Notices to Fish Harvesters

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

Conservation Harvesting Plan 2017-2018


Approved September 1st, 2017 

Modified September 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 Old Fort to Blanc Sablon, or otherwise mentioned as the eastern 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 

Due to unfavourable weather forecasts, the fishery initially planned on September 12th 2017, is postponed to September 13th 2017, from 5:00 AM (EDT) to 3:00 PM (EDT).


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, including industry requests, or unfavourable weather forecasts.


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 eastern sector fleet’s share of the allocation is of 13.094 t.


LNS eastern sector fleet requested a pardon for the 12.522 t quota overrun incurred during the 2016-2017 management year. Following an analysis and commitments from the fleet, the pardon of the quota overrun has been granted. Consequently, the 12.522 t overrun will not be deducted from the 13.094 t Atlantic halibut allocation granted to the LNs eastern sector fixed gear fleet for the management year 2017-2018. Please note that a pardon for a quota overrun can be granted only once to a given fleet.



Of the 13.094 t allocation granted to LNS eastern sector fixed gear fleet, 1.794 t are put aside to cover for Atlantic halibut bycatches in other groundfish directed fisheries, leaving 11.300 t for the directed fishery.


6       Management regime


The fishing of the Lower North Shore – eastern sector allocation remains under a competitive management regime for the 2017-2018 fisheries management cycle. In accordance with the terms that need to be met for a pardon of a quota overrun to be granted, and following the fleet’s commitment, an individual maximum catch limit (IMCL) will apply to every licence holder for the actual (2017-2018) management year. An individual quotas (IQ) management regime will be developed and effective for the next management year (2018-2019). Please note that landingsincurred in 2017-2018 will not be taken into account to establish the IQs.


It is not possible to trade, cumulate, transfer or carry-over the IMCL.


In a Notice to fish harvesters released August 23rd 2017, Fisheries and Oceans Canada invited admissible licence holders to manifest their interest to participate to the fishery for the management year 2017- 2018 at the latest on Monday, August 28th 2017 at 4:30 PM (EDT). Following this period, 61 licence holders manifested their interest. These licence holders are the only ones authorised to participate to the fishery for the 2017-2018 management year.


Due to the quota granted to the fleet in directed fishery and to the number of participants to the fishery, the IMCL is established at 185 kg of Atlantic halibut (round weight), which corresponds to 162 kg in eviscerated weight. Since an IQ management regime will be established for the next management year (2018-2019), any IMCL overrun incurred in the actual season will be reconciliated individually on the IQs established for the 2018-2019 season on a one-to-one basis. The application of individual quota reconciliation the first year following a quota overrun pardon is an essential requirement for a pardon to be granted.


Depending on the landings registered during the fishing period, there may be a second fishing period. In the event of a second opening period, only the fish harvesters who participated to the first period and respected their IMCL will be eligible.


7       Fishing gear


Longline with a maximum of 100 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. 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 07:00 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 10% 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 licence holder 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     Partnership (buddy-up, or Combining of licences)


The partnership (buddy-up) system allows two licence holders to fish on the same boat with twice the number of hooks authorized per boat.


Fish harvesters must have participated in the directed Atlantic Halibut fishery at least one year over the last 10 years in order to be allowed to participate in the partnership system. Landings will be divided on a 50/50 ratio between the two licence holders being part of a partnership agreement.


Both licence holders must be present on the boat during the fishing activities.


Eligible fish harvesters interested in concluding a partnership agreement must first place a request through the National Online Licencing System (NOLS). Combining of licences is limited to one partnership agreement per fish harvester.


17     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.


18     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 will be applied individually. As such, any IMCL overrun during the actual fishing season will be deducted individually on the IQs that will be established before the 2018-2019 season on a one-to-one basis.


19     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.


20     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.


21     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 for fish harvesters that have manifested their interest to participate to the fishery within the application period, 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: