Notices to Fish Harvesters

Herring - 15

Conservation Harvesting Plan - 2018


Herring - area 15 - north shore 

SEAson 2018 

Approved June 20th, 2018

1       Application 

The present Conservation-based harvesting plan (CHP) applies to area 15 herring licence holders.

2       Fishing area 

Herring fishing area 15 is defined as the area marked off by the coast and straight lines connecting the following points in the listed order: 

  1. 49°25'00" N         Shore

  2. 49°25'00" N         64°40'00" W

  3. 47°50'00" N         60°00'00" W

  4. 49°25'00" N         60°00'00" W

  5. 51°25'00" N         57°06'45" W Shore 

The fishing areas coordinates are also detailed in the Conditions of licence and on the fishing areas maps, which are available at the following address:

It is prohibited to fish aboard a vessel more than 12 m in overall length in the waters along the Lower North Shore known as the "the box". This area is defined in section 109.1 of the Atlantic Fishery Regulations, 1985.

3       Fishing closures  

Coral and Sponge Conservation Areas in the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence: 

On December 15, 2017, Fisheries and Oceans Canada created eleven coral and sponge conservation areas in the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence in order to protect areas with high concentrations of sponges and sea pens. 

All fishing activities that use bottom-contact gear or gear designed to come into contact with the sea bed, including but not limited to bottom trawls, dredges, gillnets, bottom longlines, bottom seines and traps, are forbidden in the conservation areas. 

For more information and maps of the eleven coral and sponge conservation areas, please visit the dedicated DFO website:

4       Fishing season 

Unless otherwise stipulated, the fishing season is established according to the Atlantic Fishery Regulations, 1985 and is authorized annually from January 1 to December 29.However, fishing activities usually begin at the end of June and end in September. The exact dates will be communicated through a Notice to Fish Harvesters on the Fisheries and Oceans Canada web site at the address specified at the end of this document. 

Mobile gear fishery within 4Sw sub-division 

In order to reduce the fishing effort in the portion of area 15 corresponding to NAFO’s sub-division 4Sw, in accordance with DFO’s Science department’s recommendation of the stock assessment, the following management measures will apply within 4Sw sub-division for herring fishery with mobile gear only: 

The coordinates of NAFO divisions are detailed on the map available at the following address: 

The seasons established in this section will be in effect for the duration of this CHP. They represent the maximum duration of fishing periods. Opening dates may vary according to particular circumstances such as industry requests and the TAC announcement, while closing dates may be advanced according to factors such as the reach of quota or when risks of exceeding it are high. Opening and closing fishing dates will be confirmed through usual communication means, particularly Notices to Fish Harvesters or Variation Orders.

5       Number of licences and access 

Area 15 groups 253 herring fishing licences. Among all licence holders, 12 hold purse seine licences, 25 hold trap licences and 216 hold gillnet licences.

6       Quotas 

The Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for 2018 for the entire area 15 is of 4 000 tons.

7       Management regime 

Management under a competitive fishery regime.

8       Fishing gears 

Specific to the licence, the following gear is allowed: 


Please note that as of 2018, the use of annual tags is mandatory. Licence holders must obtain their tags from suppliers approved by DFO, whose list is available at the following address: 

Licence holders will receive replacement tags (color: light blue) corresponding to 10% of the number of fishing gear authorized upon initial order. Other replacement tags may be available upon request.

9       New management measures to minimize the risks of interactions with the North Atlantic Right Whale 

The following requirements have been implemented in order to reduce the risk of entanglement of North Atlantic Right Whales. 

9.1      Amount of Rope Floating on the Surface of the Water 

The following requirements will be in place to minimize the length of rope floating on the surface of the water in order to reduce the risk of North Atlantic Right Whales entanglements:  

Note: A primary buoy is defined as a buoy or other floating device attached to a fishing gear. A secondary buoy is defined as a buoy or other floating device attached to a primary buoy. 

9.2      Gear Marking 

As of 2019, licence holders will have to mark the rope used to attach a fixed gear (gillnet and trap) to a primary buoy with a colour specific to the fishing area in which they are authorized to fish. This new requirement will help officials to better identify the sectors where a NARW may have become entangled. 

The shade of the colour used for the markings shall contrast with the colour of the rope used to attach a fishing gear to a primary buoy. The coloured markings specific to each fishing area will be defined later.  

9.3      Additional Identification of Buoys 

In addition to the current regulatory requirement to mark buoys with the vessel registration number (VRN), licence holders are required to identify each primary buoy with a sequential number in order to be able to individually identify each fishing gear. This additional requirement will help identify and retrieve lost gear and could also help identify the sector where a NARW may have become entangled. 

The sequential number shall be solid block Arabic numerals:  

9.4      Requirement to Report Lost Gear  

Starting in 2018, licence holders must report lost gear to Fisheries and Oceans Canada. This new management measure will allow the amount of gear lost annually to be quantified, and help identify the need to increase efforts to retrieve gear that has been lost, which would reduce the risk of whale entanglements.  

The information specified below must be reported by email to DFO at within a 24 hours period following the end of the fishing trip during which the loss of the fishing gear was noted, or within a 24 hours period following the arrival at port if the fishing trip is not yet finished:  

a) the name of the licence holder / fishing vessel operator;  

b) vessel registration number;  

c) target species;  

d) number and type(s) of gear lost;  

e) sequential tag number attached to each lost fishing gear;  

f ) sequential number indicated on the primary buoy attached to each lost fishing gear;  

g) latitude and longitude of the last position of each lost gear, if known; and  

h) the last date on which the lost gear was set or lifted. 

9.5      What to do if you observe a North Atlantic right whale 

First of all, it is important to maintain a minimum distance of 100 meters from the animal. Details regarding sightings of live and free-swimming right whales may be provided to DFO at: or by phone at 1-844-800-8568. If you observe this species, please send us your contact information and information about the sighting (date, time, geographical position, number of individuals, etc.). If possible, you can also send us photos or videos. 

If you see a right whale entangled in fishing gear, you should not under any circumstances attempt to release it on your own. The behaviour of an entangled individual is unpredictable and dangerous. You should contact "Marine Mammal Emergencies" at 1-877-722-5346 as soon as possible to share information that will help to organize an appropriate response by experts (time and position of the entangled animal, behavior of the individual, details on the weather and the state of the sea, etc.).

10    Combined form / Logbook  

Licence holders must complete the Logbook section of their Combined form for each fishing day. 

The booklet of Combined Forms must be acquired from a prequalified supplier identified by DFO, whose list is available at the following address: 

The Logbook section must be completed in compliance with instructions specified in the document and sent to DFO within 10 days following the landing. 

The Logbook section of this form must be duly filled every fishing day, before arrival at port.

11    Vessel monitoring system (VMS) 

Licence holders using a purse seine to fish for herring in area 15 must use an active a vessel monitoring system (VMS) approved by Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Each licence holder must register his approved VMS with DFO prior to the beginning of his fishing activities. The broadcasting frequency must be of 30 minutes. 

The current list of DFO-approved VMS units and the procedure and form to register a VMS unit are available at the following address:

12    Dockside Monitoring 

Following the completion of works at the Blanc-Sablon wharf, dockside monitoring which was exceptionally suspended is restored on landings from purse seine and trap fishing. 

The targeted coverage rate of the dockside monitoring in 2018 is of 25% of the landings and will be distributed in a similar proportion between both gear landings. Hail in will be mandatory when fishing under trap or purse seine licences. 

Licence holders must have signed an at-sea hail and fish landing agreement with a company designated by DFO-Quebec Region before leaving on a fishing trip. 

Landings must be done at a designated port which appears on the list published on DFO’s website at the following address:

Discussions will be held with the industry and the dockside monitoring companies to implement a coverage rate of 100% from 2019.

13    Boat 

Boat leasing from outside the North-Shore is not allowed.  

The use of a boat registered in a licence holder’s name (lease) must be kept during a minimum of one (1) month during the course of the season.

14    Marine mammal interaction reporting 

In order to comply with the implementation of the US Marine Mammals Protection Act (MMPA) regulations, licence holders must now provide information regarding all interactions with a marine mammal including: bycatch, collisions and all sightings of entangled marine mammals that occur during fishing expeditions. To do this, the Marine Mammal Interaction Form must be completed and submitted by email to within 48 hours after the end of a fishing trip.

The information provided on this form will be used by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to estimate levels of accidental mortality and injury to marine mammals. This information will allow DFO to better assess the types of threats that may affect Canada's marine mammals and to develop mitigation strategies. 

In addition, if you observe a dead or distressed animal, please contact Marine Mammal Emergencies as soon as possible at 1-877-722-5346. If possible, do not hesitate to take photos or videos that will allow DFO to assess the situation and identify the species.

15    Species At Risk Act (include for all species) 

Pursuant to the Species at Risk Act, 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 Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence species susceptible to being captured are the following: the Spotted Wolffish, the Northern Wolffish, the Leatherback Turtle and the Striped Bass (St. Lawrence River population). New species could be added during the course of the year. 

All incidental captures of species identified above must be immediately returned to the water where they were captured and, if the animal is still alive, in the manner that causes it the least harm. All incidental captures of species at risk must be recorded in the « Species at Risk » section of the logbook. Furthermore, all interactions with species at risk, notably the North Atlantic Right Whale, the Blue Whale (Atlantic population), the Beluga Whale (St. Lawrence Estuary population) and the White Shark (Atlantic population), must be recorded in this section of the logbook.  

These requirements are additional to any obligation to declare an interaction with a marine mammal using the prescribed form (see section Marine mammal interaction reporting).

16    Conditions of licence 

To obtain their Conditions of licence, licence holders must log on to the National Online Licensing System (NOLS) and place a request. These 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: 

Maryse Lemire 

Fisheries Management Regional Director 

Fisheries and Oceans Canada 


For any question regarding this CHP

You may call at 1-800-463-1729

For additional information 

Please visit our website at the following address:


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