Notices to Fish Harvesters

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

Conservation harvesting plan (2016-07-08)






Lobster Fishers group (A125)




Approved July 8, 2016

1. Application


This Conservation Harvesting Plan (CHP) for Atlantic Halibut applies to the Gaspe peninsula fixed gears fleet of less than 13.71 m licence holders of the Lobster fishers group fishing Atlantic Halibut fishing in the 4RST areas from May 15, 2016 to May 14, 2017.


Note that:


2. Fishing areas


Based on valid Conditions of licence and subject to a Variation Order, the authorized Atlantic Halibut fishing areas are 4RST.


Information regarding fishing areas is available on our website at:

3. Permanent fishing closures


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:
















































Note: The lines joining points 1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 3, 4 and 1 (in that order) represent the permanently closed area (red 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.

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.


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 %).

ny additional allocation granted to Quebec fleets with fixed gear will be shared according to the same percentages.


In 2016, the total quota allocated to the three Quebec geographic fleets corresponds to 505.882 t. The sharing of this quota then corresponds to:


- North Coast = 92.54 t + (3.702 t x 18.4277 % = 0.682 t) = 93.222 t;


- Gaspe = 336.16 t + (3.702 t x 66.9401 % = 2.478 t) = 338.638 t;


- Magdalen Islands = 73.48 t + (3.702 t x 14.6322 % = 0.542 t) =74.022 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 in 2016 to 123.603 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 34.300 t. Considering the reconciliation of the quota excess of 612 kg that occurred during the 2015 season, the initial reconciled allocation is 33.688 t in 2016.


An allocation of 33.118 t is alloted to the directed fishery and to the cover the group’s bycatches during other groundfish fisheries, and 570 kg are allotted to the touristic commercial fishery project of the Regroupement des pêcheurs professionnels du sud de la Gaspésie (RPPSG).

6. Management regime


Competitive regime with an individual maximum catch limit (IMCL). It is not possible to trade, cumulate, transfer or carry-over this IMCL. This IMCL will be established upon the available allocation and the number of licence holders that will have filed their interest to participate to this fishery.




7. Fishing gear


The specifications for fishing gear authorized for the directed fishery are:


8. Hail-out


Licence holders are required to contact the vessel hail-out system before 19:00 the day before each fishing trip.

9. At-sea observers


Industry-funded at-sea observer coverage at a minimum of 10% applies to this group.



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

10. Dockside monitoring


The Dockside Monitoring Program (DMP) applies to 100% of landings.

Before the beginning of a fishing trip, licence holders must have an agreement with a dockside monitoring company legally designated by DFO whose list is available at the following address:


Landings must be made at designated ports from the list posted on the DFO Web site (

11. Combined form / Logbook / Purchase slip /Weight out summary


The logbook portion of the Combined form must be completed daily.


A Combined Form must be acquired from a Pre-qualified Supplier identified by DFO. It must be completed according to the instructions specified in the document and submitted to the dockside monitoring company or to DFO within 10 days of landing. The logbook section of the Combined Form must be completed for each fishing day and before arriving to port.

12. Vessel Monitoring System


Not applicable.

13. Bycatch protocol


Bycatch is defined as the round weight of a bycatch species divided by the round weight of the target species.


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



Authorized groundfish bycatch limits per fishing trip:



The greater of 30% or 45 kg per fishing trip.

Greenland Halibut

3% per fishing trip for fishers who do not have an ITQ for this species.

White Hake

5% per fishing trip.


The lesser of 10% or 500 kg. At the time of landing and weighing, at least a portion of the tail fin must be attached to the shark's carcass. Also, the pelvic fins (the paired fins adjacent to the cloaca or “vent”) must be intact and attached to the carcass.

Other groundfish species

10% per fishing trip.

14. Small fish protocol


The minimum size of fish relative to the small fish protocol is:


·         Cod

43 cm

·         American Plaice 

30 cm

·         Witch Flounder

30 cm

·         White Hake

45 cm

·         Winter Flounder

25 cm

·         Yellowtail Flounder

25 cm

·         Greenland Halibut

44 cm

·         Atlantic Halibut

85 cm

·         Redfish         

22 cm



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.

15. 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.

16. Vessel


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



In order to limit the potential latent fishing effort, no vessel rental will be authorized, unless exceptional circumstances. However, Aboriginal communities will be authorized to designate vessels from the competitive Gaspé fixed gear fleet of less than 13.71 m (members of the “Lobster fishers” group or the “Others” group).

17. Partnership


Not applicable.

18. Participation exclusivity


Not applicable.

19. Conversion ratio


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


·         Atlantic Halibut


20. 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 May 31st, after which the Department compares the final fishery data. In the weeks following this deadline, the Department makes any necessary changes to quotas for the current year based on quota overruns, if applicable.

20. Other management measures


If an individual or fleet 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. Species at Risk Act


Pursuant to the Species at Risk Act (SARA), 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 Gulf of St.-Lawrence and the Atlantic species targeted by these measures are the following ones: Spotted wolffish, Northern wolffish, Leatherback Turtle and Striped Bass (St. Lawrence Estuary population). New species could be added in the course of the year.


All by-catch of species identified above must be returned to the water and released in the exact capture location and, if the fish is still alive, in a manner that causes it the least harm. In addition, information regarding interactions with species at risk, including species mentioned above as well as the North Atlantic Right Whale, the Blue Whale (Atlantic population) and the Beluga Whale (St. Lawrence Estuary population) must be recorded in the Species at risk section of the logbook.

22. Conditions of licence


To obtain Conditions of licence, fishers must log on to the National Online Licensing System. For help with the National Online Licensing System, please contact customer support by calling 1-877-535-7307 or by sending an email to

Approved by:


France Simard


Area director


Gaspé–Lower St. LawrenceArea


Fisheries and Oceans Canada


For additional information


Please visit our website at the following address:




Note : In the case of discrepancies between the English and the French versions, the latter prevails.




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