Atlantic Recreational Fishing Licence Program
Table of Contents
- What is the Atlantic Recreational Fishing Licence Program - Groundfish?
- What are the objectives of the Program?
- When can I fish?
- Where can I fish?
- Who can get a licence?
- How do I get a licence?
- How do I use the tags?
- What kind of gear can I use?
- How many fish can I take?
- Are there any boat limitations?
- Can I process or sell my fish?
- Why do I have to keep a log?
- What happens if I'm inspected by a fishery officer?
- What do I need to know for the 2003 boating season?
- Where can I call for more information
- Cod Tag Rewards
What is the Atlantic Recreational Fishing Licence Program - Groundfish?
- The Atlantic Recreational Licence Program - Groundfish requires individuals to have a licence to fish recreationally for groundfish.
What are the objectives of the Program?
- Fisheries and Oceans Canada's (DFO) mandate includes protecting and conserving marine and freshwater habitat, establishing fishery management plans, developing conservation and protection policies and implementing programs to provide for the sustainable use of Canada's marine resources.
- Increased participation in the Atlantic recreational fishery over the past number of years, coupled with the importance of ensuring conservation of target species, has led to a need for more effective management of marine recreational fisheries and a better understanding of its impact on fish stocks.
- The Program will allow DFO to gather timely and accurate catch and effort data on the marine recreational fishery to be used by DFO resource managers and scientists as part of the evaluation of fish stocks and development of effective management and conservation strategies.
When can I fish?
- Fishing is only permitted during the open season. Season dates are announced in advance and can vary by fishing area for conservation reasons.
- Fishing is permitted one hour before sunrise until one hour after sunset.
- Fishing for the day must cease once the daily bag limit is reached.
- Fishing for the season ends for the licence holder once all the tags issued with the licence have been used.
Where can I fish?
- Fishing is permitted only in NAFO area 3Ps.
Who can get a licence?
- Persons 16 years of age and older require an individual licence to participate in the recreational groundfish fishery.
- Those under 16 and capable of fishing independently, also have the option to purchase a licence.
- Fishers under 16 may fish without a licence if accompanied by an adult in possession of a valid licence. All fish caught in this situation count against the licence holder's daily bag limit and the licence holder must tag all cod caught.
- Non-residents are eligible to purchase a licence. No guides are required to fish with a licence.
How do I get a licence?
- Licences are available at all Canada Post outlets located in 3Ps, as well as St. John's, Cornerbrook, Clarenville, and Grand Falls - Windsor at a cost of $10.
- A licence is valid only if signed by the licencee. While fishing, licencees must have the licence in their possession along with at least one unused tag issued with the licence.
- Persons must present official identification when purchasing a licence (e.g. Passport, Drivers Licence, Birth Certificate, Medicare card).
- Only one licence may be obtained by an individual in a calendar year.
How do I use the tags?
- Tags have to be immediately affixed, through the gills and mouth, to all Atlantic cod caught and properly sealed such that the tag cannot be reopened or removed. Groundfish other than Atlantic cod do not need to be tagged, however, all groundfish retained count towards the daily bag limit.
- Tags cannot be reused or affixed to fish taken by means other than permitted by the licence.
- The licence and accompanying tags are non-transferable and must be fished by the licencee.
- Licencees can only use the tags issued with their individual licence.
- Tags have been modified to break if tampered with. Tags which are broken or have been tampered with nay not be used. For this reason, fishers should not carry their catch by the tag.
- Used tags should be retained with the cod after processing and until it has been consumed. At that time tags should be properly disposed of, and not discarded at wharves, beaches or landing sites.
What kind of gear can I use?
- Only handline and angling gear is permitted. Handlines include baited hooks, feathered hooks and artificial lures.
- Angling includes fishing with a hook and line held in the hand, or with a hook, line and rod with the rod held in the hand. Casting and trolling is permitted.
- A maximum of six hooks per line may be used.
- The use of fishing lures while angling, including those with a gang hook attached (treble hooks), is permitted providing they do not weigh in excess of five ounces/125 grams.
- The use of Jiggers is prohibited. For the purposes of this fishery, a jigger is defined as "Any implement for use while angling or hand-lining designed to catch fish with more than a single hook, made of metal or lead and weighing greater than five ounces/125 grams (including dressing). It includes the Norwegian treble-hook jigger, the traditional double-hook Norwegian capelin-style lead jigger and multi-hook fishing lures (unless they have been modified to a single hook).
How many fish can I take?
- No licencee can catch and retain more than 10 groundfish of all species in total per day. The limit may vary per area or change during the season. Persons fishing and staying overnight before returning home can have more than one day's catch in their possession, provided the catch limit on any day has not been exceeded, the fish are properly logged and that all Atlantic cod are tagged. In the case of processing at the overnight site, the used tag should be retained with the cod until it is consumed.
- The total number of Atlantic cod caught cannot exceed the number of tags issued with the licence.
- All groundfish caught must be retained except as noted in the conditions of licence (no discarding/highgrading of cod).
- There are no seasonal limits for any other groundfish retained, however the total daily bag limit must not be exceeded.
- All Atlantic Halibut (other species) caught must be released immediately. The retention of Atlantic Halibut is prohibited.
- All non-groundfish species caught incidentally must be released immediately into the water, with the exception of mackerel, capelin and squid.
Are there any boat limitations?
- The amount of fish retained per boat is restricted by the number of licencees on board and their respective bag limits Each licence holder must fish their own licence and use their own tags.
- Fishing from a commercial vessel while it is engaged in commercial fishing activity, including transit to and from the fishing grounds is prohibited.
- Fishing can also take place from wharves or the shoreline.
Can I process or sell my fish?
- The sale of fish caught recreationally is prohibited.
- All fish caught must be able to be counted, and retained in an identifiable form while at sea.
- While fish caught may be bled and gutted at sea, further processing is prohibited including skinning and filleting. Cooking at-sea/on the beach during fishing activities is permitted if the Atlantic cod has been tagged, the overall bag limit is adhered to and all catch has been properly logged, including the cooked fish. The head of the cooked fish should be retained with tag affixed for inspection while returning to port.
Why do I have to keep a log?
- The information gathered from log sheets will be used by DFO resource managers and scientists.
- Daily completion of the log sheet attached to the licence after each day of fishing is mandatory, whether fish are caught or not.
- The completed log must be returned to the address shown on the log once fishing activity has ceased for the season. The latest date to return the completed log to DFO is 10 days following the closure of the fishery.
What happens if I'm inspected by a fishery officer?
- Fishery officers will conduct ongoing aerial, at-sea and dockside monitoring and inspections.
- Must provide true and accurate information pertaining to fishing activity and catches upon request.
- To assist in determining levels of effort, catch rates and quantities throughout the season, fishery officers may record the logged information during routine at-sea and dockside inspections.
- In the event that a participant is not in compliance with the regulations, the fishery officer will initiate enforcement action.
- Failing to abide by rules governing this fishery may result in enforcement action, including seizure of vehicles, boats and fishing gear. Penalties upon conviction may include forfeiture of equipment, licence prohibitions, monetary fines and jail terms.
What do I need to know for the 2003 boating season?
All boaters born after April 1, 1983, operating a boat equipped with a motor and used for recreational purposes NOW require proof of operator competency onboard.
As of September 15, 2002, any person operating a boat under 4 meters in length that is equipped with a motor will be required to have proof of operator competency onboard.
In addition, children under the age of 12 are not permitted to operate a boat with a motor greater than 10 horsepower (7.5KW) unless accompanied and directly supervised by a person 16 years of age or older.
Youth who are 12 years and older but less than 16 years of age are not permitted to operate a boat with a motor greater than 40 horsepower (30KW) unless accompanied and directly supervised by a person 16 years of age or older.
No one under the age of 16 is permitted to operate a personal watercraft (PWC) regardless of supervision.
Proof of competency can take one of three forms:
- Proof of having taken a boating safety course in Canada prior to April 1, 1999.
- A Pleasure Craft Operator Competency Card (PCOC) from a Canadian Coast Guard accredited course provider following a test. The Canadian Coast Guard recommends that boaters take an accredited boating safety course prior to taking the test.
- A completed rental-boat safety checklist (for power-driven rental boats).
For more information about mandatory safety equipment and how to obtain proof of operator competency refer to:
- Safety Boating Guide;
- Canadian Coast Guard Office of Boating Safety
For information on boating safety, please call the toll free Infoline:
1-800-230-3693 in Newfoundland and Labrador.
NOTE: This is not a toll-free number for recreational fishery inquiries or questions.
Where can I call for more information
Newfoundland and Labrador
|Bay Roberts||(709) 786-3960|
|Rocky Harbour||(709) 458-3082|
|St. Anthony||(709) 454-3866|
|Happy Valley-Goose Bay||(709) 896-2924|
|Communications Branch (General Inquiries)||(709) 772-0410|
This pamphlet is not a legal document and does not contain all the details of the current fishing regulations. It is an abbreviated guide designed to help you interpret the rules. For more detail, consult a fishery officer or a DFO office listed in this pamphlet.
(COD TAG REWARDS: Single yellow tag = $10 (tag numbers with prefix 'H' or 'HH') Single red tag = $10 (tag numbers with prefix 'SS') Double yellow tags = $20 (tag numbers with prefix 'H' or 'HH') Single pink tag = $100 tag numbers with prefix 'K')
Science Branch DFO Newfoundland Region has released several thousand tagged cod in recent years. Fishers are encouraged in the tags together with recapture information immediately after capture. Most tags have the value of the reward printed on them as well as a serial number and return address.
The Above rewards will be payed for each tag provided the serial number indicates the tag was released by DFO Science, Newfoundland Region. If possible state exact date, specific location of capture (latitude and longitude if possible), depth, length (cm), weight (kg) and gear used. Include a return address.
Cod with tags of other colours (orange fluorescent red) may also be caught; these may have been released by scientists from other regions and should be sent to the address printed on the tag itself. Rewards will not be paid for tags from other programs but the may offer a reward or lottery prize instead.
Return tags immediately to:
Cod Tag Rewards
Department of Fisheries and Oceans
P.O. Box 5667
St. John's NF A1C 5X1
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call 1 800 222 TIPS (8477) Poaching...It's a Crime!
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