Fisheries management decision for Herring in NAFO Division 4R, Areas 13 and 14

Herring fishery in NAFO Division 4R, west coast of Newfoundland and the area south of Cape Charles, Labrador (Herring Fishing Areas 13 and 14).

Fishing season dates

The herring fishing season for all fleet sectors (less than 65 feet fixed gear and purse seine) will open based upon fleet representative recommendations to DFO.

Total allowable catch (TAC) and sharing arrangements

The fleet quota sharing arrangements from 2017 are maintained for 2018-2019, with an annual total allowable catch (TAC) of 20,000 metric tonnes. However, as a means of rebuilding the spring spawner component, the commercial fishery inside the 50 fathom contour in Bay St. George and Port au Port Bay, prior to July 1, is limited to a total catch of 2,000 metric tonnes. In addition, 50 metric tonnes will be allocated from the fixed gear fleet for bait.

Fleet Quota (metric tonnes) Share (percentage)
Purse seine greater than 65 feet 11,000 55
Purse seine less than 65 feet 4,400 22
Fixed gear 4,600 (less 50t for bait) 23

Management measures

The current evergreen integrated fisheries management plan for herring in NAFO Division 4R, which also incorporates management measures for fixed gear fisheries in NAFO sub-Division 3Pn, came into effect in 2017. Quota reconciliation will be applied in this fishery.

Herring on the west coast of Newfoundland and the area south of Cape Charles in Labrador (4R) is comprised of two distinct stock components: spring and fall spawners. The fishery is managed on the basis of a combined TAC for both stock components. Specific management measures are in place in Herring Fishing Area 13 in order to afford protection to the spring spawner component.

A number of measures are in place to minimize potential salmon by-catch in the commercial fishery, including:

  • monofilament netting material is prohibited in herring trap net leaders and gillnets
  • trap net leaders with a mesh size greater than two inches and less than seven inches are prohibited

Measures have also been taken in the herring bait fishery to minimize the potential for salmon by-catch:

  • bait nets must be set parallel to the shore and cannot be within 120 feet (20 fathoms) of any shoreline at the low water spring tide mark
  • bait nets must be set with the head ropes not less than one fathom below the surface
  • there is a requirement for completion of bait logbook in Areas 12, 13 and 14    (introduced in 2017)

All licensed herring fish harvesters operating vessels greater than or equal to 35 feet length overall (LOA), and those operating mobile gear vessels, regardless of length, are required as a condition of licence to provide detailed logbook records of catch and fishing activity.

Purse seine licence holders will be required to carry an at-sea observer intermittently throughout the fishery, at the request of the Department.

Fixed gear fish harvesters participating in the commercial fishery in Herring Fishing Area 14, using vessels less than 35 in length overall (LOA), will be required, as a condition of licence, to provide detailed logbook records of catch and fishing activity.

The commercial fishery (all fleets & areas) is subject to a Dockside Monitoring Program.

New Measures 2018

  • based upon a recommendation from Science, L50 for 4R herring, the minimum size limit for herring in 2018-2019 will be 9.75 inches (24.76cm) 
  • going forward, the management cycle for 4R herring will be April 1 – March 31 annually

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