Notices to Fish Harvesters

Halibut - 4RST - Magdalen Islands

Conservation Harvesting Plan 2017-07-26







SEASON 2017-2018


Approved July 26, 2017



This Conservation Harvesting Plan (CHP) for Halibut applies to all licence holders of the fixed gear fleet less than 19.81 m from the RPPUM group when directing their fishing activities on Halibut in Divisions 4RST from May 15, 2017 to May 14, 2018.

Note that:

·         this CHP remains subject to change following ministerial decisions;

·         directed fishing for any other groundfish species requires a separate CHP;

·         when fishing in a NAFO division other than those indicated in this CHP, the CHP for that division applies;

·         the targeted species during a fishing trip is the species for which the licence holder holds valid Conditions of licence;

·         round weight is the weight prior to any processing.


Fishing areas

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

Information on fishing areas is available on Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) Web site at the following address:


Permanent fishing closures

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

·         from April 1 to June 23

o   Closure of all groundfish fisheries in part of NAFO Division 4R off shore from St. George’s Bay and Port-au-Port Bay recognized as a spawning area. 

·         from January 1 to December 31

o   Closure of all groundfish fisheries in NAFO Sub-Division 4T5 (Shediac Valley) recognized as an area of juveniles.

o   Closure of the directed Halibut fishery in NAFO Sub-Divisions 4T7 and 4T8.

o   Permanent closure of all groundfish fisheries in part of NAFO Sub-Division 4T3 (Miscou Bank) recognized as a cod concentration area. However, a portion of Miscou Bank is open to the Halibut fixed gear fishery from June 24 to December 31. Please refer to the map below or contact a Fishery Officer for more details.


































·           The lines joining points 1, 2, 3, 4 and 1 (in that order) represent the permanently closed area (in red), which is known as the traditional Miscou box.

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

Fishing seasons

Based on valid Conditions of licence and subject to a Variation Order, licence holders may participate to one of the eleven following fishing periods:








Period 1

3 August

9 August

Period 7

14 September

20 September

Period 2

10 August

16 August

Period 8

21 September

27 September

Period 3

17 August

23 August

Period 9

28 September

4 October

Period 4

24 August

30 August

Period 10

5 October

11 October

Period 5

31 August

6 September

Period 11

12 October

18 October

Periode 6

7 September

13 September



License holders must request their Conditions of licenses in the National Online Licensing System, by 11:59 pm on the Sunday preceding the selected fishing period. The fish harvesters need to specify in their request for Condition of licenses the desired fishing period.

Save in exceptional circumstances, a fish harvester may not modify his selected fishing period.

During the period where fishing is authorized, it is the responsibility of the captain to acquaint the marine safety notices, among others by Environment Canada and Transport Canada, as well as the standards and the best practices in marine safety, and to take all measures to insure a safe fishery.


The 4RST Halibut allocation granted to the RPPUM fleet is partly derived from the basic quota granted to the Gulf fixed gear fleets less than 19.81 m and partly from the allocation of the mobile gear fleet transferred to the fixed gear fleet, under the established sharing formulas.

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 arrangement of the global Halibut quota of the three Quebec geographic fleets. This agreement was recognized by DFO. It confirms an adjustment to the shares of Quebec geographic fleets on the basis of the 502.18 t global quota 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:

-       Quebec North Shore = 92.54 t (18.4277 %)

-       Gaspe = 336.16 t (66.9401 %)

-       Magdalen Islands = 73.48 t (14.6322 %).

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

In 2017-2018, the total quota allocated to the three Quebec geographic fleets corresponds to 617.861 t. Therefore, the sharing of this quota corresponds to:

-       Quebec North Shore = 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.

The Halibut allocation granted to the RPPUM fleet is 1.989 t for the 2017-2018 season. It represents the portion of the landings associated to the 6 licences bought back by the fleet, or 2.2 % of the available allocation.

Management regime

Management regime under individual quotas, as follows:

-       100% of the quota divided equally between the 12 licence holders from the RPPUM fleet; each licence holder’s IQ being 8.33%.

A licence holder may transfer temporarily up to 50% of his individual quota to another member from the RPPUM fleet.

Administrative guidelines will be developed with the fleet and will set the rules governing the management of individual quotas in 2018 and after.

Fishing gear

Longline with a maximum of 400 hooks with an opening equal to or greater than 15.4 mm. Longlines shall be removed from the water at the end of each fishing trip and before returning to port.

Hail prior to departure

The licence holder is required to contact DFO’s hail out system before 19:00 h the day before each fishing trip.

At-sea Observer

The At-sea Observer Program, funded by the industry, applies to this group on the basis of a 10% minimum coverage of the fishing trips.

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

Dockside monitoring

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

Before the beginning of a fishing trip, the licence holder must have entered into an agreement with a dockside monitoring company legally designated by DFO - Quebec Region with regard to the hail in and the landing of fish.

Landings must be made in one of the designated ports from the list posted on DFO’s Web site at the following address:

Combined Form/Logbook/Purchase slip

Fish harvesters must acquire their booklet of Combined Forms from a prequalified supplier identified by DFO.

Incidental catches

By-catch rate is defined as the round weight of a species incidentally caught, divided by the round weight of the targeted species.

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

Groundfish by-catch limits authorized per fishing trip:


The greater of 30 % or 45 kg

Greenland Halibut

3 %

White Hake

5 %


The less of 10 % or 500 kg. At the time of landing and weighing of the shark catches, at least part of the tail fin must be attached to the shark carcass. Also, the pelvic fins (the two fins on either side of the cloaca or “vent” area) must remain intact and attached to the carcass.

Other species of groundfish

10 %


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

·           Halibut                                                      85 cm

·           Greenland Halibut                                    44 cm

·           Redfish                                                     22 cm

All Halibut less than 85 cm must be returned to the water immediately. When releasing a fish that is alive, the latter must be handled in the manner that causes the least harm possible.

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

Catch monitoring and test fishery

Small fish and by-catch closures are for a minimum duration of 10 days. The cost of test fisheries is borne by the industry. If a fishery is closed, it will not re-open 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 by-catch or small fish, it may remain closed for the remainder of the year.

Conversion rate

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

·         Halibut: 1.14


Partnerships between two members of the RPPUM are authorized. Both licence holders shall be onboard and are allowed to use 150% of the authorized number of fishing gear. The request must be submitted to DFO at least 5 working days before the first fishing trip. Landings are accounted for in proportion to the respective individual quotas. Both licence holders will be held jointly responsible of illegal acts committed during the fishing activities, if any.


Quota reconciliation

Quota reconciliation provides that any overharvest of a quota in a given year on an individual quota regime will be accounted for in the following fishing season, or following seasons if applicable. For example, quota overrun by a licence holder during a management year will be deducted from the licence holder’s quota for the following year(s) on a one-for-one basis.

In implementing quota reconciliation, the Department authorizes quota transfers, enabling fish harvesters to cover any quota overrun until a specific deadline, after which the Department compares the final fishery data. This deadline is the end of the groundfish fishery management year, that is, May 14. In the weeks following this deadline, the Department makes any necessary changes to quotas for the current year based on overruns of individual quotas, if applicable.

In addition, when fishing under an individual quotas regime, it is the responsibility of the licence holder to adhere to the quantity allocated, taking transfers and landings into consideration. If applicable, the fish harvester must also make any arrangements required to cover any quota overruns that occurred during previous fishing trips before embarking on a new fishing trip, and must hold the required quota to cover the catches that will be made during the said trip.

Carry forward of individual quotas

With reference to the Fishermen's Notice issued on May 3, 2017, the carry forward of last year`s uncaught Halibut quotas is authorized in 2017-2018, up to a maximum of 15% of the base quotas.

The carry forward of uncaught Halibut quotas may be authorized, up to a maximum of 15% of the basic quota of a licence holder.

Other management measures

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

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 Management 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 and Striped Bass (St. Lawrence Estuary 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.

Conditions of licence

To obtain Conditions of licence, fish harvesters 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 to



Approved by:

Dario Lemelin

Magdalen Islands Area

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

For additional information

Please call 418-986-2095.


Date modified: