Notices to Fish Harvesters

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

Conservation Harvesting Plan Season 2018-2019

 

ATLANTIC HALIBUT – NAFO 4RST DIVISIONS

 

FIXED GEAR FLEET OF THE Lower NORTH SHORE – eAstern sector

 

SEASON 2018–2019

 

Approved August 30, 2018

 

1       Application

 

This Conservation-based 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, known as the Lower North Shore’s eastern sector, 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 CHP 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:

 

·         4R

 

·         4S

 

·         4T1

 

·         4T2 ab

 

·         4T3 ab            Except for part of the Miscou bank

 

·         4T4

 

·         4T6

 

·         4T9 ab

 

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:

 

·         Closure of all groundfish fisheries from April 1 to June 23 in part of NAFO Division 4R off shore from St. George’s Bay and Port-au-Port Bay, which is a recognized spawning area;

 

·         Permanent closure of groundfish fisheries from January 1 to December 31 in part of subdivision 4T3 (Miscou Bank), which is a recognized cod concentration area;

 

·         Permanent closure of groundfish fisheries from January 1 to December 31 in subdivision 4T5 (Shediac Valley), which is a recognized juvenile area.

 

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: http://www.qc.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/golfe-gulf/coraux-eng.html.

 

4       Fishing seasons

 

Fishing will be authorized on September 5th  2018, from 5:00 AM (EDT) to 3:00 PM (EDT). Due to the high number of participants, the fishery will be open for a 10-hour period, according to Quebec Region Variation Order.

 

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

 

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.

 

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 LNS fleet for 2018-2019 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 LNS quota.

 

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

 

Since the 2017-2018 allocation of the LNS eastern sector fleet has not been entirely caught, a residual quantity of 0.176 t, representing less than 15% of the 2017-2018 allocation, is reported to the 2018-2019 fishing season. Thus, the Atlantic halibut allocation granted to LNS eastern sector fleet, including this report, adds up to 13.270 tons.

 

Of this allocation, 1.970 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. The discussions surrounding the implementation of an Individual Quota (IQ) management regime will continue during the winter of 2018-2019 with the goal that it can be implemented for the 2019-2020 season.

 

In accordance with the commitments resulting from the pardon granted to the fleet in the 2016-2017 management year, any overrun of the individual maximum catch limit (IMCL) in season 2017-2018 must be reconciled individually for the 2018-2019 season by a factor of one to one.

 

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

 

In a Notice to fish harvesters released August 23rd 2018, Fisheries and Oceans Canada invited admissible licence holders to manifest their interest to participate to the fishery for the management year 2018- 2019 at the latest on August 29 2018 at 11:59 PM (EDT). Following this period, 68 licence holders manifested their interest. These licence holders are the only ones authorised to participate to the fishery for the 2018-2019 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 179 kg of Atlantic halibut (round weight), which corresponds to 157 kg in eviscerated weight. If IMCL overruns are made by a licence holder in 2018-2019 will be deducted based on a one-to-one factor to the IMLC or to the IQ, if it in place, for the 2019-2020 next season.

 

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. Minimum catch size

 

Possession of Atlantic halibut less than 85 cm is prohibited.

 

7       Fishing gear

 

The authorized fishing gear is the 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.

 

Fish harvesters must remove their fishing gear from the water before returning to the wharf.

 

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:

 

·         A maximum of 6.4 metres (3.5 fathoms) of rope shall be used when attaching a secondary buoy to a primary buoy.

 

·         No rope attaching a longline to a primary buoy shall remain floating on the surface of the water after the Fishing gear has been set.

 

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:

 

·         Without ornamentation;

 

·         Written in a smaller or bigger font size than the VRN so as to be capable of differentiating the number from the VRN; and

 

·         In a colour that contrasts with the buoy’s colour.

 

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 MPO.QUE-Engins-perdus-Lost-Gear-QUE.DFO@dfo-mpo.gc.ca 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: XMARWhalesightings@dfo-mpo.gc.ca 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.

 

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

 

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 must have come to an agreement with a dockside monitoring company legally designated by DFO, whose list is available at the following address:      http://www.qc.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/peches-fisheries/surveillance/programme-program-eng.html

 

Landings must be done at a designated port, whose list is posted on DFO’s website at the following address:

 

http://www.qc.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/peches-fisheries/surveillance/port-eng.html.

 

12    Combined form / Logbook

 

Licence holders must acquire their booklet of Combined Forms from a prequalified supplier identified by DFO, whose list is available at the following address:

 

http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/sdc-cps/nir-nei/log-suppliers-eng.htm

 

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:

 

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

 

licence holder must hold the Conditions of licence 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.

 

14    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

 

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.

 

15    Simultaneous fisheries

 

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 15.24 m are not authorized.

 

18    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.

 

19    Conversion rate

 

In the Atlantic halibut fishery, a conversion rate of 1.14 is used to convert the weight of eviscerated catches to round (entire) fish weight.

 

20    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.

 

21    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.

 

22    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 DFO.NAT.InteractionsMM-InteractionsMM.NAT.MPO@dfo-mpo.gc.ca 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.

 

23    Other management measures

 

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

 

24    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).

 

25    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: fishing-peche@dfo-mpo.gc.ca.

 

 

 

 

 

Approved by:

 

Maryse Lemire

 

Fisheries Management Regional Director

 

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

 

Quebec

 

 

 

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:

 

http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fisheries-peches/index-eng.htm.

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