Notices to Fish Harvesters

Halibut - 4RST - Upper and Middle North Shore - Competitive

Conservation Harvesting Plan 2016-2017


Approved July 21st, 2016

Modified July 25th, 2016

Modified August 9th, 2016

 Modified April 21st, 2017

Modified April 28th, 2017

Modified May 10th, 2017 


1       Application 

This Conservation Harvesting Plan (CHP) applies to the Upper and Middle North Shore fixed gear fleet of less than 19.81 m fishing Atlantic       Halibut in NAFO divisions 4RST during the period from May 15, 2016, to May 14, 2017. When fishing is carried out in another NAFO division, the Conservation Harvesting Plan for that division applies. It is important to note that this Conservation Harvesting Plan 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:




            4T2 ab

            4T3 ab             Except for part of the Miscou bank



            4T9 ab

3      Protection of spawning fish and concentrations of cod

 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: 

4       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 from the allocation transferred from the mobile gear fleet transferred 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. 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 Shore = 92.54 t + (3.702 t x 18.4277 % = 0.682 t) = 93.222 t;

             - Gaspésie = 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. 

In accordance with the permanent sharing agreement of the North Shore fixed gear fleet under competitive regime, the 2016 initial allocation of the North Shore (93.22 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 Upper and Muddle North Shore fleet is of 50.34 t. A residual quantity from 2015-2016 that does not exceeds 15 % of the initial quota can be reported to 2016-2017. Thus, a residual quota of 7.53 t is added to this year’s 50.34 t quota, for a total of 57.87 t.

Of this allocation, 6.87 t are put aside to cover for Atlantic Halibut bycatches in other groundfish directed fisheries, leaving 51.00 t. for the directed fishery.

The fishing of the Upper and Middle North shore allocation remains under a competitive management regime for 2016-2017. Other management regimes could be considered for the years to come. 

5       Fishing gear

     a) Longline


Summer Fishery:

            First fishing period:

The use of longlines is authorized with a maximum of 500 hooks, which must have an opening equal to or greater than 15.4 mm.

            Second fishing period:

The use of longlines is authorized with a maximum of 300 hooks, which must have an opening equal to or greater than 15.4 mm. 

Spring Fishery

The use of longlines is authorized with a maximum of 1 000 hooks, which must have an opening equal to or greater than 15.4 mm. 


  b)Latent fishing effort

 To limit risks posed by the latent fishing effort under a competitive fishery regime associated with groundfish licences that have not been active for many years, the number of hooks authorized for the Atlantic Halibut fishery will now be limited for groundfish licences of the Upper and Middle North Shore delivered before May 15, 2012, and for which no landings under an Atlantic Halibut directed fishery have been recorded in the past 10 years. Holders of such licences will be authorized a maximum number of gear equal to 15% of the number of gear listed in a). 

 Fishing gear must be removed from the water before returning to the wharf.  

6       Conversion ratio

 A conversion ratio of 1.14 is used to convert the weight of eviscerated catches to round fish weight. 

7       Quota reconciliation

 Groundfish quota reconciliation applies to the current fishing season. As such, quota overruns incurred during the 2016–2017 season will be deducted by a one-to-one factor from next year’s quotas. 

8       Fishing periods and effort

 Fish harvesters’ organizations have agreed to divide fishing effort into two periods: a “summer fishery” for fish harvesters residing from Rivière-au-Tonnerre to Natashquan and a “spring fishery” for fish harvesters residing from Tadoussac to Sept-Îles.

Summer fishery:

            First fishing period:

First fishing period:

  • Since the opening of the fishery has been postponed due to meteorological conditions, fishing is authorized from May 1st, 2017 at 5 a.m. (EDT), to May 3rd, 2017 at 6 p.m. (EDT).

  • Fishing will be competitive and fishers will have to remove their gear from the water before returning to the wharf.

  • The maximal individual catch limit is of 2 982 kg of eviscerated Atlantic Halibut, which corresponds to 3 400 kg of round Atlantic Halibut.

  • There could be a second fishing period, depending on the landings recorded during this first period.

Second fishing period:

        • A second fishing period will be authorized, considering the residual quota following the first fishing period. In order to adapt the fishing effort to the residual quota, the industry and the Department jointly approve the following measures:

        • Fishing is authorized from May 12th, 2017 at 3 a.m. (EDT), to May 13th, 2017 at 6 p.m. (EDT).

        • Fishing will be competitive and fishers will have to remove their gear from the water before returning to the wharf.

        • The maximal individual catch limit (MICL), which was set at 3 400 kg for the first fishing period, is scaled down in order to reduce the probabilities to significantly overrun the global quota. The MICL is now set at 2 800 kg of round Atlantic Halibut, which corresponds to 2 456 kg of eviscerated Atlantic Halibut. Landings of the first fishing period are taken into account for the reaching of the revised MICL. Fish harvesters are thus authorized to catch the residual quantity of their revised MICL.

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

 9 Incidental catches 

Bycatch is defined as the round weight (whole fish) of the bycatch species divided by the round weight (whole fish) of the directed species—in this case, Atlantic Halibut.

The groundfish bycatch limits authorized during the Atlantic Halibut directed fishery in 4RST are:


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

10     Small fish protocol 

The minimum size of fish under the small fish protocol is:


11     At-sea observer coverage 

Industry-funded at-sea observer coverage applies to a minimum of 10% of fishing trips. 

12     Hail out 

Hail out is mandatory for all participants. 

Licence holders/operators must call the DFO hail out system at 1-800-561-2467 or 1-902-464-8103 (satellite) by 7 p.m. the night before any fishing trip. 

13     Dockside monitoring 

The Dockside Monitoring Program (DMP) is mandatory for 100% of landings. 

Licence holders must have signed an at-sea hail and fish landing agreement with a company designated by DFO-Quebec Region before leaving on a fishing trip. 

14     Combined form 

Fish harvesters must fill out the Logbook section of their Combined Form for each fishing day. 

15     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 a 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. 

16     Other management measures 

Except under exceptional circumstances, vessel lease outside of the North Shore, use of a vessel over 15.20 m and fish harvester replacement are not authorized. 

If an individual or fleet is suspected of un-authorized 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. 

It is not authorized to fish any other species simultaneously while directing fishing activities on Atlantic Halibut. 

17     Other considerations  

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 Management 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-catches of species identified above must be returned to the water and released in the exact capture location and, if the fish is still alive, with as little harm as possible.  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.




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