Notices to Fish Harvesters

Halibut - 4RST - Gaspe-Lower St. Lawrence - Fixed Gear less than 13,71m - Competitive - Others Group A127

Conservation Harvesting Plan 2017-07-19



OThers group (A127)

2017 SEASON  

Approved July 19, 2017

  1. Application

This Conservation Harvesting Plan (CHP) for Atlantic Halibut applies to the Gaspe peninsula fixed gear fleet of less than 13.71 m licence holders of the Others group fishing Atlantic Halibut in the 4RST areas from May 15, 2017 to May 14, 2018.


Note that:


2. Fishing areas

Based on valid Conditions of Licence and subject to a Variation Order, the authorized Atlantic Halibut fishing areas are 4RST.


3. Permanent 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 the recovery of the cod stock in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The following conservation measures apply:


































Note: The lines joining points 1, 2, 3, 4 and 1 (in that order) represent the permanently closed area, which is part of the section known as the Miscou box.


The lines joining points 2, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 2 (in that order) represent the area open to the directed halibut fishery (green area) from June 24 to December 31.



4. Fishing seasons


The fishing seasons below are in effect for the validity period of this CHP. They represent the maximum fishing periods, subject to, among other things, specific orders and closure periods. Therefore, openings may vary depending on particular circumstances and fisheries management considerations, including industry demand and TAC announcements, whereas closures can be expected in particular when quotas have been reached or when the probability of exceeding them is high. Exact periods will be confirmed through Notices to fish harvesters or Variation orders.


5. Quotas

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


On April 15, 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 agreed to a sharing agreement for the global Atlantic halibut quota of the three Quebec 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 Coast = 92.54 t (18.4277 %);

- Gaspe = 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:

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

- Gaspe = 336.16 t + (115.681 t x 66.9401 % = 77.437 t) = 413.597 t;

- Magdalen Islands = 73.48 t + (115.681 t x 14.6322 % = 16.927 t) =90.407 t.


According to the permanent sharing agreement between the fixed gear fleet of 13.71 m and over and the fleet of less than 13.71 m from Gaspe, respectively established to 63.5%: 36.5%, the allocation of the fleet of less than 13.71 m corresponds to 150.963 t.


Based on the permanent sharing agreement of the fleet of less than 13.71 m, the part granted to the licence holders from the Others” group corresponds to 14.75 % of this allocation, which is of 22.267 t. Considering the carry forward of the 2016-2017 uncaught residual of 2.249 t, the initial 2017-2018 allocation is 24.746 t.


An allocation of 23 t is allotted to the directed fishery and 1.746 t is allotted to cover the group’s bycatches during other groundfish fisheries.


6. Management regime

Competitive regime with individual maximum catch limits (IMCL). It is not possible to trade, cumulate, transfer or carry-over these IMCL.

The IMCL will be established considering the available allocation and the number of eligible licence holders that will have filed their interest to participate in the fishery. 

According to the Notice to fish harvesters of July 21, 2016, fishers who participated in the fishing and exceeded their IMCL during 2016 season will see their IMCL reconciled on an individual basis for the first opening period.

First opening period: Following the Notice of interest published July 12, 2017, 20 licence holders have indicated their interest to participate in the first opening period. IMCL established, before individual conciliation, is 1241kg.

If another opening period is required, the residual allocation would be distributed, based on the same IMCL, by a draw amongst the eligible licence holders who participated in the first opening period and have not exceeded excessively their IMCL during the first 2017 fishing period.


In addition, fishers who exceed their IMCL during the opening period(s) in 2016 n opening or fishing periods in 2017, could see their IMCL, or their individual quotas if there was a change in management regime, reduced by the equivalent of their excesses during the next fishing season.

For fisheries under a competitive regime with individual maximum catch limits (IMCL), it is the licence holder’s responsibility to insure its catches fall within it’s IMCL.

The current season fishery statistics will not be taken into account in the event of a change in the competitive fishery management regimes.


7. Fishing gear

The specifications for fishing gear authorized for the following directed fisheries are:


8. Hail-out

Licence holders are required to contact the vessel hail-out system before 19:00 the day before each fishing trip.


9. At-sea observers

 Industry-funded at-sea observer coverage at a minimum of 10% applies to this group.

Prior to starting a fishing trip, the licence holder must have an agreement with a company designated by the Quebec Region of DFO with regard to at-sea observer coverage.


10. Dockside monitoring

 The Dockside Monitoring Program (DMP) applies to 100% of landings.

Before the beginning of a fishing trip, licence holders must have an agreement with a dockside monitoring company legally designated by DFO whose list is available at the following address:


Landings must be made at designated ports from the list posted on the DFO Web site (


11. Combined form / Logbook / Purchase slip

Fishermen must acquire their booklet of Combined Forms from a prequalified supplier, identified by DFO, whose list is available at the following address:, completed it according to the instructions specified in the document and provide it to the dockside observer, or any other person designated by DFO, at landing.


The logbook portion of this form must be properly completed each fishing day before docking.


12. Vessel Monitoring System

Not applicable.


13. Bycatch protocol

Bycatch is defined as the round weight of a bycatch species divided by the round weight of the target species.


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


Authorized groundfish bycatch limits per fishing trip:



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

Greenland Halibut

3% per fishing trip for fishers who do not have an ITQ for this species.

White Hake

5% per fishing trip.


The lesser of 10% or 500 kg. At the time of landing and weighing, at least a portion of the tail fin must be attached to the shark's carcass. Also, the pelvic fins (the paired fins adjacent to the cloaca or “vent”) must be intact and attached to the carcass.

Other groundfish species

10% per fishing trip.


14. Small fish protocol

The minimum size of fish relative to the small fish protocol is:


·         Cod

43 cm

·         American Plaice 

30 cm

·         Witch Flounder

30 cm

·         White Hake

45 cm

·         Winter Flounder

25 cm

·         Yellowtail Flounder

25 cm

·         Greenland Halibut

44 cm

·         Atlantic Halibut

85 cm

·         Redfish         

22 cm


All catches of Atlantic Halibut less than 85 cm must be returned to the water immediately. When live fish are returned to the water, they must be handled in a manner that causes them the least harm possible.


Areas could be closed to fishing for the fleet or part of the fleet when the number of undersized fish reaches 15% of the catch of any of the above species.


15. Catch monitoring and test fisheries

Small fish and bycatch closures 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 not reopen until DFO feels that it can be effectively monitored and controlled. If a fishery is closed twice during the same year because of high levels of small fish or incidental catch, the fishery may remain closed for the remainder of the year.


16. Vessel

 Vessels with an LOA less than 15.24 m may be used, regardless of cubic number.

In order to limit the potential latent fishing effort, only vessel rentals between licence holders of the Others group will be authorized.


17. Partnership

Not applicable.


18. Conversion ratio

The following conversion ratios are used in order to convert the weight of eviscerated catches to round fish weight:


·         Atlantic Halibut



19. Quota reconciliation

Quota reconciliation provides that any overharvest of a quota in one year under a competitive regime will be accounted for in advance of the following fishing season. For example, quota overruns incurred during a management year will be deducted from the group's quotas for the following season on a one-for-one basis.


In implementing quota reconciliation, the Department authorizes quota transfers, between fleets and groups to cover any quota overrun until May 31st, after which the Department compares the final fishery data. In the weeks following this deadline, the Department makes any necessary changes to quotas for the current year based on quota overruns, if applicable.


20. Carry forward of individual quotas

 With reference to the Notice to Fish Harvesters issued on May 3, 2017, the carry forward of uncaught quotas from last year may be authorized in 2017-2018 up to a maximum of 15% of the basic quotas.


21. Other management measures

If an individual or fleet is suspected of dumping and discarding 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.


22. 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: Spotted Wolffish, Northern Wolffish, Leatherback Turtle, Striped Bass (St. Lawrence Estuary population) and White shark (Atlantic population). New species could be added within the year.

All bycatches of species identified above must be returned to the water and released in the exact capture location and, if the fish is still alive, with as little harm as possible.  In addition, information regarding any species at risk, including the 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 relevant section of the logbook.


23. Conditions of Licence

To obtain Conditions of licence, fishers must log on to the National Online Licensing System. For help with the National Online Licensing System, please contact customer support by calling 1-877-535-7307, or by sending an email at

Approved by:

Maryse Lemire

Fisheries Management Regional Branch

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

For additional information

Please visit our websiteat the following address:


Note : In the case of discrepancies between the English and the French versions, the latter prevails.

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