Notices to Fish Harvesters

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

Gear marking requirements for non tended fixed gear fisheries in eastern canada (2019-12-20)

                                                                                                       December 20, 2019



Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) As announced in February 2019, Fisheries and Oceans
Canada will be implementing mandatory gear marking to all non-tended fixed gear fisheries
starting in 2020 in Eastern Canada. The Gulf, Maritimes, Newfoundland & Labrador, and
Quebec Regions are hereby notifying fish harvesters in Eastern Canada of the gear marking
requirements that will apply.

The new requirements are part of the Government of Canada’s continuing efforts to improve
tracking of gear, address ghost gear and further identify management measures threats to marine
mammals, in particular North Atlantic Right Whales. They will enable officials to make
corrective changes in the most efficient manner going forward. They are implemented to
recognize gear origin, specifically country, region, species, as well as lobster and snow crab
fishing areas. They were developed as a continuum of what has already been introduced in
certain Gulf of St Lawrence snow crab fisheries since 2018.

The gear marking requirements will consist of interlacing different strands of colored twine
within existing rope. Briefly:
1) Colour combination using two different strands of twine interlaced on the same segment:
    a) One colour to identify specific Region – to be interlaced on the same segment of rope as
        the second colour.
    b) A second colour to identify target Species – to be interlaced on the same segment of rope
        as the first colour. Each species will be attributed the same colour across all Regions in
        Eastern Canada (i.e. yellow for lobster).
2) For lobster and snow crab fisheries only, a third colour will be used to mark different fishing
areas. The third colour will be added to a subsequent segment of rope immediately after the
segment of rope with the first two colours (it will be not interlaced with the first and second
3) Gear marking will be mandatory for ropes attaching the fishing gear to the primary buoy
(vertical line). It could also be included on other rope segments when applicable, at the

discretion of fish harvesters, such as on the rope from the primary buoy to the secondary
buoy, and on the rope from trap to trap set on a same line (ground lines).
4) At a minimum, gear marking will be required at the top, middle and bottom of the vertical
line (aligned with minimum requirements in the US) or every 27.4m throughout the length of
the rope (aligned with existing practice in Gulf and Quebec Regions).
5) Use of a “tracer” as an alternative to colour coding requirements will be permitted. It could
be phased-in as ropes are replaced. The tracer, a silver transparent tape inside the full length
of the rope, must have a visible inscription identifying country, regions, species and fishing

Gear marking requirements as well as pre-determined colors are further detailed in the attached
document titled “
GEAR MARKING, EASTERN CANADA, for non-tended fixed gear fisheries”.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada will formerly announce other management measures to protect
North Atlantic Right Whales in February 2020.

For additional information
Steve Trottier
Regional Senior Advisor, Fisheries Management
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Quebec Region






for non-tended fixed gear fisheries 


In February 2019 Minister Wilkinson announced that Canada would phase-in mandatory gear marking for all fixed-gear fisheries in 2020. Please find below the Eastern Canada gear marking framework. 




Gear Marking method to be applied in Eastern Canada 


MANDATORY COLOUR SCHEME (Region and Species colours)


*Blue & blue, black & black and/or red & red combination means there should be two distinct strands of the same colour interlaced within the same rope section (one single strand is not acceptable)


1 “Multi-region fishery” is specific to instances of inter-regionally managed fisheries, where each Region is wholly responsible for managing their own fleet but they share the exact same fishing area, licence conditions, and so on, as another fleet in another Region. Each Region issues the same licence conditions to their harvesters. A common base colour was given to ensure a regional division was not created within a shared industry.

As some fish harvesters in Maritimes Region use the same gear to fish all three fisheries (lobster, rock crab and Jonah crab), at this time they will have a different colour than others to acknowledge, at a minimum, that it can be from either of those fisheries.

Pattern strand is necessary as no other solid colours are available. The selected fisheries must use a twine that contains a two colour pattern on one of the single strands (yellow/black pattern, red/white pattern). This is to be used in addition to the Regional colour. See Annex 2 for a pamphlet showing examples of twine colours including a yellow/black patterned strand colour and a red/white pattern strand colour (respectively named “lemon tartan” and “Oh Canada” in pamphlet).


As some of the interregional snow crab fisheries in the Gulf of St Lawrence already have some colour marking, efforts were made to avoid
completely new colour schemes.

The following is the Eastern Canada break down of the colour scheme for lobster and snow crab fishing areas
, per Region:
- the double stacked cells represent the regional colour (top) and species colour (bottom), with the single cell immediately to their right
representing the fishing area colour.

Additional notes:
- Areas showing “none” in the single cell means that a third color is not applied.
- Some harvesters fish in multiple fishing areas. Unless otherwise specified, the category “
Multiple area” includes these fish harvesters only. This was done so twines do not have to be interchanged between fisheries.