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Conservation Harvesting Plan 2022-23 season NAFO Sub-Division 3Ps - Groundfish fixed gear vessels less than 27.4 metres (90ft.)

1. Eligibility

  1. Participation in the directed fixed gear groundfish fishery will be restricted to groundfish licence holders with a homeport in NAFO Sub-Division 3Ps, and those with overlap privileges with a homeport in NAFO Divisions 3KL, or Sub-Division 3Pn.
Map showing the 3Ps fishing areas
Figure 1: 3Ps fishing areas

2. Fishing areas

  1. This Conservation Harvesting Plan (CHP) governs the directed fishery for all vessels less than 27.4 metres (m) (90 feet) in length, regardless of homeport, fishing groundfish in NAFO Sub-Division 3Ps using fixed gear, and is in effect for the management cycle which runs from April 1 to March 31 annually.
  2. The area of 3Ps SOUTH of a straight line joining the following points is referred to as the “offshore area” and consists of Sub-Division 3Ps units (d), (e), (f), (g) and (h), which are defined in Schedule 34 and attached to licence holders’ Groundfish General Licence Conditions.
  3. The area of 3Ps NORTH of the line above is referred to as the “inshore area” and consists of Sub-Division 3Ps units (a), (b) and (c), which are defined in Schedule 34 and attached to licence holders’ Groundfish General Licence Conditions.
  4. The coordinates of fishing area 10 and Sub-Division 3Ps units (a)-(h) are specified in Schedule 34 and attached to licence holders’ Groundfish General Licence Conditions.

3. Fishing restrictions

  1. This CHP applies to the following species:
  2. A “fishing trip” is defined as starting from the time the vessel leaves port and ending when it returns to port for any reason, whether or not any fish has been caught.
  3. Once the amount of cod in the fish harvester’s Individual Quota (IQ) has been taken, from any fishery whether directed or by-catch, the fish harvester must cease fishing for all species of groundfish in NAFO Sub-Division 3Ps for the remainder of the management period (to March 31).
  4. In the offshore area of NAFO Sub-Division 3Ps, defined as units (d) to (h), when fishing any species of groundfish except Greenland halibut and skate/monkfish, all fishing gear must be returned to port with the vessel at the end of the fishing trip.
  5. The licence holder/operator is not permitted to fish in the French Maritime Area around Saint-Pierre and Miquelon unless a licence has been issued by France, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has authorized the licence holder/operator to conduct the fishing activity in the French Maritime area.
  6. Atlantic Halibut
    1. Whether a directed fishery will be permitted is to be determined in consultation with FFAW/Industry on an annual basis.
    2. When it is decided that directed fishing can occur, fishing is only authorized in water depths greater than 91.44 m (50 fathoms).¹
    3. When it is decided that directed fishing can occur, fishing is only authorized in that portion of NAFO Sub-Division 3Ps units (a) and (b) west of Boxey Point (47 degrees 24.3’ N, 55 degrees 35’ W) in Fortune Bay.²
  7. Greenland halibut (turbot)
    1.  Fishing is not authorized in water depths less than 183 m (100 fathoms)
  8. Redfish
    1. Fishing is only authorized in NAFO Sub-Division 3Ps units (a) and (b).
    2. Fishing is authorized in water depths greater than 183 m (100 fathoms)
  9. Skate/Monkfish
    1. Fishing is only authorized in water outside of 19 km of land unless the licence holder’s registered vessel eligibility is less than 12.2 m (40 feet) in length.
  10. White Hake
    1. Fishing is not authorized in NAFO Sub-Division 3Ps unit (c).
    2. Fishing is only authorized in water depths greater than 137 m (75 fathoms).
  11. Winter Flounder (Blackback)
    1. Fishing is only authorized in NAFO Sub-Division 3Ps units (a), (b) and (c).
    2. Fishing is only authorized in water depths less than 55 m (30 fathoms).
  12. Atlantic Cod
    1. For those licence holders with a cod Individual Quota (IQ), all cod caught from any fishery, whether directed catch or by-catch, will be charged against the IQ for that licence.
    2. Fish harvesters are not authorized to fish cod in two NAFO Divisions or Sub-Divisions (e.g. 3Ps, 3Pn or 3KL) during the same fishing trip or on the same day.
    3. NAFO Divisions 3KL Overlap Vessels and NAFO Sub-Division 3Ps Equivalents are not permitted to direct for cod and are restricted to by-catch only while the TAC remains below 15,000 t, as per the Hearn Report. Overlaps are defined as those having access to NAFO Sub-Division 3Ps and fishing against an allocation for the particular fleet sector. Equivalents are defined as those having access to NAFO Sub-Division 3Ps and fishing against the same allocation as the resident NAFO Sub-Division 3Ps fleet sector.
    4. Groundfish licence holders in NAFO Divisions 3KL will have the option to exercise their fishing privileges in 3Ps, or participate in the 2J3KL Stewardship cod fishery, but not both.
    5. Inner St. Mary’s Bay overlap vessels are restricted to fishing within Area 29, which is that portion of Area 10 (as defined in Schedule 34 attached to the Groundfish General Licence Conditions) south of the area defined by straight lines joining the following points:
      47 degrees 27.1’ N, 53 degrees 56’ W
      47 degrees 21.5’ N, 54 degrees 11.5’ W
      46 degrees 52.2’ N, 54 degrees 42’ W
      46 degrees 56’ N, 55 degrees 14.3’ W

1,2 In consultation with FFAW/industry, the Department has decided to permit a directed Atlantic halibut fishery during the 2022-23 season. As part of this decision, directed fishing for Atlantic halibut will be authorized in NAFO Sub-Division 3Ps, including east of Boxey Point and in water depths less than 91.44 m (50 fathoms).

4. Catch limits

  1. Quota Reconciliation
    1. Nominal quota over-runs from the previous year’s fisheries will be deducted from the current year’s quota prior to the start of the fishing season. This is done on an individual basis where there are IQs in place or for the fleet sector in competitive fisheries.
  2. Atlantic Cod
    1. In consultation with the FFAW and fleet sector representatives, the management approach for 3Ps cod for the 2022-23 management period includes the following elements:
      IQs for the 3Ps-based licence holders, and overlap and equivalent licence holders, will be maintained at the same levels that were established for these licence holders in 2021-22. The resulting IQs for each fleet are specified in sections 4 b) ii to vi below.
      To account for a high level of inactivity in the inshore fixed-gear sector and to promote greater utilization of its available 3Ps cod quota, the IQs do not reflect an equal share of the current inshore fixed-gear fleet allocations within the sector and are instead over-allocated. As a result, IQs are not guaranteed and the ability for a licence holder to fish their cod IQ is subject to available fleet allocation.
      The 3Ps cod fishery may close to individual inshore fixed-gear fleets prior to the season end date if the respective fleet allocation is taken. If an individual fleet in the inshore fixed-gear sector approaches its respective fleet allocation, the sector’s landings will be assessed to determine if any flexibility exists for quota to be reallocated between the fleets within the sector.  A decision in this regard will be made in consultation with the FFAW and fleet sector representatives. The fishery will close to the entire inshore fixed gear sector when the sector’s allocation is taken, regardless of whether the IQs are taken.
      In an effort to reserve a portion of the Area 10 (Placentia Bay) <35’ fleet allocation for the fall period, as total landings by this fleet approaches 60% of its allocation, the Department will consult with the FFAW and fleet sector representatives on temporarily closing the directed 3Ps cod fishery to that fleet and re-opening in the fall.
ii. Individual Quotas (NAFO Sub-Division 3Ps Based) (Round weight)
Fleet sector Area 10 Area 11
< 7.6 m (<25’) 1,585 kg (3,495 lbs) 2,355 kg (5,191lbs)
7.6 to <12.2 m (25’- <35’) 2,530 kg (5,577 lbs) 3,766 kg (8,303 lbs)
12.2 to <19.8 m (35’- <65’) 4,274 kg (9,423 lbs) 7,851 kg (17,309 lbs)
iii. Individual Quotas (NAFO Divisions 3KL overlaps and NAFO Sub-Division 3Ps equivalents) (Round weight)
Fleet sector 3KL overlaps 3Ps equivalents
< 7.6 m (<25’) NA NA
7.6 to <12.2 m (25’- <35’) 1,269 kg (2,797lbs) 1,269 kg (2,797 lbs)
12.2 to <19.8 m (35’- <65’) 2,135 kg (4,707 lbs) 2,135 kg (4,707 lbs)

Note: 3KL Overlaps and 3Ps Equivalents are restricted to by-catch of cod only. The quotas above are maximum amounts of by-catch of cod that may be taken for the management period (to March 31) when directing for other groundfish species in 3Ps.

iv. Individual quotas (Branch / Point Lance based) (Round weight)
Fleet sector Branch/Point Lance
< 7.6 m (<25’) NA
7.6 to <10.7 m (25’- <35’) 1,646 kg (3,628 lbs)
>10.7 m (>35’) 3,129 kg (6,899 lbs)
v. Individual quotas (Inner St. Mary’s Bay based) (Round weight)
Fleet sector Inner SMB
< 7.6 m (<25’) 695 kg (1,533 lbs)
7.6 to <10.7 m (25’- <35’) 1,228 kg (2,708 lbs)
10.7 to 13.4 m (35’- 44’) 2,214 kg (4,880 lbs)
>13.4 m (>44’) 2,353 kg (5,187 lbs)
vi. Competitive Fishery (3Pn Based Overlap) (Round weight)
Fleet sector Maximum yearly harvest caps
< 7.6 m (<25’) 1,585 kg (3,495 lbs)
7.6 to <12.2 m (25’ - <35’) 2,530 kg (5,577 lbs)
12.2 to <19.8 m (35’- <65’) 4,274 kg (9,423 lbs)

Cod re-allocation program

The cod reallocation program will remain suspended for the 2022-23 fishing season.

This program was established from 2013-14 to 2019-20 given the large annual percentage of unutilized cod quota within the inshore fixed-gear fleet sector. Under the program, 3Ps-based inshore fixed-gear groundfish licence holders were eligible for one full allocation once 75% of their original IQ was taken. It included possible suspension of further reallocations to licence holders within a 3Ps-based fleet once 75% of the fleet allocation had been reached. The cod-reallocation program was suspended for 2020-21 and 2021-22.

5. Season

Season 2022-23
Species Season date Conservation closure
Atlantic halibut Mid-May1,2 to March 31 See footnote.³
Greenland halibut (turbot) Mid-May1,2 to March 31  

3Ps portion of Unit 2: July 1 to March 31

Spawning closure from April 1 to June 30 in all areas

3Ps (d) (e) (f) (g) and (h): April 11,2 to March 31.

3Ps (a) (b) and (c): April 11,2 to March 31, but only open during periods that Atlantic halibut retention is prohibited.

White hake Mid-May1,2 to March 31  
Winter flounder (blackback) Mid-May1,2 to March 31  
Atlantic Cod
  • 3Ps Based and Branch to Point Lance Based (3L)

Inshore areas 3Ps (b), (c): mid-May1,2 to February 28.

Offshore 3Ps (f), (g),(h): mid-May1,2 to February 28.

3Ps (a),(d), and (e): mid-May1,2 to November 15.

All areas - spawning closure March 1 to Mid-May1,2

Closure beginning November 15 to protect Northern Gulf Cod that are mixing with 3Ps Cod. 3Ps(a) remains open to resident 3Ps (a) and (b) fishers until February 28

Atlantic Cod
  • Inner St. Mary’s Bay Overlap vessels
September 1 to December 15  

¹ Specific opening date determined annually in consultation with the FFAW/industry
² Opening may be delayed or staggered due to the DFO research vessel science survey
³ As outlined in section 3 f), a directed fishery will be permitted during the 2022-23 season. Allocation used to cover catch in the directed fishery and by-catch in other groundfish fisheries.

6. Fishing gear

Below is a table summarizing the fishing gear limits by species and area. For complete details refer to the Groundfish General Licence Conditions and the species- specific licence conditions.

Fishing gear limits by species and area
Species Minimum mesh size (mm) Minimum gape size (mm) Gear limit
Atlantic halibut N/A 15.4
  • 4000 hooks at minimum spacing of 5.4 m (3 fathoms)
Greenland halibut (turbot)

152 (6 inches) in <732 m (400 fathoms)

191 (7.5 inches) in >732 m (400 fathoms)
  • 3Ps(a-c) – 30 nets
  • 3Ps (d-h) – 500 nets
  • Water depths 100-400 fathoms – 200 nets
  • Total number cannot exceed 500 nets at any one time
  • 4000 hooks
Redfish 140 (5.5 inches)  
  • 20 nets

305 (12 inches) when > 19 km from land
267 (10.5 inches) when < 19 km from land

  • >19 km – 200 nets
  • <19 km – 40 nets
  • Total number cannot exceed 200 nets at any one time
White hake 152 mm (6 inches) and not to exceed 215 mm (8.5 inches)  
  • 3Ps(d-h) 6000 hooks and/or 100 nets
  • 3Ps(a-b) 4000 hooks and/or 20 nets
Winter flounder (blackback) 165 mm (6.5 inches) and not to exceed 216 mm (8.5 inches)  
  • 20 nets
Atlantic Cod¹ 140 mm (5.5 inches) and not to exceed 165 mm (6.5 inches)  
  • 3Ps(a-c) – 30 nets
  • 3Ps (d-h) – 80 nets
  • 4000 hooks
  • 6 baited or feathered hooks on a handline
  • 25 cod pots

¹ Cod traps - a maximum of 2 per enterprise may be fished for those licenced to fish cod traps;

When fishing any species of groundfish, the licence holder/operator is required to report any lost fishing gear as per Schedule 38 – Marine Mammals Interactions and Management.

7. Licensing policy

  1. The commercial fishery is guided by licensing policy which sets out requirements and eligibility criteria established by the Minister of DFO with respect to the licensing of commercial fishing and communal-commercial fishing in the Newfoundland and Labrador Region. The policies provide fish harvesters, Indigenous Organizations, and the Canadian public with a clear and consistent statement regarding DFO policy respecting commercial fishing enterprises, the registration of vessels, and the issuance of recreational and commercial fishing licences in the Newfoundland and Labrador Region. The complete policy document can be found on DFO’s website.

8. Small fish and by-catch closure protocol

  1. Areas will be closely monitored and may be closed to fishing when the number of undersized fish caught exceeds 15% of the total number of the directed species, or when by-catch levels become a conservation concern.
  2. Closures due to small fish or by-catch will remain in effect for a minimum of 10 days.
  3. When a fishery is closed, it will not reopen until it can be effectively monitored and controlled.
  4. If a fishery in a particular area is closed twice during the year, it may remain closed for the remainder of the year.
  5. If a fishery is closed for the minimum 10-day period due to high by-catch levels or small fish, reopening will only be considered following a successful, observed, industry funded test fishery.
Small fish limits
Species Minimum size (cm)
Atlantic halibut 81¹
Greenland halibut 45
Redfish 22
Atlantic cod² 45

¹ All halibut less than the minimum size must be released, and where alive, in a manner that causes it the least harm.
² The cod trap fishery is susceptible to small fish. If necessary, the cod trap fishery will be closed to ensure that the overall catches of small fish in cod traps do not exceed 30%.

9. Monitoring and reporting

  1. As per the Groundfish General Licence Conditions.
  2. At-Sea Observers: Unless otherwise stated, industry-funded observer coverage is required. The target level of coverage is 5% of the fleet sector.
  3. Satellite transponders will be required onboard vessels when requested by DFO.

10. By-catch and incidental catch

  1. As per the Groundfish General Licence Conditions and the species-specific licence conditions.

11. Closed and defined areas

  1. As per the Groundfish General Licence Conditions, refer to Schedule 34 - Closed and Defined Areas, and Schedule 36 – Closed Areas.
  2. The Laurentian Channel Marine Protected Area falls within NAFO Division 3P. Commercial fishing is prohibited within the boundaries of the MPA. For further information refer to the following website.

12. Species at Risk Act (SARA)

  1. The following species are considered at risk and listed under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) as either Threatened or Endangered:

In accordance with subsection 83(4) of SARA and the recovery strategy for northern wolffish, spotted wolffish, and leatherback turtle, and having met the conditions of sections 73(2) to (6.1) of SARA for white shark, the licence holder or vessel operator is permitted to carry out commercial fishing activities authorized under the Fisheries Act that may incidentally kill, harm, harass, or capture these species.

During these fishing activities, incidental catches of a these species must be returned to the place from which it was taken, and where it is alive, in a manner that causes the least harm. The licence holder or vessel operator is also required to complete the SARA section in the fishing logbook to provide information regarding any interactions with these species. Refer to the Groundfish General Licence Conditions for further information on these requirements.

13. Marine mammals

  1. As per the Groundfish General Licence Conditions, refer to Schedule 38 – Marine Mammal Interactions and Management Measures.

14. Indigenous participation

  1. Allocations will be negotiated with applicable Indigenous communities for food, social and ceremonial (FSC) purposes. Communal licences for FSC and commercial access will be issued under the Aboriginal Communal Fishing Licence Regulations.

15. Safety at sea

  1. Vessel owners and masters have a duty to ensure the safety of their crew and vessel. Adherence to safety regulations and good practices by owners, masters and crew of fishing vessels will help save lives, protect the vessel from damage and protect the environment. All fishing vessels must be in a seaworthy condition and maintained as required by Transport Canada and other applicable agencies. Vessels subject to inspection should have a certificate of inspection valid for the area of intended operation.
  2. In the federal government, responsibility for regulating shipping, navigation, and vessel safety lies with Transport Canada, while emergency response is the responsibility of the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG). DFO has responsibility for the management of fisheries resources, and in Newfoundland and Labrador, the provincial Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission (WHSCC) has jurisdiction over health and safety issues in the workplace.
  3. Before leaving on a voyage the owner, master or operator must ensure that the fishing vessel is capable of safely making the passage. Critical factors for a safe voyage include:
    1. seaworthiness of the vessel
    2. vessel stability
    3. having the required safety equipment in good working order
    4. crew training
    5. knowledge of current and forecasted weather conditions
  4. Useful publications include Transport Canada’s Small Fishing Vessel Safety Manual which can be obtained from TC or printed from their website.
  5. Fishing vessel safety includes three priority areas:
    1. vessel stability
    2. emergency drills
    3. cold water immersion

Fishing vessel stability

  1. Vessel stability is paramount for safety. Care must be given to the stowage and securing of all cargo, skiffs, equipment, fuel containers and supplies, and also to correct ballasting. Fish harvesters must be familiar with their vessel’s centre of gravity, the effect of free surface liquids on stability, loose water or fish on deck, loading and unloading operations and the vessel’s freeboard. Fish harvesters should know the limitations of their vessels. If unsure, the vessel operator should contact a qualified naval architect, marine surveyor or the local Transport Canada Marine Safety office.
  2. Fishing vessel owners are required to develop detailed instructions addressing the limits of stability for each of their vessels. The instructions must be based on a formal assessment of the vessel by a qualified naval architect and include detailed safe operation documentation. Instructions should be kept on board the vessel at all times.
  3. Fishing vessel owners should also keep on-board detailed documentation on engine room procedures, maintenance schedules to ensure watertight integrity, and instructions for regular practice of emergency drills.

Emergency drill requirements

  1. The vessel master must establish procedures and assign responsibilities to each crew member for emergencies such as crew member overboard, fire, flooding, abandoning ship and calling for help.
  2. Since July 30, 2003 all crew members with more than six months at sea are required to have taken minimum Marine Emergency Duties (MED) training or be registered for such training.
  3. MED provides a basic understanding of:
    1. hazards associated with the marine environment
    2. prevention of shipboard incidents (including fires)
    3. raising and reacting to alarms
    4. fire and abandonment situations
    5. skills necessary for survival and rescue

Cold water immersion

  1. Drowning is the number one cause of death in the fishing industry. Cold water is defined as water below 25 degrees Celsius, but the greatest effects occur below 15 degrees Celsius. Newfoundland and Labrador waters are usually below 15 degrees.
  2. The effects of cold water on the body occur in four stages:
    1. cold shock
    2. swimming failure
    3. hypothermia
  3. post-rescue collapse
    Vessel masters should know what to do to prevent themselves or their crew from falling into the water and what to do if that occurs.

Other issues


  1. Vessel owners and masters are reminded of the importance of paying close attention to current weather trends and forecasts during the voyage. Marine weather information and forecasts can be obtained from Environment Canada’s website.

Emergency radio procedures

  1. Vessel owners and masters should ensure that all crew are able to activate the Search and Rescue (SAR) system by contacting the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) early rather than later. It is strongly recommended that all fish harvesters carry a registered 406 MHz Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB). These beacons should be registered with Coast Guard’s National Search and Rescue secretariat. When activated, an EPIRB transmits a distress call that is picked up or relayed by satellites and transmitted via land earth stations to the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre (JRCC), which will task and co-ordinate rescue resources.
  2. All crew members should know how to make a distress call and should obtain their restricted operator certificate from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (formerly Industry Canada). Whenever possible, masters should contact the nearest Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) Marine Communications and Traffic Services (MCTS) station prior to a distress situation developing. Correct radio procedures are important for communications in an emergency. Incorrect or misunderstood communications may hinder a rescue response.
  3. Since August 1, 2003 all commercial vessels greater than 20 metres in length are required to carry a Class D VHF Digital Selective Calling (DSC) radio. A registered DSC VHF radio has the capability to alert other DSC equipped vessels in the immediate area and advise Coast Guard MCTS that the vessel is in distress. Masters should be aware that they should register their DSC radios with ISED Canada to obtain a Marine Mobile Services Identity (MMSI) number; otherwise the automatic distress calling feature of the radio may not work.
  4. A DSC radio that is connected to a GPS unit will also automatically include the vessel’s current position in the distress message. More detailed information on MCTS and DSC can be obtained by contacting a local MCTS center or from the Canadian Coast Guard.

Collison regulations

  1. Fish harvesters should have a thorough knowledge of the Collision Regulations and the responsibilities between vessels where risk of collision exists. Navigation lights must be kept in good working order and must be displayed from sunset to sunrise and during all times of restricted visibility. To help reduce the potential for collision or close quarters situations that may also result in the loss of fishing gear, fish harvesters are encouraged to monitor the appropriate local Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) VHF channel, when travelling or fishing near shipping lanes or other areas frequented by large commercial vessels.
  2. Vessels required to participate in VTS include:

Exceptions include:

  1. Additional information can be found on the Collision Regulations page.

Sail plan

  1. An important trip consideration is the use of a sail plan which includes the particulars of the vessel, crew and voyage. The sail plan should be left with a responsible person on shore or filed with the local MCTS centre. After leaving port the fish harvester should contact the holder of the sail plan daily or as per another schedule. The sail plan should ensure notification to JRCC when communication is not maintained which might indicate your vessel is in distress. Be sure to cancel the sail plan upon completion of the voyage.
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