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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.

The number of registered commercial fishing vessels in the Atlantic region totaled 14,388 in 2022, an increase of 3% compared to 2021. However, the number of registered commercial fishing vessels has been decreasing over time, down 11% from 2012, 24% from 2002, and 48% from 1983, the earliest year for which comparable records are available. Similar to past years, the majority (87%) of the fleet in 2022 consisted of vessels that are less than 45 ft in length.

The number of individual licence holders in the Atlantic region decreased slightly from 2021 to 16,136, and has decreased by 4% from 2012. These individual licence holders were issued a total of 55,041 commercial fishing licences in 2022, 20% less than the number issued in 2021. The majority of this reduction can be attributed to the Mackerel fishery, which was closed for the entire 2022 season due to conservation concerns over the health of the stock. As a result, no commercial licences were issued for Mackerel, accounting for over half of the decline in licences. Lobster (16%), Groundfish (14%), and Herring (12%) represent roughly 40% of commercial licences issued in 2022. Herring replaced Mackerel as the third most common type of licence following the closure of the Mackerel fishery. Despite this increase in licence share, the actual number of Herring licences did not increase significantly compared to 2021 (6,710 versus 6,182, respectively).

The number of individual licence holders in 2022 increased in three of the five Atlantic provinces (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Québec), while Newfoundland had a decrease of 7%, and the number in Prince Edward Island remained relatively unchanged. The closure of the Mackerel fishery resulted in a decrease in the number of species-specific licences issued in all five provinces, with the largest decline in Prince Edward Island (-29%) followed by Québec (-24%), Nova Scotia (-22%), New Brunswick (21%), and Newfoundland and Labrador (-13%).

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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