Notices to Fish Harvesters

Herring - 15

Conservation Harvesting Plan - 2019-2020


Herring – area 15 – north shore 

SEAsons 2019-2020 

Approved May 22, 2019

1       Application 

The present Conservation-based harvesting plan (CHP) applies to herring licence holdersof area 15, Québec region, North Shore area.

2       Fishing area 

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

  1. 49°25'00" N        Shore (Pointe-des-Monts)

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

3       Permanent closure of fishing areas  

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

On December 15, 2017, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) 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 prohibited in those conservation areas.  

For more information or to consult the maps of the eleven coral and sponge conservation areas, please visit the dedicated DFO website at the following address:

4       Fishing season

 The following seasons are in effect for the duration of this CHP. They represent the maximum duration of fishing periods,subject to specific Variation Orders and closure periods, among other things. Thus, opening dates may vary according to particular circumstances and fisheries management considerations, such as industry requests and the TAC announcement, while closing dates may be advanced according to factors such as the reach of quotas or when risks of exceeding them are high. The specific periods of fishing activities will be confirmed by Notices to Fish Harvesters or Variation Orders

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, the traditional period for fishing activities extends from June to September. 

Also, it should be reminded that during the period where fishing is authorized, it is the responsibility of the captain to acquaint himself with the marine safety notices published among others 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.

5       Number of licences and access 

Area 15 groups 251 herring fishing licences. Among those, 12 licence holders hold purse seine licences, 25 hold trap licences and 214 hold gillnet licences.  

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.

6       Quotas 

For the duration of this CHP, the total allowable catch (TAC) for the whole of Area 15 is set at 4 500 tons. A maximum catch level of 4 000 tons is allowed in NAFO Subdivision 4Sw. 

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

7       Management regime 

Management under a competitive fishery regime without sharing of the allocation between the fixed gear fleet and the mobile gear fleet.

8       Fishing gears 

Specific to the licence, the following gears are allowed: 

Mobile gear: purse seine  

Fixed gear:   gillnet, trap, hand line 


Licence holders will receive replacement tags corresponding to 10% of the number of gears authorized, upon initial order. Other replacement tags may be available upon request. 

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

Management measures to reduce interactions with North Atlantic Right Whales and to report any interactions with marine mammals are now in place in all Quebec fisheries. All the information on these measures has been published in the April 12, 2019 Notice to Fish Harvesters, available at the following link: 

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 

Since 2018, the following requirements are in place to minimize the length of rope floating on the surface of the water and 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

Licence holders using fixed gear must mark the rope used to attach a fishing gear to a primary buoy with a colour specific to the targeted species and to the fishing area in which they are authorized to fish. Implemented in 2018, this requirement is intended to facilitate the identification of the area where an entanglement has occurred. The following coloured markings are required for each fleet:  


Colours for marking

Entry into force

Snow crab, area 12


Mandatory as of 2018

Snow crab, area 12E


Mandatory as of 2018

Snow crab, area 12F


Mandatory as of 2018

Snow crab, area 12A


Mandatory as of 2019

Snow crab, area 12B


Mandatory as of 2019

Snow crab, areas 12C, 13, 14, 15 et 16A


Mandatory as of 2019

Snow crab, area 16


Mandatory as of 2019

Snow crab, area 17


Mandatory as of 2019

Lobster (Gaspé and Magdalen Islands)

To be determined

Mandatory as of 2020

Lobster (North Shore)

To be determined

Mandatory as of 2020


To be determined

Mandatory as of 2020

Other crab species

To be determined

Mandatory as of 2020


To be determined

Mandatory as of 2020


To be determined

Mandatory as of 2020

The rope used to attach a fishing gear to a primary buoy must bear these coloured markings that are 15 cm in length. Starting from the primary buoy, the coloured marking shall be permanently affixed every 27.4 meters (15 fathoms) along the rope attaching a fishing gear to a primary buoy. The requirements for shallow water fisheries will be clarified later. 

The markings shall be made by using coloured twine or coloured tape: 

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. 

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 and retrieved gear  

Since 2018, licence holders must report lost gear to Fisheries and Oceans Canada. This 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. 

Licence holders must report any lost fishing gear or the retrieval of any of their own previously reported lost gear to Fisheries and Oceans Canada by completing and submitting the Lost Fishing Gear form or the Retrieval of Previously Reported Fishing Gear form, available online at the following address: Retrieval of a fishing gear can only occur under a valid fishing licence and only in relation to the fishing gear authorized by the fishing licence. 

The appropriate form must be completed and submitted within 24 hours of discovering that gear has been lost or within 24 hours of retrieving gear previously reported as lost. For fishing trips of less than 5 days in length, the appropriate form must be completed and submitted within 24 hours of arriving at port. 

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 and 200 meters if the whale is accompanied by a calve. 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    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 that occur during fishing expeditions, including: bycatch, collisions and all sightings of entangled marine mammals. 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. 

A copy of the form is attached to the Conditions of licence and can also be downloaded and submitted online at the following address: 

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.

11    Dockside Monitoring 

Dockside monitoring and hail-in are mandatory for the purse seine, trap and gillnet fishery.  

Prior to 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: 

The targeted coverage rate of the Dockside Monitoring Program (DMP) is 25%, distributed in a similar manner among landings from each of the gears listed above. Discussions will be held with industry and dockside monitoring companies to implement 100% coverage as soon as possible. 

Landings must be made at one of the designated dockside monitoring ports, a list of which is available at the following address:

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: 

The Logbook section must be completed prior to arrival at port on each fishing expedition. The completed form must be submitted to the dockside monitoring company or DFO within 10 days following the landing.

13    Vessel monitoring system 

Licence holders using a purse seine to fish for herring in area 15 must use an active Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) approved by Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Each licence holder must register his approved VMS unit with DFO prior to the beginning of his fishing activities.Data must be transmitted every 30 minutes. 

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

14    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.

15    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, the Striped Bass (St. Lawrence River population) and exceptionally the White Shark (Atlantic population). New species could be added during the course of the year. 

All incidental captures of species at risk 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. The 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 the following address:

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:


Date modified: