Notices to Fish Harvesters

Halibut - 4RST - Gaspe-Lower St. Lawrence - Fixed Gear less than 13,71m - Competitive - Others Group A127

Conservation Harvesting Plan (2016-07-26)



OThers group (A127)


 Approved July 26, 2016

1.    Application

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

Note that:

·         this CHP is subject to change following ministerial decisions;

·         directed fishing for any other groundfish species will require a separate CHP;

·         when fishing in a NAFO division other than those indicated in this CHP, the CHP for that division applies;

·         the target species during a fishing trip is the species for which the fisher holds valid Conditions of licence;

·         round weight is the weight prior to processing of any kind.

 2.    Fishing areas

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

 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:

·         From April 1 to June 23

o   Closure of all groundfish fisheries in part of the NAFO Division 4R off shore from St. George’s Bay and Port-au-Port Bay, which is recognized as a spawning area.

·         From January 1 to December 31

o   Closure of all groundfish fisheries in part of NAFO subdivision 4T5 (Shediac Valley), which is recognized as a juvenile area.

o   Closure of all directed Atlantic Halibut fisheries in NAFO subdivisions 4T7 and 4T8.

o   Permanent closure of all groundfish fisheries in part of subdivision 4T3 (Miscou Bank), which is recognized as a cod concentration area. However, the portion of the Miscou Bank delineated by a line that joins points 2, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 2 below is open to the Atlantic Halibut fixed gear fishery from June 24 to December 31. Please refer to the attached map or contact your local fishery officer for further details. 






























Note: The lines joining points 1, 2, 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 seasons 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 fish harvesters or Variation orders.

·         1st opening period : 4:30 AM on July 28th until 6:30 PM (EDT) on August 1st.

 5.    Quotas

The allocation of Atlantic halibut from divisions 4RST granted to the Others” 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 Gaspé 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.

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:

- Quebec 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 Others” group corresponds to 14.75 % of this allocation, which is of 18.231 t. Considering the reconciliation of the quota excess of 1,077 t that occurred during the 2015 season, the initial reconciled allocation is 17.155 t in 2016.

An allocation of 15,5 t is allotted to the directed fishery and 1,655 t is allotted to cover the group’s bycatches during other groundfish fisheries.

6.    Management regime

Competitive regime with individual maximum catch limits (IMCL). It is not possible to trade, cumulate, transfer or carry-over these IMCL.

The IMCL will be established considering the available allocation and the number of eligible licence holders that will have filed their interest to participate in the fishery. 

According to the Notice to fish harvesters of June 30, 2015, fishers who participated in the second fishing period in 2015 and exceeded their IMCL during this fishing period will see their IMCL reconciled on an individual basis for the first opening period in 2016. 

First opening period: Following the Notice of interest published July 21, 2016, 18 licence holders have indicated their interest to participate in the first opening period. IMCL established, before individual conciliation, is 972 kg.

If another opening period is required, the residual allocation would be distributed, based on the same IMCL, by a draw amongst the eligible licence holders who participated in the first opening period and have not exceeded excessively their IMCL during the first 2016 fishing period.

In addition, fishers who exceed their IMCL during the opening period(s) in 2016 n opening or fishing periods in 2016, could see their IMCL, or their individual quotas if there was a change in management regime, reduced by the equivalent of their excesses during the next fishing season.

For fisheries under a competitive regime with individual maximum catch limits (IMCL), it is the licence holder’s responsibility to insure its catches fall within it’s IMCL.

The current season fishery statistics will not be taken into account in the event of a change in the competitive fishery management regimes.

 7.    Fishing gear

The specifications for fishing gear authorized for the following directed fisheries are:

·        Longline with a maximum of 1 500 hooks that must have an opening equal to or greater than 15.4 mm.

To limit risks posed by the latent fishing effort associated with groundfish licences under a competitive fishery regime with no harvest for many years, the number of hooks authorized for the Atlantic Halibut fishery will now be limited to 200 for groundfish licences for which no directed fishery groundfish landings have been recorded in the past 10 years.

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.

Prior to starting a fishing trip, licence holders are required to have an agreement with a company designated by the Quebec Region of DFO with regard to hails and landing of fish. 

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

11.Combined form / Logbook / Purchase slip

The combined form must be obtained from a prequalified supplier identified by DFO, be completed according to the instructions specified in the document and submitted to the dockside monitoring company upon landing. The Logbook portion of this form must be properly completed each fishing day before arriving at the dock. 

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.


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, only vessel rentals between licence holders of the Others group will be authorized.


Not applicable.

18.Participation exclusivity

Not applicable.

19.Conversion ratio

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

Atlantic Halibut : 1,14

20.Simultaneous fishing 

The licence holder/vessel operatorwho holds valid Conditions of licence for Atlantic Halibut and valid snow crab Conditions of License can conduct both fisheries simultaneously, during a same fishing trip or different fishing trips, if fisheries are conducted in the following areas and subareas:

·         snow crab in fishing area 12, if the Atlantic Halibut fishery is conducted in sub-areas 4S4 or 4T3a;

·         snow crab in fishing area 12A, if the Atlantic Halibut fishery is conducted in sub-areas 4S1, 4S4, 4T3a or 4T4;

·         snow crab in fishing area 17, if the Atlantic Halibut fishery is conducted in sub-areas 4S1 or 4T4.

Simultaneous fishing of Atlantic Halibut using longline and fishing of lobster, whelk, herring or mackerel during separate trips is allowed.

However, fishers must hold valid Conditions of Licence for these simultaneous fisheries and are obligated to lift each of their fishing gears at least every 72 hours.

21.Quota reconciliation 

Quota reconciliation provides that any overharvest of a quota in one year under a competitive regime will be accounted for in advance of the following fishing season. For example, quota overruns incurred during a management year will be deducted from the group's 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.

22.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.

23.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 of this management plan's release, the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Atlantic species targeted by these measures are the following: Spotted Wolffish, Northern Wolffish, Leatherback Turtle, and Striped Bass (St. Lawrence Estuary population). New species could be added within the year.

All bycatches 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 any species at risk, including the 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 relevant section of the logbook.

24.Map of fishing areas

Additional information on fishing areas is available on our Web site at:

25.Conditions of Licence

To obtain Conditions of licence, fishers must log on to 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

Approved by:

France Simard

Area Director

Gaspe – Lower St. Lawrence Area

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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