Notices to Fish Harvesters

Halibut - 4RST - Lower North Shore West – Competitive (prior to August 2019)

Conservation Harvesting Plan 2017-2018


Approved August 10th, 2017

Modified August 11th, 2017


1       Application

This Conservation Harvesting Plan (CHP) applies to the Québec Lower North Shore fixed gear fleet of less than 19.81 m based from Kegaska to St. Augustin, or otherwise mentioned as the western sector, fishing Atlantic Halibut in NAFO divisions 4RST during the period from May 15th, 2017, to May 14th, 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

Fishing will be authorized from August 14th 2017 at 4:00 AM (EDT) until August 23rd 2017 at 7:00 PM (EDT).

Beginning on the eighth day of the fishery following the opening date as stipulated by the Variation order, all fishing gear must be taken out of the water prior to returning to the wharf.

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

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.


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 LNS fleet is of 52.374 t. Fisheries and Oceans Canada renews the temporary sharing of this allocation between the western sector fleet (from Kegaska to St. Augustin) and the eastern sector fleet (from Old-Fort to Blanc-Sablon); those fleets receiving respectively 75% and 25% of the quota.

LNS western sector fleet’s share of the allocation is of 39.281 t.

In accordance with quota reconciliation, a quantity of 2.251 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 LNS western sector fleet is of 37.030 t

Of this 37.030 t allocation, 8,530 t are put aside to cover for Atlantic halibut bycatches in other groundfish directed fisheries, leaving 28.500 t for the directed fishery.

The fishing of the Lower North Shore – western sector 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.

With reference to the consultation lead by the Lower North Shore Fishermen’s Association in July and August 2017, 15 fish harvesters from the western sector and one Aboriginal Community are authorized to participate to the Atlantic Halibut fishery. An IMCL of 1 710 kg of round Atlantic Halibut, which corresponds to 1 500 kg of eviscerated Atlantic Halibut is in application


7       Fishing gear

Longline with a maximum of 1 300 hooks that must have an opening equal to or greater than 15.4 mm. It is prohibited to have more fishing gear on board than the maximum permitted for the fishery.

Beginning on the eighth day of the fisheryfollowing the opening date, all gear must be taken out of the water prior to returning to the wharf.


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 PM 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.

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


10     Dockside monitoring

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

Before leaving on a fishing trip, license holders must have signed an agreement with a dockside monitoring company designated by DFO – Quebec, which list is available at the following address:

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 duly 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:                            10% per fishing trip.

Ø  Shark:                                     The lesser of 10% or 500 kg per fishing trip. The licenceholder 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 is 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.This reconciliation could be applied individually to each of the fishermen whom exceeded their individual maximum catch limit.


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.

Following the recent right whales deaths in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence, additional measures must be taken to protect this endangered species. Fisheries and Oceans Canada – Quebec Region informs permit holders that an additional clause has been added to their conditions of licence, prohibiting the setting of fishing gear where right whales have recently been observed. Furthermore, set fishing gear must be retrieved when right whales are observed in the same zone.


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). 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:

Andrew Rowsell
Area director
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
North Shore


For questions regarding this harvesting plan :

Mathieu Morin
Act. Resource Manager
Daniel Dickner
Area Chief, North Shore and Northern Québec areas, Conservation & Protection
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
North Shore area
418-962-6314 or 1-800-463-1729

Date modified: