Herring - Newfoundland and Labrador Region 4R3Pn - Effective 2017

Foreword

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Herring
(Clupea harengus)

The purpose of this Integrated Fisheries Management Plan (IFMP) is to identify the main objectives and requirements for the Newfoundland and Labrador region herring fishery in NAFO Division 4R3Pn, as well as the management measures that will be used to achieve these objectives. This document also serves to communicate basic information on the fishery and its management to Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) staff, legislated co-management boards and committees, and other stakeholders. This IFMP provides a common understanding of the basic “rules” for the sustainable management of the fisheries resource.

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 claim agreements, the provisions of land claims agreements will prevail to the extent of the inconsistency.

This IFMP sets out the policy of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) with respect to the management of the Newfoundland and Labrador 4R herring fishery. While the main focus of this report is related to NAFO division 4R, please note that some components of this plan include information on NAFO division 3Pn. However, the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) and advice from Science is restricted to NAFO division 4R.

As with any policy, the Minister retains the discretion to make exceptions to, or to change, this policy at any time. It is, however, DFO’s expectation and intention to follow the management process set out in this IFMP, with a view to contributing to increased certainty and direction for the 4R herring fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador.

This IFMP was developed in 2017 and it will be in effect until it is replaced. While the elements of this plan will remain in effect indefinitely, quotas are subject to annual review and may be adjusted based on updated Science information. This could include changes to the TAC, as well as adjustments to annexes and website listings. 

Jacqueline Perry
A/Regional Director General
Newfoundland and Labrador Region

Table of Contents

Foreword
1.0 OVERVIEW OF THE FISHERY
2.0 STOCK ASSESSMENT, SCIENCE AND TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE
3.0 ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL IMPORTANCE OF THE FISHERY
4.0 MANAGEMENT ISSUES
5.0 OBJECTIVES
6.0 ACCESS AND ALLOCATION
7.0 MANAGEMENT MEASURES FOR THE DURATION OF THE PLAN
8.0 SHARED STEWARDSHIP ARRANGEMENTS
9.0 COMPLIANCE PLAN
10.0 PERFORMANCE REVIEW
11.0 Glossary of Terms
Appendices

1.0 OVERVIEW OF THE FISHERY

1.1 History of the Fishery

The 4R herring fishery on the west coast of Newfoundland dates back over 150 years. The predicable supply of herring for bait and food led to the establishment of communities in Port au Port, Bay of Islands and Bonne Bay.

From 1850-1950, many American vessels purchased and transported salted herring (caught with gillnets) to the smoke houses in Gloucester, Massachusetts. In the 1900’s, the Vita Foods Company from New York opened shop in the Bay of Islands and instructed local processors how to fillet and vinegar cure herring products. This trade and process continues today with Barry Group Inc. supplying a large percentage of the US vinegar cured herring market.

After World War II, hundreds of thousands of barrels of round herring were shipped to Europe from the west coast of Newfoundland to feed millions of people devastated by war as part of the United Nations Relief Aid.

Until the 1950’s, the 4R herring fishery was a gillnet fishery. Around that time, local processors and fishermen started building purse seines in order to establish a more stable predictable supply. From the 1960’s to the 1990’s, there were five large seiners (>65’) catching the largest share of the herring on the west coast of Newfoundland. Prior to the mid-1970’s there were no established quota restrictions and the boats would fish until market requirements were met or the weather stopped them.

A fisheries management regime was initiated in the mid-1970’s and continues today. For many years, the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) existed at 20,000 tonnes and this continues today. For the last 50 years the 4R herring fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador has been the most stable herring fishery in Atlantic Canada.

Table 1 below lists recent TAC and landings data for 4R herring.

Table 1: 4R3Pn herring TAC and Commercial Landings (tonnes) from 2005 to 2017
Year TAC (t) LARGE SEINERS SMALL SEINERS FIXED GEAR TOTAL Landings (t)
2005 20,000 11,006 3,918 3,104 18,028
2006 20,000 11,102 3,942 3,633 18,676
2007 20,000 10,954 2,662 2,467 16,083
2008 20,000 11,184 4,357 5,210 20,751
2009 20,000 11,170 4,469 4,676 20,315
2010 20,000 11,088 4,149 4,047 19,284
2011 20,000 11,160 4,482 4,809 20,450
2012 20,000 10,955 4,355 4,143 19,452
2013 20,000 10,885 3,989 4,486 19,360
2014 20,000 10,996 4,503 2,637 18,136
2015 20,000 11,167 4,448 3,782 19,397
2016 20,000 10,999 4,397 4,536 19,938
2017 20,000 9,518 3,217 2,459 15,194
Source: Policy & Economics Branch, NL region
*TAC is restricted to NAFO division 4R

1.2 Type of Fishery

The 4R3Pn herring fishery is managed on the basis of a single Total Allowable Catch (TAC) with two components: spring and fall spawners. However, management measures based on conservation concerns are implemented to limit the catch of both stock components within the established TAC. The TAC is sub-divided into three allocation categories:

The >65’ mobile gear fishery operates under an Individual Transferable Quota (ITQ) regime, whereas the <65’ mobile gear fishery operates under an Individual Quota (IQ) regime. The fixed gear fishery is fully competitive with separate quotas for herring Fishing Areas 13 and 14.

The 4R3Pn herring stock is also a bait fishery in which harvesters are permitted to use gillnets to catch herring for use in commercial fisheries requiring bait such as lobster and snow crab. Harvesters are not permitted to sell herring caught in the bait fishery.

Depending on weather and sea ice conditions, the season normally begins in spring (late April to early May) and continues until December. However, the >65’ seiners have been known to operate during the winter months when herring congregate in deep offshore waters of the northern Gulf of St. Lawrence.

In 1999, Herring Fishing Area 13 was closed to commercial fishing until June 30 inside of a line following the 50-fathom contour due to concerns with the spring spawner biomass. In recent years, this closed area has been modified to permit limited access inside the 50-fathom contour provided that at-sea observer coverage is in place and a limited quota is not exceeded. As a result, the >65’ seiners have prosecuted the spring fishery on a limited basis.

1.3 Participants

In 2017, 597 Newfoundland and Labrador-based fish harvesters were licensed to fish in 4R. Specifically:

Six >65’ seiners registered in DFO Gulf region also have access to 4R herring, in addition to New-Brunswick based >65’ seiners including a vessel stationed in western Newfoundland.

Included in the number of commercial licences above are communal commercial herring licences issued to Indigenous organizations in Newfoundland and Labrador, specifically the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band and the AAROM body Mi’kmaq Alsumk Mowimsikik Koqoey Association (MAMKA).

1.4 Location of the Fishery

This IFMP covers the herring fishery in NAFO subdivision 3Pn and division 4R. [see Figure 1]

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Figure 1: Herring Fishing Areas on the west southwest coasts of Newfoundland (4R3Pn)

1.5 Fishery Characteristics

The 4R3Pn herring fishery is managed on a two-year management plan. The current management cycle runs from January 1 to December 31. Science advice on the stock and subsequent advisory meetings with industry occurs every two years. Additional review meetings with industry may be added to this schedule for any reason deemed appropriate by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO).

Herring is fished using both fixed and mobile gear. The fixed gear herring fishery in all areas is competitive and uses gill nets, traps, and bar seines, including modified bar seines known as tuck seines. The fixed gear quota is divided between Herring Fishing Areas 13 and 14 as per the sharing arrangement determined by an independent arbitrator in 2009, and accepted by DFO; namely 35% for Area 13 and 65% for Area 14.

The mobile gear fleet is composed of <65’ and >65’ purse seine vessels. The <65’ purse seine fleet operates under an individual quota (IQ) regime, and the >65’ purse seine fleet has individual transferrable quotas (ITQ).

Herring found along the west coast of Newfoundland and Labrador is comprised of two stock components: spring and fall spawners. The major spring spawning areas are concentrated at the southern end of the coast in and around Bay St. George and Port au Port Bay (Herring Fishing Area 13 – Figure 1). Fall spawning activity is concentrated mainly north of this area and the fishery is prosecuted from the mouth of the Bay of Islands to Bonne Bay. Limited fishing activity occurs from Daniel’s Harbour to St. John’s Bay (north of Point Riche - herring Fishing Area 14).

Commercial fleets target spawning concentrations and follow the migratory advancement of mixed spring and fall spawner schools along their feeding and over-wintering routes. This migration is normally inshore and northerly from spring to fall, north to south, and offshore to inshore in the late fall to mid-winter period.

1.6 Governance

The Newfoundland and Labrador herring fishery is governed by the Fisheries Act, regulations made pursuant to the Act, and departmental policies. The key regulations and policies that apply include but are not limited to:

More than 20 years ago, a 4R herring co-management advisory committee was created at the request of industry to provide a formal and direct mechanism for input into the management of the fishery. This committee is now the principle advisory body for the management of 4R3Pn herring within Newfoundland and Labrador Region.

Committee membership includes representatives from:

[See Appendix 4].

1.7 Approval Process

The Integrated Fisheries Management Plan is approved by the Regional Director General of Newfoundland and Labrador region. Opening and closing dates for specific areas and gear types are determined by DFO area staff in consultation with industry. Other issues that arise will be addressed through similar consultative processes. Any changes to licence conditions are tabled by DFO officials at the biennial advisory meeting.

Unless there are conservation issues, the intent is to manage the fishery based on the measures outlined in this IFMP. Stakeholders seeking new management measures are required to table their requests at the next scheduled DFO-industry advisory meeting.

2.0 STOCK ASSESSMENT, SCIENCE AND TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE

2.1 Biological Characteristics

Herring (Clupea harengus harengus) is a pelagic fish that frequents cold Atlantic waters. Its distribution in Eastern Canada extends from Georges Bank and the coasts of Nova Scotia to the coasts of Newfoundland and Labrador. Herring travel in tight schools to feed, spawn near the coast, and overwinter in deeper waters. The same herring return to the same spawning, feeding and wintering grounds year after year. This homing phenomenon is attributed to a learning behavior of young year-classes in a stock.

At spawning, eggs attach themselves to the sea floor, forming a carpet a few centimetres thick. The egg incubation time and larval growth are linked to water temperature. Most herring reach sexual maturity at age four and at a length of about 25 cm.

Herring in NAFO Division 4R is characterized by the presence of two spawning stocks: spring-spawning and fall-spawning. Spring spawners generally spawn in April and May, and fall spawners in August and September.

These stocks are also characterized by the periodic occurrence of dominant year-classes [Figure 2]. The most recent of these year-classes for spring spawners is 2002 [Figure 2A]. The most dominant year-class for fall spawners since 2005 has been the 2000 year-class [Figure 2B]. The 2008 year-class has now entered the fishery, however, its contribution to the fishery in 2015 was not as large as that of the 2000 year-class.

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Figure 2: Annual length (cm) frequencies (%) of spring-spawning (A) and fall-spawning (B) herring caught in the fall with purse seine in unit areas 4Rbcd since 1981. Strong year-classes are indicated.

2.2 Ecosystem Interactions

Data from a prey/predator study showed that in the mid-1980s herring in the northern Gulf of St. Lawrence (NAFO Divisions 4RS) fed mainly on small zooplankton (<5mm, mostly copepods). In the mid-1990s, large zooplankton (>5 mm, euphausids and amphipods) were the dominant prey items. New estimates made in the early 2000s and mid-2000s indicated that small zooplankton now represent the main prey for herring. [Figure 3]

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Figure 3: Diet composition (%) of herring in the northern Gulf of St. Lawrence (NAFO Divisions 4RS) from the mid-1980s to the mid-2000s (Dr. Claude Savenkoff, DFO, MLI, pers. comm.)

Herring, capelin (Mallotus villosus) and sand lance (Ammodytes spp.), represent a very significant link in the food chain of the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence. Models of the northern Gulf of St. Lawrence (NAFO divisions 4RS) marine ecosystem indicate that the main cause of herring mortality is predation mostly by redfish (Sebaste spp.) and large cod (Gadus morhua) during the mid-1980s [Figure 4A], and by harp seals (Phoca groenlandica), cetaceans, and large cod during the mid-1990s and the early 2000s [Figure 4B]. Grey seals (Halichoerus grypus), cetaceans, redfish and harp seals were the main predators during the mid-2000s.

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Figure 4: Main causes of herring mortality (t km-2 yr-1) (A) and predation mortality details (B)
according to different models of the northern Gulf of St. Lawrence (NAFO Divisions 4RS)
marine ecosystem from the mid-1980s to the mid-2000s(Dr. Claude Savenkoff, DFO, MLI, pers. comm.).

2.3 Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge

Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Ecological Knowledge in the form of observations and comments from Aboriginal groups are considered in management decisions when provided.

2.4 Stock Assessment Process

A first series of six biennial acoustic surveys took place on the west coast of Newfoundland between 1991 and 2002. A second series of surveys started in the fall of 2009 following a recommendation from the Fisheries Resource Conservation Council (FRCC). The first surveys from this new series (2009-2011) were conducted on an annual basis to enable the fastest possible return of an analytical assessment as well as the updating of reference points.

In 2015, the most significant acoustic signals were measured in strata 5 and 6, which is similar to the patterns observed during the 2013 survey; whereas in 2011 the most significant signals were measured in stratum 10 [Figure 5]. With the assistance of industry, several biological samples were obtained to associate biological parameters with the acoustic signals.

A new acoustic survey was completed in November 2017. The results of this survey will be used in the spring 2018 stock assessment and the IFMP will be updated accordingly.

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Figure 5: herring density distribution (acoustic signal) along the west coast of Newfoundland in the fall of 2011,
2013 and 2015. Strata numbers and completed transects (grey lines) in 2015 are indicated.

The total biomass index of spring-spawning herring fell considerably between 1991 and 1993 [Figure 6]. After a period of some stability, this index fell again, decreasing from 34,500  tonnes in 2002 to less than 1,500 tonnes in 2015. The total biomass index of fall spawners also fell between 1991 and 1993, then increased until 2010 [Figure 7]. From 2010 onwards, the index decreased slightly from 122,000 tonnes to 97,000 tonnes.

The percentage of spring-spawning herring relative to fall-spawning herring changed considerably over the period 1991-2015 [Figure 8]. For the period 1991-2002, spring herring accounted for 31-55% of the abundance of the two spawning stocks, compared to only 0.3-12% for the 2009-2015 period.

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Figure 6:  Total biomass index (with 25-75% quantiles) for the 11 acoustic surveys of spring (triangles) and fall-spawning (circles) herring stocks on the west coast of Newfoundland (NAFO Division 4R) estimated by acoustic survey.
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Figure 7: Percentage of spring and fall-spawning herring observed in the biological samples used to calculate the biomass indices from the acoustic survey results.

2.5 Stock Scenarios

Acoustic survey results from 2009 to 2015 suggest the almost complete disappearance of spring-spawning herring. With the absence of reconstruction signs, management measures were put in place to protect the spawn of this spawning stock. The spring bait fishery is closely monitored using logbooks to estimate catches.

Current catches consist overwhelmingly of fall-spawning herring. This stock consists mainly of older fish (in 2013, fish aged 8 years and over accounted for 65% of all catches). In recent years, catches of about 20,000 tonnes have been supported by strong year-classes that have ensured stability in the herring fishery on the west coast of Newfoundland. Without strong recruitment, it is unlikely that catches of about 20,000 tonnes can be sustained in coming years.

The dispersal of fishing effort along the coast and throughout the year supports the conservation of the two herring spawning stocks of the west coast of Newfoundland. The acoustic survey should confirm the status of the two spawning stocks.

2.6 Precautionary Approach

The Precautionary Approach in fisheries management is about being cautious when scientific knowledge is uncertain and not using the absence of adequate scientific information as a reason to postpone or fail to take action to avoid serious harm to fish stocks or their ecosystems. This approach is widely accepted as an essential part of sustainable fisheries management. Applying the Precautionary Approach to fisheries management decisions entails establishing a harvest strategy that:

Within the framework of the Precautionary Approach, biomass reference points have been established for both herring spawning stocks of the west coast of Newfoundland using results from an analytical assessment (Sequential Population Analysis, SPA) conducted in the late 1990s. The Lower Reference Point (LRP) was set at a level of 20% of the largest spawning biomass in the entire time series back to 1965. The Upper Reference Point (URP) was set at the level which produced the biggest year-class in the time series back to 1970. The reference points for each stock component are listed in Table 2.

At the last assessment in 2016, a SPA using data from the commercial fishery was tuned with the abundance indices from the 11 acoustic surveys from 1991 to 2015. For spring spawners, the SPA confirms the spring-spawning stock’s strong decline and indicates that its spawning biomass is below the LRP [Figure 8A]. For fall spawners, both the SPA and the 2015 acoustic index agree that the current spawning biomass is above the URP [Figure 8B].

Table 2: References points for Atlantic herring stocks of the west coast of Newfoundland based on results from the analytical assessment (Sequential Population Analysis) conducted in the late 1990s.

 
Stock Reference Points Spring Fall
Lower Reference Point 37,834 tonnes 47,953 tonnes
Upper Reference Point 57,468 tonnes 61,074 tonnes
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Figure 8: Spawning stock biomass based on results from the analytical assessment
(Sequential Population Analysis) conducted in 2016 for spring (A) and fall-spawning (B)
herring of the west coast of Newfoundland. Horizontal dashed lines
indicate upper reference points. Horizontal dotted lines indicate lower reference points.

The application of a harvest strategy framework for a fishery also requires calculation of limit exploitation rates. These exploitation rates for the spring-spawning and fall-spawning herring of the west coast of Newfoundland were estimated from the results of the analytical assessment conducted in 2010.

For the spring-spawning herring, limit exploitation rates were estimated at 0.03 (Fmed) and 0.16 (F0.1) [Figure 9A], in comparison to 0.19 (Fhigh) and 0.22 (F0.1) for the fall-spawning herring [Figure 9B]

These harvest strategy frameworks are characterized by narrow cautious zones. It is suggested that the upper reference points be redefined so that they are higher than the current values, mearning decreases in abundance could be spotted more rapidly. In addition, corrective management measures could be applied to reduce the risk of these stocks ending up in the critical zone.

The proposed reduction in exploitation rates for the buffer zone is proportional. Other types of reduction, in stages for instance, could be discussed with industry if needed.

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Figure 9: Harvest strategy framework for the spring-spawning (A) and fall-spawning (B) herring of the west coast of Newfoundland. Limit and upper reference points and exploitation limit rates are indicated.

2.7 Research

A primary goal of the DFO Science branch is to provide high quality knowledge, products and scientific advice on Canadian aquatic ecosystems and living resources, with a vision of safe, healthy, productive waters and aquatic ecosystems. DFO conducts research activities both independently and in collaboration with other organizations.

The 4R purse seine herring fishery received Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification in 2017. Research continues to be undertaken to achieve the objectives consistent with MSC’s principle 1 (stock sustainability) and principle 2 (habitat and ecosystem maintenance).

Section 2.7.1 includes lists of ongoing and future research activities. These should be considered as provisional and may be subject to change.

2.7.1 Stock Sustainability

Ongoing Research Objectives

Discussion: Exploratory models were built with the aim of describing potential effects of environmental variations on the condition and weight-at-age of 4R herring from 1990 to 2012. Results suggest that changes in physical environmental conditions and zooplankton dynamics explain most of the variability in body condition and weight-at-age of the spring and fall stocks (e.g. predicting the low weight-at-age observed over the last few years).

The analyses also suggest that recruitment of the spring and fall stocks from 1990 to 2003 was mainly affected by environmental conditions rather than by variations in spawning stock biomass [Figure 10]. Predictions made with these models for the period 2004 to 2012 suggest that recruitment of these two stocks have decreased during the mid-2000s.

Overall, these models suggest that changes in environmental conditions could have affected the productivity of the two 4R herring stocks. Further efforts will therefore be made to incorporate environmental conditions in the stock assessment models to potentially improve their fit to recent observations and increase their reliability.

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Figure 10:  Environmental models performance of the spring (A) and fall-spawning (B) herring recruitment of the west coast of Newfoundland. White circles indicate observations based on a Sequential Population Analysis. Red indicates predictions based on the effect of spawning stock biomass alone. Blue indicates predictions based on the effect of environmental variations from 1990 to 2003. Dotted lines indicate uncertainty (2* standard deviation) around predicted values. Grey areas indicate periods without a Sequential Population Analysis.

Future Research Objectives

Discussion: Because of a significant retrospective pattern in the VPA results from the 2016 analytical assessment, the absolute spawning biomasses remain uncertain and use of the VPA was not recommended for the calculation of new reference points. It is hoped that the 2017 acoustic survey will help to fit the VPA and provide a more reliable analytical assessment in order to redefine the reference points for both spawning stocks. If not, a new model will be developed (e.g. statistical catch-at-age). Final model configurations should provide statistically robust estimates of past and current fishing mortality rates, spawning stock biomass and recruitment of the stock which can then be compared to appropriate biological reference points for stock status determination.

2.7.2 Habitat and Ecosystem Maintenance

Ongoing Research Objectives

Discussion: This study describes the occupied bio-envelope of herring in the Gulf of St. Lawrence using habitat models that consider the potential effects of both abiotic (temperature, bathymetry) and biotic factors such as zooplankton biomass and large piscivorous predatory fishes (e.g. cod and halibut). This project uses DFO historical bottom-trawl data collected in eastern Canada to assess the effect of predator occurrence, but also a subset of years (2012 to present) during which zooplankton and multi-frequency acoustic data were collected during bottom-trawl surveys conducted in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The outcome of this project is the description of historical and current bio-envelope of herring based on temperature and bathymetry preferences while accounting for prey availability and predator presence. This ecosystem-based bio-envelope can then be used to predict the vulnerability of pelagic fish to future conditions.

Future Research Objectives

Discussion: These future research objectives should provide the information necessary to investigate the role of herring in the Gulf of St. Lawrence ecosystem and assess the importance of herring as forage relative to other forage species in the region.

3.0 ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL IMPORTANCE OF THE FISHERY

3.1 Socio-economic Profile

The Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for 4R3Pn herring has been set at 20,000 tonnes since 2007 and is shared between the fixed and mobile gear fleets at 35% and 65% respectively.

With the exception of a few years, 4R3Pn herring landings have typically surpassed 90% of the available allocation and peaked in 2008 at approximately 20,751 tonnes. In 2017, landings declined to the lowest level observed in the time period to about 15,000 tonnes (preliminary).

Purse seiners generally land in excess of 75% of total annual herring landings. In fact, they accounted for about 84% of total 4R3Pn herring landings in 2017 (preliminary).

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Figure 11: 4R3Pn herring landings (Thousand Tonnes) and Value (‘000s) 2007-2017
Source: Policy and Economics Division, DFO NL Region. (Data is preliminary and subject to revision)

In 2016, herring accounted for about 27% of the total landed value of all species harvested by <35’ active herring enterprises in 4R3Pn. Lobster was the next most significant contributor in these areas at 26%, followed by Atlantic halibut and cod at 16% each respectively.

In 2016, herring accounted for about 25% of the total landed value of all species harvested for the 35’ to 64’11’’ fleet of active herring enterprises. Capelin was the next most significant contributors at 23%, followed by mackerel at 11%, and other shellfish at 34% (crab, lobster, and shrimp).

According to the provincial Department of Fisheries and Land Resources, in 2016, there were 36 facilities licenced to process herring in Newfoundland and Labrador, of which 24 actually processed herring (includes 2J3KLPs and 4R3Pn). Total herring production for these facilities was 16,093 tonnes.

3.2 Viability and Market Trends

Over the time period 2007 to 2017, the landed value of 4R3Pn herring varied considerably from a low of just over $3 million to the peak of $6.4 million in 2012. The average landed price per pound ranged from $0.08 in 2008 to a high of $0.15 in 2012, when the landed value in the Newfoundland and Labrador region was highest at $6.4 million. In 2017, the average landed price was about $0.14 per pound (preliminary).

According to Statistics Canada, total Newfoundland and Labrador herring exports in 2016 were approximately 6,683 tonnes with a value of $14.9 million. The United States was the largest export destination for Newfoundland and Labrador herring products, importing about 5,200 tonnes with an export value of approximately $12 million. Other significant export destinations included Poland ($1.9M), Ukraine ($360K) and Japan ($250K).

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Figure 12: 4R3Pn herring price per pound 2007-2017 Source: Policy and Economics Division, DFO NL Region. (Data is preliminary and subject to revision)

4.0 MANAGEMENT ISSUES

4.1 Interaction with Atlantic Salmon

The interaction of Atlantic salmon and the herring fishery has been discussed with industry at herring advisory meetings. Measures have been taken in the commercial herring fishery to mitigate the by-catch of Atlantic salmon and to protect their migration.

4.2 Protection of Spawner Component/Mixing

The bottom of Bay St. George has been identified as a major spawning area for spring spawning herring. In order to protect the spawning ground, a portion of the bottom of Bay St. George remains closed to fishing for all gear types.

4.3 Lobster Habitat

Purse seine vessels fishing in water depths less than 15 fathoms may cause a disturbance of lobster habitat in the Bay of Islands.

4.4 Herring Bait Allocations

Herring used for bait purposes in other fisheries is a component of the TAC that must be accounted for, however, currently there is no separate allocation established within each stock area. In response, DFO has made it mandatory as of 2017 that all bait harvesters are required to complete a logbook. The information from the logbooks will be analyzed by Science and considered as a part of the overall catch in the 4R herring population.

4.5 Barging

On occasion fish harvesters were known to undertake the practice of “barging” in pelagic fisheries. The practice of barging involves one vessel actively fishing and supplying one or more inactive participants with catch. The inactive participants were not geared up to actively participate in fishing operations. This practice is not permitted.

4.6 Aquaculture Feed

Herring has been identified as a possible feed source for the aquaculture industry. Herring for this purpose must be sourced through existing commercial licence holders within existing quotas. In the event of an increased demand for herring in aquaculture and cod-grow out projects, measures may have to be considered to ensure all landings for such projects are reflected in the commercial landing statistics.

4.7 Oceans Initiatives in Marine Conservation

The Government of Canada has achieved its target of protecting 5% of Canada’s marine and coastal areas by the end of 2017 and remains committed to protecting 10% by 2020. The 2020 target is both a domestic target (Canada’s Biodiversity Target 1) and an international target as reflected in the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Aichi Target 11 and the United Nations General Assembly’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development under Goal 14. The 2017 and 2020 targets are collectively referred to as Canada’s Marine Conservation Targets (MCT). More information on the background and drivers for Canada’s Marine Conservation Targets.

To meet these targets, 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 in the Marine Protected Areas, Areas of Interest and Other Measures section. Some existing Fisheries Act closures have met the criteria for “other measures”.

In the case of the 4R herring fishery, the Bay of Islands salmon migration closure contributes to Canada’s Marine Conservation Targets. More information on the closure is available in the Bay of Islands Salmon Migration Closure section.

In recognition of the need to sustainably manage Canada’s fisheries and oceans using an ecosystem approach with a focus on conserving biodiversity, DFO is leading initiatives in marine conservation planning in the Newfoundland and Labrador Region. A network of Marine Protected Areas (Oceans Act MPAs and other protected areas) and Other Measures (i.e. Fisheries Act closures) is currently being developed in the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence (EGSL) Bioregions.

The Newfoundland and Labrador Shelves Bioregion covers approximately one million km2, extending from Cape Chidley at the northern tip of Labrador to the southern Grand Banks and the south coast of Newfoundland. The EGSL Bioregion covers 231,193 km2, bounded to the east by a jagged line that stretches from approximately Bay St. Lawrence, Nova Scotia to Port-aux-Basques, Newfoundland and Labrador, and to the north by a line drawn south of Henley Harbour, Newfoundland and Labrador to approximately Raleigh, Newfoundland and Labrador, and along Quebec’s southern coast to the west.

The EGSL includes NAFO 4RST and involves three DFO regions:

Ecologically and Biologically Significant Areas (EBSAs) which have been identified within the two Bioregions will play an important role in the MPA Network. [See Figure 13]

The primary goal of a MPA Network is to provide long-term protection of marine biodiversity, ecosystem function and special natural features. Herring are included in the Conservation Priorities for the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence MPA Network.

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Figure 13: Map of Newfoundland and Labrador and Gulf of St. Lawrence Bioregion

4.8 Habitat Considerations

DFO seeks to conserve and protect fish habitat that supports Canada’s fisheries resource through application of the fisheries protection provisions of the Fisheries Act. A key provision of the Fisheries Act is subsection 35 which prohibits the carrying on of a work, undertaking or activity that results in serious harm to fish that are part of or support a commercial, recreational or Aboriginal fishery without an authorization from the Minister.

The Fisheries Protection Program provides advice to proponents to enable them to proactively avoid and mitigate the effects of projects on fish and fish habitat, undertakes the review of proposed works, undertakings and activities that may affect fish and fish habitat, and ensures compliance with the Fisheries Act and the Species at Risk Act by issuing authorizations and permits, when appropriate, with conditions for offsetting, monitoring, and reporting.

4.9 Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS)

Green crab have been found in coastal areas of 4R, particularly near Bonne Bay and in Bay St. George, as far north as Port Saunders.

In NAFO division 4R some invasive tunicates have been located. The membranipora membranacea (coffin box bryozoan) has the most significant impact as it invades kelp beds and breaks off the blades of seaweed, therefore reducing and impacting commercial fish nurseries using this habitat.

In NAFO divisions 3P, 3L and 4R some invasive tunicates have been detected in coastal areas, with invasive populations of concern located in Burin, Little Bay and Marystown (vase tunicate) and Belleoram harbours (violet tunicate).

Best practices to prevent the introduction and spread of AIS include:

More information and maps of aquatic invasive species in Newfoundland and Labrador can be found in the Identify an Aquatic Invasive Species section.

4.10 Gear Impacts

Modified bar seines, or tuck seines as they are commonly referred to, are bar seines fitted with rings that allow the bottom and sides of the seine to be brought or hauled together. The use of these seines have been authorized in the fixed gear herring, capelin and mackerel fisheries in 2+3 and 4R3Pn in recent years, following consultations with appropriate advisories.

The maximum tuck seine length allowed in the herring fishery is 80 fathoms; however, after August 1, 120 fathom nets may be used. Fixed gear herring fish harvesters in 4R are authorized to use modified bar seines by way of licence conditions.

Purse seine (large and small), tuck seine, gillnet and trap gear used in the 4R3Pn herring fishery are not considered to have high impact on the ecosystem. By-catch of Atlantic salmon is the main conservation concern in this fishery. Although some seine nets do touch the bottom from time to time, the impact on benthic species and habitats is minimal.

4.11 Catch Monitoring

Return of logbooks and catch reporting are mandatory in this fishery. These are important tools for the overall management of the fishery, including quota monitoring and the Science assessment process. Failure to return logbooks may impact in-season quota monitoring.

4.12 International Issues

The 4R mobile gear herring fishery received Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification in 2017. The certification encompasses the mobile gear fleet composed of six large (>65 feet) and 14 small (<65 feet) purse seine vessels. The fixed gear component of the 4R herring fishery is not included in the certification.

DFO is working closely with the fishery client to ensure conditions for MSC certification are met in accordance with audits prepared by the certifier (Acoura Marine Ltd).

The United States (US) is implementing the import provisions of the Marine Mammal Protection Act following court direction. The import rule requires countries exporting fish and fish products to the US to demonstrate that they have regulatory measures in place that are comparable in effectiveness to those of the US for reducing marine mammal incidental mortality and serious injury in commercial fisheries. Countries who fail to obtain such comparability measures to the US for their export fisheries by January 1, 2022, will be prohibited from entering the US market.

Canada is working towards demonstrating appropriate measures are in place in all Canadian fisheries.

5.0 OBJECTIVES

DFO strives to manage the 4R herring fishery based on the principles of stock conservation, sustainable harvest, and ecosystem health and sustainability. Using the following short and long-term objectives as guideposts, various management measures (outlined in section 7.0) have been implemented, or are being developed that will maximize the benefit of this resource.

5.1 Stock Conservation and Sustainable Harvest

Conservation and the long-term sustainability of the 4R herring stock is one of DFO's most important objectives. It is vital that the stock grow and provide benefits for all stakeholders in the short and long-term. Fisheries managers will work with all stakeholders to ensure that this objective is achieved and that the 4R herring stock supports an economically viable and self-reliant fishery.

Short-term objectives

Long-term objectives

5.2 Ecosystem Health and Sustainability

Ecosystem health is essential for effective fisheries management. The sustainability of herring as a species within the food web as both a prey species and a predator will strengthen the long-term health of the ecosystem.

Short-term objectives

Long-term objectives

5.3 Stewardship

The shared stewardship management objective recognizes that industry participants and all stakeholders must become involved in fisheries management policy development and the decision-making process. It also recognizes that achievement of the conservation objective requires that governments, resource users and other stakeholders share responsibility for the implementation of fisheries management decisions and for their outcomes.

6.0 ACCESS AND ALLOCATION

At this time, access is considered to be limited and allocations are considered to be stable. However 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.

6.1 Sharing Arrangements

Commercial quotas are allocated by fleet, gear type and area, taking into consideration bait requirements in other fisheries and fleet shares established through the advisory committee process. Under the current sharing arrangements 55% of the TAC is allocated to the large seiner fleet with 45% allocated to the inshore fleet.

Sharing arrangements for the fixed gear herring fishery in Areas 13 and 14 accepted by DFO in 2009 remain in place. The recommended sharing formula of 65-35% in favour of Area 14 was based on several historical factors, including:

6.2 Quotas and Allocations

Large seiners have Individual Transferable Quotas (ITQ); small seiners have Individual Quotas (IQ); and the fixed gear fishery is competitive within area quotas.

The Quota Reconciliation Policy will apply to the 4R herring fishery. Overruns in the competitive fishery TAC will be reconciled each year, with the overrun removed at the start. IQ fishery overruns will be reconciled on a pound–for-pound basis. A review process will be established to verify catches before reconciliation is applied. This review process will occur within 30-60 days after the end of the season.

Current commercial quotas by fleet, area and gear type are outlined in [Appendix 5].

6.3 Communal Commercial Fisheries

Fisheries and Oceans Canada supports the participation of adjacent Indigenous organizations in commercial fisheries. The Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy Program (AFS) is designed to encourage Indigenous involvement in commercial fisheries and related economic opportunities. The Allocation Transfer Program (ATP) component of the AFS has been the primary instrument used to voluntarily retire licences from commercial harvesters and subsequently reissue them to Indigenous organizations on a communal basis.

A subsequent program, Aboriginal Aquatic Resource and Oceans Management (AAROM) Program, was designed for Indigenous groups to collaboratively develop capacity and expertise to facilitate their participation in aquatic resource and oceans management.

Fishing licences issued to Indigenous organizations are done so under the authority of the Aboriginal Communal Fishing Licenses Regulations.

The Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band and the AAROM body Mi’kmaq Alsumk Mowimsikik Koqoey Association (MAMKA) are issued 4R communal commercial herring licenses and participate in the herring fishery.

7.0 MANAGEMENT MEASURES FOR THE DURATION OF THE PLAN

7.1 Herring Total Allowable Catch (TAC)

The TAC for 2016-2017 was 20,000 tonnes which took into consideration the latest Science information for 4R herring and consultations with industry. The TAC is allocated on the basis of a 55-45% split between the large seiners and the inshore sector. A new management plan will be developed for the 2018-19 season.

Should the New Brunswick-based large seiners fish in NAFO division 4R during the period of the management plan, such operations will proceed according to the following industry pre-determined quota sharing arrangement: Gulf of St. Lawrence Large Herring Purse Seiners – Management Measures.

Management measures for the Gulf large herring seiners first introduced in 1983 remain valid in today’s fishery. The plan dealt with the issues of fleet reduction and access to quotas. These provisions and subsequent updates continue to be observed.

7.2 Fishing Seasons/Areas

DFO’s primary objective is to ensure that the majority of fish harvesters are provided an opportunity to earn a living and benefit from their adjacent fishing resources.

There are a number of factors DFO takes into consideration when establishing the season for the 4R3Pn herring fishery, including:

Season dates are regularly discussed in detail as part of the industry consultation process and recommendations are noted on all management measures during the advisory meeting. In the case of herring, season dates are established according to bay or fishing area, and input from local fish harvesters is a key consideration.

Where it is challenging to reach a consensus in specific areas, further discussions with industry and fleet representatives may be required. For example, in a situation where many fish harvesters hold multi-species fishing enterprises and wish to maximize revenues and benefits from each commercial fishery, DFO may be required to conduct a survey of all eligible licence holders in consultation with fleet representatives to ensure a fair and transparent approach is undertaken.

The >65’ seiner fleet normally begins fishing in early April to mid-May and continues through to mid December. The <65’ seiner fleet normally commences fishing mid-May and continues until the end of the year.

In Herring Fishing Area 14, the fixed gear fishery begins in early May and continues to mid-October. The fixed gear fishery in Herring Fishing Area 12 and 13 normally begins in early June and continues until mid to late October.

The bait net fishery commences in March and closes by November 30 or when the fishery requiring the bait is closed. 

Fishery openings and closings will be communicated through DFO’s Notice to Fish Harvesters system. Fishery openings may be delayed due to weather conditions. These decisions will be made in consultation with industry and openings will occur at 0600 hours whenever possible. Opening and closing dates for specific areas and gear types are determined by DFO area staff in consultation with industry.

7.3 Control and Monitoring of Removals

The commercial catch for all gear types inside the 50-fathom contour in St. George's Bay and Port au Port Bay (Herring Fishing Area 13) prior to July 1, will be restricted to a maximum of 2,000 tonnes distributed competitively among gear types. This is intended to reduce the exploitation level on spring spawners in southern 4R, and allow this stock component to continue rebuilding.

Purse seine vessels will be permitted to fish outside the 50-fathom contour in the remainder of herring Fishing Area 13 prior to July 1, provided the catch is comprised mainly of fall spawners. This measure will be reviewed on an annual basis, taking into consideration the latest information from Science on spring spawners.

All mobile gear herring licence holders must, as a condition of licence, adhere to the requirements of a DFO approved industry-funded Dockside Monitoring Program.

All herring licence holders operating vessels 35 feet length overall or greater must, as a condition of licence, provide a detailed logbook record of catch and fishing activity, and will be intermittently required to carry an industry funded at-sea observer at DFO’s request.

All fixed gear licence holders in Herring Fishing Area 14 who actively pursue the commercial fishery are required to complete an information return (logbook). As of 2017, bait fish harvesters in 4R3Pn are required to complete a bait logbook. Bait logbooks are available from DFO through the National Online Licensing System (NOLS) and must be returned at the end of the fishing season.

7.4 Decision Rules

The measures outlined in the IFMP, combined with responsible fishing practices, should ensure that the conservation goals are met. However, if the fishery is not conducted in an orderly manner, DFO may implement additional management measures or controls in these fisheries.

7.5 Sharing

In order to prosecute an orderly harvest and prevent unfair competition, licence conditions provide a definition of “geared up” and the requirements to “share” excess catch by both receiving and providing vessels. To be considered geared up when fishing purse seine, bar seine or modified bar seine, a vessel must be equipped with a purse seine, bar seine or modified bar seine, an operational power block and a tow off vessel.

In order to share excess fish, a harvester must be fully loaded and then share excess catch with a vessel in the same fleet sector that is “geared up”. In order to receive excess fish, a harvester must be fully geared up and receive catch from a vessel in the same fleet sector.

7.6 Species at Risk Act (SARA) Requirements

In accordance with the recovery strategies for the northern wolffish (anarchichas denticulatus), spotted wolffish (anarchichas minor), and leatherback turtle (dermochelys coriacea), the licence holder is permitted to carry out commercial fishing activities authorized under the Fisheries Act that may incidentally kill, harm, harass, capture or take the northern wolffish and/or spotted wolffish as per subsection 83(4) of the Species at Risk Act, and the license holder is permitted to carry out commercial fishing activities authorized under the Fisheries Act that are known to incidentally capture leatherback sea turtles.

Licence holders are required to return northern wolffish, spotted wolffish or leatherback sea turtle to the place from which it was taken, and where it is alive, in a manner that causes the least harm.

Licence holders are required to report in their logbook any interaction with northern wolffish, spotted wolffish or leatherback sea turtles.

7.7 Licensing

The Newfoundland and Labrador herring fishery is governed by the Fisheries Act and regulations and departmental policies made pursuant to the Act. Applicable regulations and policies include, but are not limited to:

The Fisheries Licensing Policy provides details on the various licensing policies that govern the commercial fishing industry in Newfoundland and Labrador region, including species-specific policies applicable to the herring fishery.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) Resource Management should be consulted for all purposes of interpreting and applying this document.

7.8 Atlantic Salmon Mitigation Measures

Monofilament netting material has been banned from use in herring trap leaders since 1996, and the use of trap net leaders with a mesh size between three and 5/8 (92 mm) and seven inches (177.8 mm) has been prohibited since 1998. Additionally, the use of trap net leaders with a mesh size between two and seven inches has not been permitted since 2007.

Measures have also been taken in the herring bait fishery to mitigate Atlantic salmon by-catch. As of 2016, bait nets must be set parallel to the shore and no part of the bait net can be within 120 feet (20 fathoms) of any shoreline at the low water spring tide mark. Bait nets must also be set with the head ropes not less than one fathom below the surface. Beginning in 2017, harvesters are required to complete a logbook for bait.

In addition to specific gear modifications, closed areas and times have been implemented in the commercial and bait herring fisheries for the protection of migrating Atlantic salmon stocks.

Since 1981, a large portion of the Bay of Islands has been closed to all pelagic fixed gear (including herring) to protect migrating salmon [see Figure 14]. Specifically, no fishing with fixed gear is permitted in the inner portion of the Bay of Islands (North Arm, Humber Arm, York Harbour and Lark Harbour), inside a straight line from Crabb Point to North Arm Point to Middle Arm Point to Peter Point, Woods Island to Shoal Point to Fleming Point.

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Figure 14: Map of Fixed Gear Closures – Bay of Islands, NL. While the provisions of the Atlantic Fishery Regulations,1985, state that Herring Fishing Areas 12 to 14 are closed to the fixed gear herring fishing from June 15 to July 31 to protect migrating Atlantic salmon, some allowances have been made in Area 14 (Cape St. Gregory, north to Cape Bauld and including southern Labrador).

In the 1990s, industry lobbied DFO to be permitted to fish during the closed period in Herring Fishing Area 14, as the closure prevented fish harvesters from accessing herring when they were abundant in the area. As a compromise, DFO agreed to open this area during the closed period, but only in certain areas. Consequently, fishing is permitted in Herring Fishing Area 14 from June 15 to August 1; however, the areas around the mouths of the following salmon rivers remain closed. Specifically :

In 2008, this concept of limited opening was expanded to include a portion of herring Fishing Area 13 from a line drawn due west of Cape Ray, north to a line drawn due west of Cape St. George. This area remains closed from June 15 to August 1, and that portion from Cape St. George to Cape St. Gregory remains open with the exception of the following:

No fishing with herring fixed gear is permitted in the inner portion of the Bay of Islands (North Arm, Humber Arm, York Harbour and Lark Harbour), inside a straight line from Crabb Point to North Arm Point to Middle Arm Point to Peter Point, Woods Island to Shoal Point to Fleming Point.

In Area 12, the following areas are closed to fishing herring for bait purposes for the protection of Atlantic salmon:

7.9 Protection of Spawner Component Mixing

In order to protect the spawning ground for the spring spawning component, a portion of the bottom of Bay St. George identified as being a major spawning area remains closed to fishing for all gear types. This area is defined as follows:

In 2006, an additional level of protection was implemented which required 100% observer coverage or employing a vessel monitoring system (VMS) operation at all times when fishing in the area inside Bay St. George and Port au Port Bay while fishing purse seine and modified bar seine fleets (tuck seine). Purse seine and tuck seine vessels only require 100% at-sea observer coverage when they fish both inside and outside Bay St. George and Port au Port Bay.

The closure measures in Bay St. George are based on historical conservation measures that have been implemented since the mid-1990s. In 1997 and 1998, there was a limited re-opening of Bay St. George and Port au Port Bay, following a two-year closure that was implemented as a conservation measure to rebuild the spring spawner component of the stock. However, in 1999 the stock status report indicated that there should be no directed fishery on concentrations of spring spawners due to the low level of the stock spawning biomass. As a result, Bay St George and Port au Port Bay, inside the 50 fathom contour, were closed to all commercial fishing until July 1. This measure was maintained in 2000.

In 2001, based on a more positive outlook for spring spawners, and as a means of providing additional data and samples for Science, a limited fishery (1,000 tonnes) was authorized prior to July 1 in both Bays. For the purposes of licence conditions, Bay St. George was defined as being inside the 50-fathom contour from a line drawn from Cape Ray to Cape St. George, and Port au Port Bay was defined as being inside of a line drawn from Long Point to Bluff Head.

In 2002, the catch limit within the Bays prior to July 1 was increased to 2,000 tonnes based on continued improvement in the spring spawner component of the stock.

In 2004, because catches in the more northern area were primarily fall spawners, the northern boundary for the protected area was moved south to be redefined by a line drawn from Broad Cove to Long Point and due west from that location. At the same time, with improvement in the spring spawners, the year-round closure in the bottom of Bay St. George reverted to a spring closure with an opening date no earlier than July 1.

Provisions have also been implemented in instances where the herring and mackerel fisheries become mixed. Namely, there are six (6) small purse seiners on the west coast of Newfoundland that have mackerel licences but do not have herring licences. These licence holders may retain 10% herring when directing for mackerel.

As a final measure, Section 109.1 of the Fishery (General) Regulations states: “No person shall fish with a vessel more than 12m in overall length in the waters along the Lower North shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence that are inside or shoreward of a line drawn from the shore through a point at Latitude 51°24’46” North and Longitude 57°06’07” West to a point at Latitude 51°22’ North and Longitude 57°05’49” West; THENCE, to a point at Latitude 51°21’20” North and Longitude 57°11’56” West; and THENCE, through a point at Latitude 51°28’20” North and Longitude 57°22’38” West to the shore.”

7.10 Mobile Gear Restrictions

Since 2010, mobile gear restrictions have been in place to avoid disturbance to lobster habitat. Purse seine vessels are restricted from fishing in water depths less than 15 fathoms in that portion of the Bay of Islands, identified as follows:

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Figure 15. Map of purse seine closures to protect lobster habitat, Bay of Islands, Newfoundland and Labrador.

7.11 Dockside Monitoring Program

The requirement for all licence holders to have all herring catches monitored at dockside (with the exception of herring caught for personal use) will continue. The cost for this monitoring is the responsibility of the fishing industry.

It is the responsibility of licence holders to ensure their catch is monitored by a DFO certified dockside monitoring company. Specific procedures for the monitoring of catch weights at dockside have been developed through consultation with industry and Dockside Monitoring Program (DMP) companies. DFO’s accepted method of verification of landings at dockside is a direct weight-out using certified weight scales.

In 2007, an initial water deduction of 3.5% for herring was adopted following negotiations with industry, and further narrowed down to 1% in 2008 based on additional testing. DFO will continue to recognize 1% as the accepted water tolerance for weighing of herring.

7.12 Logbooks

Completion of a logbook is mandatory under Section 61 of the Fisheries Act. Fish harvesters are required to record information about fishing catch and effort, and submit this data as specified in the conditions of licence. Fish harvesters are responsible for obtaining their own logbooks. Information that should be in your logbook includes:

Include information on anything else you think may be useful to you or DFO. Note that marine mammal mitigation measures are now mandatory and you must report all interactions. Failure to submit a logbook may result in enforcement action.

8.0 SHARED STEWARDSHIP ARRANGEMENTS

There are no formal shared stewardship arrangements in the 4R3Pn herring fishery. However as noted throughout the IFMP, DFO officials work closely with the harvesting and processing sectors in all aspects of fisheries management, Science, and Conservation and Protection.

The 4R3Pn herring co-management advisory committee was established to provide industry with a formal and direct mechanism for input into the management of the fishery. This committee is now the principle advisory body for the management of 4R3Pn herring within Newfoundland and Labrador region [see section 1.6]

8.1 Oceans Management Initiatives Promoting Shared Stewardship

DFO is leading initiatives in integrated oceans management, including MPA network planning within the Newfoundland and Labrador Shelves and Estuary, and Gulf of St. Lawrence Bioregions. This provides a collaborative governance model founded on principles of shared responsibility. As a result, stewardship is promoted by providing a forum for consultation with stakeholders who want to be engaged in marine resource or activity management decisions that affect them.

Aligning integrated oceans management with fisheries management plans will support evidence based resource use and fisheries management decisions. These decisions will be made with input from multiple interests, including commercial fisheries and other stakeholder groups.

8.2 Working Arrangements: Existing Agreements

The DFO-World Wildlife Fund Canada Collaborative Agreement brings together both parties to work toward a common goal: the conservation, protection, and sustainable development of Canada’s oceans as mandated by the Oceans Act. It is agreed that DFO and WWF Canada will work jointly to promote long-term and sustainable use of ocean resources.

9.0 COMPLIANCE PLAN

9.1 Conservation and Protection Program Description

The deployment of Conservation and Protection (C&P) resources in the 4R3Pn herring fishery is conducted in accordance with management plan objectives, as well as in response to emerging issues. The mix of enforcement options available and overriding conservation objectives determine the level and type of enforcement activity.

Work plans at the regional, area and detachment level are designed to establish priorities based on management objectives and conservation concerns. The monitoring and evaluation elements of enforcement work plans facilitate in-season adjustments should conservation concerns and/or significant occurrences of non-compliance emerge.

9.2 Compliance Performance

The Conservation and Protection (C&P) program promotes and maintains compliance with legislation, regulations and management measures. This program is delivered through a balanced regulatory management and enforcement approach. Specifically:

Pillar 1: Education and Shared Stewardship

Conservation and Protection officers actively participate in consultation processes with the fishing industry and Indigenous groups to address compliance issues. Informal meetings with stakeholders also occur on an ad-hoc basis to resolve in-season matters, in addition to regular interaction with fish harvesters. The consultative process may include C&P membership on area integrated management planning committees, which are composed of fish harvesters, representatives from the provincial and federal governments, and other community groups with an interest in fishery conservation issues.

Fishery officers also visit local schools and educational institutions to present and discuss fisheries conservation issues and use this information as part of the C&P planning process.

Pillar 2: Monitoring, Control and Surveillance

Compliance Monitoring

C&P promotes compliance with management measures governing the 4R3Pn herring fishery through:

Patrols by vehicle, vessel and fixed wing aircraft are conducted in accordance with operational plans which are developed based on available intelligence.

Each C&P detachment ensures that monitoring and inspections of fish landing activity are carried out on a routine basis. Where a vessel is selected for comprehensive inspection, C&P ensures that catch composition, weight verification and size variation sampling is conducted. C&P also ensures that surveillance flights are conducted on a routine basis.

The VMS system provides real-time data on the location of vessels within portions of this fleet. C&P uses this resource to help determine where the enterprise is fishing, the port of destination and the estimated time of arrival to port. VMS data will also be relied upon for future analysis and comparisons of fishing activity.

At-sea observers are randomly deployed to observe, record and report aspects of the fishing activity. The resulting data is used to compare catch composition of vessels on observed trips vs. non-observed trips. C&P also reviews quota monitoring reports to ensure individual quotas are not exceeded.

C&P supplies best known available local information to the National Fisheries Intelligence service for processing and uses this intelligence to combat all types of illegal fishing activity.

In 2017, C&P's effort in Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) activities included approximately 1,300 hours of effort resulting in identifying 49 violations in the herring fisheries in Newfoundland and Labrador region. As part of its MCS activities, C&P also checked 361 pelagic commercial/bait nets and observed six unreported Atlantic salmon. [See Appendix 8]

Compliance Performance

DFO conducts post-season analysis sessions to review issues encountered during the previous season and to make recommendations on improving management measures. The initial sessions are conducted at the area level, followed by a regional session with other DFO sectors.

Pillar 3: Major Case

9.3 Current Compliance Issues

Compliance issues in this fishery include:

By-catch monitoring and the retention of undersized herring will be a primary focus of C&P efforts for the duration of this IFMP. In 2016 and 2017, DFO Newfoundland and Labrador region received reports indicating that certain fish harvesters were targeting other species such as Atlantic salmon, using bait nets and other fixed gear. License conditions have been implemented to help reduce these occurences by ensuring gear in sensitive areas is placed lower in the water column and runs parallel to the shoreline.

C&P will focus enforcement effort on:

9.4 Compliance Strategy

C&P has developed an operational plan that outlines monitoring and compliance activities that will be carried out by C&P personnel adjacent to the 4R3Pn herring management areas. This plan provides guidance for C&P, promotes effective monitoring of the fishery, and enables C&P personnel to effectively maintain compliance with management measures governing this fishery. The objective is to collect information for ensuring compliance and conducting investigations.

Sources of information used by C&P include:

Short-term Objectives

The following management issues will be monitored for compliance:

Long-term Objectives

10.0 PERFORMANCE REVIEW

A review of the short-term and long-term objectives during the two-year planning cycle is an integral part of assessing the performance of the fishery. During the regional assessment process on the status of the stock, DFO Science may consider the applicable objectives in providing its advice. For fisheries management, the advisory meeting with industry is a formal setting to review both short and long-term objectives. In addition to these formal reviews, DFO officials and industry representatives have an ongoing dialogue on the fishery on a year-round basis. These informal discussions provide opportunities to review objectives and identify issues for discussion at the biennial advisory meeting.

DFO NL Region completes an annual internal post-season review with participation from Resource Management, Conservation and Protection, and Science staff. Regional headquarters and Area-based staff participate in this process to identify local, area and regional fishery performance issues. DFO undertakes every effort to outline steps to address the issues, including assigning responsibility and setting timelines for completion. Those items not resolved during the post-season review are carried forward to the following year to be addressed.

The Performance Review outlines the activities and controls that are used in achieving fisheries management objectives. Table 3 identifies the specific strategies that are used to achieve Fisheries Management Objectives.

Table 3: Measurable Objectives/Activities and Fisheries Management Strategies
OBJECTIVES FISHERIES MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES
Conservation and Sustainable Harvest
To conserve the herring resource to provide commercial sustainability to fish harvesters
  • Fishing season
  • Total Allowable Catch
  • Quota monitoring
To mitigate the impacts on other species, habitat and the ecosystem where herring fishing occurs, protecting biodiversity and ecosystem structure and function
  • Mandatory reporting of lost gear
  • Prohibit the use of monofilament netting material
  • Species at Risk Act
To promote the development of sustainable fishing practices
  • Minimum size possession limit
  • 20% small herring (by count) per fishing trip when the taking of small herring is incidental to the capture of larger herring
  • Licence holder shall only fish in the area(s) and with the type and quantity of gear permitted
  • Mesh size restriction
  • Bar seine length
To employ effective monitoring and surveillance tools and mechanisms that ensure compliance with conservation measures and provide scientists with appropriate information and basic data required to manage the herring fishery
  • Accurate completion of logbooks
  •  Reliable dockside monitoring program
  • Adequate level of at-sea observer coverage, both spatial and temporal
  • Adherence to electronic Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) requirements
Benefits to Stakeholders
To promote the continued development of a
commercially viable and self-sustaining fishery
  • Aboriginal access and allocation formulas are maintained in the IFMP and opportunities for additional access are addressed through the Allocation Transfer Program
To provide fish harvesters with increased opportunity to develop long-term business stability
  • Stable Sharing Arrangement
  • Evergreen management plans
To promote a co-management approach, providing stakeholders with an effective sharing of responsibility, accountability and decision making, within the constraints of the Fisheries Act
  • Establish an effective consultative process for stakeholders to participate in the decision-making process
  • Organize and participate in annual advisory meetings
  • Improve management of fishery through co-management

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) measures the performance of the fisheries that it manages through the Sustainability Survey for Fisheries (SFF ). The survey is published every year and currently includes 170 fish stocks, with more added each year. The fish stocks were selected because of their economic or cultural importance; they represent the majority of total catch of fisheries managed by DFO.

The Sustainability Survey for Fisheries reports on the status of each fish stock and DFO’s progress to implement its Sustainable Fisheries Framework policies, a set of national policies to guide the sustainable management of Canada’s fisheries.

11.0  Glossary of Terms

Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge: knowledge that is held by and unique to Aboriginal peoples. It is a living body of knowledge that is cumulative and dynamic, and adapted over time to reflect changes in the social, economic, environmental, spiritual and political spheres of the Aboriginal knowledge holders. It often includes knowledge about the land and its resources, spiritual beliefs, language, mythology, culture, laws, customs and medicines.

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

Anadromous: a species such as Atlantic Salmon that spends most of its life at sea but returns to fresh water grounds to spawn in the river it comes from

Area/Subarea: an area defined by the Convention on Future Multilateral Cooperation in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries by NAFO, and as described in the Atlantic Fishery Regulations, 1985

Biomass: total weight of all individuals in a stock or a population

Bioregion: a biogeographic division of Canada's marine waters out to the edge of the Exclusive Economic Zone, and including the Great Lakes, based on attributes such as bathymetry, influence of freshwater inflows, distribution of multi-year ice, and species distribution. Canada’s marine protected areas network is being advanced in five priority marine bioregions: the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the Scotian Shelf, the Newfoundland-Labrador Shelves, the Western Arctic, and the Northern Shelf.

By-catch: the unintentional catch of one species when the target is another species

Catch per Unit Effort (CPUE): the amount caught for a given fishing effort, e.g. tonnes of shrimp per tow or kilograms of fish per hundred longline hooks

Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC):  committee of experts who assess and designate which wild species are in some danger of disappearing from Canada

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

Discards: portion of a catch thrown back into the water after it is caught in fishing gear

Dockside Monitoring Program (DMP): a monitoring program conducted by a company that has been designated by DFO to verify the species composition and landed weight of all fish landed from a commercial fishing vessel

Ecosystem-Based Management: taking into account species interactions and the interdependencies between species and their habitats when making resource management decisions

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:  a type of fishing gear that is set in a stationary position. This includes traps, weirs, gillnets, longlines, handlines, bar/beach seines and modified bar seines (known as tuck seines)

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 are anchored to the seabed

Groundfish: species of fish living near the bottom such as cod, haddock, halibut and flatfish

Handlining: fishing using a line with usually one baited hook and moving it up and down in a series of short movements; also called "jigging"

Landings: quantity of a species caught and landed

Longlining: using long lines with a series of baited hooks to catch fish

Maximum Sustainable Yield: largest average catch that can continuously be taken from a stock

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

Mobile Gear: any type of fishing gear that is drawn through the water by a vessel to entrap fish, including purse seines

Natural Mortality: mortality due to natural causes, represented by the mathematical symbol M

Observer Coverage:  carrying a certified observer onboard a fishing vessel for a specific period of time to verify the amount of fish caught, the area in which it was caught and the method by which it was caught

Otolith: structure of the inner ear of fish, made of calcium carbonate. Also called "ear bone" or "ear stone". Otoliths are examined to determine the age of fish as annual rings can be observed and counted. Daily increments are also visible on larval otoliths

Pelagic: fish that lives in the water column or close to the surface

Population: group of individuals of the same species, forming a breeding unit, and sharing a habitat

Precautionary Approach: set of agreed cost-effective measures and actions, including future courses of action, which ensures prudent foresight, reduces or avoids risk to the resource, the environment, and the people, to the extent possible, taking explicitly into account existing uncertainties and the potential consequences of being wrong

Purse Seine: large net used to encircle fish and equipped with a wire rope on the bottom to draw the net together. A small boat, called a "skiff", participates in manoeuvring the net.

Quota: portion of the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) that a fleet, vessel class, association, country, etc. is permitted to take from a stock in a given period of time

Recruitment: the number of individuals growing large enough to become part of the exploitable stock, e.g. 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 collect oceanographic data (e.g., bottom trawl survey, plankton survey, hydroacoustic survey, etc.)

Species at Risk Act (SARA):  a federal law enabling the Government to take action 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: a population of individuals of one species found in a particular area, and used as a unit for fisheries management, e.g. NAFO area 4R herring

Stock Assessment: scientific evaluation of the status of a fish 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

Traditional Ecological Knowledge: a cumulative body of knowledge and beliefs, handed down through generations by cultural transmission, about the relationship of living beings (including humans) with one another and with their environment

Tonne: metric tonne, 1000kg or 2204.6 lbs

Trawl: fishing gear: cone-shaped net towed in the water by a boat called a "trawler". Bottom trawls are towed along the ocean floor to catch species such as groundfish, while mid-water trawls are towed through the water column

Validation: the verification by an observer of the weight of fish landed

Vessel Size: length overall

Year-class: individuals of a same stock born in a particular year, also called "cohort"

Appendix 1: Stock Assessment Results

Science advice, proceedings and stocks assessments/scientific evaluations resulting from Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat (CSAS) meetings are available in the CSAS publications section. 

Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) research documents and associated reports are available on the NAFO website.

Appendix 2: Management Measures for the Duration of the Plan

This Integrated Fisheries Management Plan, combined with responsible fishing practices, should ensure that the conservation goals are met. However, if the fishery is not conducted in an orderly manner, DFO may implement additional management measures or controls in these fisheries.

Appendix 3: 4R Herring Co-Management Advisory Committee Terms of Reference

NAFO division 4R herring co-management advisory committee

Terms of Reference

1. Purpose

The purpose of the 4R herring co-management advisory committee [hereafter referred to as the advisory committee] is to provide advice and recommendations to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) on fisheries management issues and to develop an overall Integrated Fisheries Management Plan (IFMP) for the herring fishery in the western Newfoundland and southern Labrador portion of the Gulf of St. Lawrence (NAFO Division 4R).

The Advisory Committee will also consider management measures issues that pertain to NAFO sub-division 3Pn. Science assessments will be discussed in alignment with stock assessment reports, normally every two years.

2. Scope

The advisory committee will provide the opportunity for consultation between various parties with direct or indirect interest in the herring fisheries in 4R3Pn. The advisory committee provides advice on a multi-year IFMP which may include, but is not restricted to:

The advisory committee is consultative and brings to the table the diverse views of those stakeholders involved in the fishery.

Representatives of the various groups are encouraged to express and explain their rationale in support of their viewpoints, and share their concerns and views with the other representatives.

3. Membership

Committee membership is composed of various sector groups representing the harvesting sector and their representatives, the processing sector and their representatives, provincial government representatives from Newfoundland and Labrador and New Brunswick, and DFO personnel.

Requests for nomination of new members to the advisory committee will be reviewed at a duly called meeting. New memberships will only be considered for acceptance upon review and approval by the majority of the members present at the meeting.

The formal structure of this advisory committee is similar to that of other commercial fishery advisory committees in Atlantic Canada. Only official members of the advisory committee may sit at the advisory table; however other interested parties are not eliminated from attending meetings and can sit in on the process as observers.

To provide advice, each organization is allowed a maximum number of representatives. An evaluation of membership will be conducted by DFO upon request and in consultation with other advisory committee members. [See Appendix 4 for current Membership list]

Any changes to the representation of member organizations should be updated prior to any planned meeting.

4. Consultative Process

In response to industry requests, a 4R herring co-management advisory committee was formed to provide industry with a formal and direct mechanism for input into the management of the fishery.

The advisory committee is now the main advisory body for the management of the 4R herring fishery, within DFO Newfoundland and Labrador region.

The IFMP for 4R herring, including the setting of the Total Allowable Catch (TAC), is approved by the Regional Director General (RDG) of DFO Newfoundland and Labrador region. However, there may be management issues that require approval by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

In making decisions, the RDG will consider advice from various sources including the advisory committee.

The advisory committee is the main mechanism for consultation with the fishing industry in western Newfoundland and southern Labrador, Indigenous groups and the public, in developing recommendations on management measures and the TAC for the annual herring IFMP for NAFO division 4R.

In addition to the full body of the advisory committee, various sub-working groups can be activated with specific duties as needed.

The following are general principles of the consultative process:

Since the fishery is operating under an evergreen IFMP, the management measures will remain in effect until they are reviewed, changes are recommended, and approval granted.

5. Advisors

DFO Corner Brook area office resource management staff and DFO Newfoundland and Labrador region pelagic resource manager coordinate the activities of the advisory committee with the other chairpersons.

DFO Corner Brook area office is responsible for ensuring notices of meetings are sent to the membership and booking of meeting rooms. Other DFO resource personnel may be present at any meeting, either specifically at the request of the advisory committee or as part of their regular duties. These advisors may include staff from:

6. Meetings

Since the fishery is operating under a multi-year evergreen IFMP, a minimum of one meeting every 3 years will be held, normally following the release of the Science stock assessment report. The meeting agenda will be circulated a minimum of 7 business days in advance so that each member is prepared to speak on the issues.

The schedule of advisory meetings will match:

7. Minutes

Minutes of the meeting are the responsibility of DFO and will be distributed to members of the 4R committee upon request.

8. Observers

Observers are welcome at all times. However, only members of the advisory committee will sit at the table. If observers wish to speak, they must speak through their representative at the table. If an observer who is not affiliated with a member organization wishes to speak, he or she must make a request to the Chair prior to the start of the meeting.

9. News Media Coverage

The meeting is open to the public. Media must identify themselves to the advisory committee. Video or audio recording of the proceedings is not permitted.

Appendix 4: 2017 Membership of 4R Herring Co-Management Committee
Name Organization
Co-chairs:
Laurie Hawkins
Bill Barry
Jason Spingle
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO)     
Barry Group Inc:  Processing Sector and >65’ Harvesting Sector
FFAW: <65’ Harvesting Sector
Fish Harvester Representatives:
>65’ Large Purse Seine Fleet
Scott Anderson
Sam Anderson
Guy Gallant Jr.

4R large seiner (>65’)
4R large seiner (>65’)
4R large seiner (>65’)
<65’ Small Purse Seine Fleet
Willis Hickey
Will Cornick 

Southern area based - FFAW 4R small seiner (<65’)
Northern area based - FFAW 4R small seiner (<65’)
<65’ Fixed Gear Fleet
Loomis Way     
Allan Sheppard

Traditional gear - area 14 fixed gear
Tuck seine - area 13 fixed gear
Associations:
Joe Foulem
Jonathan Strickland
Produits Belle-Baie - 4T based seiner
Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation
Processor Representatives:
Jim Barry
Christopher Payne
Aaron George
Todd Young
Ken Fowler
Barry Seafoods Inc.
Harbor Seafoods Inc.
Allen's Fisheries Ltd.
3 T’s Limited
Labrador Fishermen’s Union Shrimp Company Limited
Provincial Government Representatives:
Bill Dennis
Annie Ferguson
Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Fisheries and Land Resources 
New Brunswick Department of Fish, Food & Aquaculture 
DFO Resource Personnel:
Kim Emond
Frank Breen
Erin Dunne
Pierre Mallet     
Brent Watkins
DFO Quebec Region – Science
DFO NL Region – Statistics
DFO NL Region – Resource Management
DFO Gulf Region – Resource Management
DFO NL Region – Conservation and Protection

Appendix 5: Allocation Table and Quota Report 2016-2017

Table 4: Allocations by Fleet, Gear Type1, and Area including sharing arrangements.
Fleet / Gear sector TAC Sharing arrangement %
Large seiners 11,000 55%
Small seiners 4,400 22%
Fixed gear (area shares) 4,600 23%
Area 13 -1,610 35% of fixed gear quota
Area 14 -2,990 65% of fixed gear quota
TOTAL 20,000 100%

Notes:

  1. 3Pn (Area 12) fixed gear herring is managed under the same management plan as 4R herring, applying the same management measures. Due to the little known status of the stock dynamics of herring in this area and historical low levels of landings, no TAC has been set.
  2. Fixed gear in Area 13 and 14 are managed on a seasonal cap system. Caps may be revised as the fishery progresses.
Table 5: 4R Herring Quota Reports for 2016-2017
*To ensure that private information cannot be extracted from fishery landings and catch information , DFO does not provide landings and catch information for a specific fishery when the fishery has fewer than five fishing enterprises, five fishing vessels or five buyers participating in a fishery. This measure protects the privacy and economic interests of participants in the fishery.
4R Herring Quota Reports for 2016-2017
    2016 2017
NAFO Quota Definition Quota Catch % Left Quota Catch % Left
4R 4R fixed gear 4,600 4,532 98 68 4,600 * * *
  4R purse seine <65’ 4,400 4,397 100 3 4,400 3,217 73 1,183
  4R purse seine >65’ 11,000 * * * 11,000 * * *
Total 4R   20,000 * * * 20,000 * * *

Appendix 6: 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 owners, masters and crew of fishing vessels will help save lives, protect the vessel from damage and protect the environment. All fishing vessels must be in a seaworthy condition and maintained as required by Transport Canada and other applicable agencies. Vessels subject to inspection should have a certificate of inspection valid for the area of intended operation.

In the federal government, responsibility for regulating shipping, navigation, and vessel safety lies with Transport Canada, while emergency response is the responsibility of the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG). DFO has responsibility for the management of fisheries resources, and in Newfoundland and Labrador, the provincial Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission (WHSCC) has jurisdiction over health and safety issues in the workplace.

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:

Useful publications include Transport Canada’s Small Fishing Vessel Safety Manual which can be obtained from TC or printed from their website.

Fishing vessel safety includes three priority areas:

Fishing Vessel Stability

Vessel stability is paramount for safety. Care must be given to the stowage and securing of all cargo, skiffs, equipment, fuel containers and supplies, and also to correct ballasting. Fish harvesters must be familiar with their vessel’s centre of gravity, the effect of free surface liquids on stability, loose water or fish on deck, loading and unloading operations and the vessel’s freeboard. Fish harvesters should know the limitations of their vessels. If unsure, the vessel operator should contact a qualified naval architect, marine surveyor or the local Transport Canada Marine Safety office.

Fishing vessel owners are required to develop detailed instructions addressing the limits of stability for each of their vessels. The instructions must be based on a formal assessment of the vessel by a qualified naval architect and include detailed safe operation documentation. Instructions should be kept on board the vessel at all times.

Fishing vessel owners should also keep on-board detailed documentation on engine room procedures, maintenance schedules to ensure watertight integrity, and instructions for regular practice of emergency drills.

Emergency Drill Requirements

The vessel master must establish procedures and assign responsibilities to each crew member for emergencies such as crew member overboard, fire, flooding, abandoning ship and calling for help.

Since July 30, 2003 all crew members with more than six months at sea are required to have taken minimum Marine Emergency Duties (MED) training or be registered for such training. MED provides a basic understanding of the hazards associated with the marine environment, the prevention of shipboard incidents (including fires), raising and reacting to alarms, fire and abandonment situations, and the skills necessary for survival and rescue.

Cold Water Immersion

Drowning is the number one cause of death in the fishing industry. Cold water is defined as water below 25 degrees celsius, but the greatest effects occur below 15 degrees celsius. Newfoundland and Labrador waters are usually below 15 degrees.

The effects of cold water on the body occur in four stages:

Vessel masters should know what to do to prevent themselves or their crew from falling into the water and what to do if that occurs. 

Other Issues

Weather

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

Emergency Radio Procedures

Vessel owners and masters should ensure that all crew are able to activate the Search and Rescue (SAR) system by contacting the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) early rather than later. It is strongly recommended that all fish harvesters carry a registered 406 MHz Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB). These beacons should be registered with Coast Guard’s National Search and Rescue secretariat. When activated, an EPIRB transmits a distress call that is picked up or relayed by satellites and transmitted via land earth stations to the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre (JRCC), which will task and co-ordinate rescue resources.

All crew members should know how to make a distress call and should obtain their restricted operator certificate from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (formerly Industry Canada). Whenever possible, masters should contact the nearest Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) Marine Communications and Traffic Services (MCTS) station prior to a distress situation developing. Correct radio procedures are important for communications in an emergency. Incorrect or misunderstood communications may hinder a rescue response.

Since August 1, 2003 all commercial vessels greater than 20 metres in length are required to carry a Class D VHF Digital Selective Calling (DSC) radio. A registered DSC VHF radio has the capability to alert other DSC equipped vessels in the immediate area and advise Coast Guard MCTS that the vessel is in distress. Masters should be aware that they should register their DSC radios with ISED Canada to obtain a Marine Mobile Services Identity (MMSI) number; otherwise the automatic distress calling feature of the radio may not work.

A DSC radio that is connected to a GPS unit will also automatically include the vessel’s current position in the distress message. More detailed information on MCTS and DSC can be obtained by contacting a local MCTS center or from the Canadian Coast Guard.

Collison Regulations

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

Vessels required to participate in VTS include:

Exceptions include:

Additional information can be found on the Collision Regulations page.  

Sail Plan

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

Appendix 7: Map of Fishing Areas

Herring Fishing Areas (HFAs) around Newfoundland and Labrador
none none

Figure 16. Source: Conservation and Protection, 2017.

Appendix 8: C&P Enforcement Data for 4R 3Pn Herring

4R herring : Enforcement data 2012 to 2017 Newfoundland and Labrador region
  Mobile Fixed Mobile Fixed Mobile Fixed Mobile Fixed Mobile Fixed Mobile Fixed
Description: 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Total fishery officer hours 876 430.5 492 284 356.5 367 1629 377.5 969.5 357.5 684 296
Total patrol hours 107 123.5 153 145 138.5 168.5 267 196 126.5 206.5 311 180
Charges laid 0 4 0 1 1 2 4 1 18 0 0 2
Warnings issued 4 16 1 1 1 1 1 6 2 0 2 1
Appendix 9: Departmental Contacts
Contact Telephone Fax Email
DFO Newfoundland and Labrador Regional Headquarters
P.O. Box 5667, St. John’s, NL, A1C 5X1
Erin Dunne
Resource Manager, Pelagics
(709) 772-4680 (709) 772-3628 erin.dunne@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
Daryl Walsh
Chief Conservation & Protection
(709) 772-6423 (709) 772-4327 daryl.walsh@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
Frank Corbett
Policy Analyst
(709) 772-6935 (709) 772-4583 frank.corbett@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
DFO Quebec Region Science branch
Institut Maurice-Lamontagne, 850 Route de la Mer, Mont-Joli, QC G5H 3Z4
Hans-Frederic Ellefsen
Aquatic Science Biologist
(418) 775-0633 (418) 775-0542 hans-frederic.ellefsen@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
Kim Emond 
Aquatic Science Biologist
(418) 775-0633 (418) 775-0542 kim.emond@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
DFO NL Area Offices – Resource Management
David Small
Area Chief (3KL)
Grand Falls-Windsor
(709) 292-5167 (709) 292-5205 david.small@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
Wayne King
Area Chief (2J)
Happy Valley-Goose Bay
(709) 896-6157 (709) 896-8419 wayne.king@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
Laurie Hawkins
Area Chief (3P, 4R) Corner Brook
(709) 637-4310 (709) 637-4445 laurie.hawkins@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
DFO NL Area Offices – Conservation & Protection
Chad Ward
Area Chief (3KLPs)
St. John’s
(709) 772-5857 (709) 772-2659 chad.ward@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
Brent Watkins
Area Chief (2GHJ, 3K, 4R3Pn)
Corner Brook
(709) 637-4334 (709) 637-4213 brent.watkins@dfo-mpo.gc.ca