Notices to Fish Harvesters

Halibut - 4RST - Gaspe-Lower St. Lawrence - Fixed Gear less than 13,71m - I(t)Q - Association des morutiers traditionnels de la Gaspésie

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Québec – March 12, 2018 


The Quebec Region of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has begun reviewing the various administrative guidelines in collaboration with industry.

This review will apply to all the species managed under the ITQ programs currently in place. The goal is to have standard regional guidance for all ITQ programs in the Quebec Region. 

To that end, the review will include the clauses pertaining to licence reissuance and ITQ transfers.[i] 

A briefing and a preliminary consultation on the proposed new approach were organized by DFO as part of the December 2017 DFO–industry liaison committee meeting; subsequent consultations will be held in 2018 to finalize the contents and obtain the associations’ support. 

Pending final approval of the Regional Guidance for ITQ Program Management, the Department is announcing transitional ITQ program management measures to ensure appropriate management for the next fishing season. 

Therefore, starting January 19, 2018, and until the above-mentioned Guidance is in place, the administrative guidelines that expired on or around December 31, 2017, are renewed, and the rest remain in effect, subject to the following terms and conditions: 

  1. The definitions remain unchanged. 

  2. The general provisions remain unchanged. 

  3. The provisions pertaining to the Administrative Guidelines Committee remain unchanged.


  4. The provisions pertaining to quota transfer registration remain unchanged.


  5. The provisions pertaining to temporary ITQ transfer remain unchanged except for the maximum possible, which is set at 50% for all administrative directives with a maximum greater than that indicated above.


  6. The clauses pertaining to the right of first refusal and to priority when it comes to re-issuing a licence (issuance of a "replacement licence") are removed. 

  7. The clauses pertaining to priority when it comes to re-issuing a licence (issuance of a "replacement licence") to family or immediate family are removed.


  8. The concept of related licences remains in use, in accordance with the terms and conditions of the relevant administrative guideline. 

  9. Licences must be re-issued (issuance of a "replacement licence") in accordance with the rules of the relevant administrative guideline, based on the residency criterion when applicable, as well as the Commercial fisheries licensing policy for Eastern Canada - 1996. The provisions must now read as follows: 

    1. Any new potential participant in an ITQ must first be eligible according to the licensing Policy as indicated above; and

    2. When applicable, he must also be a resident of the same sector or marine sub-sector as the previous license holder (Lower North Shore, Upper Middle and North Shore, Gaspé-Lower St. Lawrence, Magdalen Islands). 

  10. The provisions pertaining to permanent ITQ transfers remain unchanged.


  11. To provide Aboriginal communities with access to ITQ fisheries, this Notice to Fish Harvesters must be interpreted in conjunction with DFO’s Reconciliation Strategy. In this regard, Aboriginal communities may acquire an ITQ or a portion of an ITQ based on a criterion of proximity to the fishing area, subject to availability.


  12. An Aboriginal community with a communal fishing licence for an ITQ fishery cannot permanently transfer its ITQ or a portion of its ITQ to another participant in the same ITQ program, unless the transfer complies with Aboriginal fishing policy. However, this community may acquire an ITQ or a portion of an ITQ in accordance with the relevant administrative guideline or the above-mentioned proximity criterion.


  13. This Notice does not apply to the administrative guidelines for interregional fleets.


  14. This Notice applies only to fisheries and fleets managed under ITQ.


For additional information


For more information you can call your respective administrative area: 


Magdalen Islands Area: 418-986-2095


North Shore Area: 1-800-463-1729


Gaspé-Lower St. Lawrence Area : 1-877-898-5559 





Maryse Lemire 

Regional Director, Fisheries Management 

Fisheries and Oceans Canada – Quebec Region




[i]1. DFO is examining the issue of related licences to determine whether these are still appropriate for certain fisheries.

2. At the same time, DFO must determine the preferred direction for inter-sector transactions by assessing the residence criterion and any other possible proximity criteria (such as home port, regional fishing area, etc.).

3. DFO is also evaluating and validating the feasibility of merging certain administrative lists and consequently some ITQ programs in order to implement more flexibility for temporary and permanent transfers.


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