Approved August 12th, 2010
This Conservation Harvesting Plan (CHP) applies to all Prince Edward Island fixed gear licence holders fishing Winter Flounder in defined areas of NAFO Divisions 4T with vessels less than 19.812 metres (65 feet) in overall length from May 15, 2010 to May 14, 2011.
When fishing in a particular area, the conservation harvesting plan for that area will apply. It is to be noted that this conservation harvesting plan is subject to change following ministerial decisions or annual review, and furthermore it is submitted as an appendix to a previously approved CHP for “Fixed Gear Less Than 65 Feet-Winter Flounder (4RST)”.
Directed fishing for any other groundfish species will require a separate harvesting plan.
The conservation measures during the fishery are as follows:
1. Protection of spawning fish and concentration of juveniles
The protection of fish during the spawning period and areas where there are concentrations of juveniles is a priority that the department and the industry consider very important for the reconstruction of the Cod stock in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. The following conservation measures will apply:
For the purposes of this Conservation Harvesting Plan, fishers who belong to the Prince Edward Island fixed gear fleet are fishers having their home port in the province of Prince Edward Island using Vessel Class A-61 and as identified by the Fleet Representatives. The cap on PEIFA participants in the proposed zone is 15 harvesters.
The Winter Flounder allocation for the Prince Edward Island fixed gear fleet will be counted against the overall 1000 tonne TAC assigned in Divisions 4RST.
4. Fishing gear
5. By-Catch Limits
By-catch is defined as the weight of a by-catch species divided by the weight of the directed species, in this case, Winter Flounder. The by-catch limits of groundfish while directing for Winter Flounder are as follows:
Cod by-catch will be maintained at a strict minimum level. If daily by-catch limits are exceeded, the fishery may be closed.
6. Fishing effort
Given the requested access into a previously closed area, it is recognized that the Prince Edward Island fixed gear fleet will have to limit its fishing effort. Limits on fishing can take several forms, such as:
7. Small Fish Protocol
The small fish protocol that will apply:
Areas will be closed for specified fleet sectors when the number of undersized fish reaches or exceeds 15% of the catch of any of the above species. Where there is a requirement by condition of licence to release undersized fish to the water, it will not be counted within the small fish protocol.
Logbooks are mandatory for all vessels. It must be completed on each fishing trip.
9. Dockside Monitoring
Dockside Monitoring Program (DMP) will apply at 100%.
10. Observer Coverage
Industry-funded at-sea observer coverage at a minimum of 10% will apply for vessels less than 13.716 metres (45 feet).
Fishers are required to contact the DFO Vessel Hail-Out System at 1-800-561-2467, at least 10 hours before leaving on each fishing trip (mandatory hail-out).
The PEIFA has requested that fishers pre-register with their Association’s office before the fishery commences, in order to better define the actual anticipated effort in this fishery.
11. Catch monitoring and Test fishery
Small fish and by-catch closures will be of a minimum duration of 10 days. The cost of conducting all test fisheries must be borne by industry. If a fishery is closed, it will not reopen unless DFO feels that it can be effectively monitored and controlled. If any particular fishery is closed twice during the year because of high levels of small fish or incidental catch, the fishery may remain closed for the remainder of the year.
12. Fishing seasons
The opening dates for the Prince Edward Island geographical fleet fishing in the proposed area of 4T2b, will be from September 6th, 2010 at 6:00 a.m. ADT until 6:00 p.m. ADT, October 30th ,2010. Adjustments to this period maybe possible given the actual effort in the fishery and the abundance of Winter Flounder during this fishery. Any unused quota may be made available to this fleet before May 14th, 2011, pending approval of an amended CHP.
13. Other Management Measures
The Department will continue to monitor the level of dumping and discarding of groundfish at sea. An industry funded sampling program is already in place to collect data to monitor small fish and by-catch. The sampling program will further be enhanced to include the collection of additional data to monitor discard of groundfish. If a fleet sector or an individual is suspected of dumping and discarding groundfish at sea, the industry funded at-sea observer coverage may be increased up to 100%.
The overrun of quotas is a problem that needs to be addressed. To do so, the Department has agreed to implement quota reconciliation starting with the 2010 season. Any fleet quota overruns in the present season (2010) will be deducted on a one-to-one ratio from the following season's quota (2011).
14. Additional considerations
Pursuant to the Species at Risk Act (SARA), no person shall kill, harm, harass, capture, take, possess, collect, buy, sell or trade an individual or any part or derivate of a wildlife species designated as extirpated, endangered or threatened.
At the time this Management Plan is promulgated, the Atlantic species targeted by these measures are the following ones: Spotted Wolfish (threatened), Northern Wolfish (threatened), Leatherback Turtle (endangered) and Atlantic Walrus (Northwest Atlantic population) (extirpated). New species could be added to the SARA within the year.
All by-catches of species identified above must be returned to the water and released in the exact capture location and, if the fish is still alive, with as little harm as possible. The information related to species at risk shall be collected for each fishing trip where such a species at risk shall be collected for each fishing trip where such a species is caught. This information must be entered into the logbook and reported to Fisheries and Oceans Canada immediately after the fishing trip.