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2020 - Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence lobster fishery Conservation Harvesting Plan (CHP) for Lobster Fishing Areas (LFAs) 23, 24, 25, 26A and 26B

Moncton, NB – May 5, 2020 – Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), Gulf Region, announces the 2020 management measures for Lobster Fishing Areas (LFAs) 23, 24, 25, 26A and 26B. Unless indicated otherwise, existing management measures remain in place. Please refer to your lobster licence conditions for further details.

Opening Dates in 2020

The fishery in LFA 23, LFA 24, LFA 26A and LFA 26B will open at 6:00 a.m. on May 15 and will remain open until June 30, 2020. The fishery in LFA 25 will open at 6:00 a.m. on August 9 and will remain open until October 10, 2020. The openings of the fishery are subject to ice and weather conditions.

NEW Management measures in place for the 2020 fishing season:

Gear Marking

Gear marking is in place in this fishery. Specific requirements are explained in the Notice to Fish Harvesters issued January 31, 2020 and details of these requirements can also be found in the licence conditions.

Management measures to minimize interactions with North Atlantic right whales

The management measures to protect the right whales are available at the following Internet address.

Increase in minimum legal size of lobster carapace

Table 1. Key Management Measures in 2020 in Lobster Fishing Areas 23, 24, 25, 26A, 26B
  Minimum legal carapace size (mm)¹ Window size females (mm)² Maximum number of traps Minimum number of traps per line³ Maximum hoop size (mm)
23A 77 115-129 300 n/a 152
23B 77 115-129 300 n/a 152
23C 77 115-129 300 In a portion of 23C: 3 traps 152
23D 77 115-129 300 In a portion of 23D: 3 traps 152
24 74 115-129 300 6 traps n/a
25 77 115 240 PEI
250 NB
225 Gulf NS
n/a 152
26A-1 74 115-129 272 PEI
280 Gulf NS

In a portion of 26A-1 adjacent to PEI: 6 traps
26A-1 (Gulf NS fishers only): 5 traps

26A-2 76 115-129 255 and 2754 6 traps 152
26A-3 76 115-129 250 2 traps n/a
26B South 82.5 n/a 250 n/a n/a
26B North5 82.5 n/a 250 5 traps 152

¹ See table 2 for height of escape mechanism corresponding to the minimum carapace size in effect.
² As defined by licence conditions (female Lobster of a length of 115 mm but not more than 129 mm shall be returned to the water immediately in a manner that causes it the least harm).
³ As defined by licence conditions.
4 Commercial licence holders: 255 traps/Some Communal Commercial licence holders: 275 traps.
5 Closure to fishing of Cheticamp Harbour.

Height and Length of Escape Mechanisms

The height of the escape mechanism as indicated in Table 1 needs to be adjusted according to the minimum legal carapace size in effect in each LFA (refer to Table 1 for minimum legal size).

Table 2.
Length of escape opening between 127 and less than 254 mm
Minimum legal carapace size Minimum height of escape opening
>71 mm to 73 mm 42 mm
>73 mm to 76 mm 43 mm
>76 mm 44 mm
Length of escape opening equal to or greater than 254 mm
Minimum legal carapace size Minimum height of escape opening
>71 mm to 73 mm 41 mm
>73 mm to 76 mm 42 mm
>76 mm to 80 mm 43 mm
>80 mm 44 mm except in the following LFAs:
LFA 26B North: 46 mm
LFA 26B South: 47 mm

Other Management Measures which will continue to apply in 2020:

Restrictions on the movement of lobster licences

For information on restriction on the movement of lobster licences you can refer to the Commercial Fisheries Licensing Policy for Gulf Region that can be found at the following link.

Paper Logbook and Electronic Logbook (ELOG)

Licence holders that will not be using an ELOG are still required to use paper logbooks and submit them to DFO on a monthly basis as in previous years. The list of paper logbook suppliers is available at the following Internet address.

A separate notice on ELOG was issued on November 29, 2019 announcing that ELOG will be mandatory in the sGSL lobster fishery in 2022. Please note that if you choose to use an ELOG in 2020, in case of ELOG malfunction, you will be required to submit a paper logbook, but ONLY for the duration of the malfunction. Licence holders using ELOG should therefore have a few copies of the paper logbook onboard the vessel. Additional information relevant to the ELOG initiative is available on the DFO ELOG website.

Daily closed time

The daily close time is from 9:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. in LFA 23 and LFA 25.

Transit Corridors

The transit corridors remain in effect and a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) is required (every 5 minutes) if using the transit corridor. The corridor allows fish harvesters to transport their catches through that area to reach their homeport avoiding the use of the smack boat. For this reason, a validity period is added to LFA 23D licences from the date of issuance to July 5. The opening and closing of the season will remain as indicated in the Fisheries Regulations or as announced in a Variation Order. The coordinates for the corridor are identified in the Variation Order and the licence conditions of those using the corridor.

Before you go fishing

The Department has assembled a list of requirements and documents harvesters will need before they start fishing.

For more information

Sandra Comeau
Resource Management, Eastern NB
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Tracadie, NB
Ben Moore
Resource Management, PEI
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Charlottetown, PEI
Alan Dwyer
Resource Management, Gulf NS
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Antigonish, NS
Josiane Massiéra
Resource Management, Gulf Region
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Moncton, NB
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