Groundfish Pacific Region 2019
Integrated Fisheries Management Plan summary
Download a PDF version of this management plan summary
The purpose of this Integrated Fisheries Management Plan (IFMP) is to identify the main objectives and requirements for the Groundfish fishery in the Pacific Region, as well as the management measures that will be used to achieve these objectives. This document also serves to communicate the basic information on the fishery and its management to Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) staff, legislated co-management boards and other stakeholders. This IFMP provides a common understanding of the basic “rules” for the sustainable management of the fisheries resource.
This IFMP is not a legally binding instrument which can form the basis of a legal challenge. The IFMP can be modified at any time and does not fetter the Minister's discretionary powers set out in the Fisheries Act, Species At Risk Act, and Oceans Act. The Minister can, for reasons of conservation or for any other valid reasons, modify any provision of the IFMP in accordance with the powers granted pursuant to the Fisheries Act, Species At Risk Act, and Oceans Act.
Where DFO is responsible for implementing obligations under land claims agreements, the IFMP will be implemented in a manner consistent with these obligations. In the event that an IFMP is inconsistent with obligations under land claims agreements, the provisions of the land claims agreements will prevail to the extent of the inconsistency.
This IFMP is a living document that will be subjected to a review every two years for updates, with input from interested parties. Any changes required within a given fishing season will continue to be made as needed.
IFMP documents are available from the DFO Pacific Region Internet site: http://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/ifmp-eng.html.
Each year Fisheries and Oceans Canada provides opportunities to First Nations for food, social and ceremonial (FSC) purposes (or domestic purposes for First Nations with modern treaties), and the commercial and recreational fisheries to harvest groundfish. First Nations, recreational, and commercial fisheries on the Pacific coast of Canada have long harvested groundfish. Groundfish serve as a source of food, they provide jobs, income, and enjoyment for individuals, businesses, and coastal communities; and they play key roles in natural ecosystems.
2. Type of fishery and participants
2.1. First Nations
In the 1990 Sparrow decision, the Supreme Court of Canada found that where an Indigenous group has an Indigenous right to fish for food, social, and ceremonial (FSC) purposes, it takes priority, after conservation, over other uses of the resource. Fisheries are authorized via a Communal Licence issued by the Department under the Aboriginal Communal Fishing Licences Regulations.
Five Nations (Ahousaht, Ehattesaht, Hesquiaht, Mowachaht / Muchalaht, and Tla-o-quiaht First Nations) Multi-species Fishery
Five Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations located on the West Coast of Vancouver Island - Ahousaht, Ehattesaht, Hesquiaht, Mowachaht/Muchalaht, and Tla-o-qui-aht (the Five Nations) - have Aboriginal rights to fish within their Fishing Territories and to sell that fish, with the exception of geoduck. DFO is working with the Five Nations to implement a Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for salmon, groundfish, crab and prawn by April 1, 2019. This FMP includes specific details about the fishery, such as allocations/access, licensing and designations, fishing area, harvesting opportunities, and fishery monitoring and catch reporting. The FMP could lead to in-season management changes.
A recreational fishery may occur where authorized by a valid Tidal Waters Sport Fishing licence, which is required for the recreational harvest of all species of fish. Approximately 300,000 Tidal Waters Sport Fishing licences are sold each year. Tidal Waters Sport Fishing Licences can be purchased online by using the DFO website: http://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/rec/licence-permis/index-eng.html.
There are seven distinct commercial groundfish sectors: Groundfish trawl, Halibut, Sablefish, Inside Rockfish, Outside Rockfish, Lingcod, and Dogfish fisheries that are managed according to the measures set out in this management plan. The management of these sector groups is integrated, with all groups subject to 100% at-sea monitoring and 100% dockside monitoring, individual vessel accountability for all catch (both retained and released), individual transferable quotas (ITQ), and reallocation of these quotas between vessels and fisheries to cover catch of non-directed species. There are approximately 250 active commercial groundfish vessels. Information on licensed vessels is available online at the DFO website: http://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/licence-permis/index-eng.html.
First Nations have communal access to commercial opportunities through communal commercial licences acquired through the Allocation Transfer Program (ATP) and Pacific Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative (PICFI). The Maanulth have an allocation for commercial groundfish fishing outside of the Treaty as identified in the “Maa-nulth First Nation Harvest Agreement”. The allocations in the Harvest Agreement do not affirm Indigenous or Treaty rights. These licences are fished in a manner that is comparable to the general commercial fishery.
3. Stock assessment, science & traditional knowledge
3.1. Groundfish stock assessment program
Stock assessment and research programs involving groundfish are conducted by the Department and through cooperative research programs carried out in conjunction with industry associations. Stock assessment advice has been provided for over 70 commercially exploited groundfish stocks. Science personnel, in association with DFO fishery managers and groundfish user group representatives, establish assessment priorities and timing schedules for assessments. These programs are intended to support ongoing evaluation of management measures. Opportunities for stakeholder involvement and cooperative ventures in research and assessment activities are pursued.
The 2011 – 2013 groundfish IFMP identified the prioritization and scheduling of groundfish stock assessments as an objective to be completed by 2013. DFO Science drafted a discussion paper titled “Prioritization and Scheduling of Groundfish Stock Assessments” outlining a process for this as well as a proposed assessment schedule for the 10-year period commencing 2012. The draft discussion paper was reviewed with the Groundfish Integrated Advisory Board in the spring of 2012 and was revised and completed shortly after. In 2017 the Department initiated a review of its strategic plans for science.
The document, and the process it describes, is intended to inform work-planning for the Science Branch Groundfish Section and its research collaborators and interested parties. It focuses on that portion of the Section’s workload that relates to the production of single species stock assessments. The document includes:
- a table of more than 200 groundfish species that Science suggests fall within the research mandate of the Groundfish Section (GFS) of the DFO Science Branch, Pacific Region, and for which a stock assessment might be requested;
- a recommended separation of the frame into higher priority and lower priority species;
- a screening of the lower priority species to identify a short list which should receive more assessment work for the 2012-2021 period;
- a draft assessment schedule of the higher priority and lower priority species for the 2012-2021 period;
- a consultative process for conducting the prioritizing and scheduling.
3.2. Canadian science advisory secretariat
Science is the basis for sound, evidence-based decision making. DFO Science Sector provides advice on the likelihood of achieving policy objectives under alternative management strategies and tactics. The Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat (CSAS) oversees the provision of all scientific advice required by operational client sectors within the Department (Fisheries Management, Ecosystems Management, and Policy). In the Pacific Region, science advisory processes are managed by the Centre for Science Advice Pacific (CSAP).
Scientific assessments and advice on the assessment and management of the Groundfish fishery is peer reviewed annually in Regional Peer Review (RPR) meetings. Government and non-government individuals with knowledge and technical expertise pertaining to each RPR meeting are invited to contribute to the peer review and development of advice, based on the science presented. The schedule of CSAS meetings is available online at: http://www.isdm-gdsi.gc.ca/csas-sccs/applications/events-evenements/index-eng.asp General information about the CSAS Policies, Procedures, Schedule and Publications can be found at: http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/csas-sccs/index-eng.htm.
During the 2018/19 fishery season, harvest advice has been produced for Pacific Cod and Redstripe Rockfish, as well as a report synthesizing and reporting on all available data for 100 groundfish species was produced and reviewed through CSAP. The paper, titled “A Data Synopsis for over 100 British Columbia Groundfish Species”, presents a standardized view of the available data holdings for each species in a compact two page format. During the 2019/20 fishery season, harvest advice is anticipated for Widow Rockfish and Rougheye/Blackspotted Rockfish, as is the completion of a management procedure framework for data limited and data moderate British Columbia groundfish species. The Framework will use closed loop feedback simulation to evaluate the performance of a suite of management procedures across selected candidate groundfish species that represent a range of life history types, exploitation history and data richness It is anticipated the outcome of this process will be a Framework (software, data and documentation) that can be applied to any groundfish species to generate status assessments in a more timely manner and is particularly relevant for those species lacking sufficient data for a full age structured stock assessment.
3.3. Aboriginal traditional knowledge/traditional ecological knowledge
Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge/Traditional Ecological Knowledge in the form of observations and comments provided by First Nations is considered in management decisions when provided.
3.4. Biological synopsis
In addition to work directed at providing stock assessments, DFO staff and contracted service providers conduct routine data collection and compilation, and specialized research on the general biology of groundfish in support of stock assessment. The routine work includes:
- collection and archiving of catch data from fisher logs, observer and electronic logs and unloading slips
- collection of biological specimen data from dockside, at-sea and research cruise sampling and
- archiving of biological data collected from departmental and contract sources
4. Economic, social, cultural importance
The purpose of this section is to provide a socio-economic overview of groundfish fisheries in British Columbia using available information. This summary addresses groundfish in the context of the Indigenous Food, Social, and Ceremonial fishery, the recreational fishery, and the commercial fishery including harvesting, processing, and export activity. The focus of this section is on the economic activity of the fisheries rather than measures of economic value (i.e. consumer and producer surpluses). Where available, information on the social and cultural context of the fisheries has been included; these sections may be expanded in future years, as additional information is made available. The information from 2003 to 2017 is included, although the entire period is not covered in all instances due to data limitations. DFO recognizes the unique values of each of the fisheries described here. The overview provided by this profile is intended to help build a common understanding of the socio-economic dimensions of the fisheries rather than compare the fisheries.
4.1. Indigenous fisheries
Generally, there are three categories of Indigenous participation in fisheries – food, social, and ceremonial (FSC), commercial, and treaty.
220.127.116.11. Participation in the food, social, and ceremonial fishery
The Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy (AFS) was implemented in 1992 to address several objectives related to First Nations and their access to the resource. These included:
- to provide a framework for the management of fishing by Aboriginal groups for food, social and ceremonial purposes
- to provide Aboriginal groups with an opportunity to participate in the management of fisheries, thereby improving conservation, management and enhancement of the resource
- to contribute to the economic self-sufficiency of Aboriginal communities
- to provide a foundation for the development of self-government agreements and treaties
- to improve the fisheries management skills and capacity of Aboriginal groups
AFS fisheries agreements may identify the amounts of species including groundfish that may be fished for FSC purposes, terms and conditions that will be included in the communal fishing licence, and fisheries management arrangements. Currently approximately 58 coastal First Nations are issued communal licences by the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard that include groundfish for FSC purposes.
18.104.22.168. Participation in modern aboriginal treaties
Fisheries chapters in modern First Nation treaties may articulate a treaty fishing right for FSC purposes that are protected under Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. Some modern treaty First Nations are provided commercial access either through the general commercial fishery or a Harvest Agreement. While this commercial access may be referenced in the treaty, it is not protected under the Constitution Act.
Four modern treaties (Nisga’a Final Agreement, Tsawwassen First Nation Final Agreement (TFA), Maa-nulth First Nations Final Agreement (MNA), and Tla’amin Nation Final Agreement) have been ratified in British Columbia. Footnote 1
The Maa-nulth treaty includes five Nuu-cha-nulth First Nations (Ka:’yu:k’t’h/Che:k’tles7eth, Huu-ay-aht, Toquaht, Uchucklesaht, Ucluelet) and came into effect in April 2011; it provides for commercial groundfish in a Harvest Agreement.
4.1.2. Social and cultural significance
Fisheries and the harvest and management of aquatic resources have particular importance to many Indigenous communities. Many Indigenous communities are located adjacent to key fishing sites, oceans and aquatic resources, and consider the management of these resources to be matters important to these communities. There are Indigenous groups who are seeking greater access to economic opportunities from aquatic resources as a potential driver for economic development in their communities; more stability in FSC fisheries; a greater role in the aquatic resource and oceans management decisions that affect them; and a greater role in stewardship, including stock assessment, oceans and habitat management, conservation and protection, and recovery strategy development and implementation.
4.2. Recreational fishery
Tidal water recreational licences permit access to all marine species, including many groundfish, under the conditions described in the BC Sport Fishing Guide. The number of tidal water licences sold for access in BC decreased from around 337,000 in 2003 to a low of 300,000 in 2008 where it remained for a number of years; there was an increase by 2015 to about 343,000 (Figure 2). The majority of the decline was due to a decrease in the sale of licences to non-Canadian residents, while the recent increase was due to increased sales to residents.
4.2.2. Economic contribution
Between 2005 and 2011, the contribution of the tidal waters recreational fishing sector (all species) to the real gross domestic product (GDP)Footnote 3 and employment in BC grew by 9% and 5% respectively. The portion of this contribution that is attributable to groundfish was not determined. However, the data from the 2010 National Survey of Recreational Fishing indicates that Halibut, Lingcod and rockfish accounted for approximately 23% of total direct fishing expenditures and about 30% of expenditures on fishing packages in BC.
Expenditures on fishing packages by BC resident anglers has increased considerably over the past decade; in real terms, it increased by over 13% between 2005 and 2010 and BC residents are now the primary consumers of fishing trip packages in the province.
Canadian and international tourists account for approximately 25% of tidal water recreational licences purchased in BC. In 2010, 47,269 of the anglers surveyed were not from BC. Of the international visitors, 47% reported they would not have come to BC had there not been tidal water fishing opportunities, while 32% of Canadian visitors would not have come.
4.2.3. Social and cultural significance
There is a lack of data on the location of recreational fishing sector dependent employment, and thus it is not possible to comment on the social significance of the fishery. However, it is recognized that recreational fishing activities - in particular, providers of fishing packages - often occur in more remote locations, providing important direct and indirect employment opportunities in these communities.
Regional estimates of angler expenditures attributable to groundfish activity illustrate differences between regions (Figure 3). In 2010, expenditures attributed to groundfish species (Halibut, Lingcod and rockfish) were highest in Haida Gwaii ($21 million), where most expenditures were on packages, and lowest in the Johnston Strait area (almost $8 million), where most expenditures were directly on fishing activity. The share of angler expenditures as a result of effort on groundfish varied between 13% (Georgia Strait) and 38% (Haida Gwaii) of the region’s total direct expenditures, and 5% (Georgia Strait) and 38% (West Coast Vancouver Island) of the region’s total package expenditures.
4.3. Commercial fishery
The number of active vessels, and thus presumably crew, involved in the harvest of groundfish declined between 2007 and 2014, from 304 vessels to 245, but as of 2017 the number of active vessels has climbed to 263. While groundfish vessels operate with between one and six individuals,Footnote 4 it is not possible to estimate the number of unique individuals involved in the harvest of groundfish (e.g. owneroperators and hired captains and crew) and a change in the number of active vessels may not be associated with a change in full time equivalent employment.
Indigenous participation in the commercial groundfish fishery may occur through communal commercial licences, or as individual ownership of licences and vessels. Information on individual ownership is not available. Communal commercial licences (F) identify communal Indigenous participation within the commercial groundfish fishery and allow Indigenous communities to designate vessels and individual fishers to carry out the fishing. The ATP and PICFI programs have been used by DFO to acquire commercial groundfish licence eligibilities (K - Sablefish, L - Halibut, ZN - Rockfish, T - Trawl). The ATP and PICFI programs have also acquired and distributed more than 16% of the total Halibut quota, and more than 16.5% of the Sablefish quota as well as small amounts of quota for most trawl species. In 2018, PICFI allocated groundfish licences and quota in agreements with 19 Commercial Fishing Enterprises.
4.3.2. Economic contribution
In 2017, the groundfish fishery was the largest component of the fish harvesting sector and it was responsible for approximately 72% of all BC seafood landings and about 46% of the total value of BC wild seafood landings. In terms of the processing labour intensity, in 2016 the groundfish fishery provided about 49% of all direct processing employment hours.Footnote 5
The real landed value of the groundfish fishery appears to have increased by about 24% from 2014 to 2016, and then jumped again by 20% in the last year. Figure 4 below presents total BC groundfish landed value and volume for the last 10 years.
The real wholesale value of the fishery has been on a general slow decline between 2007-2014, and then stabilised in 2015. In 2016 the wholesale value rose to around $300M, and the estimate for the wholesale values in 2017 suggest an upward movement from 2016.
The export data does not allow for identification of all groundfish species (e.g. all rockfish); however, for most identifiable species export values had been steady until 2014, when values decreased. Cod, Halibut, Pollock and Lingcod export have been on an upward trajectory for the past 5 years, while Hake and Sablefish have been on a downward trajectory.
4.3.3. Social and cultural significance
There is a lack of information on communities of residence for groundfish vessel masters and crew. Consequently, it is not possible to comment of the social significance of the groundfish harvesting sector to BC communities. In the case of processing employment, past work has suggested a strong correlation between the off-loading location of groundfish and processing employments. There are smaller centres for which commercial fishing and fish processing are integral elements of the local economy. In some locations, groundfish represents a significant component of processing employment. Footnote 6
There is a long history of commercial groundfish fishing in British Columbia. This history has been documented by several authors, although the link between current culture and the historical significance is less documented.Footnote 7 The commercial Halibut fishery harvested Halibut back to the 1880’s, but the harvest was largely marketed in Seattle until the arrival of the railroad.Footnote 8 From small shipments east in 1888, the fishery grew until it accounted for over 80% of Canadian Halibut landings by the 1940s. Prince Rupert, labelled the “Halibut Capital of the World”, originally shipped via steamships but switched to rail in 1913, with dozens of rail cars of iced Halibut shipped each month.
5. Shared stewardship arrangements
5.1. Commercial industry
Several Collaborative Agreements (CA) currently exist between Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Wild Canadian Sablefish Ltd., the Canadian Groundfish Research and Conservation Society, and the Pacific Halibut Management Association. CAs are also being considered for 2019/20 between Fisheries and Oceans Canada and several partners to support groundfish science activities through the allocation of fish to finance the activities, consistent with the authority granted to the Minister in Fisheries Act.
5.2. Fisheries and Oceans Canada
The groundfish fisheries in British Columbia are managed through the Groundfish Management Unit. This includes seven Fisheries Management personnel directly involved in the management of this fishery. In addition, a groundfish stock assessment unit, located at the Pacific Biological Station contributes to annual stock assessments for groundfish species. Contributions to the IFMP are provided by Fisheries Management, the Science Branch, Conservation and Protection, Ecosystem Management Branch, the Pacific Fishery Licence Unit, the Treaty and Aboriginal Policy Directorate, and numerous others.
6. Governance process
The Groundfish IFMP is updated in February of every year. First Nations FSC fisheries may occur year-round. Season dates for commercial and recreational fisheries vary, and can be found in the commercial harvest plan appendices to the IFMP and the recreational Tidal Waters Sport Fishing Guide.
Several advisory committees and subcommittees have been established to provide advice to the Department on management of groundfish fisheries. Terms of reference, membership and meeting minutes for the Halibut Advisory Board (HAB), Groundfish Trawl Advisory Committee (GTAC), Sablefish Advisory Committee (SAC), Groundfish Hook and Line Subcommittee (GHLSC), the Commercial Industry Caucus (CIC), and the Groundfish Integrated Advisory Board (GIAB) can be found on the Internet at: http://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/consultation/ground-fond/index-eng.html.
DFO engages in a variety of consultation, engagement and collaborative harvest planning processes with First Nations which advise DFO on groundfish management. These exchanges and involvement may include bilateral consultations, advisory processes, management boards, technical groups and other roundtable forums. Consulting is an important part of good governance, sound policy development and decision-making. It is also a component of modern treaties established between First Nations and the provincial and federal governments. In addition to good governance objectives, Canada has statutory, contractual and common law obligations to consult with Indigenous groups.
The Sport Fishing Advisory Board provides advice to the Department on matters relating to the recreational fishery. More information on this advisory board can be found on the Internet at: http://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/consultation/smon/sfab-ccps/index-eng.html.
7. Access and allocations
The Minister can, for reasons of conservation or for any other any other valid reasons, modify access, allocations and sharing arrangements outlined in the IFMP in accordance with the powers granted pursuant to the Fisheries Act.
7.1. First Nations
Coastal First Nations harvest groundfish for FSC purposes under the Aboriginal Communal Fishing Licences Regulations or Treaty Harvest Agreements. In both cases, allocations are specified, and the fisheries are licenced and conducted under the authority of the Minister.
With respect to treaties, agreements are in place with the Nisga’a, Tsawwassen, Maa-nulth, and Tla’amin First Nations. Nisga’a, Tsawwassen, Maa-nulth, and Tla’amin First Nations Treaties came into effect on May 11, 2000, April 1, 2009, April 1, 2011, and April 5, 2016 respectively.
The domestic (food, social, and ceremonial) allocations for groundfish under the Maa-nulth First Nations Final Agreement are as follows:
- Halibut: The Maa-nulth Fish Allocation for Halibut is 26,000 pounds (net weight, dressed, head off) plus 0.39% of the Halibut Canadian Total Allowable Catch (net weight, dressed, head off).
- Rockfish: The Maa-nulth Fish Allocation of Rockfish is 11,250 pounds of whole fish, plus 2.46% of the Commercial Rockfish Outside Total Allowable Catch
- Groundfish: The Maa-nulth Fish Allocation of Groundfish is 13,000 pounds of whole fish
- Sablefish: The Maa-nulth Fish Allocation for Sablefish is 0.082% of the Sablefish Canadian Total Allowable Catch
In addition to the allocation of fish for domestic purposes, Maa-nulth has an allocation for commercial catch outside of the Treaty as identified in the “Maanulth First Nation Harvest Agreement”. The allocations in the Harvest Agreement do not affirm Indigenous or Treaty rights. Fishing under the Harvest Agreement will be comparable to the requirements of the current commercial fishery.
Commercial groundfish allocations are expressed as limits (i.e., “up to” amounts) under the Harvest Agreement:
- Halibut: up to 2% of the coastwide commercial halibut TAC.
- Rockfish: up to 2.6178% of the commercial ZN-Outside rockfish TACs.
- Sablefish: up to 0.34% of the coastwide commercial sablefish TAC.
The domestic (food, social, and ceremonial) allocations for groundfish under the Tla’amin Nation Final Agreement are as follows:
- In any year, the Tla’amin Fish Allocation for the aggregate of rockfish and lingcod is a maximum of 5,000 lbs.
- In any year, the Tla’amin Fish Allocation for all groundfish other than rockfish and lingcod is a maximum of 1,000 lbs.
7.1.3. Tsawwassen and Nisga’a fisheries
Groundfish are currently unallocated species under the terms of the Tsawwassen and Nisga’a treaties. As authorised by their treaties, they may harvest groundfish for domestic purposes, subject to conservation, public health, or public safety, in their respective fishing areas under the terms of annual fishing plans signed off by the treaty nations and Canada.
7.1.4. Other First Nations
In addition to fishing opportunities for FSC purposes (or domestic for treaty purposes), five Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations located on the West Coast of Vancouver Island - Ahousaht, Ehattesaht, Hesquiaht, Mowachaht/Muchalaht, and Tla-o-qui-aht (the T’aaq-wiihak First Nations) - have Indigenous rights to fish for any species of fish within their Fishing Territories and to sell that fish, with the exception of Geoduck. DFO is working with the First Nations to find the manner in which the rights of the five First Nations can be accommodated and exercised without jeopardizing Canada’s legislative objectives and societal interests in regulating the fishery. The outcome of these discussions could lead to in-season management changes.
DFO has been providing the First Nations with communal commercial groundfish fishing licences and quota. Discussions are on-going with the five First Nations regarding continuing this access for 2019 and potential demonstration fishery proposals.
Daily and possession limits are in place for various groundfish species. Annual limits and size limits are also in place for several groundfish species such as lingcod and halibut. These are described in the British Columbia Tidal Waters Sport Fishing Guide available at: http://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/rec/index-eng.html.
There are several instances where total recreational catch is managed to specified amounts:
- There is a commercial-recreational halibut allocation formula that allocates 15% of the commercial-recreational TAC to the recreational sector and 85% to the commercial sector.
- As a result of the Rockfish Conservation Strategy drafted in 2001, recreational catch of rockfish and lingcod in the Strait of Georgia is also managed to stay within specified amounts, referred to as “management caps”. In 2002, an annual management cap of 20,000 pieces of rockfish was implemented in Areas 13 to 19, sub-Areas 12-1 to 12-13, 12-15 to 12-48, 20- 5 to 20-7, and 29-5. In 2006, a lingcod management cap of 5,000 pieces was implemented and in 2009 it was increased to 7,000 pieces for the same areas. Areas 28 and the rest of Area 29 were closed to the retention of rockfish and Lingcod.
Since 2011, an optional experimental program has also been in place which allows interested recreational harvesters to temporarily transfer commercial halibut quota onto an experimental licence for the purposes of recreational fishing. This pilot program allows those who choose to participate the opportunity to fish for halibut beyond the daily and possession limits or beyond the season closure date for the regular recreational halibut fishery.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada continues to support the research and development of the aquaculture sector. The Department will provide the aquaculture industry with reasonable access, by scientific licence, to the wild groundfish resource to assist industry development (growth and diversification). Requests to access the wild resource will be contingent upon stakeholders providing detailed project proposals for review and approval by the Department.
Currently 0.1% of the Sablefish TAC is allocated to the aquaculture industry to support broodstock collection for sablefish aquaculture.
Allocations are made each year for research to account for the mortalities associated with survey catches within TACs. In some cases, allocations may also be made in excess of forecasted survey catches to support the costs of completing select science projects. These allocations are made based on the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard’s authority to allocate fish or fishing gear for the purpose of financing scientific and fisheries management activities that are described in a joint project agreement entered into with any person or body, or any federal or provincial minister, department, or agency. In general, research allocations are deducted from the fish available to the commercial fishery by sector prior to the definition of commercial TACs used for the purposes of defining allocations on licences. However, the sectoral allocations based on percentage splits between commercial sectors defined in section 6.5 below are calculated before research allocations are deducted.
|Species||Trawl surveys (tonnes)||Longline surveys (tonnes)||Sablefish surveys, taggaing, catch sampling (tonnes)||Total (tonnes)|
|Copper, China, Tiger rockfish||0.2||0.4||0.0||0.6|
|Pacific ocean perch||21.8||0.0||0.0||21.8|
*The halibut poundage for the groundfish trawl survey is part of the trawl fishery’s halibut bycatch mortality cap. The groundfish trawl fishery has a bycatch mortality cap of 454 tonnes that is not part of the allocated commercial TAC.
The commercial TAC for various groundfish species are allocated between the different groundfish sectors. Formal discussions between the Hook and Line rockfish (category ZN licence), Halibut (category L licence) and Trawl (category T licence) sectors were initiated in 2000 to establish individual rockfish species allocations between the sectors to modify the 1997 adopted “92/8” Trawl/Hook and Line allocation. The agreed to allocation of groundfish species between the commercial sectors are as follows:
7.5.1 Rockfish species
|Commercial sector||Commercial sector||Commercial sector|
|Pacific ocean perch||99.98%||0.02%||0.00%|
|Copper, China, Tiger||2.56%||87.97%||9.47%|
7.5.2 Non-quota rockfish species
|Commercial sector||Commercial sector|
|Bocaccio rockfishFootnote 9||93.00%||7.00%|
7.5.3 Other groundfish
|Commercial Sector||Commercial Sector|
|Species *||T||L + K + ZN + Sch II|
|Hake, pollock, Pacific cod & sole||100.00%||0.00%|
*Halibut is not permitted for retention by trawl gear so there is no percentage of an allocation assigned to trawl.
|Commercial sector||Longnose Skate||Big Skate|
|T (groundfish trawl)||62.83%||32.83%||20.28%||24.55%||91.48%||92.07%|
|ZN (rockfish inside)||0.00%||0.00%||0.00%||0.00%||0.00%||0.00%|
|ZN (rockfish outside)||1.50%||8.61%||8.53%||1.93%||1.20%||0.56%|
|DF (spiny dogfish)||10.22%||0.57%||0.84%||42.63%||0.62%||0.08%|
7.5.4 Commercial total allowable catches
As a result of rounding, the TAC allocations by management area do not sum to the sector totals for some species. For the exact TAC values, please contact a member of the Groundfish Management Unit. Portions of some of the TACs listed here will be allocated for research purposes. Portions of the ZN Outside TAC exclude amounts allocated for research purposes. Details of research allocations are found in the harvest plans included as appendices to the full IFMP document.
|Species||Area||Halibut (tonnes)||Sablefish (tonnes)||ZN Outside (tonnes)||ZN Inside (tonnes)||Trawl (tonnes)||Dogfish (tonnes)||Lingcod (tonnes)|
|3D, 5A/B, 5C/D/E||0||0||47*||0||4,216||0||0|
|Canary rockfish||3C, 3D||1||0||30||0||615||0||0|
|Silvergray rockfish||3 C/D||2||0||41||0||332||0||0|
|Pacific ocean perch||3 C/D||0||0||0||0||750||0||0|
|Yelloweye rockfish||3C, 3D, 5A||2||0||10||0||0||0||0|
|Quillback rockfish||3C, 3D, 5A||3||0||43||0||0||0||0|
|Copper, China and Tiger rockfish||3C, 3D, 5A||1||0||24||0||0||0||0|
|Pacific cod||3 C/D||0||0||0||0||500||0||0|
|Dover sole||3 C/D||0||0||0||0||1,375||0||0|
|Rock sole||3 C/D||0||0||0||0||102||0||0|
|Lemon sole||3 C/D, 5A/B||0||0||0||0||186||0||0|
|5C, 5D, 5E||0||0||0||0||580||0||420|
|Spiny Dogfish||3C, 3D, 5A, 5B, 5C, 5D, 5E||0||0||0||0||3,840||8,160||0|
|5 A/B (includes Area 12)||0||0||0||0||2,500||0||0|
|Big skate||3 C/D||13||2||1||0||12||21||0|
|Longnose skate||3 C/D||20||16||2||0||87||14||0|
* This tonnage is not allocated to individual licence holders, nor is it transferable.
** The Lingcod coastwide total includes the 38 tonne allocation to cover 4B trip limits. This tonnage is not allocated to licence holders, nor is it transferable.
*** This is a notional TAC for initial licence issuance – The actual TAC will be announced in early April 2017.
**** The groundfish trawl fishery has a bycatch mortality cap of 454 tonnes that is not part of the allocated commercial TAC. Halibut caught while fishing under the authority of a groundfish trawl licence cannot be retained and must be returned to the water as quickly as possible.
7.5.5 Species-area groups
All groundfish hook and line licence holders will be permitted to hold quota for up to 40 species-area groups of holdings. Landings of other groundfish will be managed through trip limits or landings allowances. Additional species areas groups are in place for the groundfish trawl fishery and can be found in Appendix 8 of the IFMP.
|Pacific halibut (coastwide)||Silvergray rockfish (5E)|
|Sablefish (coastwide)||Yelloweye rockfish (3C, 3D, 5A)|
|Lingcod (3D)||Yelloweye rockfish (5B)|
|Lingcod (3C)||Yelloweye rockfish (5C, 5D)|
|Lingcod (5A, 5B)||Yelloweye rockfish (5E)|
|Lingcod (5C, 5D, 5E)||Yelloweye rockfish (4B)|
|Dogfish (3C, 3D, 5A, 5B, 5C, 5D, 5E)||Quillback rockfish (3C, 3D, 5A)|
|Dogfish (4B)||Quillback rockfish (5B)|
|Big skate (3C, 3D)||Quillback rockfish (5C, 5D)|
|Big skate (5A, 5B)||Quillback rockfish (5E)|
|Big skate (5C, 5D, 5E)||Quillback rockfish (4B)|
|Longnose skate (3C, 3D)||Copper, China and Tiger rockfish (3C, 3D, 5A)|
|Longnose skate (5A, 5B)||Copper, China and Tiger rockfish (5B)|
|Longnose skate (5C, 5D, 5E)||Copper, China and Tiger rockfish (5C, 5D)|
|Canary rockfish (3C, 3D)||Copper, China and Tiger rockfish (5E)|
|Canary rockfish (5A, 5B)||Copper, China and Tiger rockfish (4B)|
|Canary rockfish (5C, 5D)||Rougheye rockfish (coastwide)|
|Canary rockfish (5E)||Redbanded rockfish (coastwide)|
|Silvergray rockfish (3C, 3D)||Shortraker rockfish (coastwide)|
|Silvergray rockfish (5A, 5B)||Shortspine thornyhead (coastwide)|
|Silvergray rockfish (5C, 5D)|
7.6. Outgoing and incoming sector caps
There are caps on the amount of quota species, in pounds, permitted to leave and enter commercial sectors from/to other commercial sectors. The figures can change regularly. Please consult the DFO website for the most current figures: http://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/commercial/ground-fond/publications-eng.html.
8. Resource management goal
To sustainably manage groundfish fisheries, and to work with harvesters, coastal and Indigenous communities to enable their continued prosperity from fish and seafood.
This goal and the Departmental Plan is intended to support DFO’s mandate commitments. The management priorities described below are keys areas of focus that will align our activities with these goals over the long term.
|Implement a fisheries program that uses scientific evidence, the precautionary principle, and takes into account climate change when making decisions affecting fish stocks and ecosystem management.||
Completion of a management procedure framework for data limited and data moderate British Columbia groundfish species to generate status assessments in a more timely manner. See section 3.3.2 for additional information.
Continue to support Collaborative Agreements between DFO and partners to support groundfish science activities through the allocation of fish to finance the activities, consistent with the authority granted to the Minister in the Fisheries Act. See section 1.5 and the harvest plan appendices for additional information.
Continue to utilize established integrated fisheries planning and advisory processes described in appendix 12, as well as the Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat process.
|Develop, implement, and monitor rebuilding plans that are consistent with regulation and policy under a renewed Fisheries Act.||
Rebuilding plans for Bocaccio and Yelloweye Rockfish have been developed and continue to be evaluated as described in Appendix 9. Renewed science advice is being sought to aid in evaluating rebuilding plans, and where necessary strengthen management measures.
DFO is undertaking a review of where there may be potential fishery-related interactions with Southern Resident Killer Whales. In the future, DFO may consider the development of management measures aimed at reducing the threat of fisheries-related interactions and also where additional mitigation measures can be developed. See section 5.1.5.
Incidental sub-legal Sablefish catch, and the associated release mortality, limits stock productivity. As such, DFO is exploring options to reduce sub-legal Sablefish mortality. Drawing from existing advisory boards DFO has formed a working group that comprises the key sectors encountering sub-legal Sablefish in the highest frequency; this group aims to collaborate on the development of management measures aimed at reducing the frequency and volume of sub-legal Sablefish bycatch. See Appendix 7.
|Supporting implementation of management measures to increase the proportion of Canada’s marine conservation areas to 10 percent by 2020||
The federal government remains committed to protecting 10% of Canada’s marine and coastal areas by 2020. The 2020 target is both a domestic target (Canada’s Biodiversity Target 1) and an international target as reflected in the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Aichi Target 11 and the United Nations General Assembly’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development under Goal 14. Specific measures are described in section 5.2.1, and in Appendix 10.
DFO is also currently undertaking a multi-year review of the conservation effectiveness of RCAs. Specific measures are described in section 5.1.6.
9. Compliance plan
The Conservation and Protection (C&P) promotes and maintains compliance with legislation, regulations, policies and management measures to achieve the conservation and sustainable use of Canada’s aquatic resources and the protection of oceans, fish habitat and species at risk.
There are approximately 145 fishery officers stationed in the Pacific Region, which encompasses the province of British Columbia and Yukon Territory. They are designated as “fishery officers” under Section 5 of the Fisheries Act and have full enforcement powers and responsibilities outlined in the Fisheries Act, Coastal Fisheries Protection Act, Oceans Act, and Species at Risk Act. Fishery Officers are also designated, as peace officers under Section 2 the Criminal Code of Canada.
Fishery officers are responsible for responding coast-wide to calls from the general public, other agencies, observers and industry users reporting all types of occurrences including commercial, food, social, ceremonial and recreational groundfish.
Fishery officers conduct inspections both at-sea and dockside to verify compliance with licence conditions. Due to the complexity of the integrated groundfish management system which includes a quota management system and a related licence amendment system, tracking of catch quantities is primarily performed administratively utilizing the fishing logbook, electronic monitoring video system and the dockside monitoring program.
9.1. Enforcement priorities
Fishery officers will:
- investigate incidents of closed area fishing such as rockfish conservation areas, sponge reef marine protection areas, marine conservation areas and other permanent and in-season fishing closures.
- investigate the retention of groundfish caught, retained or possessed without licence authority. Priority will be placed on occurrences where retention for the purpose of sale is indicated;
- investigate incidents of unauthorized dual fishing;
- investigate the non-deployment of seabird avoidance gear;
- investigate non-compliance with hail-out, hail-in, electronic monitoring and other elements of the 100 percent at-sea and dockside monitoring programs;
- investigate false and misleading statements to at-sea and dockside observers and
- investigate obstruction of at-sea and dockside observers from carrying out their duties.
10. Performance review & plan enhancement
The groundfish IFMP is a living document that will be subjected to review, with input from interested parties through consultations and established advisory processes. Annual updates (e.g., to total allowable catch changes based on updated science information) and in-season amendments to the harvest appendices will continue to be made as required and revised versions will be posted on the website, consistent with practices to date.
10.1. Fisheries and Oceans Canada contact
For additional information on this IFMP Summary or to request an electronic version of the full IFMP, please contact:
FM Officer, Groundfish
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