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2022-2023 Protocol for gear tagging in Atlantic commercial fisheries


This protocol applies to fishing gear tagging for all commercial fisheries (including communal commercial) where prior to the 2013 fishing season, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) was providing gear tags to the commercial fishing industry.

As is currently the case, DFO will continue to provide tags in the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna fishery, and where they are required in non-commercial fisheries (recreational, scientific, Aboriginal food, social, ceremonial).

Since April 1, 2013, and following a repeal of the gear tagging requirements contained in the Atlantic Fishery Regulations, fishing industry began assuming the responsibility to obtain and pay for any gear tags used in the commercial fisheries where gear tagging is required as a condition of licence. Licence holders must tag their gear with a valid tag that has been obtained from a DFO-approved gear tag supplier.

Approved tag supplier

In accordance with this Gear Tagging Protocol, DFO provides, on a three-year cyclical basis, the opportunity for organizations or other interested parties to express interest in becoming approved tag suppliers by submitting a tagging plan application to the Department for consideration.

A tag supplier that has been identified in a tagging plan approved by DFO is referred to as an “approved tag supplier”.

As provided by the Protocol, previously approved tag suppliers would have to renew their existing tagging plan or submit a new application if there are changes to the Plan previously approved by DFO.

A list of all DFO ‘‘approved tag suppliers’’ is available on DFO’s website.

Licence holders may obtain gear tags from any “approved tag supplier” that services their fishing area.

DFO criteria for tagging plan approval

In order for DFO to approve a tagging plan, the following conditions must be met:

Submission of tagging plan

Areas/Fisheries to be supplied

Duration of tagging plans

Single year and multi-year tags

Assessment criteria for tagging plans

DFO will assess tagging plans against the following criteria:

Tag supplier

Description of the tag to be used

LFA27 xx zzzzzz ABC – where LFA27 is the fishing area; xx is the two digit Tag Supplier Identification Number assigned by DFO and zzzzzz is the unique tag number. Tags must also include the manufacturer’s stamp (whatever form that takes) somewhere on the tag.

Colour of tags

Replacement tags

Distribution of tags

Record keeping

Reviews and verifications

Approval of tagging plan

Approval or renewal in subsequent years

DFO contacts

Any question related to the requirements set out in this Protocol, should be directed to your Regional Gear Tag Coordinator at:

Gulf Region -
Maritimes Region -
Newfoundland and Labrador Region -
Quebec Region -

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