Notices to Fish Harvesters

Halibut - 4RST - Upper and Middle North Shore - Competitive

Conservation Harvesting Plan - 2017





 Approved July 21st, 2017

1       Application

This Conservation Harvesting Plan (CHP) applies to the Upper and Middle North Shore fixed gear fleet of less than 19.81 m fishing Atlantic Halibut in NAFO divisions 4RST during the period from May 15, 2017, to May 14, 2018. When fishing is carried out in another NAFO division, the Conservation Harvesting Plan for that division applies. It is important to note that this CHP is subject to change following Departmental decisions.

Directed fishing for any other groundfish species requires a separate harvesting plan.

2       Fishing areas

The authorized fishing areas are:

·        4R

      ·        4S

      ·        4T1

      ·        4T2 ab

      ·        4T3 ab             Except for part of the Miscou bank

      ·        4T4

      ·        4T6

      ·        4T9 ab

3       Fishing closures

The protection of fish during the spawning period and in areas where there are concentrations of juveniles is a priority that the Department and the industry consider very important for cod stock recovery in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The following conservation measures apply:

Ø  Closure of all groundfish fisheries from April 1st to June 23rd in part of NAFO Division 4R off shore from St. George’s Bay and Port-au-Port Bay, which is a recognized spawning area;

Ø  Permanent closure of groundfish fisheries from January 1st to December 31st in part of subdivision 4T3 (Miscou Bank), which is a recognized cod concentration area;

Ø  Permanent closure of groundfish fisheries from January 1st to December 31st in subdivision 4T5 (Shediac Valley), which is a recognized juvenile area.

4       Fishing seasons

Fish harvesters’ organizations have agreed to divide fishing effort into two periods: a “summer fishery” for fish harvesters residing from Rivière-au-Tonnerre to Natashquan and a “spring fishery” for fish harvesters residing from Tadoussac to Sept-Îles.

Summer fishery:      Fishing is authorized from 03h00 a.m. (EDT) on July 25th, 2017, to 03h00 p.m. (EDT) on July 26th, 2017.  

The fishery will be competitive and fish harvesters will have to remove their gear from the water before returning to   the wharf.  

An individual maximum catch limit (IMCL) will apply for each participant to the fishery. The IMCL will be decided according     to  the anticipated number of participants and will be stipulated in Licence conditions 

Depending on the landings registered during the fishing period, there may be a second fishing period.  

The fishing period may be changed depending on circumstances and management considerations, for example if there are industry requests, if the quota is reached or if there is a high probability of exceeding it.  

Spring fishery:         The fishing period and other management terms for the Spring fishery will be decided at a later time. 

The industry and the Department may jointly approve a management approach aimed at adapting fishing effort with a residual quota following the fishing period indicated above.

5       Quotas

The allocation of Atlantic halibut from divisions 4RST granted to the North Shore fixed gear fleet comes in part from the basic quota granted to the Gulf fleets of less than 19.81 m with fixed gear and in part from the allocation transferred from the mobile gear fleet to the fixed gear fleet, under the established sharing formula.

On April 15th, 2016, under the coordination of the Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec (MAPAQ), representatives of fixed gear groundfish licence holders associations have come to a sharing agreement for the global Atlantic Halibut quota granted to Québec’s three (3) geographic fleets. This agreement was recognized by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. It confirms an adjustment to the shares of Quebec geographic fleets on the basis of the global quota of 502.18 t granted to these three geographic fleets and their relative shares from the 2015-2016 Quebec allocation. 

The first 502.18 t are distributed as follows: 

- Québec North Shore = 92.54 t (18.4277 %); 

- Gaspésie = 336.16 t (66.9401 %); 

- Magdalen Islands = 73.48 t (14.6322 %). 

Any additional allocation granted to Quebec fleets with fixed gear will be shared according to the same percentages.  

For the 2017-2018 season, the total quota allocated to the three Quebec geographic fleets corresponds to 617.861 t. The sharing of this quota then corresponds to: 

- North Shore = 92.54 t + (115.681 t x 18.4277 % = 21.317 t) = 113.857 t; 

- Gaspésie = 336.16 t + (115.681 t x 66.9401 % = 77.437 t) = 413.591 t; 

- Magdalen Islands = 73.48 t + (115.681 t x 14.6322 % = 16.923 t) = 90.407 t. 

In accordance with the permanent sharing agreement of the North Shore fixed gear fleet under competitive regime, the 2017-2018 initial allocation of the North Shore (113.857 t) is attributed at 54 % to the Upper and Middle North Shore (UMNS) fleet, and at 46 % to the Lower North Shore (LNS) fleet. 

Thus, the allocation granted to the UMNS fleet is of 61,483 t. In accordance with quota reconciliation, a quantity of 2.219 t corresponding to the overrun incurred in the 2016-2017 management year is deducted from the 2017-2018 allocation. Thus, the 2017-2018 Atlantic halibut quota granted to UMNS fixed gear fleet is of 59.264 t 

Of this allocation, 6.264 t are put aside to cover for Atlantic halibut bycatches in other groundfish directed fisheries, leaving 53.000 t for the directed fishery. 

The fishing of the Upper and Middle North shore allocation remains under a competitive management regime for the 2017-2018 fisheries management cycle. Other management regimes could be considered for the years to come 

6       Management regime

Competitive management regime with an individual maximum catch limit (IMCL). It is not possible to trade, cumulate, transfer or carry-over this IMCL.

The IMCL will be established upon the available allocation and the anticipated number of participants to this fishery and will be stipulated in the Licence conditions.

7       Fishing gear

Summer fishery:         Longline with a maximum of 500 hooks that must have an opening equal to or greater than 15.4 mm.

Spring fishery:             Authorized fishing gear will be determined at a later time.

To limit the risks posed by the latent fishing effort under a competitive fishery regime associated with groundfish licences that have not been active for many years, the number of hooks authorized for the Atlantic Halibut fishery is limited for groundfish licences of the Upper and Middle North Shore delivered before May 15th, 2012, and for which no landings under an Atlantic Halibut directed fishery have been recorded in the past 10 years. Holders of such licences will be authorized a maximum number of gear equal to 15% of the number of gear listed above.

Fishing gear must be removed from the water before returning to the wharf.

It is prohibited to have more fishing gear on board than the maximum permitted for the fishery.

8       Hail prior to departure

Hail out is mandatory for all participants.

Licence holders/operators must call the DFO hail out system at 1-800-561-2467 or 1-902-464-8103 (satellite) by 07h00 p.m. the night before any fishing trip.

9       At-sea observers

Industry-funded at-sea observer program applies to a minimum coverage of 10% of fishing trips.

10     Dockside monitoring

The Dockside Monitoring Program (DMP) is mandatory for 100% of landings.

Licence holders must have signed an at-sea hail and fish landing agreement with a company designated by DFO-Quebec Region before leaving on a fishing trip.

Landings must be done at a designated port which appears on the list published on DFO’s website at the following address:

11     Combined form

Fishermen must acquire their booklet of Combined Forms from a prequalified supplier identified by DFO, whose list is available at the following address:

The Logbook section must be completed before arrival at port on each fishing day.

12     Incidental catches

By-catch is defined as the round weight (entire fish) of a by-catch species divided by the round weight (entire fish) of the directed species, in this case, Atlantic Halibut.

While directing for 4RST Atlantic Halibut, the authorized percentages of groundfish by-catch are:

Ø  Cod:                                        The greater of 30% or 45 kg per fishing trip.

Ø  Greenland Halibut:                  3% per fishing trip.

Ø  White Hake:                            5% per fishing trip.

Ø  Shark:                                     The lesser of 10% or 500 kg per fishing trip. The licence older must hold the licence   conditions authorizing shark                                                     by-catch.

Ø  Other groundfish species:       10% per fishing trip.

If bycatch limits per fishing trip are exceeded, the fishery may be closed and legal proceedings may be initiated.

13     Small fish protocol

 The minimum size of fish under the small fish protocol is:  

Ø  Cod                                        43 cm 

Ø  American Plaice                     30 cm

Ø  Witch Flounder                       30 cm

Ø  White Hake                             45 cm

Ø  Winter Flounder                      25 cm

Ø  Yellowtail Flounder                 25 cm

Ø  Atlantic Halibut                        85 cm

 Ø  Greenland Halibut                  44 cm

 Ø  Redfish                                   22 cm

Possession of Atlantic Halibut less than 85 cm is prohibited. All specimens of Atlantic Halibut less than 85 cm must be returned to the water immediately and, if the fish is still alive, handled in a manner that causes it the least harm.

Areas may be closed to fishing for the fleet or parts of the fleet when the number of undersized fish reaches 15% of the catch of any of the above-mentioned species.

14     Catch monitoring and test fishery

Small fish and by-catch closures due to high catch levels are for a minimum duration of 10 days. The cost of conducting all test fisheries is borne by the industry. If a fishery is closed, it will remain closed until DFO determines that it can be effectively monitored and controlled. If any particular fishery is closed twice during the same year because of high levels of by-catch or small fish, it may remain closed for the remainder of the year.

15     Boat

Except under exceptional circumstances, vessel lease outside of the North Shore and use of a vessel over 15.20 m are not authorized.

16     Conversion rate

In the Atlantic Halibut fishery, a conversion rate of 1.14 is used to convert the weight of eviscerated catches to round fish weight.

17     Quota reconciliation

Groundfish quota reconciliation applies to the current fishing season. As such, quota overruns incurred during a fishery management year will be deducted by a one-to-one factor from next year’s quotas.

18     Other management measures

Except under exceptional circumstances, fish harvester replacement is not authorized.

If an individual or fleet is suspected of un-authorized dumping and discarding of groundfish at sea, the industry-funded at-sea observer coverage may be increased in addition to other regulatory options, including fisheries closures and legal proceedings.

It is not authorized to fish any other species simultaneously while directing fishing activities on Atlantic Halibut.

19     Species at risk act

Pursuant to the Species at Risk Act (SARA), no person shall kill, harm, harass, capture, take, possess, collect, buy, sell or trade an individual or any part or derivate of a wildlife species designated as extirpated, endangered or threatened.

At the time this Conservation Harvesting Plan is promulgated, the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Atlantic species targeted by these measures are the following ones: Spotted wolffish, Northern wolffish, Leatherback Turtle, Striped Bass (St. Lawrence Estuary population) and Great White Shark (Atlantic population). New species could be added in the course of the year.

All by-catch of species identified above must be returned to the water and released in the exact capture location and, if the fish is still alive, in a manner that causes it the least harm. In addition, information regarding interactions with species at risk, including species mentioned above as well as the North Atlantic Right Whale, the Blue Whale (Atlantic population) and the Beluga Whale (St. Lawrence Estuary population) must be recorded in the Species at risk section of the logbook.

20     Licence conditions

To obtain their Licence conditions, licence holders must log on to the National Online Licensing System (NOLS) and place a request. Valid Licence conditions will be available through the NOLS following payment of the licence and at the latest 48 hours before the opening of the fishery.

For NOLS assistance, please contact customer support by phone at 1-877-535-7307, or by email at:

Approved by:


Isabel Calderón

Act. Area director

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

North Shore


For questions regarding this harvesting plan


Fisheries and Oceans Canada

North Shore area

418-962-6314 or 1-800-463-1729



Mathieu Morin

Act. Resource Manager

Daniel Dickner

Area Chief, North Shore and Northern Québec areas, Conservation & Protection




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