Notices to Fish Harvesters

Halibut - 4RST - Gaspe-Lower St. Lawrence - Fixed Gear less than 13,71m - Competitive - Lobster Fishers Group A125

Conservation Harvesting Plan

 

Approved July 9, 2019

 

1.    Application

This Conservation Harvesting Plan (CHP) for Atlantic Halibut applies to commercial fishing licence holders in the Gaspe Peninsula lobster fleet of less than 13.71 m, designated by the Regroupement des Pêcheurs Professionnels du Sud de la Gaspésie (RPPSG) when conducting Atlantic halibut fishing activities for tourism purposes in part of Area 4T from May 15, 2019 to May 14, 2020.

 

Note that:

2.    Fishing Areas

Based on valid Conditions of licence and subject to a Variation Order, the authorized Atlantic Halibut fishing areas are 4T3a, 4T3b, 4T4 et 4T6.

 

The fishing areas coordinates are listed in the Conditions of licence and are also indicated on the fishing areas maps, which are available at the following address: http://www.qc.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/peches-fisheries/commerciale-commercial/index-eng.html

3.    Fishing closures

3.1       Protection of fish during spawn and cod concentrations

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 the recovery of the cod stock in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The following conservation measures apply: 

MAP: MISCOU BANK AND PORTION OPEN

TO THE ATLANTIC HALIBUT FISHERY

 

Point

Latitude

Longitude

1

48º15'00"

64º22'00"

2

47º52'00"

64º22'00"

3

47º52'00"

64º02'00"

4

48º15'00"

64º02'00"

5

48º09'00"

64º22'00"

6

48º09'00"

64º10'00"

7

47º55'00"

64º10'00"

8

47º52'00"

64º15'00"

 

Note: The lines joining points 1, 2, 3, 4 and 1 (in that order) represent the permanently closed area, which is part of the section known as the Miscou box.

 

The lines joining points 2, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 2 (in that order) represent the area open to the directed halibut fishery (green area) from June 24 to December 31.  

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.

 

3.3       Banc-des-Américains Marine Protected Area

On March 6, 2019, Fisheries and Oceans Canada created, jointly with the Quebec government, the Banc-des-Américains Marine Protected Area (MPA) in order to the ensure the conservation and protection of this marine ecosystem.

Provisions of the Banc-des-Américains Marine Protected Area Regulations apply to licence holders. In order to comply with them, please refer to the clauses that apply to your fishing activities: http://www.gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p2/2019/2019-03-06/html/sor-dors50-eng.html

3.4       Temporary closure for Atlantic Halibut directed fishery

Licence holders are advised of the continued temporary closure of part of the 4T division, considering the excessive by-catch of cod previously observed. This area will remain closed until further notice, and is bounded by straight lines delineated by the following points:

1.          49°02’00" N   64°10’00" W

2.          48°31’00" N   62°37’00" W

3.          48°23’00" N   63°08’00" W

4.          48°46’00" N   64°10’00" W

5.          49°02’00" N   64°10’00" W

4.    Fishing seasons

The fishing periods below are in effect for the validity period of this CHP. They represent the maximum fishing periods, subject to, among other things, specific orders and closure periods. Therefore, openings may vary depending on particular circumstances and fisheries management considerations, including industry demand and TAC announcements, whereas closures can be expected in particular when quotas have been reached or when the probability of exceeding them is high. Exact periods will be confirmed through Notices to fishers or Variation Orders.

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 Lobster fishers” group corresponds in part from the basic quota granted to the Gulf fleets of less than 19.81 m with fixed gear and from the allocation of the mobile gear fleet transferred to the Gaspe 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 agreed to a sharing agreement for the global Atlantic halibut quota of the three Quebec 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 Coast = 92.54 t (18.4277 %);

- Gaspe = 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 2019-2020 season, the total quota allocated to the three Quebec geographic fleets corresponds to 709.528 t. The sharing of this quota then corresponds to:

- North Coast = 92.54 t + (207.348 t x 18.4277 % = 38.209 t) = 130.749 t;

- Gaspe = 336.16 t + (207.348 t x 66.9401 % = 138.799 t) = 474.959 t;

- Magdalen Islands = 73.48 t + (207.348 t x 14.6322 % = 130.340 t) = 103.820 t.  

 

According to the permanent sharing agreement between the fixed gear fleet of 13.71 m and over and the fleet of less than 13.71 m from Gaspe, respectively established to 63.5%: 36.5%, the allocation of the fleet of less than 13.71 m corresponds to 173.360 t. 

 

Based on the permanent sharing agreement of the fleet of less than 13.71 m, the part granted to the licence holders from the Lobster fishers” group corresponds to 27.75 % of this allocation, which is of 48.107 t. Considering the carry-forward of the 2018-2019 uncaught residual of 0.434 t, the initial 2019-2020 allocation is 48.541 t.

 

An allocation of 48.541 t is alloted to the directed fishery and to the cover the group’s bycatches during other groundfish fisheries, and 200 kg are allotted to the touristic commercial fishery project of the Regroupement des Pêcheurs Professionnels du Sud de la Gaspésie (RPPSG). 

6.    Management Regime

A licence holder designated by the RPPSG will be authorized to fish, under a competitive regime, the allocation reserved for the commercial fishing project for tourism purposes.

7.    Fishing Gear

The specifications of the fishing gear authorized for commercial fishing for tourism purposes are: 

- Rod and reel with a single line and a maximum of three hooks with an opening of 15.4 mm or more.

- A maximum of 6 lines per boat is allowed.

8.    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 12th, 2019 Notice to Fish Harvesters, available at the following link:

 

https://inter-l01.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/applications/opti-opei/notice-avis-eng.php?region_id=4&sub_type_id=5&type=1&display_option=1.

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

8.1       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 http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fisheries-peches/commercial-commerciale/reporting-declaration-eng.html. 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.

8.2       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: 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.    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 DFO.NAT.InteractionsMM-InteractionsMM.NAT.MPO@dfo-mpo.gc.ca 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:  http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/species-especes/mammals-mammiferes/report-rapport/page01-eng.html

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.

10.Hail Prior To Departure

At least 60 minutes before the start of his fishing trip, the licence holders must communicate the information relating to his trip as specified in his Conditions of Licence by e-mail to the following address XLAU-MPO-Gaspe-260@dfo-mpo.gc.ca 

11.Hail in

Prior to starting a fishing trip, the licence holders must have an agreement with a dockside monitoring company legally designated by DFO. The licence holders must contact the dockside monitoring company at least 30 minutes before the scheduled time of arrival at dockside.  

12.Dockside Monitoring

There will be no monitoring or weighing at dockside. However, weighing is mandatory on board by the licence holders.

13.Combined form / Logbook

Fishermen 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. It must be returned to the Fisheries and Oceans office at the end of each week when fishing operations have occurred.

 

DFO reminds fishers that retained catches must be recorded in the Logbook section 

14.Passenger register

A passenger register must be available at all times for review by a fishery officer and must be forwarded to DFO at the end of the season. Before departure, the register must contain the names and addresses of the passengers. The number of Atlantic halibut caught and the tag numbers used (see Section 23 - Other Management Measures) must be recorded before arrival at dockside.

15.Vessel Monitoring System

Not applicable.

16.Incidental Catches

keeping bycatchs is prohibited. Consequently, the licence holders who catches a fish incidentally must return it immediately to the water where it was caught and in a manner that causes as little harm as possible to the fish if it is still alive. 

17.Small fish protocol

All catches of Atlantic Halibut less than 85 cm must be returned to the water immediately. When live fish are returned to the water, they must be handled in a manner that causes them the least harm possible.

 

Areas could be closed to fishing for the fleet or part of the fleet when the number of undersized fish reaches 15% of the catch of any of the above species. 

18.Catch monitoring and test fisheries

Small fish and bycatch closures 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 not reopen until DFO feels that it can be effectively monitored and controlled. If a fishery is closed twice during the same year because of high levels of small fish or incidental catch, the fishery may remain closed for the remainder of the year.

19.Boat

Vessels with an LOA less than 15.24 m may be used, regardless of cubic number. 

20.Partnership

Not applicable.

21.Conversion Rate

The following conversion ratio is used in order to convert the weight of eviscerated catches to round fish weight:  

·         Atlantic Halibut

1.14

 

22.Quota reconciliation

Quota reconciliation provides that any overharvest of a quota in a given year, on an Individual Quota regime or in a competitive fishery, will be accounted for in that of the following fishing season. For example, quota overruns by a licence holder or by a fleet during a fishery management cycle will be deducted from quotas for the following season on a one-for-one basis.

 

In implementing quota reconciliation, the Department authorizes quota transfers, between fleets and groups to cover any quota overrun until a specific deadline, after which the Department compares the final fishery data. This deadline is the end of the groundfish fishery management year, that is, May 14. In the weeks following this deadline, the Department makes any necessary changes to quotas for the current year based on quota overruns, if applicable.

23.Other Management Measures

Any Atlantic halibut caught must immediately be provided with a valid tag and inserted into the gills.

No discharge of halibut over 85 cm will be permitted. If an individual is suspected of discarding at sea, in addition to other regulatory options including fishing closures and legal proceedings, there may be a requirement for at-sea observer coverage at the expense of fishers.

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, 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).

25.Conditions of licence

To obtain their Conditions of licence, fish harvesters must access the National Online Licensing System. For National Online Licensing System 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 : 1-877-898-5559

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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