively sample the water column at various depths while accounting for the survey vessel’s cruising speed and any prevailing water currents.

    The Contractor must ensure that they are able to perform the following operations: At each station the survey gear must be able to be safely lifted and lowered from the deck and deployed a safe distance off the side of the survey vessel while cruising at 2.5-3.5 kts. While maintaining the constant cruising speed of 2.5-3.5 kts the bongo nets need to be lowered and raised in the water column (by way of the winch) repeatedly in a saw-tooth pattern at a constant rate of 0.5 m/s to a maximum depth of 50 m for a minimum of 10 m at each station.

    In order to complete this operation, the Survey Vessel must meet certain technical specifications and be rigged in a way that can complete the operation to the satisfaction of the DFO science staff (see section 3.3). The contractor will have three options to accomplish these operations:

    1. The contractor may provide a survey vessel fully rigged to complete the contract. This can be done by connecting the survey gear to a cable (minimum 300 m) and running the cable through a hydraulic crane or retractable arm. The length of the cable and thus the lowering and raising of the survey gear from the deck, deploying the survey gear off the side, and lowering and raising the survey gear in the water column can be controlled by connecting the cable to either an electric or hydraulic winch fixed to the hull of the survey vessel and powerful enough to perform the operations described above.
    2. If the contractor does not have an electric or hydraulic winch capable of performing the above operations, the contractor must allow DFO technical staff to temporarily install an electric winch to the survey vessel. This winch weighs approximately 5000 lbs and requires reliable power source of 460 V/ 30 A. The winch’s motor strength is 3 HP and its dimensions are 5ft length x 6 feet width x 4 feet height. The survey vessel must have enough space on its deck and the capability of providing the required power source for the operation of the winch.
    3. If the contractor does not have an electric or hydraulic winch capable of performing the above operations, the contractor must allow DFO technical staff to temporarily install a hydraulic winch to the survey vessel. The winch weighs approximately 2300 lbs and requires a hydraulic system on the survey vessel. Its dimensions are 3.5ft length x 4ft width x 4ft height. The survey vessel must have enough space on its deck and the capability of providing the required power source for the operation of the winch

    The survey vessel’s crew will be expected to operate and maintain the chosen system used to deploy the survey gear. The survey vessel’s crew will also be expected to aid in the stabilization of the survey gear as it is lowered and raised from the deck and as it is brought to the side of the vessel once a station is complete. Therefore, in addition to the crewmember navigating the survey vessel in the wheelhouse, there must be a minimum of two deckhands available during operations. One deckhand will operate the crane/arm and the other will operate the winch and assist in stabilization of the survey gear. A source of fresh sea water with a hose and nozzle will be required on the deck in order to rinse the nets and for cleanup.

    The depth of the sampling gear will if possible be measured by a Scanmar attached to the frames of the bongo nets and monitored on a computer. The operations deck must be visible from where the depth monitoring equipment is installed (wheelhouse or a defined dry and protected area on the survey vessel). This area must have access to a 120 V power source to provide power to the monitoring equipment (computer).

    Once a station is complete, the sampling gear will be returned to the side of the vessel where science staff and the crew of the vessel will rinse down the nets with fresh sea water. The sampling gear will then be lowered gently to the deck where science staff will continue with various tasks described in further detail in section 3.1.4.

    3.1.4 Scientific Activity Requirements

    Following the operations described above in section 3.1.3, science staff will continue spraying the nets with fresh sea water, take various measurements from the gear, detach the codends of the nets, and then transfer and transport the samples to a well ventilated and protected workspace on the deck where they will preserve the samples. A well protected and well ventilated workspace is required for the preservation of the samples as the preservation solution (formol) is a dangerous and volatile material. The workspace must be large enough to fit a table with sink that DFO staff will provide. The supply of formol and ethanol must be able to be secured to the vessel and adequately protected from all sources of damage. Science staff will transfer the preserved samples to glassware housed in boxes (both provided by DFO) and must be stored and secured safely within the vessel.

    In addition to the above activities, an adequate dry workspace must be provided to science staff for various tasks inside the survey vessel. This workspace must have a table, chairs, and a reliable source of electricity 120 V for the use of their work laptop computers.

    This scientific equipment can be stored and secured on the deck in a hermetically sealed container provided by DFO. Sufficient space on the deck or elsewhere on the survey vessel is required to store and secure this equipment. Assistance with loading and securing this container and all other equipment will be required of the Survey Vessel’s crew. These container(s) will contain the following (length cm x width cm x height cm):

    - 3 wooden transport cases (36 x 18 x 18)

    - 1 plastic case (24 x 18 x 16)

    - 1 plastic case (12 x 16 x 7)

    - 6 plastic cases (22 x 18 x 17)

    - 1 box (12 x 12)

    - 2 duffel bags (hockey sized)

    - 2 bags containing immersion suits (1/2 hockey duffel bag size)

    3.1.5 Vessel Accommodations

    The contractor must ensure that the survey vessel can provide room and board for two DFO science staff for the length of the survey. More specifically the elements listed below:

    • The survey vessel must provide clean and sanitary accommodations for the vessel crew and science staff.
    • The Contractor must supply clean, sanitary, dry, and comfortable mattresses covered with clean, fitted covers. The Contractor must also supply sheets, blankets, comforters, pillows, and towels for the scientific personnel.
    • The Survey Vessel must provide dry storage space in the accommodations for the clothing and personal effects of science staff.
    • The Survey Vessel must each have at least 1 functioning shower and toilet that can be used in privacy by the crew and science staff. The Contractor must provide toilet paper, soap and paper towels.
    • The Survey Vessel must provide sufficient potable fresh water for vessel and personal use (including showers) for the vessel crew plus the additional scientific staff for the indicated vessel endurance.
    • The Survey Vessel must provide three (3) nutritionally balanced meals each survey day. Meal times will be coordinated with the Chief Scientist to accommodate both the need to complete sampling work and the time required to prepare meals by the cook. Meals will be provided by the Contractor for all scientific personnel during all survey days.

    3.1.6 Health and Safety

    The Contractor must comply with all federal and provincial/territorial legislation regarding occupational health and safety.

    • The Captain has final discretion over the safety of the vessels and all personnel.
    • The Captain must review safety procedures and equipment (e.g., life rafts, immersion suits, personal flotation devices, First Aid supplies) with the vessel crew and science staff at the beginning of the survey and after any change in vessel or science personnel. Muster stations for all vessel crew in the case of fire, abandon ship, or other emergency must be identified to the crew and a ship’s emergency drill must be conducted.
    • The Captain must adhere at all times to navigational rules and regulations contained in the Canada Shipping Act whether it be during operations, running, drifting, or when at anchor.
    • DFO will provide immersion suits and personal flotation devices (PFDs) for all science staff. The Survey Vessel must provide adequate dry, storage for all immersion suits for both the vessel and science crew.
    • The Survey Vessel must provide Transport Canada approved life jackets in good repair for all personnel aboard.
    • Smoking must be prohibited in the Survey Vessels’ accommodation space, scientific work areas (including the wheelhouse), and mess.
    • Accommodation space, scientific work areas (including the wheelhouse), and the mess must be adequately ventilated and free from tobacco smoke, excessive engine noise, and hydrocarbon fumes.
    • During inclement weather, the Captain and Chief Scientist will work together to determine if fishing and sampling operations will continue. The Captain may suspend operations whenever it is determined that sampling is not feasible or to protect the safety of the vessel and crew. The Chief Scientist will suspend operations when the weather is affecting the sampling ability of the net or the ability to safely and accurately record and collect biological samples. Note that weather days will be paid at the full daily rate.
    • The Survey Vessel shall maintain First Aid supplies appropriate to an industrial work environment.

    3.2 Language of Work

    The language of work is French or English.

    3.3 Special Requirements

    Any fishing activities that do not comply with the scientific protocol are in violation of the fishing licence conditions and may lead to cancellation of the contract.

    3.4 Change Management Procedures

    Any changes to the scope of the project will be discussed by the DFO Project Authority and Contractor and actioned by means of a formal contract amendment issued by the Contracting


    Contract duration

    Refer to the description above for full details.

    Trade agreements

    • Canada-Panama Free Trade Agreement
    • Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement (CKFTA)
    • Canada-Honduras Free Trade Agreement
    • Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA)
    • Atlantic Procurement Agreement
    • Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA)
    • Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement
    • Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement (CPFTA)

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    Contact information

    Contracting organization

    Fisheries and Oceans Canada
    200 Kent St, Station 13E228
    Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0E6
    Contracting authority
    Plante, Karine
    301 Bishop drive
    Fredericton, NB, E3C 2M6

    Buying organization(s)

    Fisheries and Oceans Canada
    200 Kent St, Station 13E228
    Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0E6
    Bidding details

    Full details regarding this tender opportunity are available in the documents below. Click on the document name to download the file. Contact the contracting officer if you have any questions regarding these documents.

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    Summary information

    Notice type
    Request for Proposal
    English, French
    Region(s) of delivery
    Quebec (except NCR)
    Region of opportunity
    Procurement method
    Competitive – Open Bidding
    Commodity - GSIN
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