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Conservation Harvesting Plan (CHP) NAFO Division 3NO Groundfish fishery fixed gear fleet

1. Eligibility

  1. Participation in the NAFO Divisions 3NO fixed gear groundfish fishery will be restricted to inshore groundfish licence holders with vessels < 27.4 m (<90’) in length with a homeport in NAFO Divisions 2+3KLNOP4R

2. Fishing areas

  1. This Conservation Harvesting Plan (CHP) governs the directed groundfish fishery for all vessels less than 27.4 m (90 feet) in length in NAFO Divisions 3NO fishing the following species for the management cycle which runs from January 1 to December 31 annually:
  1. Skate
  2. Monkfish
  3. White hake
  4. Atlantic halibut

3. Fishing restrictions

  1. You are not permitted to fish any area other than NAFO Divisions 3NO, unless an At-Sea Observer is onboard your vessel.
  2. Fishing for White hake is not permitted in water depths of less than 137 m (75 fathoms).
  3. You may fish gillnets or hook and line (longline) gear but not both during the same fishing trip, unless you have an At-Sea Observer onboard your vessel.
  4. All fishing gear must be returned to port with the vessel at the end of the fishing trip. In the event that the vessel develops mechanical trouble and has to return to port without retrieving all of the fishing gear, arrangements must be made to have the fishing gear retrieved within 3 days. You will be responsible for paying the full cost of a Fisheries Observer who will be deployed on the vessel while it is retrieving the gear.

4. Catch limitations

  1. The maximum amount of skate that can be landed during any one fishing trip is 18,371 kg (40,500 lbs) round weight (6,304 kg / 15,000 lbs of wings).
  2. The maximum amount of monkfish that can be landed during any one fishing trip is 49,896 kg (110,000 lbs) round weight (41,580 kg / 91,667 lbs HOG).
  3. A pre-cautionary fleet harvesting cap for monkfish is set at 1,588 tonnes (3,500,000 lbs) round weight annually.
  4. When 50% of the Atlantic halibut fleet quota is taken through a directed Atlantic halibut fishery, a review shall occur to determine an Atlantic halibut quota reserve for use to cover incidental catch in other directed species fisheries.

5. Season

  1. The opening dates for all groundfish fisheries in NAFO Divisions 3NO will be set in consultation with industry.

6. Fishing gear

  1. When directing for skate and/or monkfish using gillnets, the minimum mesh size permitted is 305 mm (12 inches). The maximum number of gillnets permitted is 300.
  2. When directing for white hake using gillnets, the minimum mesh size permitted is 152 mm (6 inches) and the maximum mesh size is 178 mm (7 inches). The maximum number of gillnets permitted is 100.
  3. When fishing white hake in combination with skate and monkfish, the maximum number of gillnets that can be fished at any one time is limited to 300. The number of white hake gillnets limited to 100.
  4. Directed fishing for Atlantic halibut shall be with hook & line gear only. The number of hooks used in the directed Atlantic halibut hook & line fishery is not restricted. You are not permitted to fish with, or have on board your vessel, hooks that have a gape opening less than 15.4 mm. Gape opening is defined as the distance between the point and shank of a hook.

7. Reporting and monitoring

  1. As per the Groundfish General Licence Conditions.
  2. Industry-funded at-sea observer coverage is required for the NAFO Divisions 3NO skate, monkfish, white hake and Atlantic halibut fisheries.
  3. 100% self-funded observer coverage will be required for all vessels fishing gillnets before May 15th and for the first trip conducted by new entrants to the fishery. A new entrant is defined as a licence holder who did not fish NAFO Divisions 3NO Atlantic halibut, white hake, skate or monkfish during the previous 5 years. During the first fishing trip, the new entrant must complete a minimum of three full fishing days of setting and hauling of a minimum of 100 gillnets or 1,000 hooks in order to satisfy the requirement of a 100% self-funded observed trip. If three full fishing days with the gear amounts required are not completed, the licence holder shall take a 100% self- funded observer for the second and all subsequent trips to complete the balance of three full fishing days.
  4. To assess the level of incidental catch on particular fishing grounds, a test fishery will be conducted by the new entrant licence holder during the first trip to NAFO Divisions 3NO for any groundfish species using fixed gear, in accordance with the following:
    1. Test fisheries will be conducted on the first fishing day of the trip and on the first fishing day of each different fishing location during the trip. A different fishing location is defined as a change in depth of 91 m (50 fathoms) or a change of fishing position of 19 km (10 nautical miles).
    2. The test fishery will consist of setting and retrieving 10 gillnets or 100 hooks. Test gillnets must stay in the water (soak) for a minimum of six (6) hours before retrieval. Test longlines must stay in the water (soak) a minimum of three (3) hours before retrieval.
    3. If the incidental catch of non-directed species is within the limits established in licence conditions, the remainder of the fishing gear may be set in the location of your test fishery.
    4. If the incidental catch of non-directed species exceeds established limits, the vessel shall move to a different fishing location and conduct a second test fishery. Should the second test fishery be unsuccessful, the licenced vessel shall move to a third (different) fishing location to conduct a third test fishery. Should the third test fishery be unsuccessful, the vessel will retrieve all fishing gear and immediately return to port and cease fishing for the remainder of the management plan season. New entrant harvesters have the option to share an observed trip as per licence conditions.
  5. With the exception of the above, random observer coverage will apply.
  6. For the directed hook & line fishery, 100% self-funded observer coverage will be required as part of a separate test fishery permit program until such time as the fleet can demonstrate successful compliance with incidental catch limits.
  7. When fishing any species of groundfish in NAFO Divisions 3NO, all licence holders are required to report the Round weight of all species caught each day in a daily hail to DFO, as described in Schedule 16, which must be attached to validate your licence. This information shall be faxed daily to: (709) 772-5634.

8. By-catch and incidential restrictions

  1. As per the Groundfish General Licence Conditions.
  2. If incidental catches exceed limits established in licence conditions, a higher level of at-sea observer coverage will be implemented, in addition new management measures may apply.
  3. Where there are other widespread incidental catch problems, an entire area may be closed to the fleet sector.

9. Licensing policy

  1. The commercial fishery is guided by licensing policy which sets out requirements and eligibility criteria established by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada with respect to the licensing of commercial fishing and communal commercial fishing in the Newfoundland and Labrador Region. The policies provide fish harvesters, Aboriginal Organizations, and the Canadian public with a clear and consistent statement regarding the Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s (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 at the following.

10. Species at Risk Act (SARA)

  1. In accordance with subsection 83(4) of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) and the recovery strategy for northern wolffish (Anarchichas denticulatus), spotted wolffish (Anarchichas minor), and leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), and having met the conditions of sections 73(2) to (6.1) of the Species at Risk Act 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, capture or capture the northern wolffish, the spotted wolffish, the leatherback sea turtle or the white shark.
  2. The licence holder or vessel operator must ensure that, while the fishing activities are conducted, every person on board the vessel who incidentally catches a northern wolffish, a spotted wolffish, a leatherback sea turtle, or a white shark, forthwith returns it to the place from which it was taken, and where it is alive, in a manner that causes the least harm.
  3. The licence holder or vessel operator must complete the SARA section in the fishing/SARA logbook to provide information regarding interactions with species at risk while conducting fishing operations; the licence holder must report, in the fishing/SARA logbook for the fleet sector, any interaction with: northern wolffish, spotted wolffish, leatherback turtle, or white shark. The position (latitude and longitude) at time of catch, as well as the quantity, weight and conditions (alive or dead) for each species mentioned above must be recorded on the logbook.
  4. For additional information, please refer to the Groundfish General Licence Conditions.

11. Marine mammals

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

12. Marine conservation targets: Closed areas

  1. As per Schedule 36 – Closed Areas which is attached to the Groundfish General Licence Conditions.

13. 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.

14. 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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