Notices to Fish Harvesters

Halibut - 4RST - Upper and Middle North Shore - Competitive

Conservation Harvesting Plan Season 2018-2019






SEASON 2018–2019


Approved July 19, 2018


Amended August 1, 2018


1       Application


This Conservation-based Harvesting Plan (CHP) applies to the Upper and Middle North Shore fixed gear fleet of less than 19.81 m fishing Atlantic halibut in NAFO divisions 4RST during the period from May 15, 2018, to May 14, 2019. When fishing is carried out in another NAFO division, the Conservation Harvesting Plan for that division applies. Please 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:



3       Fishing closures


3.1      Protection of fish during spawn and cod condentrations


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:



3.2      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 seasons


Fish harvesters’ organizations have agreed to divide fishing effort into two periods: a “summer fishery” for fish harvesters residing from Rivière-au-Tonnerre to Natashquan and a “spring fishery” for fish harvesters residing from Tadoussac to Sept-Îles.


Summer fishery:       First fishing period


Fishing is authorized from 03:00 (EDT) on July 25, 2018, to 15:00 (EDT) on July 26, 2018.


Depending on the landings registered during the fishing period, there may be a second fishing period.


The fishing period may change depending on circumstances and management considerations, including unfavourable meteorological conditions, industry requests, or reaching of the quota or high probability of exceeding it.


Second fishing period


A second fishing period is authorized given the residual allocation still available following the first fishing period. In order to adapt the fishing effort to the residual quota, Industry and DFO agree on the following terms:



Spring fishery:          The fishing period and other management terms for the Spring fishery will be decided at a later time.


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


It should be reminded that it is the responsibility of the captain to acquaint himself with the marine safety notices published by Environment and Climate Change Canada and Transport Canada as well as with the standards and best practices in marine safety and to take all measures necessary to insure a safe fishery during the period where fishing is authorized.


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 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 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 2018-2019 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 2018-2019 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 UMNS fleet is of 61,483 t. Since the 2017-2018 allocation of the UMNS has not been entirely caught, a residual quantity of 3.867 t, representing less than 15% of the 2017-2018 allocation, is reported to the 2018-2019 season. Thus, the Atlantic halibut allocation granted to UMNS fleet, including this report, adds up to 65.350 tons.


Of this allocation, 6.350 t are put aside to cover for Atlantic halibut bycatches in other groundfish directed fisheries, leaving 59.000 t for the directed fishery.


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.


The IMCL will be established upon the available allocation and the anticipated number of participants to this fishery and will be stipulated in the Conditions of licence.


The fishing of the Upper and Middle North shore allocation remains under a competitive management regime for the 2018-2019 fisheries management cycle. Other management regimes could be considered for the years to come


7       Fishing gear


Summer fishery:       Longline with a maximum of 500 hooks that must have an opening equal to or greater than 15.4 mm.


Spring fishery:          Authorized fishing gear will be determined at a later time.


In order to limit the risks posed by the latent fishing effort under a competitive fishery regime associated with groundfish licences that have not been active for many years, the number of hooks authorized for the Atlantic halibut fishery is limited for groundfish licences of the Upper and Middle North Shore delivered before May 15, 2012, and for which no landings under an Atlantic halibut directed fishery have been recorded in the past 10 years. Holders of such licences will be authorized a maximum number of gear equal to 15% of the number of gear listed above.


Fishing gear must be removed from the water before returning to the wharf.


It is prohibited to have more fishing gear on board than the maximum permitted for the fishery.


8       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 (NARW):


8.1      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.


8.2      Gear Marking


As of 2019, licence holders will be required to mark the rope used to attach a longline to a primary buoy with a colour specific to their fleet or 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. Details concerning the disposition and color of the markings will be communicated later.


8.3      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:



8.4      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.


8.5      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.).


9       Hail prior to departure


Hail out is mandatory for all participants.


Licence holders must call the DFO hail out system at 1-800-561-2467 or 1-902-464-8103 (satellite) by 19:00 the day before each fishing expedition.


10    At-sea observers


Industry-funded at-sea observer program applies to a minimum coverage of 10% of fishing expeditions.


11    Dockside monitoring


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


Before the beginning of a fishing expedition, licence holders muste have come to an agreement with a dockside monitoring company legally designated by DFO, whose 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:


12    Combined form


Licence holders 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 completed before arrival at port on each fishing day.


13    Incidental catches


Bycatch is defined as the round weight (entire fish) of a bycatch 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 bycatch are:



If bycatch limits per fishing trip are exceeded, the fishery may be closed and legal proceedings may be initiated.


14    Small fish protocol


The minimum size of fish under the small fish protocol is:



15    Simultaneous fisherires


It is not authorized to fish any other species simultaneously while directing fishing activities on Atlantic halibut.


16    Catch monitoring and test fishery


Small fish and bycatch 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 bycatch or small fish, it may remain closed for the remainder of the year.


17    Boat


Except under exceptional circumstances, vessel lease outside of the North Shore and use of a vessel over 15.20 m are not authorized.


18    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.


19    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 may apply individually to each licence holder having exceeded his individual maximum catch limit.


20    Groundfish discards monitoring


The Department monitors the level of dumping and discarding of groundfish at sea. If a fleet sector or an individual is suspected of dumping and discarding 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.


21    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.


22    Other management measures


Except under exceptional circumstances, fish harvester replacement is not authorized.


23    Species at Risk Act


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).


24    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. Valid Conditions of licence 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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