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

1. Eligibility

  1. Participation in the directed mobile 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.

2. Fishing areas

  1. This Conservation Harvesting Plan (CHP) governs the directed fishery for all vessels less than 27.4 metres (90’) in length, regardless of homeport, fishing groundfish in NAFO Sub-Division 3Ps using mobile gear, and is in effect for the management cycle which runs from April 1 to March 31 annually.
  2. The area of NAFO Sub-Division 3Ps SOUTH of a straight line joining the following points is referred to as the “offshore area” and consists of 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 NAFO Sub-Division 3Ps NORTH of the line above is referred to as the “inshore area” and consists of 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 3Ps units (a)-(h) are outlined 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, whether or not any fish has been caught.
  3. Except when fishing redfish and Witch flounder, the use of mobile fishing gear is prohibited in the inshore area (NAFO Sub-Division 3Ps units (a), (b), and (c)) as defined in Schedule 34 and attached to licence holders’ Groundfish General Licence Conditions.
  4. The water in which fishing for redfish is authorized is redfish area Unit 2 in that part of NAFO Sub-Division 3Ps outside of the territorial sea (12 nautical miles) from the nearest point of land and in that portion of NAFO Sub-Division 3Pn outside the 100 fathom edge defined by using the following points:
    47 degrees 37’00”N, 59 degrees 18’12”W
    47 degrees 35’45”N, 59 degrees 20’00”W
    47 degrees 33’30”N, 59 degrees 17’00”W
    47 degrees 30’15”N, 59 degrees 10’30”W
    47 degrees 28’30”N, 59 degrees 01’00”W
    47 degrees 23’30”N, 59 degrees 48’00”W
    47 degrees 26’30”N, 59 degrees 25’00”W
    47 degrees 38’25”N, 59 degrees 26’45”W
  5. Fishing is not authorized in Placentia Bay inside a straight line drawn from Cape St. Mary’s (46 degrees 49’N, 54 degrees 12’W) to Ferryland Head (46 degrees 52’N, 55 degrees 23’W).
  6. Fishing is not authorized in Fortune Bay inside a line drawn from Cape la Hune to Point Crewe following the points in the order listed below:
    47 degrees 31’36”N, 56 degrees 52’36”W
    47 degrees 21’54”N, 56 degrees 29’40”W
    47 degrees 18’19”N, 56 degrees 15’18”W
    47 degrees 06’02”N, 56 degrees 06’18”W
    46 degrees 54’54”N, 55 degrees 58’42”W
  7. For those licence holders with a cod Individual Quota (IQ) or harvesting CAP, all cod caught from any fishery, whether directed catch or by-catch, will be charged against the IQ or harvesting CAP for that licence.
  8. When a licence holder has caught their cod IQ or harvesting CAP, either from directed catch or by-catch, they must cease fishing for all species of groundfish in 3Ps for the remainder of the management period year (to March 31).
  9. 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.

4. Catch limits

  1. Quota Reconciliation
    1. Any over-run in the Danish seine fleet allocation of Witch flounder (greysole) will be reconciled by uncaught quota from the Witch flounder (greysole) allocations in the mobile gear fleet based in 3Ps and 3Pn and/or fixed gear fleet based in 3Ps. If there is insufficient uncaught quota in these allocations to compensate for the overrun, the Danish seine fleet allocation will be reconciled for the balance in the following year.
    2. Nominal quota over-runs from the previous year’s cod and redfish fisheries will be deducted from the current year’s quota prior to the start of the fishing season.

5. Season

The season end dates in the table below are subject to change based on available quota.

Season 2022-23
Species Season date Conservation closure

3Ps(a)(b)(c)(e)(f)(g)(h) portion of Unit 2: July 1 to March 31

3Ps(d) July 1 to November 15

3Pn portion of Unit 2: July 15 to October 15

Spawning closure from April 1 to June 30 in all areas

Closed to protect Gulf of St. Lawrence cod that are mixing with 3Ps cod. This closure will be reviewed annually and implemented as necessary

Redfish mixing closure to protect redfish in the Gulf of St. Lawrence

Skate April 1 to March 31  
Witch flounder (greysole) April 1 to March 31  

Atlantic cod

  • 3Ps based mobile gear fleet
  • Other mobile gear (4R3Pn-based) fleets

3Ps(f)(g)(h) - Mid-May to Feb 28

3Ps(d)(e) - Mid-May to November 15

3Ps(f)(g)(h) - July 1 to Feb 28

3Ps(d)(e) - Mid-May to November 15

Spawning closure March 1 to Mid-May all fleets1,2

Closes November 15 to protect Gulf of St. Lawrence cod that are mixing with 3Ps cod

Closes November 15 to protect Gulf of St. Lawrence cod that are mixing with 3Ps cod

¹ Exact 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

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)
Redfish Otter trawl – 90mm diamond
Skate Otter trawl - 300mm in the cod end and 254mm in the remainder of the trawl
Witch flounder (greysole) Danish seine - 155mm square mesh in the cod end and the non-tapering part of the cod end lengthening piece for a minimum of 50 meshes. In the remainder of the net, 130mm diamond.
Atlantic cod Otter trawl - 155mm diamond or 145mm square

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.
Species Minimum size (cm)
Atlantic cod 45
Redfish 22

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 observer 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 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. Please 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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