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Atlantic herring in the Maritimes Region

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Herring
(Clupea harengus)

Foreword

The purpose of this Integrated Fisheries Management Plan (IFMP) is to identify the main objectives and requirements for the herring fishery in the Maritimes Region (Herring Fishing Areas 18 through 22 and NAFO areas 4VWX5, as well as the tactics that will be used to achieve these objectives. This document also serves to communicate the basic information on the fishery and its management to staff of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), legislated co-management boards and other stakeholders. This IFMP provides a common understanding of the basic rules for the sustainable management of the fisheries resource.

Through IFMPs, DFO Maritimes Region intends to implement an Ecosystem Approach to Management (EAM) across all marine fisheries. The approach considers impacts extending beyond those affecting the target species and, in this respect, is consistent with the Food and Agriculture Organization’s Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. Implementation will take place in a step by step, evolutionary way, building on existing management processes. Advances will be made incrementally, beginning with the highest priorities and issues that offer the greatest scope for progress. A summary of the regional EAM framework is included as Appendix 1.

This IFMP is not a legally binding instrument, which can form the basis of a legal challenge. The IFMP can be modified at any time and does not fetter the Minister's discretionary powers set out in the Fisheries Act. The Minister can, for reasons of conservation or for any other valid reasons, modify any provision of the IFMP in accordance with the powers granted pursuant to the Fisheries Act.

Where DFO is responsible for implementing obligations under land claims agreements, the IFMP will be implemented in a manner consistent with these obligations. In the event that an IFMP is inconsistent with obligations under land claims agreements, the provisions of the land claims agreements will prevail to the extent of the inconsistency.

Signed: Regional Director, Fisheries Management, Maritimes Region

Table of contents

1. Overview of the fishery
2. Stock assessment, science and traditional knowledge
3. Economic, social and cultural considerations
4. Objectives
5. Access and allocation
6. Management measures
7. Management issues
8. Compliance plan
9. Performance review
10. Safety at sea
11. Glossary
12. References
13. Acronyms
Appendices

1. Overview of the fishery

1.1 History

Since the 1700s, a herring fishery has existed at the mouth of the Bay of Fundy. Traditionally, stationary fish traps or weirs were set near shore and relied on catching schools of juvenile herring (ages 1-3). With the development of new gear types in the early 1800s, herring where able to be harvested in the Bay of Fundy and Newfoundland waters by weir, trap and small vessels using gillnets. In 1850, 60 weirs operated throughout the Passamaquoddy region. By 1919, the number of weirs increased to over 500. Although primarily on the New Brunswick side of the Bay of Fundy, weirs were also operated in Southwest Nova Scotia and the Upper Bay of Fundy.

With advances in technology in the 1960s, a purse seine fleet began fishing herring offshore of the Atlantic Coast. The large catches from the purse seine fleet promoted the development of a fishmeal industry. By 1968, large fish processing facilities were established in Newfoundland, the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Chedabucto Bay, Sydney Bight and the Bay of Fundy to accommodate this increase in fishing capacity.

By 1970, active weirs on the New Brunswick side of the Bay of Fundy were limited by license to about 240. Around 20 more were active along the Digby coast of Nova Scotia. Since the early 1980s there has been a dramatic decrease in the use of weirs in Canada and the USA. This decline is largely due to a mix of economic factors and the availability of herring. Changing of weir sites to aquaculture facilities also impacted the number and distribution of active weirs.

In 1968, herring catches in Atlantic Canada reached a high of 500,000 t, but decreased sharply to 226,000 t by 1973. This reduction in herring catches was the result of fleet expansion, improved gear technology and more efficient harvesting techniques, which led to overharvesting. The decline of the herring fishery started government and industry cooperation. As a result, the Atlantic Herring Management Committee, the predecessor to the Scotia-Fundy Herring Advisory Committee (SFHAC), formed to discuss the management of the fishery. Individually transferable quotas (ITQs) were established and the directed fishery for fishmeal was closed.

From 1981 to 1983, DFO conducted another intensive consultative process involving purse seiners, gillnetters and weir fishers. This resulted in the development of a 10 year management plan effective from 1983 to 1993. This plan called for separation of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Scotia-Fundy fleets, the ability to sell individual vessel quotas, a 10 year moratorium on new licences and guaranteed individual quotas for 10 years based on annual total allowable catches (TACs). Over the 10 year period, the TAC was divided across the herring fleets. The mid-water trawl was allocated the first 1% of the TAC. Of the remaining 99% of the TAC, the purse seine fleet received an 80% share and the fixed gear fleet received a 20% share. This sharing formula remains the sharing arrangement used to date.

In 1993, new management measures were introduced based on a review of the 10 year plan. In 1995, “in-season” management measures were enacted to reduce pressure in response to a large decrease in larval abundance detected in 1994. Larval abundance was considered an indicator of spawning stock biomass. A “survey, assess and then fish” protocol was developed by a DFO / industry monitoring group to quickly improve data collection and support management decisions. This process has evolved over the years. Although the survey results are monitored throughout the year, generally management decisions for harvest levels are based on the previous year’s surveys and indicators.

Herring specific to Georges Bank was reviewed from 1993 to 2003 through the Transboundary Resource Assessment Committee (TRAC) (DFO, 2003a; Gavaris, 2003). TRAC reviewed stock assessments and projections to support management of shared resources across the Canada-USA boundary in the Gulf of Maine-Georges Bank region (DFO, 2018a). As necessary, Canadian and US herring scientists collaboratively deal with issues to ensure the proper management of the transboundary stock.

In 1990, the Supreme Court of Canada released a decision in R. v. Sparrow. In this landmark decision, the Court provided meaning and context to the Constitution Act, 1982, section 35(1). This decision held that, after conservation and other “valid legislative objectives,” Aboriginal rights to fish for food, social and ceremonial (FSC) purposes have priority over all other uses of the fishery. Through the Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy, DFO provides a framework for the management of FSC fishing by Aboriginal peoples. Agreements are negotiated and the Minister, or delegate, issues a communal licence outlining the locations, methods, gear types, time frame and other conditions for the FSC fishery to reflect the agreement reached. Where an agreement is not reached, the Minister issues a communal fishing licence consistent with the provisions of Sparrow and subsequent Supreme Court of Canada decisions.

In 2009, the department adopted the ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management . This approach considers the impact of fisheries not only on the target species, but also on non-target species, seafloor habitats and the ecosystems of which these species are a part. Initiatives and management objectives for the herring fishery are consistent with the DFO Maritime Region’s framework for implementing the Ecosystem Approach to Management (EAM) (Appendix 1). As a forage species, herring is a critical component of the marine ecosystem. Herring are important for transferring energy from lower to higher trophic levels.

Due to concern for the stock, a rebuilding plan for the Southwest Nova Scotia / Bay of Fundy (SWNS/BoF) stock was completed in 2013. The rebuilding plan outlined a number of conservation objectives to be addressed by DFO and the fishing industry (DFO, 2013).

1.2 Type of fishery

The herring fishery is mostly a commercial fishery with FSC, bait and recreational components. Herring is an important species for the fishing industry in the Maritimes Region as it is a commercial species as well as a bait fish used in other fisheries. For example, lobster, snow crab and tuna use herring as bait. Herring may be captured under bait licences for herring and mackerel.

The resources fished through an FSC licence are used communally to provide food for members of First Nations and other Aboriginal communities and to support their traditional, social and ceremonial activities. Commercial Communal (CC) licences are issued to Aboriginal communities for participation in the general commercial fishery.

1.3 Participants

Approximately 2,300 commercial herring licences were issued in the Maritimes Region in 2018. These licences consisted of 1880 vessel-based (gillnet – set or fixed and drift), 33 exempted vessel-based (purse seine and mid water trawl), 240 fixed gear (weir and trap net) and 81 transport licences (Table 1). In total, there are 29 Aboriginal CC licences using fixed gear. Only 2 of these CC licences were active in 2018. There are no CC mobile gear licences in this fishery. As well, approximately 1291 bait licences for herring and mackerel were issued in 2018. There were 67 recreational (gillnet) licences issued in the Maritimes Region.

Table 1: Number of issued and active licences by license and gear type in 2018.
License type Gear type Issued licences / (# that are CC licences) Active licences
Fixed gear Weir 180/(5) 30
Shut-off (beach / drag / bar seine) 42 22
Trap net 18 4
Vessel-based Gillnet (set and fixed) 1483/(24) 110
Gillnet (drift) 397 94
Exempted vessel-based Purse seine 32 9
Mid water trawl 1 -
Recreational Gillnet 67 -
Bait Gillnet (set or fixed) 1291/(42) 116
Transport - 81 7
Total - 3592/(71) 392

1.4 Location of the fishery

The Maritimes Region extends from Cape North to the Canada-USA border. The Region includes Sydney Bight, the Scotian Shelf, the Bay of Fundy and those parts of the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank that are in Canada's exclusive economic zone (NAFO Divisions 4VWX and the Canadian part of Subarea 5).

The commercial herring fishery in the Maritimes Region consists of 4 spawning components and a juvenile mixing aggregation. Together, these herring components form the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) 4VWX5 or Maritimes Region management area. The management area is broken into 5 units: SWNS/BoF, offshore Scotian Shelf, Coastal Nova Scotia, Georges Bank and Southwest New Brunswick (SWNB) migrant juveniles.

Individual licences provide access to herring based on Herring Fishing Areas (HFAs). This is further managed through licence conditions, regulations and more generally where herring aggregate. Figure 1 shows the herring management units and major spawning areas. Figure 2 shows the total landings from 2014-2018 in the Maritimes Region. Detailed information on the location of fishing is available in herring Science documents.

Figure 1 shows the herring management units and major spawning areas.

Figure 1: Place names and fishing locations in Maritimes Region.

1.4.1 Southwest Nova Scotia / Bay of Fundy (SWNS/BoF)

The main fishing areas for the SWNS/BoF component are the German Bank and Scots Bay spawning grounds. Additional amounts of fishing occur in the waters around Grand Manan and on Long Island Shore.

1.4.2 Offshore Scotian Shelf

The Offshore spawning herring component is poorly documented. There is little information on stock size, distribution and spawning locations in this area. The Offshore component currently supports a fishery in May through July in the vicinity of The Patch (see Figure 1). The area has an annual catch averaging 2,500 t from 2015 to 2018 (DFO, 2020). Information for this component comes primarily from sampling of catches and samples from the summer bottom trawl research survey. Spawning is presumed to occur in the fall based on the reproductive condition of sampled fish. During the fall of 2014, industry conducted surveys for herring aggregations outside of the regular fishing areas. There were no aggregations of herring found in this area.

From 1963 to 1973, foreign fishing boats are estimated to have removed an average of 28,000 t of herring per year from the offshore Scotian Shelf banks (Stephenson et al., 1987). After the introduction of the exclusive economic zone in 1977, herring landings in the area were reduced. In 1996, a fishery was initiated by the purse seine fleet and landings increased. Since 1996, a fishery has occurred on feeding aggregations on the offshore banks, primarily in May and June.

Figure 2 shows the total landings from 2010-2014 in the Maritimes Region.

Figure 2: Composite landings from 2014-2018 across herring fishing areas.

1.4.3 Coastal Nova Scotia

Herring stocks east of Baccaro Point along the Nova Scotia coast are considered to be discrete local stocks and are not part of the SWNS/BoF spawning component stock complex. Over 326 historical spawning locations were documented in 1999; however, the size and historical performance of local spawning groups remain poorly documented. Individual spawning groups within this component are considered vulnerable to fishing because of their relatively small size (biomass) and proximity to shore (Stephenson et al., 1999).

Appendix 2 shows the embayment lines related to the HFAs 17 through 20. The inshore gillnet fisheries east of Halifax and Little Hope have become well established since 1996. Participants have contributed to annual sampling and surveying. From 1996 to 2011, efforts were made to acoustically document herring on spawning grounds, in Glace Bay, Cape Breton, to develop a sustained fishery in that area. Efforts to document the size and distribution were intermittent. There is currently no fishery on the spawning grounds in that area. The Bras d’Or Lakes fishery has been under moratorium since 2001.There has been no research nor surveys for herring in the Bras d’Or Lakes since 2000.

1.4.4 Southwest New Brunswick (migrant juveniles)

The SWNB weir and shut-off fisheries have relied on the aggregation of large numbers of herring dominated by juveniles (ages 1-3) near shore at the mouth of the Bay of Fundy. The fish caught in the New Brunswick weir and shut-off fishery are a mixture of juveniles from different areas. Weir catches are dominated by those originating from NAFO Division 5 spawning components and therefore are not included in the TAC set for the SWNS/BoF management unit. The age distribution of the fish are suited to the sardine market, with over 90% of the catch at either age 1 or age 2.

1.4.5 Georges Bank (5Z)

Georges Bank herring is 1 of the 3 spawning components of the herring stock complex in the Gulf of Maine / Georges Bank area. Georges Bank is estimated to account for approximately 85–90% of this stock complex (DFO, 2003a). From 1961 to 1977, the Georges Bank herring stock supported a large commercial herring fishery involving gillnets, trawlers and purse seiners. In 1977 the stock collapsed and landings declined. Signs of stock recovery were first noticed in 1984. By 1986 Canadian and American research surveys began to detect reproductively active herring on Georges Bank (DFO, 2003a; Melvin et al., 1995). There was no directed commercial fishery for herring on Georges Bank from 1978 to 1995. Fishing in this area typically occurred in the fall. This component is still poorly documented with little information on stock size, distribution and spawning behavior.

1.5 Fishery characteristics

The herring fisheries in the Maritimes Region have been dominated by purse seine, weir and gillnet with relatively minor landings by shut-off and traps. The commercial herring fishery in Maritimes Region is a limited entry fishery. The SWNS/BoF spawning component herring fishing season, or quota season, begins on October 15 and runs until October 14 of the following year.

The herring fishery in the eastern portion of Coastal Nova Scotia (HFAs 17, 18 and 19) traditionally has occurred primarily during the winter months. In contrast, the fishery from the western portion of Coastal Nova Scotia to the Bay of Fundy (HFAS 20, 21 and 22) occurs in the summer and fall. Herring on the Scotian Shelf are typically caught in May and June and in the fall for Georges Bank.

The personal use bait fishery is a limited entry fishery that authorizes up to 3 (90 fathom) gillnets. It is open year round. However, landings generally occur from spring to late fall.

1.5.1 Gear characteristics / fleets

Purse seines

Purse seines have the largest volume of reported landings by gear type in the herring fishery. Landings by the purse seine fleet accounted for 81-99% of the landings over 1981-2018 (DFO, 2020). The largest proportion of the purse seine catches come from the spawning grounds and juvenile mixing areas. Feeding areas comprise separate juvenile and adult feeding areas. The fishery is an ITQ fishery in the SWNS/BoF area and a competitive fishery in the Offshore Scotian Shelf and Georges Bank areas. Although open year round, the fishery has mainly occurred from May through November for the last number of years.

Weirs, trapnet and shut-off

Weirs and trapnets are stationary fish traps that are then surrounded by nets. Weirs generally have stakes driven into the ocean bottom. A shut-off refers to the practice of using a physical barrier, similar to a weir, to close off a small bay or cove from the open water.

The SWNB weir fishery (which includes weirs, trapnets and shut-offs) uses effort controls and is not subject to catch limits. This is a limited entry fishery and there are limits to amounts of gear and available weir sites in the area. The success of the weir fishery is historically unpredictable. Catches are inherently susceptible to many natural variables in addition to stock abundance. Catch can also be influenced by the market. Landings for the SWNB weirs are not counted against the SWNS/BoF quota. However, landings for the Nova Scotia weirs are counted against the SWNS/BoF quota.

Gillnets

Gillnets operate mainly in Coastal Nova Scotia. Gillnets consist of netting used to catch fish with weights on the bottom and floats at the top. Gillnets can be set at different depths and can be stationary or drift through the water. The commercial licence for gillnets has varying lengths of netting approved via the licence conditions. In addition there are bait licences that use gillnets. Little Hope / Port Mouton and Eastern Shore areas have well developed fisheries. There is also some gillnet activity in the SWNS/BoF area. Reported gillnet landings for all other areas are very low and inconsistent annually.

Mid-water trawl

A limited developmental mid-water trawl fishery on Georges Bank was approved by DFO in 2004. Mid-water trawl activities are intended to augment purse seine activities and not to take away from the purse seine fleet. Only a small amount of activity has taken place using this gear type.

Mid-water trawling on the outer banks is only permitted to increase the scientific knowledge of the area. Any projects on the outer banks require full science approval and must achieve specific scientific objectives.

1.5.2 Management methods

Quota

The SWNS/BoF portion of the herring fishery is based on a total TAC system. Once the TAC is set, the mobile gear fleet (including 1 mid-water trawl licence) is allocated ITQs, which are set based on the percentage share established for each licence holder. The fixed gear sector in HFA 20 (West of the Baccaro Point Line) fish their portion of the TAC competitively. Landings must be recorded at ports of landing through the Dockside Monitoring Program (DMP).

The Little Hope and Eastern Shore fisheries occur on spawning areas where the approximate size of the spawning area is known. There is an annual TAC based on removing only 10% of the average of the last 5 years of spawning stock biomass estimates when stocks are considered healthy. This is fished competitively. Science advice states that, for spawning components for which there is concern (including stocks that show evidence of poor recruitment, decrease in spawning locations, low larval abundance, poor catches and narrow age distribution in the catch), surveys should be conducted but no fishing should be undertaken.

The offshore banks are fished with an initial quota of 12,000 t. Georges Bank can be fished with an initial Canadian quota of 20,000 t. These quotas are fished competitively.

Non-quota

The last review of the management protocol for the Coastal Nova Scotia component took place at a regional advisory process in 1999. There are 2 areas that fall into the non-quota category: the Coastal Nova Scotian stocks (other than Little Hope / Eastern Shore) and the herring weirs, which are managed through effort controls.

Herring weirs in New Brunswick do not have a removal limit as catches are traditionally considered to be mixed juvenile fish dominated by fish originating from NAFO sub area 5 spawning components (USA). Therefore, SWNB weirs have been excluded from the SWNS/BoF quota. Landings are monitored through logbooks.

1.6 Governance

1.6.1 Domestic policies and legislation

DFO oversees Canada’s scientific, ecological, social and economic interests in oceans and fresh waters. This responsibility is guided by the Fisheries Act (last amended 2019). The Act confers responsibility to the Minister of DFO for the management of fisheries, habitat and aquaculture. As well, the Oceans Act (last amended 2019) charges the Minister of DFO with leading integrated oceans management. The Minister of DFO is also the competent Minister responsible for aquatic species at risk management and protection, pursuant to the Species at Risk Act (2002). All 3 acts contain provisions relevant to fisheries management and conservation; however, the Fisheries Act is the act from which the principal set of regulations affecting the licensing and management of fisheries flows.

Current regulations governing the herring fishery are principally the Fishery (General) Regulations (last amended May 29, 2015), the Atlantic Fishery Regulations, 1985 and the Aboriginal Communal Fishing Licences Regulations. These regulations form the foundation of the management system and establish the fundamental rules under which the fishery may be governed, such as fishing seasons and licence conditions.

Herring licences are issued pursuant to the discretion of the Minister of DFO as per section 7 of the Fisheries Act. The issuance of licence conditions is pursuant to section 22, Fishery (General) Regulations. The regulations give DFO the authority to specify certain conditions in a fishing licence. For example, through the use of licence conditions DFO is able to specify gear configurations, require fishing fleets to complete logbooks, use vessel monitoring systems (VMS), hail out / in and use approved independent third parties (Dockside Monitoring Companies) to verify landings.

Variation orders are used to shorten or lengthen fishing seasons, as appropriate. Variation orders affecting the herring fleets are signed by the Regional Director-General, Maritimes Region of DFO and have the same effect as regulations. With some exceptions, variation orders can be applied to any fishing area or portion of a fishing area and to any fleet.

The management of the commercial fisheries is governed by a suite of policies related to the granting of access, economic prosperity, resource conservation and traditional Aboriginal use. Information on these can be found on DFO’s Fisheries policies and frameworks website. Notable policies include the Commercial fisheries licensing policy for Eastern Canada, 1996 and policies under the Sustainable Fisheries Framework, such as the precautionary approach framework, sensitive benthic area framework, Policy on managing bycatch and Policy on New Fisheries for Forage Species.

1.6.2 Consultative processes

The SFHAC provides advice and recommendations to DFO on the conservation, protection and management of the fishery resource for HFAs 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22. Committee terms of reference are in Appendix 3. The committee also makes recommendations regarding resolution of ongoing fishery management issues, such as conflict between resource users and among gear sectors. The committee is the consultative forum for the development of this Integrated Fisheries Management Plan (IFMP). Committee members include representatives from the mobile and fixed gear sectors, the processing sector and DFO staff from Science, Oceans, Policy, Conservation and Protection and Resource Management. The SFHAC has 2 subcommittees: the Herring Purse Seine Monitoring Committee and the Bay of Fundy Herring Weir Advisory Committee (BoFHWAC). The terms of reference for each sub-committee are contained in Appendix 4 and 5 respectively.

1.6.3 Regional science advisory process

The Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat (CSAS), through the regional advisory process (RAP) for domestic stocks, provides scientific advice on stock status. Members of the fishing industry and other invited experts participate in CSAS meetings. The information provided by the RAP, in the form of science advisory reports (SARs), is 1 of the primary inputs on management of the fishery at the committee. Herring is generally assessed on a multi-year schedule. This involves framework meetings, which review the approach to assessing the stock, including inputs, when necessary. As well, stock assessments that apply the approach adopted by the framework are conducted every 2 years. In the years between assessments, science updates are completed based on the most recent information available from surveys and other indices. Updates are subject to an internal DFO Science peer-review and provide advice for annual management.

1.7 Approval process

Recommendations and advice to DFO on the management of the herring fishery are provided through the SFHAC, the main consultative body for the fishery. While operational decisions are made within the Maritimes Region’s Fisheries Management Branch, decision-making on TAC levels, complex issues related to access and allocations, changes to licensing policy or issues related to international agreements will be elevated to the Regional Director-General or the Minister.

Evergreen IFMPs are developed by DFO in consultation with the fishing industry, provincial and territorial governments, Aboriginal groups, advisory bodies, and other interested stakeholders and partners. Approval of the IFMP is at the level of Regional Director of Fisheries Management for the Maritimes Region.

2. Stock assessment, science and traditional knowledge

2.1 Biological synopsis

The Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus) is a pelagic fish species occurring in the Northwest and Northeast Atlantic. Along the East Coast of North America, herring range from Labrador to Cape Hatteras. The major spawning grounds are limited to the northern regions of this broad distribution (Scott and Scott, 1988). Herring spawn in discrete locations to which they are presumed to home.

In the Maritimes Region, approximately 50% of herring first mature and spawn at age 3. By age 4, all fish are considered adults (reproductively active). Size at first maturity ranges from 23 to 28 cm (9” to 11”) in total length. Once herring reach adulthood they begin a predictable annual pattern of spawning, overwintering and summer feeding. These patterns often involve herring migrating considerable distances and mixing with members of other spawning groups. Most fishing takes place on dense summer feeding, overwintering or spawning aggregations.

The spawning season for herring in Atlantic Canada extends from April to November. However, in the Maritimes, the majority of herring in the Maritimes Region are fall spawners. Major spawning grounds in the Bay of Fundy and Southwest Nova Scotia include Scots Bay and German Bank. The area of Trinity Ledge, Spectacle Buoy and Seal Island are also known spawning areas. Spawning also occurs in several areas in the coastal waters of Nova Scotia, on Georges Bank and on several offshore banks on the Scotian Shelf (Figure 3). Once the eggs are released, they are fertilized and adhere to the substrate. Depending on the water temperature, after approximately 10-12 days the herring eggs hatch. The number of eggs per female is size-dependent with larger fish producing more eggs. Each female can lay between 25,000 to 260,000 eggs per year. Herring larvae are small and slender (5 mm) at hatching. The pelagic larval stage lasts 6-8 months before metamorphosis occurs and they develop scales. Herring larvae become juvenile herring around 50-70 mm in length.

Juvenile herring aggregate in coastal bays and inlets and are preyed upon by many predators. During their juvenile stage herring feed on zooplankton and grow rapidly. Growth generally slows once the fish become sexually mature and more energy is put into gonad production. Herring can commonly reach lengths in excess of 35 cm and ages greater than 11 years.

Figure 3 shows schematic representation of herring spawning grounds for the Scotian Shelf and Gulf of Maine areas

Figure 3: Schematic representation of herring spawning grounds for the Scotian Shelf and Gulf of Maine areas (filled symbols represent grounds with activity reported in the nineties while open symbols show grounds with historical records but no activity reported in the years prior to the nineties).

2.2 Ecosystem interactions

Atlantic herring are an important component of the marine ecosystem and the food chain. Herring feed upon a variety of planktonic organisms, primarily copepods and euphausiids; however, a shift has been observed in the zooplankton community structure. The large energy-rich copepod and preferred food source for herring, Calanus finmarchicus, is in low abundance and has been declining since 2009 (Bernier et al., 2018). C. finmarchicus is also the preferred food source for both North Atlantic right whales and Atlantic Mackerel. These changes may have consequences for the other levels of the food web. Herring is a typical forage species as it is prey for a wide array of species. Predators include other fish, marine birds and marine mammals (Bundy et al., 2014). The accessibility and high energy content of herring makes it the preferred food source of many predators. There have been higher-than-normal sea temperatures (bottom and surface) in the NAFO 4X and 4W areas since 2010 (DFO, 2018b) and it is not understood how these changes may affect herring productivity (spawning habitat suitability, larval survival, growth, etc).

2.3 Stock assessment

The Maritimes Region management area contains a number of spawning areas, separated to various degrees in space and time (Singh et al., 2018a). Spawning areas in close proximity with similar spawning times and similar larval distribution areas are considered part of the same complex. These areas have much closer affinity than spawning areas that are widely separated in space or time and do not share a common larval distribution. In the region, some spawning areas are large and offshore. Others are small and more localised, sometimes very near shore or in small embayments. The situation is further complicated as herring migrate long distances and mix outside of the spawning period both with members considered part of the same complex and with members of other spawning groups. For the purposes of evaluation and management, the 4VWX5 herring fisheries are divided into the following 5 components:

  1. Southwest Nova Scotia / Bay of Fundy
  2. Coastal Nova Scotia
  3. Offshore Scotian Shelf Banks
  4. Southwest New Brunswick migrant juveniles
  5. Georges Bank

The assessment approach for each component varies. Each component may have several spawning areas and there is mixing of fish among spawning components. Herring stock assessment and related research have been enhanced by a number of projects undertaken with the assistance of the fishing industry. These include industry sampling of biological characteristics of the catch and acoustic surveys using industry vessels since 1997. These projects provide key information for the assessment of herring stocks (Melvin et al., 2014; Singh et al., 2018a).

2.3.1 Southwest Nova Scotia / Bay of Fundy spawning component

Prior to 1998, the assessment of stock status for the SWNS/BoF component was based on the results of a sequential population analysis (SPA) tuned with a larval abundance index. Since 1998, stock status of this component has been evaluated using the results of industry conducted acoustic surveys on spawning grounds and biological characteristics of the stock component. Biomass estimates from individual spawning grounds are added, after applying a turnover calculation, to determine the overall spawning stock biomass (SSB) and factors, such as age structure, mean weight-at-age, distribution of the fishery and spawning fish, are examined to evaluate trends in abundance. In 2012, a limit reference point (LRP) for the SWNS/BoF spawning component was set using the acoustic SSB in Scots Bay and German Bank. The status of the stock relative to the LRP is evaluated based on a 3 year moving acoustic SSB average (Clark et al., 2012). Secondary indicators of a broad age composition and spatial and temporal diversity of spawning are also used to monitor the health of the stock.

The development of a new stock assessment framework was initiated in 2019 and is expected to conclude in 2020. The development of an analytical model and a management strategy evaluation (MSE) framework is the objective of this process.

2.3.2 Offshore Scotian Shelf banks spawning component

Assessment of this spawning component is based on reporting on landings from the offshore component. Offshore landings are subject to market, weather and fish availability. In 2015, 2016 and 2017, the age composition of the catch was primarily adult herring (age 3+). On the Scotian Shelf, the initial quota has been set at 12,000 t. As stated in the 2015 and 2018 assessments, there is a lack of recent information and survey data on this stock. As a result, there is no basis for evaluating the current catch allocation.

2.3.3 Coastal Nova Scotia inshore spawning component

For spawning areas in the Coastal Nova Scotia component, individual schools are surveyed by the fishing industry. These surveys provide an estimate of SSB and the recommended TAC is based on a percentage of the observed 5 year moving average biomass.

The age composition of the landings for the coastal component is primarily adult herring from the size selective gillnet fishery. A substantial proportion of the catch (at least 97%) is age 4 and older. Individual spawning groups within the coastal component are considered vulnerable to fishing because of their relatively small size (biomass) and proximity to shore. Large effort increase in new areas is not permitted until information on abundance and movement is available to evaluate the state of that spawning group.

Since 1997, the status of herring in the Bras d’Or Lakes has been considered poor based on the collapse of the fishery at that time. In the absence of current abundance information, the Bras d’Or Lakes remains closed to commercial fishing (DFO, 2018c).

2.3.4 Southwest New Brunswick migrant juveniles

The SWNB migrant and local juveniles caught in the weir fishery are considered to originate from coastal Maine. Based on tagging studies, these herring are considered to be part of the Gulf of Maine / Georges Bank complex and it is suggested that mixing is occurring. Landings of herring caught in the SWNB weir fishery are included in the USA Gulf of Maine herring assessment of the Gulf of Maine stock complex, which includes spawning components from the coastal area of the Gulf of Maine, Georges Bank, and Nantucket Shoals (NEFSC, 2018).

2.3.5 Georges Bank

The Georges Bank component is not evaluated by Canada and there has not been significant fishing activity in the area since the late 1970s. The American portion is evaluated by the US.

2.4 Stock status

Stock status and scientific advice for the stocks are based on methods and recommendations from the January 2011 framework, the 2012 LRP meeting and the most recent science advisory meeting (Clark et al., 2012; DFO, 2012; Melvin et al., 2018).

In the 2019 herring update, the overall acoustic SSB estimate for the SWNS/BoF spawning component decreased by 24 per cent in 2018 compared to 2017. The 3 year moving average SSB decreased again in 2018 and is now below the LRP. This places the stock in the critical zone.

The current status of the offshore Scotian Shelf spawning component is uncertain. There continues to be insufficient documentation of stock size, distribution and spawning behaviour for the offshore waters.

There is a general absence of information regarding most of the coastal Nova Scotia spawning component, with the exception of Little Hope and Eastern Shore. The SSB for the Little Hope / Port Mouton area increased to an all-time high in 2018 (DFO, 2020). Although there was a slight decrease in the biomass estimates for Eastern Shore in 2018, the stock biomass is currently at a moderate level.

2.5 Precautionary approach

In general, the precautionary approach is about being cautious when scientific information is uncertain, unreliable or inadequate. The absence of adequate scientific information should not be used as a reason to postpone or fail to take action to avoid serious harm to the resource.

Canada committed to implementing the precautionary approach when it became signatory to the United Nations Agreement on Straddling and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks (UNFA) (United Nations, 1995). In 2009, DFO developed A Fishery Decision-Making Framework Incorporating the Precautionary Approach for all key commercial, recreational or subsistence fisheries. The primary components of the generalized framework include:

  1. reference points and stock status zones (healthy, cautious and critical); and
  2. harvest strategies and harvest decision rules.

Uncertainty and risk must be accounted for when developing reference points and implementing decision rules.

The LRP for the SWNS/BoF herring stock was set in 2012 (Clark et al., 2012). The LRP for the SWNS/BoF herring component was set based on the values of the 2005 to 2010 acoustic surveys. An upper stock reference (USR) point has not been defined for the stock. Surveys conducted by the fishing industry, with guidance from DFO, continue to monitor stock status relative to the reference point. Figure 4 shows the SSB and LRP for herring.

Figure 4. For details, refer to the description that follows.

Figure 4: SSB and LRP for the SWNB/BoF herring component from 1999-2018

Description
Trends in the spawning stock biomass and limit reference point for the SWNB/BoF herring component from 1999-2018
Location/Year 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Scots and German 452,197 443,636 404,176 455,631 362,627 431,805 239,385 284,839 489,629 236,893 401,707 254,624 380,676 386,759 275,008 380,887 389,523 264,147 307,758 234,520
Overall 95% C.I. (SE*1.96) 52622 42093 12746 54797 39251 42979 60768 31418 66008 45695 47372 19003 43668 17334 29684 39457 27915 18376 30660 30838
1999 to 2004 Avg. 425,012 425,012 425,012 425,012 425,012                              
2005 to 2010 Avg. 317,846 317,846 317,846 317,846 317,846 317,846 317,846 317,846 317,846 317,846 317,846 317,846 317,846 317,846 317,846 317,846 317,846 317,846 317,846 317,846
Avg. All Years 353,821 353,821 353,821 353,821 353,821 353,821 353,821 353,821 353,821 353,821 353,821 353,821 353,821 353,821 353,821 353,821 353,821 353,821 353,821 353,821
SB&GB 3-year moving average     433,336 434,481 407,478 416,688 344,606 318,676 337,951 337,120 376,076 297,741 345,669 340,686 347,481 347,551 348,473 344,852 320,476 268,808
3-year moving average 95% C.I.     38772 41093 40254 46457 47319 43605 54609 50975 54619 37106 38596 29053 30856 29053 32616 30918 26636 27737
Scaled to 2005 to 2010 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Scots and German 1.42 1.40 1.27 1.43 1.14 1.36 0.75 0.90 1.54 0.75 1.26 0.80 1.20 1.22 0.87 1.20 1.23 0.83 0.97 0.74
Overall 95% C.I.=1.96xSE 0.17 0.13 0.04 0.17 0.12 0.14 0.19 0.10 0.21 0.14 0.15 0.06 0.14 0.05 0.09 0.12 0.09 0.06 0.10 0.10
2001 to 2004 Avg. 1.34 1.34 1.34 1.34 1.34 1.34                            
2005 to 2010 Avg. 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Avg. All Year 1.11 1.11 1.11 1.11 1.11 1.11 1.11 1.11 1.11 1.11 1.11 1.11 1.11 1.11 1.11 1.11 1.11 1.11 1.11 1.11
SB&GB 3-year moving avg.     1.36 1.37 1.28 1.31 1.08 1.00 1.06 1.06 1.18 0.94 1.09 1.07 1.09 1.09 1.10 1.08 1.01 0.85
3-year moving average 95% C.I.     0.12 0.13 0.13 0.15 0.15 0.14 0.17 0.16 0.17 0.12 0.12 0.09 0.10 0.09 0.10 0.10 0.08 0.09
Scots SE (t) 18,527 27,802 10,964 6,310 1,577 11,997 4,612 1,661 10,081 14,546 9,138 3,303 5,924 6,292 2,402 14,094 12,436 6,970 10,056 18,559
Scots 95% C.I. (SE*1.96) 36,313 54,493 21,489 12,367 3,090 23,514 9,040 3,255 19,760 28,510 17,910 6,474 11,611 12,332 4,707 27,624 24,374 13,660 19,710 36,375
German SE (t) 34,587 1,663 1,825 29,959 24,664 32,102 42,766 22,727 49,616 26,691 31,324 13,522 44,072 12,534 27,163 30,448 18,074 11,566 22,140 11,376
German 95% C.I.=1.96*SE 67,791 3,259 3,576 58,719 48,341 62,919 83,821 44,546 97,248 52,314 61,396 26,504 86,381 24,568 53,239 59,678 35,425 22,669 43,394 22,297

2.6 Research

Given the extent to which herring stock components and adjacent stock complexes intermix, it is important to continue to implement research programs, which improve knowledge of stock structure and seasonal distribution. Example programs include tagging studies and stock discrimination studies.

The current assessment approach relies heavily on the use of acoustics to estimate biomass and provide advice on stock status. Projects that address current issues associated with acoustic estimates or new technologies to provide better estimates of biomass should be encouraged.

Since 1998, contributions to the herring stock assessment and related research on herring has been completed by an industry lead science group. The Herring Science Council (HSC) was established in 2001 for the purpose of furthering knowledge on Atlantic herring. The group is composed of members of the mobile gear fleet in the Maritimes Region.

The HSC has been a partner in many tagging studies over the last 2 decades. Over this time, the council has conducted acoustic surveys using commercial vessels. Surveys are conducted every 2 weeks on the spawning grounds Scots Bay and German Bank spawning grounds during their respective spawning seasons. These surveys occur along with other projects undertaken by the HSC to improve the scientific knowledge for this fishery.

3. Economic, social and cultural considerations

3.1 Landings

3.1.1 Landed weight and value

Over the period of 1990 to 2016, the landed weight of herring in the Maritimes Region declined dramatically. Landed weights of 155,000 t at the beginning of the period dropped to a low of about 52,000 t in 2012. Landings increased again to 62,600 t in 2016. Since 2005, landed weight has been below 100,000 t. While the landed weight of herring declined, the landed value of herring remained relatively stable over the same period. In 2016, landed values reached a high of $25.0 million in nominal terms. In real terms, the regional herring landed value had reached higher levels at times earlier in the period. The inflation-adjusted average landed value during the period was $22.5 million. Figure 5 shows herring landed weight in Maritimes Region from 1990 to 2016. Regional landed values are displayed in both nominal and real terms (inflation-adjusted relative to 2016 dollar).

Figure 5. For details, refer to the description that follows.

Figure 5: Maritimes Region herring landed weight (t) and landed value (millions in nominal and real terms), 1990 to 2016p.

Description
Trends in the Maritimes Region herring landed weight and landed value in nominal and real terms from 1990 to 2016
  Maritimes Landed Weight (t) Maritimes Landed Value (nominal) Maritimes Landed Value (2016 $)
1990 155,343 $22,880,000 $37,471,837
1991 122,130 $16,742,000 $25,962,232
1992 136,026 $17,847,000 $27,280,414
1993 131,772 $16,297,000 $24,445,500
1994 104,089 $12,844,000 $19,243,519
1995 82,986 $12,787,000 $18,742,589
1996 95,200 $17,408,000 $25,142,713
1997 102,749 $14,867,000 $21,116,403
1998 108,600 $15,901,000 $22,362,414
1999 116,130 $16,921,000 $23,387,044
2000 109,418 $16,667,000 $22,432,314
2001 114,533 $20,799,000 $27,306,663
2002 111,445 $18,015,000 $23,131,260
2003 112,719 $18,857,000 $23,552,907
2004 109,406 $21,252,000 $26,062,625
2005 71,827 $14,465,000 $17,358,000
2006 79,218 $17,785,000 $20,931,201
2007 92,706 $19,805,000 $22,806,834
2008 66,941 $13,507,000 $15,200,920
2009 77,076 $17,601,000 $19,749,272
2010 74,910 $18,894,000 $20,831,401
2011 67,317 $13,401,000 $14,351,029
2012 51,665 $14,044,000 $14,817,170
2013 59,592 $22,821,000 $23,861,697
2014 57,117 $22,922,000 $23,507,866
2015 56,406 $20,203,000 $20,490,246
2016 62,595 $25,021,000 $25,021,000

3.1.2 Average prices

The average price of herring in Maritimes Region increased greatly in recent years. This is the result of reduced overall supply of herring and an increased market demand for bait. During the 1990 to 2016 period, herring prices in real terms averaged $0.25 per kilogram. This landed price averaged $0.23 per kilogram up to 2012 and then increased to an average of $0.39 per kilogram from 2013 to 2016. Figure 6 shows the average price of herring in real and nominal terms along with regional landed weight over the 1990 to 2016 period.

Figure 6. For details, refer to the description that follows.

Figure 6: Maritimes Region herring average price (nominal and real terms), 1990 to 2016p.

Description
Maritimes Region herring landed weight and average price in real and nominal terms from 1990 to 2016
  Maritimes Landed Weight (t) Average Price (nominal) Average Price (2016 $)
1990 155,343 $0.15 $0.24
1991 122,130 $0.14 $0.21
1992 136,026 $0.13 $0.20
1993 131,772 $0.12 $0.19
1994 104,089 $0.12 $0.18
1995 82,986 $0.15 $0.23
1996 95,200 $0.18 $0.26
1997 102,749 $0.14 $0.21
1998 108,600 $0.15 $0.21
1999 116,130 $0.15 $0.20
2000 109,418 $0.15 $0.21
2001 114,533 $0.18 $0.24
2002 111,445 $0.16 $0.21
2003 112,719 $0.17 $0.21
2004 109,406 $0.19 $0.24
2005 71,827 $0.20 $0.24
2006 79,218 $0.22 $0.26
2007 92,706 $0.21 $0.25
2008 66,941 $0.20 $0.23
2009 77,076 $0.23 $0.26
2010 74,910 $0.25 $0.28
2011 67,317 $0.20 $0.21
2012 51,665 $0.27 $0.29
2013 59,592 $0.38 $0.40
2014 57,117 $0.40 $0.41
2015 56,406 $0.36 $0.36
2016 62,595 $0.40 $0.40

3.1.3 Landings by gear type

The majority of commercial herring landings in Maritimes Region during the 1990 to 2016 period were landed by mobile gear vessels largely employing purse seine gear (midwater trawl gear was used to some degree earlier in the time series). Fixed gear, such as weirs and gillnets, was used to harvest most of the remaining landings of herring. In 2016, of the 62,696 t of herring landed, approximately 79% (49,266 t) were by mobile gear vessels. About 21% (or 13,430 t) was harvested using fixed gear. Figure 7 shows Maritimes Region herring landed weight by gear type along with total herring landed value for the period 1990 to 2016.

Figure 7. For details, refer to the description that follows.

Figure 7: Maritimes Region herring landed weight by gear type with total landed value, 1990 to 2016p.

Description
Maritimes Region herring landed weight by gear type with total herring landed value from 1990 to 2016
  Fixed Gear Landed Weight Mobile Gear Landed Weight Total Herring Landed Value
2000 23,102,960 86,154,240 $16,619,492
2001 32,407,528 81,747,000 $20,728,896
2002 24,623,855 86,540,100 $17,934,149
2003 20,659,422 91,886,980 $18,812,755
2004 32,612,973 76,722,429 $21,240,009
2005 22,369,668 49,409,717 $14,640,147
2006 22,750,862 56,649,038 $17,979,971
2007 38,652,077 53,987,651 $19,771,154
2008 12,793,058 53,936,540 $13,482,691
2009 14,585,161 62,447,000 $17,598,797
2010 18,929,595 55,954,739 $18,888,188
2011 8,966,739 58,316,301 $13,392,604
2012 4,286,283 47,493,631 $9,117,107
2013 11,634,423 47,825,621 $22,775,048
2014 9,220,263 47,883,120 $22,949,390
2015 7,169,849 49,544,932 $20,458,451
2016 13,430,304 49,266,089 $25,273,994

3.1.4 Dependency

With landed value of $25.0 million in 2016, herring accounted for 1.9% of the total commercial fishery landed value for all species in Maritimes Region. With a landed weight of 62,595 t, herring accounted for 21% of the region’s landed weight. In 2016, herring was the top species in Maritimes Region for landed weight. As well, herring landed weight exceeded the total landed weight of all groundfish species in the region (see Figure 8). This large volume of catch impacts the requirements for vessel size, design and gear type. Large catches also impact the required shore-based infrastructure in terms of product handling, storage, processing and shipment.

Figure 8. For details, refer to the description that follows.

Figure 8: Maritimes Region landed weight of herring vs other major species, 2016.

Description
Maritimes Region landed weight of herring compared to other major species from 2016
Maritimes Region 2016 tonnes
Herring 62,595
Lobster 56,775
Scallop (round weight) 51,155
Groundfish (total) 40,290
All Other Species 86,819
Maritimes Region Total 297,634

In 2016, there were 11 active mobile gear licences with an average landed value of just under $1.8 million per active licence. The 160 active commercial licences using fixed gear (not including bait licences) averaged around $34,000 in landed value in 2016. Table 2 provides a summary of average landed values for active licences by gear sector for 2016.

Table 2: Maritimes Region herring average landed value per active licence by gear sector, 2016
  Active Licences (2016) Average Landed Value per Licence
Fixed gear 160 $34,000
Mobile gear 11 $1,789,000

3.2 Value of markets and processing

In 2016, the export of herring products from the Atlantic provinces and Quebec was valued at $87.9 million. The 2016 value showed a 12% increase over the 2015 export value.

Herring export values fluctuated significantly from 1990 through 2007, after which export values remained relatively stable until 2016 at around $90 million. The majority of export value was generated by herring roe and smoked and kippered herring products. Figure 9 shows a detailed breakdown of export value by product form from 2016 in the same provinces.

The major markets for herring exports from Atlantic Canada and Quebec are the USA and the Caribbean (Figure 10). In the Caribbean, exports are mostly to the Dominican Republic and Haiti. With respect to market preferences in 2016, the USA was the main market for boneless, smoked, kippers in air tight containers (ATC), meal, fats and oils. As well, the Caribbean was the main market for bloaters, smoked, and salted or herring in brine. Frozen fillets were mainly shipped to European markets, particularly Germany and Poland. Herring roe was mainly exported to Asian markets, particularly Japan and China.

Figure 9. For details, refer to the description that follows.

Figure 9: Export value of herring from Atlantic Canada and Quebec by product form, 2016.

Description
Breakdown of export value of herring from Atlantic Canada and Quebec by product form in 2016
Product 2016
Roe $23.1 Million
Smoked $42.1 Million
Frozen $11.0 Million
Kippered $11.7 Million
Fresh or chilled $0.2 Million
Salted or in brine $0.8 Million
Other $3.5 Million
Pickled $8.7 Million
Prepared or preserved 6.7 Million
Total $107,830,442
Figure 10. For details, refer to the description that follows.

Figure 10: Export value of herring from Atlantic Canada and Quebec by market destination, 2016.

Description
Breakdown of export value of herring from Atlantic Canada and Quebec by market destination in 2016
Destination 2016
US $38.6 m
Asia $23.2 m
EU $8.9 m
Caribbean $36.0 m
Other $1.1 m
Grand Total (Market) $107,830,442

4. Objectives

The management objectives described below are the objectives from the 2003 IFMP, the 2013 rebuilding plan and the conservation objectives that were developed in 1997 (Sinclair, 1997). Through collaboration with stakeholders, these management objectives are being evaluated and updated through the MSE process that started in 2019. The MSE process is expected to conclude in the fall of 2020. Following the conclusion of the MSE process, the management objectives will be updated to reflect results of the process. Until the objectives are updated, the previous objectives apply. The objectives are guided by the precautionary approach and sustainable fisheries framework to ensure this fishery is managed in a way that benefits all Canadians and allows the stock to grow into or stay in the healthy zone. From the previously described documents, the long term management objectives are:

These overarching objectives are defined further with regard to stock and ecosystem conservation and social, cultural and economic aspects.

4.1 Stock and ecosystem conservation

Maritimes Region adopted a framework for an ecosystem approach to management (EAM framework). This framework establishes conservation objectives that are to be included in all activities for which the department has management responsibilities. Appendix 1 contains a summary of the framework particularly related to fisheries management.

The Canadian Atlantic Herring (Clupea harengus) - SWNS Rebuilding Plan - Atlantic Canada - 2013 focused on increasing productivity of the herring resource (DFO, 2013). Long-term conservation objectives and measurable targets were developed with the SFHAC. The long-term objectives are:

  1. To maintain the reproductive capacity of herring in each management unit:
    • Support the persistence of all spawning components in the management unit;
    • Maintain biomass of each spawning component above a minimum threshold;
    • Maintain a broad age composition for each spawning component; and
    • Maintain a long spawning period for each spawning component.
  2. To prevent growth overfishing:
    • Continue to strive for fishing mortality at or below a fishing mortality (F) of 0.1.
  3. To maintain ecosystem integrity / ecological relationships (ecosystem balance). Herring is prominent in the diet of many fish, birds and marine mammals and should be managed with these interactions in mind. Specific targets include:
    • Maintain spatial and temporal diversity of spawning; and
    • Maintain herring biomass at moderate to high levels.

Ecosystem considerations are also taken into account to ensure conservation and sustainable use of herring resources, with regard to non-target species and SARA-listed species.

Specific short-term objectives of the SWNS/BoF rebuilding plan are:

4.2 Social, cultural and economic

The social, cultural and economic objectives reflect the Aboriginal right to fish for food, social and ceremonial purposes. They also recognize the economic contribution that the fishing industry makes to Canadian society, business and many coastal communities. Ultimately, the economic viability of fisheries depends on the industry itself; however, the department is committed to managing the fisheries in a manner that helps its members be economically successful while using the ocean’s resources in an environmentally sustainable manner. The social, cultural and economic objectives aim to manage the herring resource to allow each sector to prosper. These objectives consist of:

5. Access and allocation

The herring fishery is a limited entry fishery. In the areas that have a quota, the TAC is fully allocated to fleet sectors according to established percentage shares. These shares are considered stable.

DFO manages fisheries in a manner consistent with the constitutional protection given Aboriginal and treaty rights. The fisheries must be managed in a manner that is consistent with the provisions of treaties and land claims agreements.

The Minister can, for reasons of conservation or for any other valid reasons, modify access, allocations and sharing arrangements as outlined in this IFMP in accordance with the powers granted pursuant to the Fisheries Act.

The 2007 policy for Preserving the Independence of the Inshore Fleet in Canada’s Atlantic Fisheries (PIIFCAF) aims to strengthen owner-operator and fleet separation sections of the policy. The PIIFCAF policy aims to ensure that inshore fish harvesters remain independent and that the benefits of fishing licences flow to the harvester and to Atlantic coastal communities. At the same time, an exemption to the PIIFCAF policy was granted for the core enterprise requirements for fleets that met established criteria. The mobile fleet for herring was granted an exemption to the PIIFCAF policy.

5.1 Quotas and allocations

A comprehensive harvesting plan has been developed for the SWNS/BoF spawning component (Appendix 6). A harvesting plan has also been developed for the non-SWNS/Bay of Fundy spawning component (Appendix 7). Additionally, harvesting plans have been developed for 4Vn Sydney Bight (Appendix 8) and Georges Bank (Appendix 9).

5.1.1 SWNS/BoF

The SWNS/BoF fisheries operate under an overall TAC. Members of the mobile gear fleet harvest their shares under an ITQ, while the fixed gear fleet harvest their share under a competitive quota. The ITQs in the purse seine fishery are distributed according to percent (%) shares. The fixed gear catch is reviewed annually to ensure that the economic benefits from the resource are maximized. See Appendix 6 and 10 for details.

5.1.2 Coastal Nova Scotia spawning component

Landings by the inshore, limited entry, fixed gear (herring trap and gillnet) fisheries are not subject to quotas or allocations with the exception of 2 areas (Little Hope and East of Halifax). Most of the coastal spawning stock areas remain closed to the directed gillnet fishery to protect spawning herring. See Appendix 7 for further details.

5.1.3 Offshore Scotian Shelf, Georges Bank and 4Vn

The Offshore Scotian Shelf, Georges Bank and overwintering fisheries in NAFO division 4Vn (Appendix 11) operate under a competitive quota for each area (Appendix 7, 9 and 11).

5.1.4 Southwest New Brunswick migrant juveniles

The SWNB migrant juvenile weir fishery does not have a quota. They are instead managed by the number of licences and area available for setting gear (Appendix 12).

6. Management measures

The most recent stock assessment for the SWNS/BoF spawning component took place in May 2019. The assessment estimated that the SSB is below the LRP (DFO, 2020). This places the SWNS/BoF spawning component in the critical zone. The Fisheries Act (1985) directs DFO to implement measures to maintain major fish stocks at or above the level necessary to promote the sustainability of the stock, taking into account the biology of the fish and the environmental conditions affecting the stock. Further, when in the critical zone, the Guidance for the development of rebuilding plans under the Precautionary Approach Framework requires a rebuilding plan to be in place with the aim of having a high probability of the stock growing out of the critical zone within a reasonable timeframe. This requires removals from all sources must be kept to the lowest possible level until the stock has cleared this zone and that there should be no tolerance for preventable decline.

The management measures that address the long-term objectives described in Section 4 of this IFMP, and the strategies used to achieve them, are summarized in Table 3. These measures may evolve throughout the MSE process and will be updated accordingly.

Table 3: Management measures to achieve management objectives for SWNS/BoF Atlantic herring spawning component
Strategies Tactics
Productivity

Keep fishing mortality of SWNS/BoF herring at a level as described by the PA policy by using the following references and risk tolerances:

  • When the stock is in the healthy zone, the TAC may be set to be tolerant of normal stock fluctuations.
  • Management actions should react to a declining trend that approaches the healthy / cautious zone boundary. Risk tolerance for preventable decline – moderate (if low in zone) to neutral.
  • When the stock is in the cautious zone, the management response will vary depending on location of the stock within the cautious zone, whether the stock is increasing or decreasing, and indications from secondary indicators. The TAC should be set to mitigate declines and promote positive growth in SSB over a reasonable time frame. It is required that fishing mortality decline as the stock progresses lower into the cautious zone.
  • When the stock is below the LRP, the harvest strategy is to be results-driven. Rebuilding to a level above the LRP should be achieved in a reasonable timeframe (6 to 8 years - 1.5 to 2 generations) with a high degree of probability. The TAC should be set with a very low risk of biomass decline.
  • Total allowable catch
  • Size restrictions
  • Spatial / temporal closures

Maintain biomass of each spawning component.

  • Total allowable catch
  • Spatial / temporal closures
Maintain broad age composition and distribution (catch and survey).
  • Total allowable catch
  • Size restrictions
  • Spatial / temporal closures
Maintain spatial and temporal diversity of spawning grounds (long spawning period for each component, maintain number of spawning components).
  • Total allowable catch
  • Size restrictions
  • Spatial / temporal closures
Biodiversity
Control unintended incidental mortality for all non-retained species.
  • Mandatory release
  • Avoidance
Control unintended incidental mortality of species at risk (e.g. spotted wolfish, northern wolfish and white shark).
  • Mandatory release
Habitat
Manage identified at-risk habitats.
  • Spatial / temporal closures
Culture and sustenance
Provide access for food, social and ceremonial purposes.
  • Issue food, social and ceremonial licences as required
Prosperity
Limit inflexibility in policy and licensing among individual enterprises / licence holders.
  • Exemption of mobile fleet from PIIFCAF
  • Substitute operators / designated operators
  • ITQs – no concentration limit
Ensure that in the Fixed Gear, the benefits of fishing licences flow to the fish harvester.
  • Implementation of PIIFCAF
Minimize instability in access to resources and allocations.
  • ITQs
  • Annual TAC variation
  • Limited entry
Limit inability for self-adjustment to overcapacity relative to resource availability.
  • ITQs
  • Limited entry
Support certification for sustainability.
  • Provision of data, where available

TACs, size restrictions and spatial and temporal closures are the primary management measures to achieve the conservation and management objectives for herring. The specific management measures for individual areas and fleets are detailed in the appendices.

7. Management issues

7.1 Fisheries issues

7.1.1 Stock status

The status of herring stocks in the SWNS/BoF spawning component have been of concern for many years. Stock status reports have indicated the need for rebuilding since at least 2001. Despite subsequent reduced catch levels and increasingly stringent management measures, the stock is now in the critical zone. Building the stock out of the critical zone is the primary focus of the management of the fishery.

7.1.2 Compliance

Compliance with catch reporting is essential for proper management of the herring stock. There have been instances of non-compliance in the form of reporting catches lower than the actual harvest. Both industry and the department have agreed to consider additional ways to evaluate compliance levels and to take action as appropriate. In addition, the fishery will be evaluated in relation to the Fishery Monitoring Policy in the future.

Monitoring the TAC and other management measures is essential to ensure the success of the plan. Industry reports landings through logbooks submitted to the department (Appendix 13). The DMP monitors the weight of fish landed by species. Audit through comparing landings of vessels recorded by different dockside monitors for systematic differences in the statistics promotes compliance with reporting standards. Other methods of verifying the landings include: random weigh-outs, monitoring vessel monitoring system (VMS) data, verification checks by dockside monitors, at-sea and dockside surveillance, aerial surveillance and at-sea observer coverage.

7.1.3 Updated science advice for the coastal components (Eastern Shore and Little Hope) and offshore Scotian Shelf

The scientific information for the offshore Scotian Shelf is lacking for making management decisions. Up-to-date science and surveys on the Scotian Shelf are an immediate need in the area.

A review of the information for the inshore areas of Little Hope and Eastern Shore to support implementation of the PA Policy is needed. Moreover, in the absence of adequate scientific information regarding stock composition and degree of mixing, opening other spawning areas will not be considered. The process for opening spawning grounds in coastal Nova Scotia that are currently closed can be found in Appendix 14.

7.2 Species at risk

7.2.1 Species at Risk Act

Under the Species at Risk Act (SARA), it is prohibited to kill, harm, harass, capture, take or possess any species listed on Schedule 1 of the act. This includes species that are listed as extirpated, endangered or threatened. It is also prohibited to damage or destroy the residence of a species listed as endangered or threatened. These prohibitions apply unless a person is authorized by a permit, licence or other similar document issued in accordance with this act to engage in an activity affecting the listed species or the residences of its individuals. When a permit is issued, the Minister of DFO must include in the public registry an explanation of why it was issued. Permits may be issued for a maximum period of 3 years.

Within the Maritimes Region, the herring fishery may interact with the following SARA-listed species:

Mitigation measures are in place to reduce harm, mortality or harassment of SARA-listed species with which the herring fishery interacts.

7.2.2 Marine mammals

The likelihood of interaction of marine mammals with different fishing gears varies and depends on many factors, including the area and mode of operation.

Both the USA and Canada have committed to improving the understanding of the amount and type of gear in the water that might pose a risk of entanglement related to North Atlantic right whales. In addition, an action plan, under the Species at Risk Act is being developed with mitigation measures to reduce mortality and injury of the North Atlantic right whale due to fishing gear interactions.

There are 2 whale expert groups in the SWNB area: The Grand Manan Whale and Seabird Research Station (GMWSRS) and the Campobello Whale Rescue Team. The weir fishery and local processing plant also support the harbour porpoise release program. In addition, a guidance document written by GMWSRS is in use regarding the release of whales and large animals from gear.

7.3 Oceans and habitat considerations

In October 2017, the Government of Canada announced it had reached its first milestone of protecting 5% of Canada’s marine and coastal areas and remained committed to protecting 10% by 2020. The 2017 and 2020 targets are a reflection of Canada’s United Nation Convention on Biological Diversity Aichi Targets commitments, collectively referred to as Canada’s marine conservation targets. More information on the background and drivers for Canada’s marine conservation targets is available. To meet our marine conservation target, Canada is establishing Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and other effective area-based conservation measures (other measures), in consultation with industry, non-governmental organizations and other interested parties. An overview of these tools, including a description of the role of fisheries management measures that qualify as other measures is available on Canada’s marine conservation targets webpage.

To help meet these targets, DFO is establishing Oceans Act marine protected areas (MPAs) and other effective area-based conservation measures (OEABCMs). An example of OEABCMs being used are fisheries area closures known domestically as marine refuges. These refuges are developed in consultation with industry, non-governmental organizations and other interested parties. An overview of these tools, including a description of the role of fisheries management measures that qualify as other measures, is available on the department’s Marine Protected Areas webpage.

Specific management measures established for the herring fishery have been identified to contribute to Canada’s marine conservation targets. Depending on the nature of the closure, some apply to all fisheries while others apply only to fisheries that use bottom contact gear. The following closures contribute to these targets:

8. Compliance plan

The department’s Conservation and Protection (C&P) activities are designed to ensure compliance with the legislation, regulations and fishing plans as they relate to conservation and the long-term sustainable use of the resource. The C&P National Compliance Framework describes a 3 pillar approach to the sustainability of the herring fishery and other fisheries. The pillars are:

  1. education / shared stewardship;
  2. monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS); and
  3. major case special investigations.

The full framework is available upon request.

Shared stewardship and education is achieved in the herring fishery through a renewed emphasis on the importance of communication with the community at large including:

Monitoring, control and surveillance involves the deployment of fishery officers to conduct at-sea and land patrols, dockside monitoring (DMP) audits and processing plants and harvester inspections. Fishery officers use a number of investigative techniques when dealing with reports of fraud and collusion. This often involves a cooperative approach along with interactions and communication with other federal, provincial and municipal government agencies.

8.1 Compliance program performance

In recent years, C&P has been building its major case management capability for all fisheries. The program is moving toward increased intelligence gathering, specialized investigations, retroactive review of suspected illegal activity and broadening the scope of its inspections to include buyers, plants and transportation. Some of this work has focused on the herring fishery. A list of the convictions under the Fisheries Act is available on the department’s Maritimes Region convictions webpage.

9. Performance review

To ensure effective management of fisheries, periodic reviews of management measures are required. There are 2 forums through which this takes place for the herring fishery. The first is through DFO Science regional advisory processes (RAP) and the second is through committee meetings with the SFHAC. Changes to the IFMP over time will be documented in the IFMP (Appendix 15). Scheduled reviews of the IFMP will happen every 5 years; however, changes may be made at any time, through consultation with stakeholders as required.

Through the science-led RAP process, an evaluation of many of the strategies and tactics can be conducted to determine whether they are appropriate to meet our overall objectives related to productivity, biodiversity and habitat. It is necessary that the appropriate information is collected and provided to the department to conduct this evaluation. This includes catch and effort information from the fisheries and regular standardized surveys of the population.

Through consultations with the SFHAC and the fleet sector advisory committees, it will be evaluated whether the catch monitoring tools (such as dockside and at-sea monitoring) are sufficient to provide information to achieve the objectives of this plan.

Annual negotiations of Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy agreements ensure that FSC licences and conditions are evaluated and improved regularly.

Information gathered through other evaluation processes like the department's Sustainability survey for fisheries is used to help identify areas for improvement in the management of fisheries. Through consultation with stakeholders and rights holders, potential improvements are explored and priorities established.

10. Safety at sea

Vessel owners and masters have a duty to ensure the safety of their crew and vessel. Adherence to safety regulations and good practices by fishing vessel owners, masters and crew 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 ensure that the certificate of inspection is valid for the area of intended operation.

In the federal government, responsibility for shipping, navigation and vessel safety regulations and inspections lies with Transport Canada. Responsibility for emergency response lies with the Canadian Coast Guard. DFO has responsibility for management of the fisheries resources while ensuring that safety at sea is considered. DFO and Transport Canada have a memorandum of understanding to formalize cooperation and to establish, maintain and promote a safe culture within the fishing industry.

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 the seaworthiness of the vessel, vessel stability, having the required safety equipment in good working order, crew training and knowledge of current and forecasted weather conditions.

Useful publications include Transport Canada’s Small fishing vessel safety website.

In addition, new Fishing Vessel Safety Regulations came into force in 2017.

11. Glossary

Abundance: Number of individuals in a stock or a population.

Age composition: Proportion of individuals of different ages in a stock or in the catches.

Allocation: The amount or share of the fishery’s resource and/or effort that is distributed or assigned by the Minister of DFO to those permitted to harvest the resource.

Biomass: Total weight of all individuals in a stock or a population.

Bycatch: The unintentional catch of 1 species when the target is another.

Communal Commercial (CC) licence: Licence issued to Aboriginal organizations pursuant to the Aboriginal Communal Fishing Licences Regulations for participation in the general commercial fishery.

Conservation Harvesting Plan (CHP): Fishing plans submitted by all gear sectors which identify harvesting methods aimed at minimizing the harvest of small fish and bycatch of groundfish.

Dockside Monitoring Program (DMP): A monitoring program that is conducted by a company that has been designated by the department, and that verifies the species composition and landed weight of all fish landed from a commercial fishing vessel.

Fishing effort: Quantity of effort using a given fishing gear over a given period of time.

Fishing mortality: Death caused by fishing, often symbolized by the mathematical symbol F.

Fixed gear: In common usage, a type of fishing gear that is set in a stationary position. This includes traps, weirs, gillnets, shut-offs, longlines and handlines. Shut-offs have been referred to as beach, drag and bar seine in earlier documents.

Food, Social and Ceremonial (FSC): A fishery conducted by Aboriginal groups for food, social and ceremonial purposes.

Gillnet: Fishing gear netting with weights on the bottom and floats at the top used to catch fish. Gillnets can be set at different depths and can be anchored to the seabed.

Landings: Quantity of a species caught and landed.

Mesh size: Size of the mesh of a net. Different fisheries have different minimum mesh size regulations.

Mobile gear: A type of fishing gear that is drawn through the water by a vessel to entrap fish. These include otter trawls and Danish / Scottish seines.

Pelagic: A fish species, such as herring, that lives in midwater or close to the surface.

Population: Group of individuals of the same species that form a breeding unit and share a habitat.

Purse seine: Fishing gear consisting of a large net used to encircle fish from a boat, called a seiner, and equipped with a wire rope on the bottom to draw the net together. A small boat, called a skiff, participates in maneuvering the net.

Quota: Portion of the total allowable catch that a unit, such as a vessel class or country, is permitted to take from a stock in a given period of time.

Real and nominal value: Nominal value is measured in terms of money, whereas real value is measured against goods or services. A real value is one which has been adjusted for inflation, enabling comparison of quantities as if the prices of goods had not changed on average.

Recruitment: Refers to the number of individuals becoming part of the exploitable stock or those that can be caught in a fishery.

Research survey: Survey at sea, on a research vessel, allowing scientists to obtain information on the abundance and distribution of various species and/or to collect oceanographic data, e.g. plankton survey, hydroacoustic survey.

Species at Risk Act (SARA): The act is a federal government commitment to prevent wildlife species from becoming extinct and secure the necessary actions for their recovery. It provides the legal protection of wildlife species and the conservation of their biological diversity.

Spawner: Sexually mature individual.

Spawning stock: Sexually mature individuals in a stock.

Stock: Describes a population of individuals of 1 species found in a particular area and is used as a unit for fisheries management, e.g. NAFO area 4V herring.

Stock assessment: Scientific evaluation of the status of a species belonging to the same stock within a particular area in a given time period.

Total allowable catch (TAC): The amount of catch that may be taken from a stock.

Tonne: Metric tonne, which is 1,000 kg or 2,204.6 lbs.

Trawl: Fishing gear consisting of a cone-shaped net towed in the water by a boat, called a trawler. Mid-water trawls are towed within the water column to catch species, such as herring.

12. References

Bernier, R.Y., Jamieson, R.E., and Moore, A.M. (eds.) 2018. State of the Atlantic Ocean synthesis report. Can. Tech. Rep. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 3167: iii + 149 p.

Bundy, A., Themelis, D., Sperl, J. and den Heyer, N. 2014. Inshore Scotian Shelf ecosystem overview report: Status and trends. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Res. Doc. 2014/065. xii + 213 p.

Clark, D.S., Clark, K.J., Claytor, R., Leslie, S., Melvin, G.D., Porter, J.M., Power, M.J., Stone, H.H. and Waters, C. 2012. Limit reference point for Southwest Nova Scotia/Bay of Fundy spawning component of Atlantic herring, Clupea harengus (German Bank and Scots Bay). DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Res. Doc. 2012/025. iii + 14 p.

Claytor, R. 1997. Decision rules for overwintering herring fisheries. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Res. Doc. 97/88.

Claytor, R. and C. LeBlanc.1998. Decision rules for the 4T overwintering herring fishery in 4Vn. DFO Canadian Stock Assessment Secretariat Res. Doc. 97/48.

DFO. 1999. 4VWX and 5Z herring. DFO Science Stock Status Report B3-05 (1999).

DFO. 2003a. Atlantic Herring: Georges Bank, Nantucket Shoals, Gulf of Maine Stock Complex. DFO Science Stock Status Report 2003/028.

DFO. 2003b. 2003-2006 Scotia-Fundy Fisheries Integrated Herring Management Plan, NAFO subdivisions 4WX, 4Vn and 5Z. DFO, Ottawa, Ontario.

DFO. 2012. Reference points consistent with the precautionary approach for a variety of stocks in the Maritimes Region. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Sci. Advis. Rep. 2012/035.

DFO. 2013. Canadian Atlantic herring SWNS rebuilding plan.

DFO. 2018a. Transboundary Resource Assessment Committee (TRAC).

DFO. 2018b. Oceanographic Conditions in the Atlantic Zone in 2017. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Sci. Advis. Rep. 2018/039.

DFO. 2018c. 2018 Assessment of 4VWX Herring. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Sci. Advis. Rep. 2018/052.

DFO. 2020. Stock Status Update of 4VWX Herring for the 2018/2019 Fishing Season. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Sci. Resp. 2020/001.

Gavaris, S. 2003. Transboundary Resource Assessment Committee (TRAC): Report of meeting held 10-14 February 2003. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Proceed. Ser. 2003/014.

Melvin, G., Fife, F.J., Sochasky, J.B., Power, M.J. and Stephenson, R.L. 1995. The 1995 Update on Georges Bank 5Z herring stock. DFO Atl. Fish. Res. Doc. 95/86.

Melvin, G.D., Martin, R. and Power, M. J. 2014. Estimating German Bank and Scots Bay Herring Spawning Ground Turnover Rates from Tag Returns. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Res. Doc. 2014/068. iv + 22 p.

Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC). 2018. 65th Northeast Regional Stock Assessment Workshop (65th SAW) Assessment Summary Report. US Dept. Commer. Northeast Fish Sci. Cent. Ref. Doc. 18-08. 38 p.

Scott, W.B. and Scott, M.G. 1988. Atlantic fishes of Canada. Canadian Bulletin of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, Vol. 219, 731 pp.

Sinclair, M (Chair). 1997. Report of the Maritimes Region Herring Workshop 18-19 February 1997 (PDF 10.9MB). Canadian Stock Assessments Proceedings Series, 97/12: 58 pp.

Singh, R., Knox, D., MacIntyre, A. and Melvin, G.D. 2018a. 2018 Evaluation of Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) divisions 4VWX herring. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Res. Doc. In press.

Stephenson, R.L., Gordon, D.J. and Power, M.J. 1987. Herring of the outer Scotian Shelf and Georges Bank: History of the fisheries, recent developments and management considerations. Can. Atl. Fish. Sci. Advis. Comm. Res. Doc. 87/76.

Stephenson, R.L., Power, M.J., Clark, K.L., Melvin, G.D., Fife, F.J., Paul, S.D., Harris and Boates, S. 1999. 1999 Evaluation of 4VWX Herring. Sci. Advis. Comm. Res. Doc. 99/64.

United Nations (1995). Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 Related to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks. Sixth Session, New York, 24 July – 4 August 1995, Article 6 and Annex II.

13. Acronyms

BoFHWAC – Bay of Fundy Herring Weir Advisory Committee.
C&P – Conservation and Protection
CC – Commercial Communal
CHP – Conservation Harvesting Plan
CSAS – Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat
DFO – Fisheries and Oceans Canada
DMC – Dockside Monitoring Company
DMP – Dockside Monitoring Program
EAM – Ecosystem Approach to Management
ENGO – Environmental Non-Governmental Organization
FSC – Food, Social and Ceremonial
HFA – Herring Fishing Area
IFMP – Integrated Fishery Management Plan
ITQ – Individual Transferable Quota
LRP – Limit Reference Point
MCS – Monitoring, Control and Surveillance
MPA – Marine Protected Area
NAFO – Northwest Atlantic Fishery Organization
OSS – Over-the-Side-Sales
PIIFCAF – Preserving the Independence of the Inshore Fleet in Canada’s Atlantic Fishery
RAP – Regional Advisory Process
SAR – Science Advisory Report
SARA – Species at Risk Act
SOR – Statutory Orders and Regulations
SPA – Sequential Population Analysis
SSB – Spawning Stock Biomass
SWNB – Southwest New Brunswick
SWNS – Southwest Nova Scotia
SWNS/BoF – Southwest Nova Scotia / Bay of Fundy
TAC – Total Allowable Catch
TRAC – Transboundary Resources Assessment Committee
USA – United States of America (also US)
USR – Upper Stock Reference
VMS – Vessel Monitoring System
WEBCA – Western / Emerald Bank Conservation Area

Appendix 1: Summary of Maritimes Region EAM framework

This appendix summarizes the framework adopted by Maritimes Region for implementing an EAM in all activities for which the department has management responsibility. It also discusses application of the framework more specifically to fisheries management.

Introduction to EAM

An ecosystem approach to managing human activity requires consideration of an activity’s impact on all components of the ecosystem – including its structure, function and overall quality – and not just on the resource in use. It also means accounting for the cumulative effects of multiple uses and accounting for how environmental forces, such as climate change, might be affecting how we should manage.

Fully implementing EAM will be a large undertaking. Progress will happen in a step-by-step, evolutionary way. In the short-term, the department will work on implementing EAM in the context of discrete activities, such as fishing. In the long-term, a diversity of ocean users and regulators will need to come together to draw up plans for the integrated management of all ocean activities. First attention will be given to impacts of the highest importance and offering the greatest scope for improvement.

EAM in the context of fisheries management

Consensus is growing within Canada and internationally that the sustainability of fish stocks and fisheries requires an ecosystem approach to management. Traditionally, fisheries management has focused on regulating the impact of fishing on the targeted species. Under an ecosystem approach, managers consider impacts not only on the target species but also on non-target species and habitat. Some of these impacts will be direct, such as impacts on the populations of non-target species that suffer mortality incidentally because of interactions with fishing gear. Other impacts may be indirect, such as the effects of mortality on predator-prey relationships. IFMPs will document the main impacts on the ecosystem from fishing activities and outline how these pressures will be managed.

Main elements of the framework

EAM is a management planning framework. Management planning requires the specification of objectives (what you want to achieve), of strategies (what you will do to manage human-induced pressures so that you can achieve your objectives) and tactics (how you will implement your strategies). These elements are presented in the table below. They are the foundation of the region’s EAM framework and have been developed to cover the full range of potential impacts on the ecosystem resulting from the various activities managed by the department. (Not all strategies will be relevant to all activities.)

Table: Framework for an ecosystem approach to management (Resource Management, Maritimes Region)
Attributes Objectives: Strategies with associated pressures Managed activities Tactics

Expansion of attributes considered

  • Air quality
  • Biomass
  • Breeding behaviour
  • Community assemblage
  • Genetic structure
  • Habitat structure
  • Organism health
  • Population richness
  • Forage predators
  • Primary production
  • Recruitment
  • Sediment quality
  • Size spectrum
  • Size / age structure
  • Spatial extent
  • Spatial occupancy
  • Special places
  • ‘Special species’
  • Trophic structure
  • Water quality
  • Yield
  • Traditional Aboriginal use
  • Efficiency
  • Market access

Productivity: Do not cause unacceptable reduction in productivity so that components can play their role in the functioning of the ecosystem

  • Keep fishing mortality moderate
  • Allow sufficient escapement from exploitation for spawning
  • Limit disturbing activity in important reproductive areas / seasons
  • Control alteration of nutrient concentrations affecting primary production

Biodiversity: Do not cause unacceptable reduction in biodiversity in order to preserve the structure and natural resilience of the ecosystem

  • Control unintended incidental mortality for all species
  • Distribute population component mortality in relation to component biomass
  • Minimize unintended introduction and transmission of invasive species
  • Control introduction and proliferation of disease / pathogens
  • Minimize aquaculture escapes

Habitat: Do not cause unacceptable modification to habitat in order to safeguard both physical and chemical properties of the ecosystem

  • Manage area disturbed of habitat
  • Limit introduction of pollutants
  • Minimize introduction of debris
  • Control noise disturbance
  • Control light disturbance

Culture and sustenance: Respect Aboriginal and treaty rights to fish

  • Provide access for food, social and ceremonial purposes

Prosperity: Create the circumstances for economically prosperous fisheries

  • Limit inflexibility in policy and licensing among individual enterprises / licence holders
  • Minimize instability in access to resources and allocations
  • Limit inability for self-adjustment to overcapacity relative to resource availability
  • Support certification for sustainability

For example, groundfish fishery, herring fishery, salmon / aquaculture, etc.

Expansion of pressures considered

Cumulative effects of pressures on other managed activities considered

  • Catch control
  • Effort control
  • Gear specification
  • Size-based release
  • Area / season closure
  • Ballast water control
  • Recreational fisheries
    awards
  • FSC licences
  • Community quota
    management
  • Transferable quotas
  • Licence combining
  • Exempted licences
  • Multi-licensing
  • Certification data
  • Stabilized fisheries
  • Transparency in
    ministerial decisions

Note: Elements associated with culture, sustenance and prosperity are provisional and are being applied only in fisheries management

Appendix 2: Coastal Nova Scotia embayment lines

(Not updated since 2003)

Map illustrating herring fishing areas and embayment line in the Maritimes region

Figure: Herring Fishing Areas and embayment line in the Maritimes Region

Table: Maritimes Region embayment line definition
Point Latitude Longitude
1. 43 23’ 18”N 65 37’ 10”W
2. 43 48’ 29”N 64 47’ 21”W
3. 44 18’ 40”N 64 10’ 1” W
4. 44 26’ 16”N 63 46’ 4” W
5. 44 25’ 50”N 63 39’ W
6. 44 26’ 12”N 63 33’ 48”W
7. 44 37’ 4” N 63 16’ 52”W
8. 44 39’ 50”N 62 51’ 47”W
9. 44 52’N 62 10’W

Due to concern for the state of the coastal spawning stock following concentrated purse seine effort in 1993 and 1994, DFO established an embayment closure line intended to protect the coastal spawning components.

Appendix 3: Scotia-Fundy Herring Advisory Committee - Terms of reference

Updated 2019

Purpose

The Scotia-Fundy Herring Advisory Committee (SFHAC) will provide advice and recommendations to DFO on the conservation, protection and management of the fishery resource for HFAs 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22. The committee will serve as the main consultative forum for the development of the Maritimes Region Herring IFMP.

Scope

The SFHAC will provide advice on the development of fishing plans, regulatory measures, fishing seasons, licensing policies, by-catch provisions, gear restrictions and ecosystem issues specific to the Maritimes Region and other aspects of the IFMP that may arise. In addition, the committee may provide advice and recommendations regarding resolution of ongoing fishery management issues.

The committee gives consideration to biological, marketing and other information as it may affect the management of the herring resource. The committee can discuss and promote scientific research to address concerns of the fishery and fishing industry. It provides a forum for information sharing on issues related to management of the herring fishery.

Operating principles / terms and conditions

All members will act with respect, honesty, integrity and openness in advancing the Atlantic herring fishery and management in the Maritimes Region. The committee will work collaboratively, with patience and discipline. To the extent possible, members will work together to satisfy the interests of all members. Each member should have the opportunity to express their opinion, be listened to and accept a group conclusion that considers all relevant factors. It is not necessarily the optimal decision for each member.

Terms of reference will be reviewed as required or every 3-4 years.

Administration

Structure

Any changes to the structure and administration of the committee will be decided by the committee membership, as determined by the most recently updated membership list available.

Subcommittees

Ad hoc subcommittees / working groups can be established to review and assess specific policy options and management measures.

Meetings

Meetings can be held throughout the Maritimes Region. When feasible, meetings will be held at times and places convenient to the membership. Meetings will aim to be held once per calendar year. Additional meetings may be held if required. If a member cannot attend, an alternate may be nominated and the chair notified as far in advance of the meeting date as possible.

Expenses

Members do not receive funding from DFO for expenses incurred when attending meetings.

Record of discussion

A record of discussion will be prepared and distributed by DFO in a timely manner and where possible within 3 weeks of the meeting. First draft review of records of discussion is the privilege of committee members in attendance, prior to public release/review of minutes in draft form.

The record will provide sufficient detail to effectively summarize group discussion under key agenda items. Key considerations raised during the meeting will be noted so that members can track, convey and follow up on those issues. When conclusions are reached they will be noted. Areas for further action will also be noted, along with assignment of responsibility and other key information. Records of discussion will not include attribution of comments or quotes unless a member specifically requests that their view be noted in the minutes.

Records of discussion are public information and may be distributed by request once finalized by the committee.

Provision of advice / recommendations

No formal voting procedures will be established. The committee will seek to operate on a consensus basis. Where no consensus is possible, the majority opinion will be noted as well as outstanding objections.

Public access

Unless a majority of committee members say otherwise before a meeting starts, and have justification for doing so, the meetings and proceedings of this committee are open to public and media to attend as observers. No electronic recording devices are permitted without the express permission, on a case-by-case basis, of the members and of the chair.

Meetings of the committee and the various working groups have traditionally been open to any individual with an interest in the Maritimes Region herring fishery as an observer. Observer status requires that individuals identify themselves as such at the beginning of the meeting and be represented in the discussion by their official committee member. Committee members have agreed that this flexibility is critical to ensure that the committee remains open to hearing as broad a range of opinions as possible and that all sectors of the fishery have access to, and awareness of, the decision making process.

Interested observers without representation on the committee may attend meetings and present briefs with prior consultation with the Senior Advisor for small pelagics (DFO) for appointment on the agenda.

Membership

Chairmanship - The committee chair will be held by a DFO official. An industry co-chair may be appointed at the discretion of committee members.

The composition of the committee membership will reflect the structure and nature of the Maritimes Region herring fishery. When required, experts, academics or other representatives may be invited to attend meetings as presenters, advisers or observers because of their knowledge of the subject, sector or as part of another consultation mechanism.

Aboriginal groups and organizations
Licence holders
Commercial fishery liaison coordinators
Other interested Aboriginal groups
 
Fishermen’s associations
2 Grand Manan Fishermen’s Association
2 Eastern Shore Fishermen’s Protective Association
2 Eastern Fishermen’s Federation
2 Fundy Weir Fishermen’s Association
2 Yarmouth Herring Management Committee
2 Little Hope Management Committee
2 Gulf seiners (as it relates to 4Vn)
 
Processors
1 Connors Brothers
1 Comeau’s Sea Foods Ltd.
1 Scotia Garden Seafood Inc.
1 Sea Crest Fisheries Ltd
1 Cape Breeze Seafoods Ltd.
 
Processor associations
1 Seafood Producers Association of Nova Scotia
1 Nova Scotia Seafood Alliance
 
Provinces
1 NS Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries
1 NB Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquaculture
 
DFO
Resource Management / Chair
Science Branch
Conservation and Protection
 
Other
1 Herring Science Council
3 Environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs)

Appendix 4: Herring Purse Seine Monitoring Committee - Terms of reference

Last updated 2003 (minor edits in 2020)

Preamble

Representatives of the major interest groups in the herring purse seine industry in the Scotia-Fundy fisheries have united with representatives of DFO to form the Scotia-Fundy Herring Purse Seine Monitoring Committee. The formation of this committee is consistent with the CHP submitted by the industry to DFO on June 12, 1995.

The herring industry of the Maritimes Region fisheries presents an excellent opportunity to test the practical application of a co-management agreement between DFO and the industry. It is a single species fishery without significant bycatch problems and is pursued by a small number of fishermen providing a few processors.

The industry representatives have demonstrated themselves to be responsible contributors to the management of the fishery through their representation on SFHAC. SFHAC has been consistent in providing DFO with sound business and conservation advice over the many years of its history.

Purpose

The purpose of the committee will be to review the status of the 4WX herring purse seine fishery during the season and make adjustments to the CHP approved by DFO and consistent with the mandate of the committee. This committee will not make decisions concerning conservation or enforcement issues that are the mandate of DFO. This committee will also not make decisions concerning other gear sectors of the industry. Such issues will be discussed at the multi-sector SFHAC.

Mandate

The committee will make recommendations on a variety of issues, including:

The committee will make decisions concerning:

These decisions will be made based on an analysis of up-to-date information concerning:

Membership

The membership of the committee shall be drawn from the harvesting and processing sectors of the herring purse seine industry of the Maritimes Region fisheries including representation from the following groups:

Term of the committee

The committee will continue until a decision is made whether or not to continue the committee for the next quota year.

Monitoring committee chairmanship

Meetings of the committee shall be co-chaired by a representative of DFO, if required, and the industry.

Meetings

The committee co-chair shall send notice to all members of the committee to call a meeting. Decisions will be made on the basis of consensus (no dissension). These meetings may be made by conference call or in person and minutes of meetings shall be kept and disseminated to the members and the industry at large.

Appendix 5: Bay of Fundy Herring Weir Advisory Committee - Terms of reference

Updated 2019

Purpose

Bay of Fundy Herring Weir Advisory Committee (BoFHWAC) will provide advice and recommendations to DFO on the conservation, protection and management of the herring weir fishery resource in the Bay of Fundy. The committee will promote and protect the viability of the herring weir and beach seine fishery in the Bay of Fundy.

Scope

BoFHWAC will provide advice on the development of fishing plans, regulatory measures, fishing seasons, licensing policies, by-catch provisions, gear restrictions and ecosystem issues specific to the Bay of Fundy weir and beach seine fishery. Specifically, advice on the Herring Weir Policy comes through this committee.

The committee will participate in, and provide recommendations on, applications relating to the relocation of herring weirs. In addition, the committee may provide advice and recommendations regarding resolution of ongoing fishery management issues.

Consideration is given to biological, marketing and other information as it may affect the management of the herring resource is given. The committee can discuss and promote scientific research to address concerns of the fishery and fishing industry. It provides a forum for information sharing on issues related to management of the herring fishery in the area.

The committee provides recommendations to the New Brunswick Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquaculture (NBDAFA) and the Nova Scotia Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries (NSA&F), on proposed new aquaculture sites and the potential conversion of herring weir and beach seine sites to aquaculture.

Operating principles / terms and conditions

All members will act with respect, honesty, integrity and openness in advancing the herring weir fishery. The committee will work collaboratively, with patience and discipline. To the extent possible, members will work together to satisfy the interests of all members. Each member should have the opportunity to express their opinion, be listened to and accept a group conclusion that considers all relevant factors. It is not necessarily the optimal decision for each member.

Terms of reference will be reviewed as required or every 5 years.

Administration

Structure

Any changes to the structure and administration of the committee will be decided by the committee membership, as determined by the most recently updated membership list available.

Meetings

Meetings of the committee shall be held annually or as required at the discretion of the chair.

Attendance

If a member cannot attend, an alternate may be nominated and the chair notified as far in advance of the meeting date as possible.

Record of discussion

A record of discussion will be prepared and distributed by DFO in a timely manner and where possible within 3 weeks of the meeting. First draft review of records of discussion is the privilege of committee members in attendance, prior to public release / review of minutes in draft form.

The record will provide sufficient detail to effectively summarize group discussion under key agenda items. Key considerations raised during the meeting will be noted so that members can track, convey and follow up on those issues. When conclusions are reached they will be noted. Areas for further action will also be noted, along with assignment of responsibility and other key information. Records of discussion will not include attribution of comments or quotes unless a member specifically requests that their view be noted in the minutes.

Records of discussion are public information and may be distributed by request once finalized by the committee.

Provision of advice / recommendations

No formal voting procedures will be established. BoFHWAC will seek to operate on a consensus basis. Where no consensus is possible, the majority opinion will be noted as well as outstanding objections.

Public access

Unless a majority of committee members say otherwise before a meeting starts, and have justification for doing so, the meetings and proceedings of this committee are open to public and media as observers. No electronic recording devices are permitted without the express permission, on a case-by-case basis, of the members and of the chair.

Meetings of the committee are open to any individual with an interest in the Maritimes Region herring fishery as an observer. Observer status requires that individuals identify themselves as such at the beginning of the meeting and are represented in the discussion by their official committee member. Committee members have agreed that this flexibility is critical to ensure that the committee remains open to hearing as broad a range of opinions as possible and that all sectors of the fishery have access to, and awareness of, the decision making process.

Interested observers without representation on the committee may attend meetings and present briefs with prior consultation with the Area Chief of Resource Management Southwest New Brunswick (DFO) for appointment on the agenda.

Membership

Chairmanship - The committee chair will be held by a DFO official.

When required, experts, academics or other representatives may be invited to attend meetings as presenters, advisers or observers because of their knowledge of the subject, sector or as part of another consultation mechanism.

Aboriginal groups and organizations

Licence holders
Commercial fishery liaison coordinator
Other Aboriginal groups

Industry

2 Grand Manan Fishermen's Association
3 Fundy Weir Fishermen's Association (2 New Brunswick reps, 1 Nova Scotia rep)
1 Connors Brothers Ltd.

Government

3 DFO (Coast Guard / Licensing / Conservation & Protection / Fisheries Management)
1 New Brunswick Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquaculture
1 Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture

Appendix 6: Southwest Nova Scotia / Bay of Fundy Spawning Component Harvesting Plan

This Conservation Harvesting Plan (CHP) applies to all fleets fishing the SWNS/BoF spawning component.

This is considered an evergreen CHP, i.e. it will be updated from time to time as necessary. Schedule 1 of this CHP outlines the management measures specific to the purse seine fishery. These management measures are updated and reviewed annually.

1. Fishing Seasons

The fishing seasons are as follows:

  1. SWNS/BoF spawning component (HFAs 20 west of Baccaro Point line, 21 and 22) – October 15 – October 14
  2. Chedabucto Bay (HFA 19 and 18 north to Scaterie Island line) – November 1 to March 1
    • November 1 to December 31 outside the Green Island line
    • January 1 to March 1 inside the Green Island line

2. Total Allowable Catch and sharing formula

 

Table 1. SWNS/BoF Spawning Component quotas and shares
Fleet Share Actual (Year)
Midwater Trawl (MWT)
Jan 1 – April 15
First 1% of TAC  
Balance
Purse Seine
October 15 – October 14
80% of Balance  
Fixed Gear
October 15 – October 14
20% of Balance  
Area Limits

Chedabucto Bay
Nov 1 to Dec 31 - outside the Green Island line

Jan 1 to Mar 1 - inside the Green Island line
Area limit with the TAC Limited to 20% of the purse seine quota in 1 year.

3. Mobile Gear Quota

4. Monitoring

5. Other

Annex A - Purse seine management measures (updated annually)

October 15, 2018 – Oct 14, 2019

Season

Fish size

*No carry-over of uncaught from fall fishery

Area limits

Scots Bay (whole area)

German Bank (Spawn Survey Box)

Seal Island

Appendix 7: Non-SWNS/Bay of Fundy spawning component harvesting plans

Last updated 2003

The following stocks are not part of the SWNS/BoF spawning component stock complex and hence catches and allocations are not included in the SWNS/BoF spawning component management plan.

1. New Brunswick weir and trap net

For over a century, the southwest New Brunswick weir and shut-off fisheries have relied on the aggregation of large numbers of juvenile herring (ages 1-3) near shore at the mouth of the Bay of Fundy. These have been considered to be a mixture of juveniles dominated by fish originating from NAFO Subarea 5 spawning components and have therefore been excluded from the SWNS/BoF quota. This passive fishery is not subject to catch limits but is limited entry and constrained by resource availability.

2. Nova Scotia embayments east of Baccaro Point – Coastal Nova Scotia

Herring stocks east of Baccaro Point along coastal Nova Scotia are considered to be discrete local stocks and, hence, are not part of the SWNS/BoF spawning component stock complex. This includes the Little Hope and the Eastern Shore spawning components and the small local spawning components along the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia.

In view of the precautionary approach, an area 25 miles seaward from the established embayment closure line (Appendix 2) will remain closed to mobile gear fishing with the exception of the Chedabucto Bay fishery.

Specific management measures

  1. All fixed gear fishing east of Baccaro Point line will operate under conditions of licence requiring landings to adhere to provisions of an industry funded DMP. Accurate catch and effort statistics are required to be supplied by individual licence holders through the DMC.
  2. As a condition of licence, the coastal spawning stock areas will remain closed to a directed gillnet roe fishery. There will be no new fisheries developed when there is uncertainty regarding stock composition and degree of mixing. A protocol to open the closed areas is in Appendix 14.
  3. For established fisheries off of Eastern Shore and Little Hope, where several years of survey data are available, industry-funded surveys will be conducted annually. The fishery will be undertaken in accordance with a DFO approved local harvesting plan and 100% DMP.
  4. Landings by inshore, limited entry, fixed gear (herring trap and gillnet) fisheries are not subject to quotas or allocations except as noted with respect to a directed Eastern Shore / Little Hope fishery.
  5. In 1993 DFO established an embayment closure line (Appendix 2) intended to protect the coastal spawning components. An area 25 miles seaward from the established embayment closure line will remain closed to mobile gear fishing with the exception of the Chedabucto Bay fishery.
  6. Active inshore fixed licence holders are encouraged to participate in tagging and sampling studies.
  7. An allocation (to be counted against the SWNS/BoF spawning component) may be made to purse seine vessels to survey and tag the Halifax winter (January to February) aggregation for scientific purposes. Observers and experimental licensing will be required for the seiners identified to participate. In the event that a large aggregation is documented, discussions with all users of the resource could lead to limited removals from the overwintering aggregations subject to a set of overwintering decision rules (Appendix 11).

3. Outer Banks or the Scotian Shelf (offshore Scotian Shelf)

The Outer Banks are defined as that area east of the Baccaro Point closure line and outside the 25 mile closure area along the coast of Nova Scotia in HFA 20.

There is some question regarding the affinity of herring on the offshore banks. There is, for example, some evidence of spawning, which would indicate a separate stock. Since the SWNS/BoF spawning component includes only Southwest Nova Scotia spawners, the Offshore Bank herring resource is considered to be a separate stock.

Industry and Science have proposed a 2-step developmental approach:

  1. An initial catch allocation will be established at 12,000 t.
  2. After the fish have aggregated sufficiently to survey and prior to the initial catch level being caught, a detailed survey using the recording acoustic equipment will be undertaken to determine the relative stock abundance. Changes as considered appropriate and in line with the recommendations by an RAP, will be made to the initial catch level.

An industry committee will review the fishery on a regular basis and adjustments will be made in accordance with the biological indicators, such as distribution, biomass, age structure and other factors as considered appropriate.

Specific management measures

  1. This fishery will occur from January 1 to December 31 and will operate on a competitive basis.
  2. Prior to departing to fish the Outer Banks, all herring fishing vessels must register and receive confirmation from a DFO designated or certified DMC as a condition of licence.
  3. All vessel activity will operate under the auspices of the Herring Purse Seine Monitoring Committee review process involving industry-funded surveying, sampling and assessment by DFO Science personnel.
  4. Vessels will be required to carry observers at agreed levels and DFO approved electronic monitoring systems and participate in tagging and/or sampling programs as required by DFO at industry cost.
  5. All mobile gear catches are required to adhere to standard DMP procedures.
  6. A midwater trawl experimental survey may be authorized for Maritimes Region vessels using an existing Maritimes Region purse seine licence to enhance scientific knowledge on the Outer Banks. All projects on the Outer Banks will require full science approval and achieve scientific objectives.

Appendix 8: 4Vn Sydney Bight Harvesting Plan

Last updated 2003

Map of Sidney Bight Herring Fishing Areas

Figure: Map of Sidney Bight Herring Fishing Areas.

The area between Cape North and Cape Forchu known as Sydney Bight is identified as NAFO Sub-division 4Vn. This is an area of mixing for herring stocks from 4T, 4WX, local 4Vn stocks and the Bras d'Or Lakes herring stock. 4Vn is comprised of 2 herring fishing areas: HFA 17 and HFA 18.

The Bras d’Or Lakes spawning component exhibits a continuing state of decline. In 1998 there was a further decrease in spawning locations, an absence of fish in several traditional fishing areas, low levels of larvae and an intensification of effort in the few, very small remaining areas of herring spawning. In 1998, an industry proposed management plan failed to achieve the objective of significantly reducing (reduction of 50%) the catch.

In 1999, DFO established a maximum catch of 120 t and closed all known spawning areas, in addition to maintaining the effort reduction controls suggested by industry. The catch was significantly reduced (approximately 35 t) and some spawning area surveys were undertaken. Attempts to tag spawning fish were unsuccessful.

Principles

The 5 main principles concluded from a public policy seminar held in Sydney on March 22 and 23, 1995, have been incorporated into the management of herring for 4Vn.

  1. Conservation: Local stocks should be protected through appropriate management measures based on improved scientific understanding.
  2. Adjacency: Inshore harvesters will have priority with respect to access.
  3. History: Participation over the current, medium-term and long-term past should be respected.
  4. Supplementary: Harvesters targeting mackerel should be permitted to follow migratory stocks and fish them in defined areas in 4Vn.
  5. Accessibility: Mobile fleets (i.e. Gulf-based seiners) should be permitted to follow herring migratory stocks in order to be able to fish them in defined areas (HFA 17) within the boundaries of 4Vn. This principle is to ensure that the mobile herring fleets from the Gulf Region fisheries and the Maritimes Region fisheries will have access to the respective migratory stocks from 4T and 4WX.

In addition to the above principles, a set of Decision rules for managing overwintering fisheries (Appendix 11) are incorporated into the management of the 4Vn fishery.

There are 3 herring management categories within 4Vn:

  1. Category 1 from November 1 to March 31 – Large Gulf seiners
  2. Category 2 from May 1 to September 30 – Adjacent inshore (fixed and mobile gear)
  3. Category 3 from October 1 to April 30 – Adjacent inshore (fixed and mobile gear)

Category 1

November 1 to March 31:

Large Gulf-based seiners fish overwintering 4T herring stock in 4Vn. It is understood that this fishery could have an impact on local 4Vn stocks including the Bras d’Or Lakes component as well as the overwintering 4WX stocks. This impact is considered to be largely dependent on the relative sizes of the mixing stocks. A maximum removal equivalent to the average landings since 1983 (Decision rules for managing overwintering fisheries - Decision rule #1) is not considered to be detrimental to local spawning components.

Quota

The large Gulf seiners may fish the lesser of 50% of their 4T quota or the long term average catch considered to be 4,200 t in 4Vn.

Specific management measures for Category 1

  1. Gulf seiners operate under Maritimes Region conditions of licence for the duration of the fishery requiring reporting and monitoring of landings in accordance with the provisions of an industry-funded DMP.
  2. Gulf seiners are allocated individual vessel quotas for the duration of the fishery.
  3. Gulf seiners must adhere to all Maritimes Region monitoring requirements either an authorized at-sea-monitoring program in the case of over-the-side sales (OSS) or standard DMP for shore-based landings.
  4. The fishery will be managed in accordance with the Decision rules for managing overwintering fisheries as detailed in Fisheries Status Report 97/1 E and Stock Status Report 98/3 E (Appendix 11).
  5. For conservation reasons, Gulf seiners that exceed their ITQ 3 weeks after the close of the 4Vn season will be subject to quota reconciliation on a 1 for 1 basis up to 100 t which will be deducted from the individual licence holder’s quota in the following year.
  6. Gulf seiners are authorized to participate in a temporary transfer system in accordance with the following conditions:
    1. Transfers are temporary;
    2. The unit of transfer is tonnes (t);
    3. There will be no cap on transfers;
    4. Temporary transfers will be permitted to occur at any time (before or after a trip) subject to receipt of the appropriate authorizing signatures from both parties involved in the temporary transfer;
    5. Transfers will be permitted to occur up to 3 weeks after the close of the fishery or by December 31.
  7. All purse seine licence holders will purchase and install a vessel monitoring system (VMS or black box).

Category 2

May 1 to September 30

  1. This fishery occurs on the local 4Vn stocks and includes the bycatch of an exploratory <45' mobile directed mackerel fishery. Until a full analytical assessment of the 4Vn local stocks has been completed and in accordance with the March 22 to 23, 1995 Seminar, a precautionary catch level of 1,500 t has been allocated.
  2. DFO, in consultation with industry, may reduce the precautionary catch level to address conservation concerns if evidence suggests the level is too high.
Fixed gear (traps and gillnets)
 
1,300 t
Mobile <45' (bycatch of mackerel fishery)
 
200 t
Total*
 
1,500 t

*(4Vn local stocks - 1995 workshop catch level)

Category 3

  1. This fishery occurs on the local 4Vn stocks and includes the bycatch of an exploratory <45' mobile directed mackerel fishery. Until a full analytical assessment of the 4Vn local stocks has been completed and in accordance with the March 22 to 23, 1995 Seminar, a precautionary catch level of 1,000 t has been allocated.
  2. In order to encourage the <45’ mobile gear mackerel fishery, a 4T allocation is also made available. This 4T allocation is determined at the Small Pelagic Advisory Committee of the Gulf Region normally convened in December. The amount is proportional to the 4T quota. The fishery began in 1995 with a category 3 allocation of 1,000 t when the 4T quota was 105,050 t (spring TAC - 21,000 t, fall TAC - 84,050 t).

October 1 to April 30:

Fixed gear (traps and gillnets)
*1995 Workshop catch level
 
1,000 t
4Vn local stocks*
Mobile <45' (bycatch of mackerel fishery)
x t + y t
x t spring and y fall + spring y t fall spawners
4T determined by Gulf Region fishery sector

Total: 1,000 + (x+y) t

Specific management measures for categories 2 and 3

  1. All mobile and fixed gear operate with conditions of licence requiring reporting and monitoring of landings in accordance with the provisions of an industry-funded DMP.
  2. The number of fixed and mobile gear licences will not be permitted to increase beyond current levels.
  3. All fixed and mobile gear are encouraged to participate in sampling and tagging projects if requested.
  4. The herring bycatch of the inshore exploratory <45’ mobile mackerel fishery will be 20% or as otherwise determined by variation order.
  5. The inshore exploratory <45’ mobile mackerel fishery will operate in accordance with the Decision rules for managing overwintering fisheries as detailed in (Appendix 11) Stock Status Report 97/1E and Stock Status Report 98/3E.

Specific management measures

  1. Maritimes Region herring seiners may be authorized to undertake a test fishery to determine the distribution and concentration of 4WX herring stock in HFA 18 south of a line drawn due east from the tip of Scatarie Island at 46°N latitude during the winter fishery. This test fishery will be undertaken with a specific conditions of licence or exploratory permit, which will stipulate the specific location (to be worked out with industry) and may require participation in a sampling and tagging program. Industry-funded at-sea observers or alternate approved monitoring equipment will be required.
  2. All fisheries conducted on spawning aggregations will adhere to the survey, assess and then fish protocol. Industry-funded surveys will be undertaken prior to any directed roe fishery and will be limited to a harvest of up to 10% of the observed and documented spawning aggregation. The fishery will be undertaken in accordance with a 100% industry-funded DMP and may be supplemented with a DFO approved local harvesting plan.
  3. All gear, including traps, weirs, gillnets and exploratory mackerel fisheries will participate in an industry funded DMP.

Appendix 9: 5Z Georges Bank Harvesting Plan

Last updated 2003

Map of Georges Bank herring stock component

Figure: Map of Georges Bank herring stock component.

The Georges Bank herring stock (5Z) is 1 of 3 major stocks occurring in the Gulf of Maine. Between 1961 and 1977, this stock supported the largest commercial fishery on the western Atlantic. High levels of exploitation combined with poor recruitment during the early 1970s resulted in the stock’s collapse in 1977.

The first sign of a recovery occurred in 1984 when a large number of age 1 juveniles were collected on Georges Bank. It was not until 1986 that both Canadian and USA research surveys began to detect reproductively active herring on Georges Bank and larvae in ichthyoplankton samples.

Industry and DFO have agreed on the following developmental approach:

Specific management measures

  1. The fishery will operate competitively on an annual basis (January 1 to December 31).
  2. All mobile gear operate with conditions of licence requiring reporting and monitoring of landings in accordance with the provisions of an industry-funded DMP.
  3. All vessels operating on Georges Bank will accommodate scientific and technical personnel and participate in tagging, surveys and the provision of fish samples as requested.
  4. All vessels will carry observers as considered appropriate by DFO at industry cost.
  5. No foreign vessels will be permitted to fish on Georges Bank (5Z).
  6. Fishing will be confined to existing Maritimes Region mobile limited entry herring licences.
  7. Prior to departing to Georges Bank (5Z), all herring fishing vessels must register and receive confirmation from a DFO designated or certified DMC as a condition of licence.
  8. All mobile gear catches are required to adhere to either an authorized at-sea monitoring program in the case of over-the-side sales (OSS) or standard DMP procedures for shore-based landings.
  9. Vessels will be permitted to fish 5Z under the general provisions of their mobile gear conditions of licence.
  10. Requests for OSS allocations can only be considered with industry agreement and in the context of the provisions of the direct sales policy requests and will be dealt with in a timely fashion.

Mid-water trawl

  1. A limited-developmental mid-water trawl fishery on Georges Bank was introduced in the 2003 IFMP. The advisory committee agreed that a limited mid-water trawl fishery be permitted on George’s Bank based upon the submission and approval of proposals in accordance with the developmental approach and management measures noted in this harvesting plan.
  2. Mid-water trawl activities are intended to augment purse seine activities not to replace them.
  3. Once a proposal has been approved, a detailed CHP must be prepared prior to fishing.
  4. Any proposed vessel replacement greater than 125 ft. LOA or greater than 1,500 BHP is required to be presented to the Herring Purse Seine Monitoring Committee for review and recommendation.

Appendix 10: Mobile gear shares SWNS/BoF spawning component

Table: Mobile gear shares SWNS/BoF component by licence
  Licence Full name Initial %
1 105300 6162410 CANADA LTD. 5.4
2 103843 6162410 CANADA LTD. 4.0
3 103855 6162410 CANADA LTD. 4.0
4 103865 6162410 CANADA LTD. 4.0
5 105298 6162410 CANADA LTD. 4.0
6 103847 6162410 CANADA LTD. 3.2
7 104058 6162410 CANADA LTD. 1.7
8 103599 6162410 CANADA LTD. 1.6
9 103829 6162410 CANADA LTD. 1.6
10 103830 6162410 CANADA LTD. 1.6
11 103836 6162410 CANADA LTD. 1.6
12 103846 6162410 CANADA LTD. 1.6
13 103851 6162410 CANADA LTD. 1.6
14 103838 6162410 CANADA LTD. 0.8
15 103853 6162410 CANADA LTD. 0
16 103842 619916 N.B. INC. 0
17 103823 COMEAU'S SEA FOODS LTD 10.0
18 103827 COMEAU'S SEA FOODS LTD 10.0
19 103824 COMEAU'S SEA FOODS LTD 9.5
20 103841 COMEAU'S SEA FOODS LTD 0
21 103582 DOUCETTE, DELMA* See note
22 103854 SCOTIA PELAGIC INC 7.5
23 103837 SCOTIA PELAGIC INC 4.5
24 103866 SCOTIA PELAGIC INC 3.2
25 103576 SCOTIA PELAGIC INC 1.6
26 103831 SCOTIA PELAGIC INC 0
27 104064 SEA CREST FISHERIES 0
28 103618 SILVER HARVEST FISHERIES LTD 1.6
29 103615 SILVER HARVEST FISHERIES LTD 0
30 103835 TURPENTINE SEINERS LTD. 3.2
31 103826 VONNDEL FISHERIES LTD 4.0
32 104062 WEDGEPORT CANNERS LTD 4.8
33 103844 WM. R. MURPHY FISHERIES 2.2
34 103845 WM. R. MURPHY FISHERIES 1.6
    Total 100.4

*1.0% MWT Licence for Delma Doucette

Table: Mobile gear shares SWNS/BoF component by company
Full name Total
6162410 CANADA LTD. 36.7
COMEAU'S SEA FOODS LIMITED 29.5
SCOTIA PELAGIC INC 16.8
WEDGEPORT CANNERS LTD 4.8
VONNDEL FISHERIES LTD 4.0
WM. R. MURPHY FISHERIES 3.8
TURPENTINE SEINERS LTD. 3.2
SILVER HARVEST FISHERIES LTD 1.6
Grand total 100.4

Appendix 11: Decision rules for overwintering herring fisheries

Last update 2003

  1. Claytor, R. 1997. Decision rules for overwintering herring fisheries. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Res. Doc. 97/88.

Abstract

A computer simulation model demonstrates the risk of over-exploitation to small stocks in overwintering herring fisheries that take place where mixtures of large and small stocks occur. This model leads to the general principles that:

  1. if mixing of stocks is random, then:
    1. exploitation on average will be equal among all stocks; and
    2. exploitation rates will be more variable on the smaller stocks; but
  2. if fishing occurs where small stocks are concentrated, exploitation rates much higher than expected will occur on the small stocks.

These principles were used, in combination with fishery and research survey results, to develop decision rules for the 4Vn overwinter herring fishery.

  1. The first rule determines that the overwinter catch is not to exceed recent average landings, because these levels have not been detrimental to local spawning components.
  2. The second determines that the starting date should be November 1, because results of acoustic and bottom trawl surveys indicate that the migration of 4T herring is well established by this date.
  3. The third, is that no more than 10% of the catch by number can be below 24.5 cm fork length, as this limit has been effective in keeping the landings of immature herring to less than 10% and a higher percentage of the immature herring are likely to be of local origin than adults.
  4. The fourth rule concerns fishing area, which was not able to be defined using the data analyzed to date and was identified as an item to be determined among science, management and industry.
  5. Claytor, R. and C. LeBlanc.1998. Decision Rules: 4T Overwintering Herring Fishery in 4Vn. DFO Canadian Stock Assessment Secretariat Res. Doc. 97/48.

Abstract

Biological information concerning timing and locations of herring concentrations in 4Vn are presented to assist in the development of a decision rule on where to fish in 4Vn (Decision Rule 4). A computer simulation model is used to examine the consequences of catching various amounts of fish (Decision Rule 1).

These analyses determined that for Decision Rule 4: the general principle of fishing in areas where stocks are randomly mixed is most likely to be met in northern areas of 4Vn. Risk of fishing in areas where small vulnerable local stocks are concentrated is greater between Cape Smoky and Cape Dauphin than north of Cape Smoky. Fishing below Cape Smoky increases the proportion of spring spawners in the catch. Therefore, given the declining situation in the Bras d'Or Lakes, the Cape Smoky line is appropriate at this time.

Similarly, for Decision Rule 1 it was determined that the rule previously established, that the overwinter catch is not to exceed recent average landings, is still appropriate and would limit exploitation rates on local stocks within conservation target levels.

Appendix 12: Herring Weir Policy - Bay of Fundy (Southwest New Brunswick and Southwest Nova Scotia)

Updated March 2020

Foreword

This policy applies to the commercial herring weir fishery in the Bay of Fundy for both Southwest New Brunswick and Southwest Nova Scotia. Any requests to change the design or location of a newly proposed weir or existing weir are to be submitted in writing to the DFO area office for approval using the application. Applications will only be accepted from licence holders with a current, valid herring weir licence.

The Area Director (DFO) must consult adjacent weir owners when any reconfiguration or new site is requested. Fishways of existing adjacent weirs will be taken into consideration. Any construction or obstruction that would block the passage of fish to existing weirs or that would block established migration routes could be considered the blocking of a fishway.

Definitions

Banked weir licence: A weir licence that is not assigned or attached to a site.

Eligible licence holder: In SWNB, an eligible licence holder is a registered commercial harvester or company. In SWNS an eligible licence holder registered is any commercial harvester.

Existing site: A location and weir design previously approved by DFO for a specific licence holder who has met all of the established conditions.

Fishing order: A design that, when built as applied for, meets all of the components of an approved weir, has the capability to catch and retain herring from low tide to high tide and vice versa.

Fishing season: January 1 to December 31, unless otherwise defined in licence conditions or varied by variation order.

Fishway: A natural migratory channel used by fish. Alternatively, a man-made apparatus for the purpose of directing fish into a weir.

Floating weir: A floating rectangular trap or ring enclosed with twine or wire netting and with a wing or leader from each side of the mouth and permanently anchored to the seabed. The only permitted floating weirs are the licence #’s that are grandfathered. No new floating weirs are permitted.

Licence: A document that authorizes a person to fish for a species of fish specified therein that is subject to the terms and conditions of the licence.

Licence without an approved site: A licence that does not have a site assigned to it, but must be renewed annually (as per Section 11(2) of the Commercial Fisheries Licensing Policy for Eastern Canada, 1996).

New site: A proposed location that has not yet been approved by DFO or an existing site that has been vacated and is being applied for.

Referral Process: Recommendations are required to evaluate and make decisions on herring weir relocations from DFO, New Brunswick Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquaculture, Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquaculture (DAFA) and the Bay of Fundy Herring Weir Advisory Committee (BoFHWAC).

Site: For the purposes of this policy a site is the location of a proposed or actual structure, i.e. herring weir (fixed), pound, wing (fixed) or other approved appendage(s) to a herring weir.

Twelve (12) months: Twelve (12) consecutive months.

Weir (as defined in the Atlantic Fisheries Regulations, 1985 SOR/ 86-21): Relates to an apparatus that:

  1. Is constructed of stakes attached to the seabed and held together with 1 or more sets of ribands;
  2. Is surrounded by brush, twine or wire netting; and
  3. Consists of 1 or more holding compartments or pounds into which fish are guided by 1 or more leaders (bordigue).

Weir site allocation / approval process

Should a licence holder express interest in a licenced herring weir site that has not been built or has not been in fishing order for the previous 2 fishing seasons, the licence holder will, upon notification from DFO:

  1. Have 12 months in which to have the weir constructed and in fishing order;
  2. Vacate the site for an alternate site; or
  3. Bank the licence and relinquish the site. See definition of banked in this policy.

When an existing licensed herring weir is approved for relocation, the licence holder will have a maximum of 12 months to remove all fishing apparatus (stakes, moorings, etc.) associated with the previous site. Should interest be expressed by another herring weir licence holder in occupying the site being vacated, the reestablishment of the site to fishing order and the responsibility for the removal of all fishing apparatus from the previous weir will be transferred to the new site owner when the site is vacated.

When an existing licensed weir site that has not been built in the previous 2 calendar years is challenged by a written application from an eligible herring weir licence holder, the licence for the site being challenged cannot be reissued until the above conditions have been satisfied.

If a licence holder is successful in obtaining the authorization to construct a weir on the site in question, the licence holder will be required to fulfil the following conditions of approval as set out for a new site:

  1. Failure to complete building at a newly approved site within the 12 month period from date of written approval will result in the site being declared vacant. Once declared vacant, the site may then be reassigned to a new applicant. If no interest is expressed in the vacant site, the licence holder losing the site can re-apply after waiting12 additional months from the time the site is declared vacant.
  2. When a new site is approved, it cannot be reassigned to another licence holder until the 12 month construction period following approval has expired.
  3. The new site will not obstruct the navigation of boats or vessels as set out in Section 24 of the Fisheries Act and will not significantly conflict with other fishing activities normally carried out in the area.
  4. Written requests from the licence holder to extend the 12 month period granted to construct a weir will be reviewed to determine if an extension is warranted. Extension may be granted under extenuating circumstance (e.g. medical complications, availability of specific equipment and/or materials, major change in the market, aquaculture deadlines).
  5. Written requests to extend the 12 month period mentioned above must be received by the Area Chief Resource Management (DFO) prior to the original 12 month expiry date.

Licence reissuance

With herring weir site: A licence is not permitted to be reissued (with the site) if the site is under construction, review or challenge.

Without herring weir site: A licence can be reissued to another eligible harvester if the current licence holder has held their licence for at least 1 year.

Herring weir with mackerel licence attached: Upon the transfer of a herring weir licence with a mackerel licence attached, the mackerel licence will either remain attached to the herring weir licence or will be cancelled. Splitting of the licence is not permitted.

Measurement

As per Section 36(b) of the Atlantic Fishery Regulations, 1985 , no person shall fish with a drift net or any fixed gear (excluding hand-lines):

  1. Within 200m of any previously set fixed gear other than a hand-line;
  2. Within 300m from a weir that is in fishing order; and
  3. Within 300m of an aquaculture site.

The distance from 1 weir to another will be measured from the closest fixed, marked and approved structure. The distance between weirs will be measured over water by the shortest route at average high tide. Methods of measurement will be by differential global positioning system (DGPS), radar or a certified survey. In addition, fishways to existing adjacent weirs will be taken into consideration prior to approval of a new herring weir site or reconfiguration.

Once a weir is constructed, the approved box for a weir to be built within, as described in the herring weir application for relocation / reconfiguration, will no longer be considered valid for relocation. Should a licence holder wish to relocate their weir within the box, a new application for relocation / reconfiguration must be submitted.

Upon completion of a weir, GPS coordinates (NAD 83/WGS 84) of the locations of the back of the weir, the outermost point at both sides of the weir, the end of the fence where it runs to shore and the end point of any other additional wings or fences that were approved and built must be submitted to DFO by the licence holder. The GPS coordinates should be in degree decimal minute format.

Appendix 13: Catch monitoring programs

Fishery monitoring programs are fishery-independent tools administered by designated service providers aimed to gather, record and audit information on catches and the dynamics of a fishery. Catch monitoring programs support DFO initiatives by providing detailed information regarding landed catch, allowing DFO to make informed decisions on the conservation and sustainable management of fisheries while meeting domestic and international obligations.

1. Dockside monitoring program

Responsibilities

Dockside monitors are required to record and report on all aspects of vessel landings. These responsibilities include, but are not limited to, data collection related to catch and fishing activities and data entry. The data collected may include species identification, size, condition and weight. The condition of landed fish may vary as it can be landed whole, heads-off, dressed or it may be mixed with ice, requiring corrections by the monitor to obtain the best estimate of the catch amount. Data collected can verify the landing records provided for the vessel.

Monitors must prepare an orderly document of information on the adherence or possible infractions of vessels to Canadian law or fishery legislation and be ready to present oral or documented evidence as a witness in a court of law.

Table: Required dockside Mmonitoring coverage by area and fleet
Fishery Fleet DMC coverage

Outer Banks
Jan 1 to Dec 31

Purse seine 100%

South West Nova Scotia / Bay of Fundy
October 15 to October 14

All fleets 100%

4Vn Gulf seiners fishing 4Vn
November 1 to March 31

Purse seine 100%

5Z George’s Bank
January 1 to December 31

Purse seine / mid-water trawl 100%
4WX Chedabucto Bay Purse seine
Fixed gear
100%
Not required
Coastal NS fisheries - Little Hope and Eastern Shore Fixed gear 100% during fishery and if spawning fish present outside the fishery then 20% of the rest
Coastal NS fisheries – all other Fixed gear 20%

SWNB migrant juveniles

Weir and shut-off

10% non-quota
Nova Scotia Weir 100% quota
Herring and mackerel bait   100% if over 3,000 lbs in the Little Hope / Eastern Shore boxes and otherwise N/A

2. At-sea observer program

Responsibilities

At-sea observers are required to record and report on all aspects of vessel activity on a set by set basis. These responsibilities include, but are not restricted to, recording and reporting accurate information on the catch, the technological characteristics of the fishing gear used and determining the accuracy of data collected through the observation of navigational and fishing aids on board the vessel. Specifically, observers collect biological data, such as fish length, morphological measurements, examination of gonads and other body structures, to determine sex and maturity. Observers collect, label and preserve all specimens, as required by DFO. Observers are also required to record and report data related to fish habitat or interactions with SARA species. Observers are to document and report data relating to fishing patterns and what relation they have to estimated catch, catch rate, size composition of catches, feeding habits and the diurnal behaviour of the fish caught.

Observers must prepare an orderly document of information on the adherence or possible infractions of vessels to Canadian law or fishery legislation and be ready to present oral or documented evidence as a witness in a court of law.

The at-sea observer program currently collects data from the mobile fleet, unless otherwise specified within license conditions.

Table: Purse seine at-sea observer coverage requirements
Fishery Observer mission Observer coverage Notes

Outer banks
Jan 1 to Dec 31

  • Biological information
  • Transit closed area
5% (1 in 20 trips) Observer coverage in the WEBCA - 100% until there is enough data to scientifically assess if any impacts on the WEBCA conservation objectives

4WX Bay of Fundy
October 15 to October 14

  • Biological information
  • Gear conflict
5% (1 in 20 trips)  

4Vn Gulf seiners fishing 4Vn
November 1 to March 31

  • Local stocks
  • Minimum fish size
  • Closed areas
  • Biological information
25% (1 in 4 trips)  

5Z George’s Bank
January 1 to December 31

  • Fishing 4WX
  • Biological information
16.67% (1 in 6 trips)  

4WX Chedabucto Bay (fishing outside Green Island line)
November 1 to December 31

  • Local stocks
  • Minimum fish Size
  • Gear conflict
  • Biological information
25% (1 in 4 trips)  

4WX Chedabucto Bay
(fishing inside Green Island line)
January 1 to March 31

  • Local stocks
  • Minimum fish size
  • Biological information
100%  

Appendix 14: Process for opening coastal NS herring spawning grounds currently closed

There is limited information on most of the coastal Nova Scotia spawning component and few of the spawning areas have been studied. Stock structure, documentation of the historical fishery, and biological and survey information are currently missing and preclude any evaluation of current fishing mortality and state of the stocks (DFO, 1999). Individual spawning groups within this component are vulnerable to fishing because of their relative small size and proximity to shore.

There is often pressure to develop fisheries on these localized herring spawning grounds (DFO, 1999). In 1999, there was a review of all scientific information and through consultation, measures on how to ensure these particularly vulnerable populations are protected and managed were developed. As a result, it was decided that no new fisheries will be developed when there is uncertainty regarding stock composition and degree of mixing. There has been no new work completed since 1999 and the coastal Nova Scotia spawning grounds (with the exception of 2 areas: Little Hope and Eastern Shore) are closed via licence conditions during the spawning season.

Prior to any fishery being implemented, it is required that aggregations are to be acoustically documented before any consideration of removals can take place. This would require a minimum of 3 to 5 years of acoustic surveys using established methods (see research documents) as well as sampling of these fish using a multi-mesh size panel net to document spawning condition, size and age. Moreover, studies to determine stock structure and degree of mixing with other populations are required.

Once the science assessment of the population is undertaken, an allocation would be a maximum of 5% of surveyed biomass if a large body of fish (greater than SSB threshold defined under objectives) has been documented, but that the allocation should be lower if only a moderate body of fish (less than threshold) is documented. These thresholds need to be defined. After 5 years of data is available and it is determined that a fishery is possible, up to 10% of the surveyed biomass can be harvested when the stock is in the healthy zone.

Details on the previous advice and history of the management of these can be found in the:

DFO, 1999. 4VWX and 5Z herring. Stock Status Report B3-05(1999). (PDF 237 KB)

DFO, 2003b. 4VWX herring. Stock Status Report 2003/027. (PDF 280 KB)

Appendix 15: History of IFMP modifications

Version Modification Date
2020 Approved signed copy  
2020
  • Updated to the IFMP template
  • Editorial and formatting changes throughout
  • Updated most terms of reference
  • Updated Policy and Economics section and data
  • Updated Science section to reflect reference points and stock status
  • Updated appendices 3, 5, 6 and 10
  • Updated information on SWNS/BoF fishery management to reflect changes since 2003 (including removal of survey asses then fish references)
  • Added appendices 1, 12, 13, 14 and 15
  • Management boards removed as not implemented as described in 2003
  • Term Scotia-Fundy updated to Maritimes Region in most areas
March 31, 2020
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