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Atlantic Region Licences

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Browse this section to find statistics on commercial fishing licenses issued by Fisheries and Oceans Canada in the Atlantic Provinces. You will also find information collected through the registration of commercial fishing vessels. Data are available from 1983 onward.

Continuing its long-term trend, the number of registered commercial fishing vessels in the Atlantic region declined slightly in 2020, to 14,599. The number of registered commercial fishing vessels has decreased by 15.2 per cent since 2010 and by 28.3 per cent since 2000. Most (90.9 per cent) of the current fleet consists of vessels that are less than 45 ft in length and 1 per cent are greater than 65 ft. This is not significantly different than in 2010, when 93.7 per cent of registered vessels were less than 45 ft in length.

The number of licence holders in the Atlantic region increased marginally in 2020 to 16,112 – a slight rebound following the 1.5 per cent decline recorded in 2019. These individual licence holders were issued a total of 75,160 commercial fishing licences in 2020, roughly 6.9 per cent less than the number issued in 2019. Lobster (11.6 per cent), Groundfish (10.7 per cent), and Mackerel (10.4 per cent) represent roughly a third of commercial licences issued in 2020.

Despite the 12.4 per cent decrease in the number of licences issued in Newfoundland in 2020, the number of licence holders increased 1.3 per cent. The reverse occurred in Prince Edward Island, where the number of licence holders decreased marginally while the number of licences issued increased 5.4 per cent. In Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, the number of licences issued fell by 10.0 and 5.2 per cent respectively, although the number of licence holders was relatively unchanged in both provinces. Quebec saw little change with respect to both number of issued licences and total licence holders in 2020.

Data tables:

Licence holders

(number of commercial fish harvesters registered)

Species information

(number of commercial fishing licences issued, by species)

Vessel information

(number of commercial fishing vessels registered, by size)
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